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Author Topic: New to HF - First Radio: TS-590 vs FTDX-1200?  (Read 31851 times)
KK6CZP
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Posts: 9




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« on: November 17, 2013, 02:26:56 PM »

Thanks in advance for any guidance on this.  To start off, I have read off the reviews for both radios, as well as a some comparison threads on QRZ.  I will be brand new to HF, and my interest at this point are getting into DX and doing some ragchewing.  I do not intend to be a contester, and probably only modest amount of CW, which I am learning.  I am fortunate to have two HRO stores within 30 minutes, so will be going there soon to play with the radios, but my main question is are both of these "too much radio" for someone like me or would I be better served initially with something like the FT-450D or TS-480SAT, which up until now I was envisioning as 'backup' radios.  Thanks again for any insights.

73s
Bob, N6RWC

 
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AD9DX
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Posts: 1464




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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 08:19:32 PM »

There really isn't a such thing as too much radio. They are both vastly different radios. I am a bit biased against Yaesu's offerings because of my previous ownership of the FT-2000D which in my opinion had awful selectivity. But the FTDX 1200 does have a band scope which even for casual operations, is a lot of fun to use. The 590 has wonderful TX/RX audio but might be getting a bit long in the tooth.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
N7BMW
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 09:24:19 PM »

The 590 has wonderful TX/RX audio but might be getting a bit long in the tooth.

The 590 has been out for a little over three years.  How is that long in the tooth?  Three years is just about right for them to recognize and correct problems identified with the initial rollout.

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AD9DX
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 02:22:19 AM »

The 590 has wonderful TX/RX audio but might be getting a bit long in the tooth.

The 590 has been out for a little over three years.  How is that long in the tooth?  Three years is just about right for them to recognize and correct problems identified with the initial rollout.



It needs to have an IF out. But since it uses two different frequencies it's not easy... That's my big beef but I do a lot of DXing and that matters greatly to me.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
W1JKA
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Posts: 1618




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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 03:13:51 AM »

Re: KK6CZP

Your fortunate to have two HROs nearby. Take the opportunity to not only try out the two rigs your interested in but also the FT-480 and others. For practical non contest operation you will not notice a whole lot of difference between any of them it just depends on what sounds best to YOUR ears and meets your idea of ease of operations. I did the same with five radios in the $800.00-$3,000.00 range and ended up with the IC-7200 because of low receiver background noise and minimum of menus but that's just Me. Good luck on your choice.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5438




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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 05:32:16 AM »

The 590 has wonderful TX/RX audio but might be getting a bit long in the tooth.

The 590 has been out for a little over three years.  How is that long in the tooth?  Three years is just about right for them to recognize and correct problems identified with the initial rollout.



It needs to have an IF out. But since it uses two different frequencies it's not easy... That's my big beef but I do a lot of DXing and that matters greatly to me.

I actually talked to Kenwood engineer about that at 2013 hamvention. He said design of rig makes it hard to add. It is the frequency of IF that does not support bandwidth for a scope. Personally i think a built in scope is window dressing on a cheaper rig to overlook other short comings. 
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AG6WT
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Posts: 436




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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 06:55:12 AM »

You may want to ad the Elecraft K3 to that list. Yes, it is at the top of the list as far as contesting/dx'ing rig go and has a pretty high price when fully loaded, however, the stripped down version suitable for casual operating is not that much more expensive than a TS-590. One big advantage of the K3 is that it is modular so you can purchase options as your budgets allow. The other two are pretty much all or nothing; if it doesn't have a feature you want you have to upgrade by buying a whole new rig. Another advantage of the K3 is Elecraft has a very good reputation for customer service AND their HQ is in Watsonville, just south of Monterrey so can drive it over to the shop for service.

If you can wait another month, the Palo Alto Radio club (PAARA) is raffling off a K3 in December. Throw in a few bucks at the next meeting and you might win it. I'm going to buy a new rig soon - looking at the FTDX3000, TS-590, and K3 - and will wait to see if I get lucky at the next meeting  Grin

Ray
AG6WT
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 09:40:24 AM »

One big advantage of the K3 is that it is modular so you can purchase options as your budgets allow. The other two are pretty much all or nothing;ce.

Well the others are complete and the K3 costs a LOT more when comparably equipped.  see no advantage here.
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 08:01:14 PM »

One big advantage of the K3 is that it is modular so you can purchase options as your budgets allow. The other two are pretty much all or nothing;ce.

Well the others are complete and the K3 costs a LOT more when comparably equipped.  see no advantage here.

