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Author Topic: Best reciever 80/106 ?  (Read 495 times)
GM7NVA
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« on: September 05, 2004, 01:12:37 PM »

Hi. This is a bit off topic but it seems to me that the most experienced Eham ops live here.

I want to ask everyone with experience what would they recommend as the most sensitive reciever that can be bought for 160/80m. Selectivity is also a consideration.

I want to buld a station that can hear. I will be using a Beveridge array for 80/160 RX. This will be a dedicated RX only set up so it dosen't have to be a tranceiver.

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AC5E
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2004, 01:27:14 PM »

Strictly considering a receiver, one of the top end monitoring radios that show up on the market or on E-bay - such as Racal, Rhode and Schwartz, or Ten Tec would probably be the best.

But do check into the repair parts situation before you write a check. An unrepairable radio is an expensive decoration.

However if you EVER want to do more than listen (and what ham does not want to talk) Ten Tec's Orion is currently without peer. And it won't cost that much more than a good used intelligence agency monitoring reciever.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E

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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2004, 01:40:40 PM »

"Sensitivity" means absolutely nothing at thes frequencies.  Your receiver will "hear" exactly the same signals if it has 0.1uV sensitivity or 2.0uV sensitivity.  Simply doesn't matter, since as soon as you connect an antenna, noise will take over and limit usable sensitivity immediately -- even with a Beverage.

This is one reason that many of the truly great DX rigs over the years were designed with no RF premplifier stage, at all: Signals are fed directly to the first mixer.  Such is the case with my Drake TR-7, the Collins KWM-380 and HF-380 (the latter is a $10,000 rig) and lots of good gear.

So, I'd change "sensitivity" to some other term.

What's really important on these bands is immunity to overload and the receiver's ability to handle strong signals without creating intermodulation distortion or other distracting junk.  Also, having a good noise blanker that can be used when the band's full of strong signals without having the blanker create serious signal distortion is another key feature of a really good 80-160m receiver.  Unfortunately, most ham gear lacks a lot in this area.

I'd look for a receiver with a very high RX intercept point, very large dynamic range (which means the strong signal end will be improved, since the weak signal end of all receivers in this spectrum are essentially identical) and a good noise blanker, which cannot be "specified," you really have to try them out for this.  Most receiver specs for noise blanker performance are either nonexistent or meaningless.

WB2WIK/6
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VE3IOS
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2004, 02:30:21 PM »

Ten tec Omni IV
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AC5E
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2004, 03:14:17 PM »

I agree with Steve, you will probably be "noise limited" on the low bands with any decent receiver.
That is, background noise will be from one to several microvolts, and signals under the noise floor will not be copyable.

However, you asked for the BEST receiver and the agency radios are pretty well made for that purpose - without regard for acquistion cost. As a result, they are generally a step (staircase!) better than the majority of amateur trancievers.

And yes, the TenTec Omni VI+ has the SECOND best reciever in an Amateur Tranciever. At least one of the Ten Tec commercial radios is a step above that, but the current market is about the same as an Orion.

However for an unbiased overview of recievers generally try www.sherweng.com.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E

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KZ1X
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2004, 08:00:36 PM »

There is a concise comparative chart of ham receivers at www.elecraft.com
with figures based on ARRL lab tests.
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K3MOV
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2004, 10:50:42 PM »

I subsribe to the ARRL's National Contest Journal.  I believe the cost is about$16.00/yr.  The September / October issue has what seems to me the best comparison of the receiver specs of modern transceivers that I have ever seen.  This one issue is worth the price of a yearly subscription.
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W8JI
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2004, 08:32:32 AM »

During the sunspot maximum, the time of normally poor 160 propagation, I worked over 200 countries and all 40 zones on 160. My station consistantly is in the top one or two places in the USA in contests, and I have over 300 countries worked on 160. I've worked 5 watt mobile stations on 160 at distances of over 10,000 miles.

The key to doing this has always been receiving antennas and receivers. Nothing else. Almost anyone could do the same with a quiet location and work on equipment and antennas, there is nothing special about it.  

Be very careful what you listen to, because many recent articles have been somewhat misleading. You want a VERY good close-spaced receiver dynamic range. The wide spaced performance only needs to be in the 90dB range or better, but the CLOSE spaced performance needs to be in the 80dB or better range! That is the real key.

A 2kHz IM3 test checks a receiver for signals 2 and 4 kHz away. A 5kHz test checks for problems from signals 5 and 10kHz away!!!!
 
Virtually ALL problems come from 5kHz spacing or less, and that is almost always true no matter where you live and what band you operate. The exception would be VHF or EME, where signals are wide spaced and the bands empty in between them. VHF operators, casual ragchewers, or city dwellers are now picking specifications. While very well-written for VHF or noisy congested operating they fail to grasp the real problems at HF.

The IC7800 is being touted as a "good rig" because of its exceptional WIDE spaced perfromance, but that virtually NEVER is a problem. In side by side comparisions, the 7800 works just about like a 756PROII under nearly all conditions, and it is very noticably worse than an Orion or a FT1000D!!

What you need to do is look at EXPANDED test results at 2kHz or less dynamic range. Pick a rig with 80dB or higher close spaced IM3, and abouve 85dB blocking at close spacing. If that is good, the rest will not be a worry.

While it is true you generally will have too much receiver gain with a large transmitting antenna. You also WILL need a preamp if you use a Beverage. Only people without Beverages will tell you  that a preampo is not needed, hi hi.

I have receivers in the -130dBm sensitivity range, and still must use preamps under normal quiet conditions using narrow selectivity. The idea you never need a preamp is absolutely false unless you live in a very noisy location, use wide selectivity, or use low directivity transmitting antennas for receiving.

For a receiver comparison, see:

http://www.w8ji.com/receivers.htm

or

http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

73 Tom
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N8FVJ
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2004, 10:08:45 AM »

You stated receiver. Drake R-7A is one of the best. The front-end design is about perfect.

Transceiver? The best I heard was a TenTec Onmi V with cascaded filters. An old Drake R4B or R4C will also work fairly well with the noisy 160m band.
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ON4MGY
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2004, 10:58:15 AM »

To read a review of the Ten-Tec Orion by ON4UN, John, you find find it here:

http://www.ncjweb.com/janfeb04feat.pdf

As you'll probably know John, ON4UN, is one of the most experienced Low-banders you'll find in the world.


73

ON4MGY Nic
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WA4MJF
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2004, 04:58:54 PM »

R-390A/URR works good on these
bands.

73 de Ronnie
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WA4MJF
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2004, 04:59:08 PM »

R-390A/URR works good on these
bands.

73 de Ronnie
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WA2JJH
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2004, 10:55:44 AM »

The Drake R7-A is very good. One problem, I had to look for over 2 years to get mine. Expect to PAY OVER 1000 BUX in as is condition.

  The later Darke R-8's are garbage compared to the R-7A.

  A 3erd party is making an utra stable VFO for the TR-7/R7A. It also has 20 memory channels. This VFO will make any R7A or TR-7 as stable as todays rigs.

  The cost is about $250.

   I heard one of the AOR's performed almost as well asa R-7A. It is a new radio.
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