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Author Topic: Yaesu FT 950 vs Elecraft K2 CW OP  (Read 7617 times)
AK9A
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Posts: 3




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« on: January 13, 2014, 02:21:36 PM »

I have a Yaesu FT 950 and operate 99% CW.
I enjoy building and chasing DX.
In your opinion is an Elecraft K2 a step up or down from a FT 950?
Why! Cheesy
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W8GP
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Posts: 196




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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 12:25:54 PM »

I love my '950 but I don't do much CW. I don't like it on full break-in, I find the relay chatter rather annoying. The reciever is more than adequate for me, I usually run the bandwidth down to 300 Hz and it's good enough for DXing and casual contesting.The K-2 is nice, but probably short on features compared to the '950. Is there something you would like the '950 to do better?
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AK9A
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 04:14:32 PM »

Yes It would be nice to be able to reduce QRN better while improving the readablility of CW signals.  I currently use RF gain, width, cont, notch, and occcasionally shift. I ussually position the IPQ at AMP1 or AMP 2 because in the ON position, although it quiets things down, it does dampen the signal readablility somewhat.
It is very rare that I operate modes other than CW , so the extra bells and whistles for me atleast are just that. The DSP is more effective on SSB at it should be. I'm very open to any operator advice you can give on the 950.
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N3IG
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2014, 05:36:25 AM »

     I think the audio peak filter in the FT-950 does a very good job when things get noisy and does not distort too badly. Don't see it in the manual but in cw mode, push and hold the CONT button turns on the APF.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 05:49:53 AM by N3IG » Logged
ZENKI
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Posts: 916




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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 08:26:22 PM »

K2 will leave the Ft950 for dead.

The K2 will leave most of the Japanese radios for dead on CW. This is before we start talking about receiver dynamic range numbers.

The K2 is a sweet CW radio and its RX performance on weak signal CW is excellent.

You will not be disapointed with the K2 on CW. The K2 on weak  signal is just very good. In my opinion its better than the K3. Its also better on noisy
low band conditions.

FT950 is a good general purpose radio but its receiver is noisy and is a piece of crap.

You can read about the K2's performance here. Its objective testing at its best. The late K6SE also formed the same opinion.
http://pa5mw.blogspot.nl/search/label/Transceiver


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K0RS
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Posts: 706




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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 10:43:00 PM »

I love my '950 but I don't do much CW. I don't like it on full break-in, I find the relay chatter rather annoying. The reciever is more than adequate for me, I usually run the bandwidth down to 300 Hz and it's good enough for DXing and casual contesting.

Since when does the FT-950 use mechanical relays for T/R switching?  I don't own an FT-950, and I don't have a schematic in front of me so I can't say for sure...but I sincerely doubt that it has any relays.  I had a 920 and it didn't use relays either, but the QSK performance was the worst of any radio I ever owned.  It wasn't because of relays though.  There were mods that supposedly improved the clicking and popping on T/R, but they addressed the timing of the audio muting as I recall.  Didn't seem to be worth the effort as the IF filtering was terrible anyway.  That's why International Radio sold a dual filter conversion kit.

K2 will leave the Ft950 for dead.

The K2 will leave most of the Japanese radios for dead on CW. This is before we start talking about receiver dynamic range numbers.

The K2 is a sweet CW radio and its RX performance on weak signal CW is excellent.

You will not be disapointed with the K2 on CW. The K2 on weak  signal is just very good. In my opinion its better than the K3.

I owned a K2 and found its vaunted CW performance to be highly overrated.  Guys that build K2s are justifiably proud of them, but that doesn't necessarily make them great radios.  The K2 doesn't perform very well in strong signal environments.  You can't even change the CW pitch without aligning the receiver.  Not to mention the ergos are terrible.  Don't find many contestors or DXers using K2s.  Why do you s'pose?  The K2 was a nice little QRP rig.  When it gained a 100 watt PA, it was playing in a different league.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 11:30:44 PM by K0RS » Logged
VE3WMB
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Posts: 286




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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 08:40:15 PM »

The K2 was originally designed to be the "ultimate Field Day rig" in that it is rather miserly w.r.t. current draw and has a very good receiver, even by todays' standards (keep in mind that the K2 is 1998 technology).  I suspect that you would miss a lot of the bells and whistles in the 950 if you replaced it with a K2. However, a K2 in addition to your 950 could make sense.

