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Author Topic: Ridiculous Radio Prices...  (Read 7455 times)
WB2WIK
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Posts: 20547




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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2013, 05:07:19 PM »

The RX dynamic performance, which is all Rob Sherwood tests, are but one out of many important parameters for users.  And that's all he claims they are.

Rob uses an IC-781, which is many years old and didn't do all that great in the reports. Wink

To me, there's a lot more to anything's worth than just one parameter.  Most of us are comfortable driving whatever vehicle we have, without it being capable of going 0-100 mph in six seconds.  The cars that can do that may not hold more than two people and may not get more than 16 mpg, and may not have capacity to bring home the groceries.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4391




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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2013, 10:18:04 PM »

Ergonomics are important, and menu driven arrangements lose out badly there.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2013, 04:46:46 PM »

Forget the receivers, fix the transmitters.

Now we have a the next TS990s, 10,000 dollar price tag and a useless uncalibrated S-meter. If I bought a spectrum analyzer for that price it would have an amplitude uncertainty of +- 1 to 1.5db

I can buy a cheap rigol spectrum analyzer for 1500 dollars and that has a nice color screen with amplitude accuracy of 1.5 db

I agree with you, the price of the equipment is getting ridiculous especially when you get sub standard transmitters and things like S-meters that cant measure accurately.

The ham radio companies have a successful marketing program that is very good at getting   baby boomers to throw big dollars at  equipment that offers very poor value for money.
I frankly dont know how they can justify the price for the Kenwood TS-990S,  when really its specifications and features are nothing spectacular to what  can be got now for a lot less money.

The TS990S wont outperform the Perseus receiver. A transmitter with good IMD performance and a TFT screen does not make  up for the 8000 dollar difference. Besides all the bells and whistle
is just firmware tricks not hardware.

When I see that the unit has no calibrated S-meter then I know its another ham toy. For the money that  want for the TS990S, I would rather go out and buy a Rohde & Schwarz receiver or transceiver. At least I know
that I am buying something  that is built to   a very high standard.  The R&S will have a super accurate S-meter not some Micky mouse  needle jumping around on the screen telling you nothing.

I dont see a knob on the TS-990S that says "splatter blanker" so we have radio that  has excessive receiver performance that cant be used realistically on the air. Sounds like buying a car with rocket engine
and it sits in the garage because there is no road or freeway where you can make use of it. The 40 meter band in Europe in like a freeway in LA in peak hour. Full of smog(splatter) and no place to move. What good is it sitting traffic
with a Ferrari that cant go anywhere and you choking on the smog(splatter)? If Kenwood had  a DSP beam steering option that would have been more useful that gimmicky analog looking clone dial. The engineers at Kenwood must
be bored and have no RF creativity left.

A more practical radio from Kenwood would have been  direct sampling  receiver with a DUC transmitter. An adaptive pre-distortion PA would have made more sense. All we get from Kenwood is 30 year old technology  dressed
up with lipstick. They not getting my money!

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KA5IPF
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« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2013, 05:38:09 PM »

I see you're still stuck on a calibrated s-meter which doesn't mean anything from an on-the-air source unless you know exactly the performance of your antenna and feedline. Then path loss figures in. An s-meter is only good for an appx idea compared to the other guy talking on the same frequency in the same QSO, then it's not worth much. Be better off with no s-meter. Can you hear him, work him. The 59 systems works great and doesn't require an s-meter.
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KG6YV
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Posts: 506




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« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2013, 01:56:03 PM »


1. Salaries in China for tech workers are going up @ 25% or more per year, so their product prices will do the same OR electronics manufacturing will move to Vietnam and Burma. 
2. Some of the cheap chinese HT's are actually "knock-offs" of the current Yaesu, ICOM, Kenwood models.  The Chinese don't respect anyone's intellectual property.  They have been selling bootlegged golf clubs ever since the big manufacturers hired them to lower production costs in the 1990s.
3. That company making the $18000 radio in Germany might not make it and their customers may end up with an expensive/unsupported radio.  It happened to Signal One in the 1970s. 

Bottom line,

"So what"? 

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KD0REQ
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Posts: 858




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« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2013, 03:37:58 PM »

if you have a Signal/One other than the MilSpec, The Community does a pretty good job of supporting them.  parts are readily availiable.

of course, there are manuals and schematics about.  not so for the MilSpecs, especially the converted Icoms.
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K1ZJH
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Posts: 901




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« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2013, 11:35:39 AM »

My take is the latest and greatest offer a USB port or two on the front panel... I just upgraded to a Ten Tec Omni VI and Paragon II, and they will do what I need for the next twenty years, or until repair parts can't be had.  But, I am not a serious contester, nor do I need to control my station via the internet.

Pete
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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2013, 08:16:07 PM »

Yeah I am stuck on the S-meter and IMD wagon.

For the price that you paying for these radios I would expect a calibrated S-meter and a  clean low IMD transmitter.

Well thats the whole point. If you had a calibrated S-meter and the radio was calibrated you could apply something like an antenna factor to correction  for all the variables. You then will have a 100% repeatable accurate reading.
If you were doing antenna or propagation tests you would  then have a reliable  and accurate data not rubbish data.

Hams would complain if the volt meter or a the frequency  meter in their radio was off by a  factor of 100%, so why do S-meters have to be so lousy when it is such a simple job to fix or build calibrated S-meters. There
would be a riot if some radio had a SWR meter that was off by a factor of 100%. S-meters are simple circuits  that can easily calibrated and the data stored.

