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Author Topic: Question about receive?  (Read 1342 times)
KG4WXP
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Posts: 165




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« on: August 28, 2009, 06:44:28 PM »

Okay, in another post I asked about the differences in rigs..

I guess what I'm really looking for is something that (HF RIG, mostly used for voice,some SWL'ing and utility listening):

Has great receive as far as filtering out man made noise,

and has great ability at picking out very low signals.

I also want something with a spectrum scope, or that one can be added to, since I have meniere's disease and my hearing alone can miss certain stuff when i'm spinning through the bands.

Price isn't a big issue, I figure that if I'm going to get something, even if it's expensive, if i make a big investment on my next rig i wont regret not spending more later.

I've heard great things about the flexradio's abilities. What are some other rigs that have a really amazing receive?
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WW5AA
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 08:09:11 PM »

You will get a lot of opinions...but the best radio for receive is one that is connected to a good receive antenna system. My old TS-440 recieves better on my receive antenna than my Pro-III on my transmit antennas. TX-RX, never the twain shall meet, Have fun!

73 de Lindy
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K8AC
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2009, 03:05:25 PM »

There can be great disagreement over these comments, but I contend that "filtering out" man made noise hasn\'t really come very far.  Perhaps the most significant advance was in the development of noise blankers, which dealt very well with impulse type noise.  To the degree that the noise you might experience is of an impulse nature, a noise blanker might help, but then there\'s a great variation in the effectiveness of noise blankers in the various rigs.  The noise blanker in my 1980 vintage Drake TR7 is far superior on impulse noise that the one in my FT-1000MP Mk V, or my IC-756 Pro III.  The problem with most man made noise sources is that the characteristics of the noise are similar to those of the signals you are trying to receive, and so it\'s difficult to separate the two.  When it comes to picking out weak signals, in the distant past there was quite a difference between the sensitivity of the cheapest vs. the best receivers.  Today, there\'s almost no difference (speaking of the HF bands here) and every rig can hear the weakest signals about the same.  While some excited new owners of high-dollar rigs claim to be able to hear things on it they just can\'t hear on their old rig, that\'s basically the excitement talking.  I\'ve noticed some very subtle differences in reading signals down in the noise on 160 CW with different rigs (and switching the same antenna between them), but never saw a case where they could be heard on one rig but not the other.

If you want a quality panadaptor display that allows you to pick out individual signals (SSB is easy, CW quite a bit harder), then forget the rigs with a spectrum scope built in.  If all you want to do is to be able to spot that there is activity on the band, any of the rigs with scopes will suffice.  But, if you want to be able to see two CW signals that are a couple hundred Hz apart, then a PC display is the way to go.  The Flex products are of course good for that, as are any of the other rigs that can be interfaced to PowerSDR (The Flex radio software) through LP-Pan.  LP-Pan is an excellent solution for the Elecraft K3, K2, Orion and some Kenwood rigs.  When I was using LP-Pan and a K3, I found I could often pick out CW signals down in the mud that I\'d have never heard had I just tuned across the band.  You can spot them as "regularities" in otherwise random noise.  

Unfortunately, some of the features, such as the spectrum scope, don\'t get better as the price goes up.  The very most expensive rigs have an inferior scope display compared to that of PowerSDR.  Personally, it makes no sense whatever to me to own a #10-12,000 transceiver that weighs 75 lbs and has to be sent to Washington state for service (and they all have been!).  Would you buy a washing machine or TV that had to be sent away for service at a cost of $100 or more each way?  That alone leads me to prefer rigs that use an external power supply for those rare occasions when I must send it off for service.

And please - don\'t look at this stuff as an investment!  With an investment, you assume some risk for the possibility that the item will increase in value.  These rigs are like a modern automobile - they continually decrease in value and eventually won\'t be worth fixing.

If you don\'t mind the PC resource that the Flex products require and don\'t care about a tuning knob, then give one a try.  They tend to come up short in areas you haven\'t mentioned, such as dynamic range.  

Practically any of the mid-range rigs (IC-756 Pro III, etc.) that have filtering to match the modes you operate will perform very well on receive.  If you heavily into contesting, then there are other factors to consider, such as blocking range and IMD that might come into play but wouldn\'t be all that important for casual operating.  

For SWLing, I\'ve yet to hear anything that beats any of my 1938 vintage tube receivers.  Great sensitivity, good frequency response, adequate tuning rate for AM.  

There are no rigs that perform very well on receive in the face of heavy summer QRN from thunderstorms.  Some are slightly better than others, but they\'re all bad.

Here\'s an idea for a great receiver with a spectrum scope and good performance for less than $100!  Build one of the Softrock receivers and use PowerSDR with it.  If you want to be amazed, that will do it.  You\'ll have all the DSP power that the Flex radio has and you\'ll save a ton of money if all you want to do is listen.  I have one here and it amazes me everytime I turn it on.  

The Flex people have recently made some changes to PowerSDR to accomodate the Softrock receivers, and look for some future support from Ham Radio Deluxe.
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 08:50:34 AM »

K3
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 09:09:32 AM »

Of current production models the Yaesu FTDX9000D likely has the very best noise blanking ability (and spectrum scope is an off-the-shelf accessory) of anything on the market.

http://yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=102&encProdID=34B0B268F77981D7E72CF66FC1930880&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

Not too many people own both one of these and also the IC-7800, but my neighbor Dave WA6DKN does (own both, at the same time) and he's told me he prefers the FTDX9000D in such situations and if he had to pick one to keep, it would be that one.  Dave's tried about everything on the market, as he's a retired technogeek hobbyist (!) and really enjoys trying out hardware and software.

You might contact him either on the air or via a quick e-mail to reconfirm this, but I'm quite sure this was his comment to me.  

Good luck with whatever you choose!

WB2WIK/6
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AB3CX
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Posts: 630




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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 06:01:53 AM »

FT-2000 + IF2000 + SDR-IQ. Great panadaptor, rig computer interface, and fine DSP capabilities in the radio. Or use the SDR to direct receive and panadapt occasionally. Computer requirements are not huge, a 1.2 gHz Pentium with 1 GIG RAM and with a video card such as a 5000-6000 series GeForce Invidia card is all you need, such a computer could be assembled for $200-250 off eBay. Use a port sharing program such as Eterlogic's VSPE free program...
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