The K2 makes for a hard to beat portable rig. Even a bare-bones K2/10 is a very
good rig for vacation/portable CW operating, or as a backup to your 950.  Used K2s can often be found at reasonable prices, as more people sell them off to help cover the costs of a shiny new KX3. The K2 is still in production if you want to build one yourself, and all of the options can still be purchased so you can customize either a new one or a used one to include whatever options you want.

Michael VE3WMB (K2/10  S/N 5995)

P.S. The K2 and FT-950 Rx numbers look quite similar in the Sherwood Engineering Receiver Test
data at:  http://www.sherweng.com/table.html



I have a Yaesu FT 950 and operate 99% CW.
I enjoy building and chasing DX.
In your opinion is an Elecraft K2 a step up or down from a FT 950?
Why! Cheesy
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ZENKI
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Posts: 916




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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 03:09:22 PM »

Maybe contesters cant solder?  Most hams are pretty pathetic when it comes to constructing  things. I have heard every excuse under the sun as excuses by seemingly intelligent hams for reasons why they cant build a simple thing like a K2. Most are too lazy and cant be bothered but they even poor excuses for their lack of basic electronics skill.

I have used just about every radio on the planet, and while the Elecraft products are far from ergonomic their performance is excellent. The K2 in noisy low band CW conditions performs better than my K3. Contesting requires a  big ergonomic radio with  with every feature falling to your  hand in the form of a knob. Would I use a K2 in a contest, no because its user interface is poor and awkward. However as general purpose fun everyday radio I can  live with all the rigs shortcomings especially for the performance it delivers. The  K2's receiver when aligned properly  makes a excellent CW radio. Its weak signal detection is unmatched frankly and so for these reasons the K2 makes an excellent radio. I suppose what contester can hear a S1  signal in a contest? Only stations like K3LR and W3LPL everyone else is a alligator  surrounded by splattering or clicking alligators and cant hear anything much below a a S5. So does a K2 or any high performance radio really matter when most  contest stations cant copy any signal below S5. So why use a poor ergonomic radio whose key performance advantage cant be exploited. But outside of contest weekend its a pleisure to use a radio like the K2 that makes weak signal reception easy. Its even even better you dont have a digital DSP receiver wearing your ears down.

Life is all about balance and this applies to the tools we use for radio. There is no swiss army knife radio that has a tool for every operators need. Its fortunate we have such a vast array of tools that we can buy. If you a CW only op and a casual non contester  the K2 makes a excellent radio.

Anyway Elecraft is missing the boat manufacturing these small radios with such poor ergonomics I agree with your contention. If the K2 was available in a configuration and looks of the FT950 it would be a massive hit.  The trouble is that Yaesu designed a very nice box and packaged the FT950S features very well. Its just unfortunate that they put such a crap receiver with  such a poor audio amplifier in the FT950.

The same goes for Elecraft, building such a good performing radio and then putting it into such a awfully user unfriendly radio is hard to understand. While I can understand the radios original design intention of being a portable/QRP radio I fail to understand why they  want to persist with manufacturing radios for portable use. The majority of hams want radios like the FT950, FT2000 or bigger radios with lots of knobs.  Until manufacturers realize this and that they are fighting  against what their customers want they going to do badly. Now we find Yaesu going down this same stupid road with useless small radios like the FtDX3000 and FTDX1200. All poor features and poor performance. All Yaesu had to do was build the FTDX5000 receiver into a radio like the FT950 and they would have had  a massive hit. They then could have offered an external speaker and a pan adapter like the P3. They also could have built in a SO2R interface for another FT950/FT5000 receiver. They then could have sold hundreds of more radios as pairs of radios. These radio companies are lousy at marketing because they getting some front office blonde to design their radios not real hams.  A radio in this configuration would have been hugely popular. But no they give us a crap box like the FTDX3000 that needs a pair of chopsticks for operation. Old radios like the TS850 and TS990 and the FT1000D are popular for good reasons, they big and represent what a real radio is. A big box with knobs. These are the radios that contesters want. Not multifunction pieces of junk that have poor features that deliver nothing and no receiver performance and that fit into your pocket.

