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Author Topic: TS-850 setup for casual CW use?  (Read 1474 times)
KK7KZ
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« on: October 10, 2009, 04:44:17 AM »

I recently acquired a TS-850 without filters. I see in the manual there are several filter combinations to use for CW.

First, I am not a contester but I prefer CW operations over SSB. I won't be adding any SSB filters.

For casual/regular CW ops, what is the best filter set up for this radio? I prefer IRC filters. At first glance, I think a 400 hz filter is all that I need but not sure if I should get the 8.83 or the 455 Khz filter, or should I be using both? Using both seems redundant but serious contesters seem to prefer a full load of CW filters.

Again, casual but regular CW use.

What say you, 850 owners?

Ron
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DJ1YFK
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2009, 06:59:07 AM »

I operated a TS850 with 500Hz filters on both IFs and an additional 270Hz filter on the 8MHz IF for many years. I rarely used the narrow filter.

Cascading two 400Hz filters on both IFs has some definite advantages over a single filter, in particular it will let you use the "slope tune" feature properly in CW. With one IF filter only, it will work on one side only (high- or low-cut), depending on which IF is equipped with the filter.

You may also find this thread interesting: http://www.eham.net/forums/Elmers/206952

73, Fabian DJ1YFK
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KK7KZ
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2009, 12:11:05 PM »

Thank you! Exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

Ron
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2009, 08:18:14 PM »

I have 500 Hz filters in both 8.83 and 455 IF's and have used my TS-850S/AT on CW most of the time in the 19 years I've had it (since new).

I don't have the INRAD filters, just the original Kenwood ones, although I don't think there's much difference.

Since the 850S allows you to switch in filters in any combination you wish, you can try one filter, then the other, then both, to see what difference it makes.

I think the "slope tune" and CW REV features of the TS-850S are probably its finest attributes!  They, along with good filtering, allow you to reject almost anything that might be disturbing you.  I can't even remember the last time I lost a CW contact using the 850S, unless it was due to propagation.
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K0OD
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2009, 10:22:54 PM »

I have an 850 with the Kenwood 270 Hz filter which I use almost all the time. Much sharper than my 500 Hz one. BTW, I bought the Kenwood narrow SSB filter which was a waste of money.

Funny thing: I forgot all about the reverse CW button. Haven't used it in years and even forgot where that button is. (it's right next to the slow tune button that I've never used!)
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KK7KZ
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2009, 05:58:47 AM »

Now that I have your attention, and this is addressed to those who have installed both 500hz filters in both IFs, how much difference is there to the average, emphasis on average, CW operator between the use of one filter or two filters?

I would rather spend bux playing with antennas rather than filters but I do need a filter solution.

If two filters in cascade make a huge difference over one, then I'll spring for the pair.

If one filter will get me 90% there, I'll go that route.

If the single filter approach works well, my reading tells me the right choice is the 455 filter in a single filter configuration. Historically, I used the single 455 in my 450 I used back in the early 90s and I was satisfied with it but I never installed the second filter in the 8.83 IF.

Anybody confirm this?

Thanks to all,

Ron
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AA4N
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2009, 09:58:49 AM »

With regard to the use of narrow filters,  I find that they are best when used for casual ragchewing.  

I use my 250Hz filter any time the guy I'm chatting with has a good stable VFO (doesn't drift around).  It really cuts back on background noise, regardless of whether there is another nearby station that I'm trying to dodge.  Makes for great armchair copy.  Turn down the receive gain, select the narrow filter, and it sounds like a practice tape.  If I'm answering a call, I'll zero beat him first, then select narrow filter.   If I'm calling CQ, I'll start on the 500Hz filter, after I get an answer, I'll use RIT to get his tone right, then I'll switch to narrow.

For contesting, I find that a narrow filter is a bad thing.  You  miss guys that are calling off frequency.  And that happens a lot when folks are in a hurry.  It just doesn't pay to be fiddling with filters while your trying to make a decent rate.  One must rely on the between-the-ears filter.

The only time I go wider that 500Hz is when I'm dialing up and down a relatively dead (quiet) band looking for the odd signal.  2.4KHz filter gives me a big listen window for signal hunting.

Just my thoughts on the subject...

mike AA4N
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KK7KZ
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 03:38:08 PM »

Thanks, all, for the replies.

I found some helpful FFT analysis for cascaded filters at this site:

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/11767756/This-file-summarizes-an-extensive-series-of-measurements-of-IF-and

Ron
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K0RS
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 08:12:48 PM »

I've got a 500 Hz in both the 455 kHz and 8.83 mHz slots in my TS-850S and a 250 Hz in the extra 8.83 slot.  I don't work SSB, so I don't worry about that.  Like AA4N, I use the 250 a lot.  It's really helpful on the low bands to reduce QRN.  It's amazing the difference the extra selectivity makes in cutting down background noise and improving S/N ratio.  I picked up a used FT-1000D earlier this year and the first thing I did was but in the optional 250 Hz filter.