 Grin
Buying a K3 is like going to a really expensive restaurant and ordering a Steak Dinner.
The Waiter drops a raw steak on your plate and says if you want it cooked the kitchen is over there, if not for some more money we can cook it for you.

 So to save money you go to the kitchen and cook your steak!

Now you have a cooked steak on the plate and nothing else.
So you call over the waiter and ask for a helping of potatoes to go with your steak. The waiter says Potatoes are extra!  If you want a salad, some soup and rolls or even a glass of water that's also extra. Oh and that after dinner mint will also cost a little extra.

I could see the merit of going to this restaurant if at the end of the day you had a superior meal at a bargain price but when you add up all the extras it works out to be more expensive than a fully decked out meal from another restaurant.  Of course one has to take into account that one food critic who doesn't even eat at the restaurant has a review out that says the food is better, so I guess based on that it is Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 08:12:42 PM by KD8MJR » Logged
M6YDB
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 11:43:59 AM »

I have no experience of the 1200 but have the 590 and have been using it for about a month so bear in mind also that my experience is limited.

That said the 590 has so far proven to be a joy to use.  All the controls are very logical and well labelled, the main VFO knob is nicely weighted and the tension can be adjusted, the display is very clear - it all just works as it should and build quality is very high.

Rx audio is sublime, I get good Tx reports and it is a very sensitive rig.  The ATU is very versatile and matches up my not brilliant dipole on 80-10m.

However, the big deciding factor for me was that it has a USB port making computer control a doddle.  Further with Kenwood's free software you get a computer based bandscope and well as full rig control and it also plays very nicely with HDR and Commcat.

Finally, in the UK at least, it is cheaper than the 1200 - no brainer as far as I am concerned.

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WY4J
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2013, 04:02:54 PM »

I have owned a TS-590 for the last 3 years. Don't think I would trade it for anything in the market right now. My friend purchased a FTdx-1200 and it has a very quiet receiver. i a very nice radio and I think a bit quieter that the TS-590. The big difference at least for me is the menus. Most of the most the controls that are most widely used are on the front panel on the TS-590. On the FTdx-1200 you need to access the menu system a bit more. Nevertheless, I could live with either radio.

The band scope, is a cute toy but I can live without this gimmick. As far as the K3; an overpriced little radio for those who need to say they own the most expensive things because they can. Similar to the the Collins owners of the 60's and 70's. The TS-590 does just a good a job for half the cost. A total waste of money unless your therapist recommends you purchase one to help with your inferiority complex or whatever disorder or syndrome your shrink tell you you have. I have to admit that I spent mucho dinero on an Elecraft KPA500 amp but this was recommended by my ham buddy not my shrink; he recommended I spend it on a pretty seƱorita with nice lines and not on a linear box.
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HB9PJT
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2013, 11:30:52 PM »

To adjust the quietness of a receiver just use the RF gain control.

73, Peter - HB9PJT
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KA2FIR
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2013, 11:04:50 AM »

Don't use the preamp on the lower HF bands and use the attenuator as well.

Mike
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WS4E
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Posts: 204




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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2013, 12:42:15 PM »

If your looking at the 1200, I would suggest the 3000 instead, they are going for about $2200 now.

A pretty good receiver, a very good DSP, the abilty to do a live 1mhz band scope, rtty, cw, and psk from the radio LCD screen directly....and....the magic sauce is that it comes with a very nice 9MHZ IF Output that you can feed right into a cheap SDR like a softrock, and basically use the SDR as your receiver, and the radio as your transmitter.


Huge mistake leaving a IF Out off the 1200.. I won't touch a radio now that does not have an IF Out jack for use with a SDR Reciever.
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KC7MF
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Posts: 43




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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2013, 01:43:27 PM »

I want to go a whole different direction with this.  Since this is your first HF radio let me offer a suggestion.  For your first radio why not keep it very simple.  Both the 590 and 1200 are complicated radios.  I have not owned the 1200 (I did have the 950) but I did own the 590 and use a 756pro now.  You will be deep in menus which might be a distraction at first.  Something like a nice used Icom 735, or such, with all analog controls will get you up and running for not much money.  You will not be worrying about menus and can concentrate on making great QSOs. 

What are you going to use as an antenna?  Perhaps spending a bit extra on a good antenna would give you a better return on investment than a state-of-the-art transceiver would.  You also might want to consider a modest amplifier along the lines of the Ameritron AL-811.   You could add that to a less expensive radio and for the same price have a really fun station. 

Both of the radios you mentioned are wonderful rigs.  You can't go wrong with either.  I just think that a simpler beginning might be easier than jumping into the deep end of the pool. 
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