I had high expectations from Elecraft but they seem to have mind set that their own and not about capturing the wider ham market by making products that hams want and  not what they want to force feed us in terms of UN-ergonomic  unfriendly radios thats not in every hams taste. It seems only Kenwood has the balls to stick to the big knobbed radio concept. Now if Kenwood was smart it would produce a cut down TS990S without the built in screen and produce the TS990S in the form of the TS950SDX with all the bandscope and speaker accessories in  external boxes. There are many ways you can spin a top range product into a cheaper model that still produces money. Oh Yaesu did have the  brains when it produced the FT1000D and FT990  and even radios like the FT920. Now they seem to want to make all their radios as versions of the FT817 making each new model 1 inch bigger. These companies are really pathetic at understanding the ham radio market very well. We dont want to even start talking about Tentec who seems to be totally lost. Their best product was so screwed up  by them that you cant even imagine them ever coming back with a big decent radio. It just  seems ham radio companies are making radio for the sake of it rather than making by design or for functionality. These companies have definitely dropped the ball, it so bad that I think they cant even see the ball. I often wonder if their are even active hams designing these products they are so badly designed. Either this or the designers are being screwed by the cost cutting  departments it so obvious how badly these radios are being designed or  having the design investment recycled.

Every ham that I speak to wants the very best product why do ham companies fail to understand this essential point? Everything in life that I want to buy be it a watch or a car I can buy cheap, good, medium and the best. In ham radio all  that you can seem to buy is crap, crap, more crap and the same crap from last year rebadged. Ham radio manufacturers are the only companies in the world who make their products and features worst as a marketing feature! Every other company tries or strives to make their features better or improve upon them. Ham radio companies are they only companies who fix things in one model and then break and destroy the very feature in the next model. It  goes on and on and on. Then they say they cant make money or complain about tight fisted hams. My money will flow when they make products that earns the respect of my dollars that I worked hard for. I dont have to throw my money away on crap that performs badly and  is hold hat. I can only imagine how long a company Apple would last if they used the marketing and manufacturing strategies of ham manufacturing companies. Imagine buying a car that is worst than last years model claiming that its new but is just the same design from 5 years ago. You would be laughed out of the car industry but  this what we get from ham radio companies.

The fix is really simple. Design radios that work better every year and consider how the radio will be used. The formula is that simple. You dont make a radio with no ham band buttons and call such a radio ergonomic!




I love my '950 but I don't do much CW. I don't like it on full break-in, I find the relay chatter rather annoying. The reciever is more than adequate for me, I usually run the bandwidth down to 300 Hz and it's good enough for DXing and casual contesting.

Since when does the FT-950 use mechanical relays for T/R switching?  I don't own an FT-950, and I don't have a schematic in front of me so I can't say for sure...but I sincerely doubt that it has any relays.  I had a 920 and it didn't use relays either, but the QSK performance was the worst of any radio I ever owned.  It wasn't because of relays though.  There were mods that supposedly improved the clicking and popping on T/R, but they addressed the timing of the audio muting as I recall.  Didn't seem to be worth the effort as the IF filtering was terrible anyway.  That's why International Radio sold a dual filter conversion kit.

K2 will leave the Ft950 for dead.

The K2 will leave most of the Japanese radios for dead on CW. This is before we start talking about receiver dynamic range numbers.

The K2 is a sweet CW radio and its RX performance on weak signal CW is excellent.

You will not be disapointed with the K2 on CW. The K2 on weak  signal is just very good. In my opinion its better than the K3.

I owned a K2 and found its vaunted CW performance to be highly overrated.  Guys that build K2s are justifiably proud of them, but that doesn't necessarily make them great radios.  The K2 doesn't perform very well in strong signal environments.  You can't even change the CW pitch without aligning the receiver.  Not to mention the ergos are terrible.  Don't find many contestors or DXers using K2s.  Why do you s'pose?  The K2 was a nice little QRP rig.  When it gained a 100 watt PA, it was playing in a different league.
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K3STX
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Posts: 972




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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 07:35:19 AM »

ZENKI,

I too can't understand why Elecraft does not offer a "large radio" version of their K2 or K3. Just put the damned thing in a BIG METAL BOX with KNOBS for controls. Part of the reason I bought a TS-590S instead of a K2 for my new radio was the K2 is just too damned small. The 590S is too small for me as it is; you are right, my TS-850S was a properly sized radio.