The 250 Hz also comes in handy in split DX pileups to isolate the DX station.  Since many of the intentional QRM'ers are lids anyway, they have a hard time zero-beating the DX.  A 250 Hz filter will eliminate a good many of them.

The 850 has a nice, slow tuning rate in the "Fine" postion, so the 500's are OK for tuning around and scanning the band.  Use the 500's to CQ and tune with the RIT for callers who can't get right on your frequency, then click in the 250.

My two 500 Hz filters are Kenwood brand and the 250 is an Inrad, but that was more by accident than design.  In a perfect world they would all be Inrads, two 400's and a 250, but this set-up is very acceptable.

The 850 is one of the all-time great rigs.  Google "Kenwood TS-850" and you will get a wealth of useful info.  See a picture of mine here:

http://sites.google.com/a/wildblue.net/k0rs/station
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K3TN
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2009, 03:35:33 AM »

I'm still using the TS 850 I bought new in 1991, primarily on CW but on all modes. I have 500 hz filters in both IFs and I've found that I typically operate like this:

Normal day to day operating I leave the filters out. I sort of like to be aware of what is going on around the frequency. If there is some adjacent QRM, in day to day operating I use the slope tune controls to see if I can reduce it and only turn on the filters if that doesn't work.

For a DX station pileup, if he is operating simplex, I will try turning on the filters to see if it helps me pull him out of the crowd of callers but I find that usually makes it harder.

For a DX station running split, I turn the filters on for the VFO on his transmit frequency but stay wide on the VFO I have on his RX frequency (my TX). That makes it easier to find the station he last responded to so you can adjust your calling freq.

In contests, I always have both filters on.

I've played with trying just the filter on just one IF and not the other. The only scenario I've found where it is better than having both on is on the low bands when the QRM is not that bad and the station I'm trying to copy is very weak. Then, just turning on the first IF filter and leaving the second IF wide seems to be the best balance of bandwidth and insertion loss - but usually playing with the slope control is actually better.

Anyone bought and installed the INRAD roofing filters for the 850? I can really see need for them on 40CW especially, but its a lot of money to put into an 18 year old radio!

John K3TN
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John K3TN
NI0C
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2009, 02:32:53 PM »

I used a TS-850S until a few years ago, and passed it on to my son.  I always used cascaded filters, and even used the INRAD "125 Hz" filter, which was actually considerably wider, but still much sharper than the INRAD 250 Hz and Kenwood 270 Hz filters.  

This was a great rig for lowband DX work.  We still use it for Field Day, with 500 Hz filters installed.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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NI0C
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2009, 07:39:50 PM »

I just re-read my post and noticed that I gave the wrong impression due to my careless sentence structure.  What I intended to say was that the INRAD "125 Hz" filter is actually considerably wider than 125 Hz (according to the plot on the INRAD website); however it is still much narrower than the 250 Hz and 270 Hz filters.

I apologize for any confusion.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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KK7KZ
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2009, 04:36:39 AM »

So, for those of you that have, for example, both 500 Hz filters, how much difference do you see between selecting both filters in cascade as opposed to selecting, for example, the 2.7 in 8 MHz and the 500 in the 455? Or, selecting the 500 in the 8 MHz and the 2.7 in the 455?

My 480 only has the tight filter in the 10.7 and it seems to work quite well. Would the 500 alone in the 8 MHz be sufficient for rag chewing?

Thanks!

Ron
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NI0C
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2009, 05:53:29 AM »

I've owned and operated two radios with provisions for cascaded crystal filters, the TS-850S and a Ten Tec Omni 6.  As a DX'er, I would never be satisfied with just one filter, and in fact, I was among the first to add a third crystal roofing filter by INRAD to my Omni 6.

You will definitely experience more noise with the compromise setup you describe, but it should be okay for casual ragchewing with stations with strong signals.  If you need to pull out weak stations under marginal conditions, or QRP, then the matched filters will help you do that.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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KK7KZ
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Posts: 464




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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2009, 06:32:34 AM »

Chuck,

Thanks for the reply; that was just the information I was looking for.

Next question: Inrad now has a roofing filter setup. Considering the $$$ spent would it be better to purchase matched filters or the roofing filter solution? Or do they address different purposes? The last filters I bought were for radios that only had one available slot, a no brainer. I would like to make an informed decision and purchase the proper tool for the job the first time.

Thanks again,

Ron
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