Why the current  uncalibrated S-meter's are even a big joke on hams is this. You get on the air and then ask a ham if they  can you give me reading between my amp and 100 watts, or for that matter the front to back ratio
on your beam. Most hams will reply "OM I see  5 s units difference with amp off an on, and 6 S-units difference from the front to the back" Hams will state this with a air of confidence like they are using a Fluke meter
to make the measurements. You never hear these hams say but I must tell you that my S-meter  could be off by 100% and by the law of physics going from 100 watts to 1000 watts is 10Db, not the 36db inaccurate reading my meter shows.
On some occasions you will have some nasty joker tell other hams what he saw on the S-meter and that station X  must be running illegal power because his useless S-meter told him so. You cant have it both ways,  by saying that having a calibrated S-meters is a waste of time and then behaving like you do have a calibrated S-meter is very hypocritical behavior

. I would prefer to have a calibrated S-meter that is accurate just like my volt, swr, impedance and frequency meter. Why is this asking for too much? I can buy a $1500 dollar Rigol spectrum analyzer with a color TFT screen thats as big as the IC7800 and TS9990S and it  will have  a guaranteed accuracy of  1 Db. Why cant you get this accuracy from something costing 10 times as much? Its joke on us and a huge rip off the junk thats being marketed to the ham  community by the manufacturers  at such an expensive price.  There are radios like The Flexradios, Elecraft K3 and many of the direct sampling receiver which all have accurate S-meters. Calibrated S-meters should be standard on all transceivers.

Commercial VHF and UHF radios have had the ability to produce accurate signal strength readings for years. Yet you cant buy 1 VHF or UHF ham radio that has the same ability. Is it because hams are becoming like Cb'ers, all brain dead black box operators with no technical skills  that cant understand the value of  something as simple as measuring a signal level accurately?

SDR receiver and radios like the Flex have perfectly linear S-meters,  why is it too much to expect this from a 10,000 dollar radio? The reason why people do have the 5/9 mentality is because  they all know S-meters are useless
and inaccurate, if you can hear them well you might as well say they 5 and 9. If S-meters were calibrated you still be able to do  this because the S-meter will train the operator on what is a good or bad reference point. After 1 contest you could be giving  far more accurate reports since you know exactly what a real 5/5 or 3/3 signal sounds like.

There are modes such WSPR and  HF grabber that can be excellent tools for reporting how effective propagation and antennas  are. Having the ability to produce accurate results could help us develop  better antennas and have a better understanding of propagation.  A calibrated S-meter  when used with  these modes gives you tool that is far more reliable than most hams and their equipment. It would be great one day to use one of the internet remote receivers
with a calibrated S-meter to do antenna comparisons. If all stations had this capability we could measure relative performance and quantify it very easily.

Botton line is this if I bought an expensive radio like a Hilberling., TS990S, FTDX9000, FTDX5000, IC7700 and IC7800 I would expect for the asking price that It would have a calibrated S-meter. I dont expect
a  meter that is no better than a 100 dollar CB radio. Why is that too much to ask for in this  when technology can deliver this for 10 dollars?  If you read the Icom 7800 brochure Icom  raves about how
their smart engineers spent so much time making the on screen S-meter behave like a real analog meter. It would have better if they spent that time learning how to  build a calibrated S-meter
into their expensive radio rather than some useless eye candy needle dancing on the screen. They truly have their design priorities wrong.

Having a calibrated S-meter might not seem important. Once you own a radio with a calibrated S-meter or a receiver that uses something like the DbUV scale you will never go back to the old  uncalibrated
receivers and transceivers. Its a must have especially for an expensive radio. But hey I could be wrong maybe some people like buying expensive 10,000 dollar radios that dont have calibrated S-meter and  that splatter
like a 100 dollar CB radio. I must be a freak I am expecting way too much!



I see you're still stuck on a calibrated s-meter which doesn't mean anything from an on-the-air source unless you know exactly the performance of your antenna and feedline. Then path loss figures in. An s-meter is only good for an appx idea compared to the other guy talking on the same frequency in the same QSO, then it's not worth much. Be better off with no s-meter. Can you hear him, work him. The 59 systems works great and doesn't require an s-meter.
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AB4D
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Posts: 297


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« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2013, 07:30:49 AM »

Yeah I am stuck on the S-meter and IMD wagon.

For the price that you paying for these radios I would expect a calibrated S-meter.

I would like to see that as well.  Transceivers should come from the factory with a print out that shows the result of every test result, after it was aligned.  Nevertheless, most people don't really care about exacting accuracy.  It's more important to most, the rig is pleasing to the eye. The culture of ham radio is turning more into a group of consumers, rather than designers, builders, and those that pursue the "radio art".

These days, most everyone is "5/9" anyway, no matter what the S-meter says.  Accurate, linear S-meters from off the shelf gear is a pipe dream that's been around for years.  The service manuals I have for most of my gear, all specifies 50uV = S-9 on 20 meters.  All other readings and bands are guesses at best, and the manufacturers do not make any claims for accuracy in that regard.

Until we demand better, we will continue with the status quo.  Suppose, all the manufactures radios began meeting the specifications you believe, could we afford them?  Imagine what they would charge?   

73
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4391




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« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2013, 10:53:48 AM »

I fail to see the point of a  S meter to within 1 dB. If I want to measure to that degree of accuracy, I need more than a meter covering 60 dB or so. That's why I have a spectrum analyser and a vector voltmeter and calubrated step attenuators.

In the same way, I don't need frequncy readout accurate to better than 100 Hz. And many hams (and professionals!) do not seem able to differentiate between accuracy and resolution.
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