But this has nothing to do with the original post. The reason I looked into a Yaesu FT-950 and said NO was because there was no receive antenna port. I was sick of using my switch box for RX antenna.

paul
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WB4TJH
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Posts: 189




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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 06:44:27 PM »

I own both, a k2/10 watter and FT950. Right now, my FT950 is in need of service, so I have been confined to the K2 for a while. ON CW, only a TenTec radio comes close to ease of operation to my K2. However, the 950 can pretty well hold its own, but the full breakin of the K2 is superb.
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N4OI
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 05:26:01 AM »

[...]  but the full breakin of the K2 is superb.

I do not have an FT950 or a K2, but I do have the predecessor, FT-920, and the successor, the K3. 

My FT-920 is a great all-around radio with the best ergonomics I could imagine.  I added the InRad roofing filter and a sharp, 250Hz CW filter to make it the best it could be.   I do not work much SSB, but when I do, I get unsolicited praise for the audio quality.  I should probably sell it, but it is my first rig, and I know I would regret it within a week after it left my shack.   And I have room....

Back to the topic, from a CW viewpoint, I will choose my K3, my old Century 21, my old OMNI D, my K1, my....  before the FT-920.  The problem is that chattering relay on QSK.  Once you go silent, you cannot go back...  the nod goes to the K2.

73


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K8AG
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Posts: 351




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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 06:25:01 AM »

I own both, a k2/10 watter and FT950. Right now, my FT950 is in need of service, so I have been confined to the K2 for a while. ON CW, only a TenTec radio comes close to ease of operation to my K2. However, the 950 can pretty well hold its own, but the full breakin of the K2 is superb.
That is important to me.  I have 2 K2s, neither of them built by me.  One I troubleshot and repaired.  The other came functional.  The point is, I can repair them myself.  I don't need to send the rig away and get it back weeks later, hopefully not being damaged in the transit.
Elecraft has parts and the K2 is the ultimately repairable radio right now.  And used they are the best bang for the buck.

My opinion.

73, JP, K8AG
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K8GU
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 06:39:26 AM »

I have a K2 and a K3 but not a FT-950.  I would tend to agree with K0RS that the K2 is not as good a strong-signal radio as other offerings (like the K3), but I bet it stacks up well against the '950.  However, it is a nice compact CW rig.  Maybe I'm a luddite with nimble young 30-something fingers, but I hate "bells and whistles" and I rather like the size/ergonomic features of the K2/K3.  There are a few quirky things like holding vs tapping buttons---sometimes when using the split reverse key on the K2 I find myself switching VFOs instead because I don't hold it long enough.

The reason that you don't see many contesters using K2s is that the ones who had them replaced them with K3s (which is a better radio).  Neither the K2 nor the K3 are especially good phone radios (I find my K3 much harder to listen to on phone than my TS-930S, for example, although I get good audio reports with the K3).  Most contesters know this if they operate both modes frequently.  The lack of a RX antenna port as described by K3STX is a deal-breaker for me on a radio also.  This is 2014 and practically everybody who is even casual about working the low bands has an RX antenna.  That was the first option that went into both the K2 and K3 for me.

Also note that "the professional builders" probably built 25% (if not more) of the K2s out there.  Anybody who has successfully constructed a couple of smaller kits and can follow directions can build a K2.  I think the following directions part is a big problem for a lot of hams.
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KC8IIR
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 05:37:05 PM »

I recently owned a k3/100 for one month. Many folks have stated it is the best rig ever. I did not enjoy it. All aspects of the radio in the receiver are inferior to my current radios in the shack.
the side to side rejection of adjacent stations was nice, but really no better than the ftdx9kmp or the Anan 100d. The k3 cannot compete with ergonomics of the yaesu/anan or the receiver of the yaesu/anan. The micro tuner units on the yaesu make noise on the low bands disappear. Audio out is like a childs toy on the k3. The transmit side on the k3 was very nice. I could only stand to operate it using ham radio deluxe to control the features because the knobs are so small and congested , in terrible locations. Yes, the yaesu costs much more, but not by much. The k line with all features and the amp and tuner is almost 10k, the built in power supply on the yaesu, the class A transmit and sr2o is very nice. The cheap feel of the elecraft left me wanting my money back.

Now for the good, I have a kx3 and love it , also have a kat-500 auto tuner and love it.

I have never used a k2 , I may like it. You can keep the k3

Greg kc8iir
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