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Author Topic: Pro III Upgrade Possibilities?  (Read 6103 times)
W2NLS
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Posts: 25




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« on: October 16, 2012, 05:00:06 PM »

I have an Icom 756 Pro III that I do enjoy a lot. But I have come into some "mad money" and am thinking of replacing it with another rig. I would have to sell the 756 Pro III to help finance the new rig so I would like to feel confident that I have made a right choice. The transceivers I am looking at follow. I would much like to hear from anyone who might have used any of these and the Pro III to compare and say whether this would feel like an upgrade. Or, if you think the 756 Pro III is what I should hold onto let me know too! I usually operate SSB on 20M with a TH-5 DX antenna, sometimes CW. I also occasionally operate on 15 and have an inverted vee for 40 and 80 I sometimes use. MUST keep using Ham Radio Deluxe!

1) The Elecraft K3 and P3 combo. It seems that the K3's receiver may be a bit hotter than the Pro III? I would never want to give up a spectrum scope and if you add the P3 option to the K3 that looks to be a very nice scope as well as adding PSK-31 to RTTY for digital modes. I would probably get the kit K3, the assembled P3 (the $50 additional seems well worth that) and the USB option as well as the 1.8 SSB filter.

2) Yaesu's new FTDX3000D. The receiver looks in spec as if it might be better than the 756's. I am unsure about the spectrum scope as it does look to be smaller than the 756 Pro's? I also am unsure how the passband tuning compares to the 756's. Overall this does look to be a great new rig.

3) Well, the upcoming Kenwood 990S looks great but I think the price will take it out of serious consideration. We'll see.

So it comes down to I have a Pro III and am thinking of an Elecraft K3/P3 or a FTDX3000D to replace it. Which would be the best way to leap and feel the most like a real upgrade? Or, just hold on to the Pro III? Really appreciate the opinions and thanks!
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K2QPN
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Posts: 70




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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 09:06:23 AM »

You might join the Yahoo groups for your target rigs. Ask if someone in your area would let you take a test drive. Nothing like hands on experience.

I am very impressed with Elecraft. They seem very responsive to their users. I have a KX3 that had an intermittent microphone. I called support, they had me try a few things, and then sent me a new mic and mic connector. No questions asked. They have an upgrade kit for the keyer paddles and are sending it to users FREE.

I have an IC756Pro3. I had the Inrad roofing filter installed. It made a tremendous difference. The receiver is light years better. A cheaper alternative to a new rig.

73, Bob K2QPN 
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 02:20:07 PM »

I've had a couple of Pro IIIs in the past, and preferred them to the K3s I've owned. I operate primarily CW with some RTTY and almost no SSB.  The main activity is DXing, with a lot of contesting in the past.  The Icom 781 got me hooked on panadaptors years ago, and I later switched to the Pro III.  When the K3 came out and Elecraft promised the P3 by the end of that year, I sold the Pro III and bought the K3.  When Elecraft failed to deliver on the P3 promise (it was about a year late), I dumped the K3 and went back to a Pro III.  Later when the P3 became a reality, I went back to a K3 with a P3.  After that, I tried the FTDX-5000 with LP-Pan and associated software, and finally ended up with the Tentec Orion II with an SDR-IQ for the panadaptor function. I later switched to LP-Pan and NaP3 for the panadaptor.  I tell you all this so you understand that I've tried just about every panadaptor solution that's been available.  My quest was for a superior panadaptor paired with a very good transceiver.  For the panadaptor, I think the LP-Pan/NaP3 combination is the best by far.  The one drawback is that it requires a transceiver with a low first IF such as the FTDX-5000 or the Orion II. 

While the K3 appears to be the cult choice today and is well supported, even the Pro III is better designed from an operational standpoint.  One shortcoming of the Pro III is the susceptibility to IMD problems when operating in a contest with a very crowded band full of high-power stations.  At my QTH, only 20 and 160M show the problem during CW contests. When IMD shows itself in those instances, one easy way to deal with it is to simply insert some attenuation into the receive antenna line - never had to use more than 12 dB and that really isn't significant in the situation I mentioned.  If it bothers you to do that, then the Inrad roofing filter solves that problem - but - that's all it does.  It won't allow you to hear things you wouldn't hear without it and there's no magic involved - it reduces IMD, period.  If anyone tries to convince you otherwise, just ask them for the specific things it improves and an explanation of the electronic theory behind their claims. 

If you insist on a K3, then try the LP-Pan/NaP3 approach before spending the money on the P3.  That approach has all the key features of the P3, but with a larger screen (your PC screen), lower cost, superior resolution and excellent control of the key parameters effecting the scope display characteristics. 

Since you said you operate some CW, I'd strongly advise to stay away from the FTDX3000 until you know for certain that there are no problems with the transmit side on CW (as there were in the FTDX-5000).  For whatever reason, Yaesu has a record of CW transmit problems from the key clicks of the FT-1000 series to the clipped dits of the FTDX-5000 and that type of problem just doesn't exist in rigs like the K3 and Orion II. 

If I were you, I'd hang onto the Pro III so that when you dump the new rig in disgust, you'll have a good reliable rig to fall back on. 

73, Floyd - K8AC
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KE2TR
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Posts: 130




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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 08:47:52 AM »

If you love your ProIII keep it, adding the Inrad roofing filter will bring that receiver at least near the specs of the newer big rigs except were reciprocal mixing is concerned but using the attenuation on the Pro will also help. By the time you sell your Pro and add the extra money for the K3 plus filters it gets up there in price, the rcvr is very good as far as lab tests have been on the K3 but you really got to sit down and use the rig at maybe a buddies qth were you might find its operational layout of the controls not to your liking coming from the Icom. Haven't used the FTDX3K yet but the display looks small and that's one of your issues as well. The IC7600 might also be the way to go but they priced that rig way to high and if Icom was smart they would bring the MSRP around $2800, that would give the new Yaesu some price wars to deal with.
You could also keep the ProIII and pic up one of the Kenwood TS590's as a back up, the 590 would give you a better receiver maybe when your chasing that new one or contesting over the Pro plus you would have a backup rig as well(the price is around $1500 New). I have a buddy with the ProIII and its a very nice easy rig to use, its very much like the FT1K MP Field as far as receiver's go but the scope is a nice addition to the mix and if you don't care about AM or FM on receive the Inrad roofing filter makes it slightly better.
Jim
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W2NLS
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 01:41:50 PM »

Hey, thanks to everyone for the input! I have decided to go yet a different way LOL. The comments on the P3 and the K3 vs. the Pro III were particularly helpful. I do think that this would not really be much of an upgrade to the Pro III given what I have learned here. It might look more tech is all. Looking at the specs on the 3000DX I agree that the spectrum scope might be too small compared to what I am used to. If only Icom had priced the 7600 properly! But I just won't pay that price when I have the Pro 3. So, money burning a small hole in my pocket I did some more research. Here is what I am doing and why and if anyone thinks this to be a mistake please comment as I still have a couple weeks to change/cancel my order (they are back logged).

I bought myself a KX3 with all the options (roofing filter, ATU, built-in paddle, battery charger/clock, complete cable kit)! When I saw that the KX3 has full I/Q output and will work with HD SDR and Omnirig for a complete panadapter and/or SDR type display and controls -- well, that really got to me. I do not expect to ever use the rig mobile (I just got a new car and the idea of harming any of the painted surfaces with antenna mounts or other hardware makes my throat close off) and will probably only portable it less than a dozen times a year. But I do expect to use it in the shack as a QRP rig with full SDR support. From what I can see the KX3 has received fantastic reviews, particularly of the receiver. They are also coming out very soon with a 100 watt amp and a matching 100 watt tuner as well as a 2M module. So this looks like a toy you will be able to add new fun stuff to for a long time to come. Heck, I could see some vague possibility of someday with the 100 watt accessories and the SDR display of actually selling off the Pro III to help pay for it all. But, nah, I have to admit, I really like the Pro 3 and will likely hold onto it even as a second rig for the rest of my hamming days. (Which actuarilly is scary to think about as this is my 51st year as a Ham having been licensed when I was 13).

So what do you all think? A viable solution???
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AI4HO
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 06:27:54 PM »

Neil,

I think that is a great idea!  Wish I had that kinda mad money..I've been eyeing the KX3 since it hit the market.  I do like QRP, and have had 2 FT-817ND, an Icom 703+ which was actually my favorite out of all of them, but the 817 has the battery and the 803 doesn't.  I have had my Pro III for almost 4 years..February will mark the 4th year of ownership, bought it new, one of the last batch of ProIII's sent to AES Orlando.  I have had other rigs in the shack as well, mostly lower end FT-450AT, 705MKIIG, with all the filters, Kenwood TS-480HX 200 watt rig, which is currently my main HF mobile rig.  The 480HX is a very nice rig given that it has a 200 watt output.

Would one day like to own a TS-590S, very nice indeed, but the thought of giving up my Pro III makes me gag.  So..yea, get the KX3 with all the options, one dau I aspire to such a rig.

73 de Mark
AI4HO
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W5DPK
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 04:27:50 PM »

A good friend who is a CW op 60 percent of the time gave up his Pro III and bought a IC 7600.  He loves it.  Much better all around radio than the Pro III.

But just to offer a curve ball consider the Flex 5000.  A few new ones are left but the used market is getting "right" as the 6700 are going to ship within 60 days.  I have the Pro II with CW and SSB filters and roofing filter.  The 5000 walks circles around it.

This weekend I was one of the net control on a traders net and I used the duel diversity "2 receivers" with 2 antennas and found the feature to be very helpful.  Had one receiver in one ear phone and receiver number two in the other.  I heard everyone.  Very helpful under some very bad conditions on 75 meters.

I see you are a MAC man but give it some thought
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