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Author Topic: Kenwood 590S VS K3 VS KX3 VS Eagle  (Read 7722 times)
N4DSP
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« on: March 02, 2014, 04:39:35 AM »

Which of these four is the "best".
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1618




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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 04:55:51 AM »

This ought to be interesting, but you left out the MFJ Cub Grin
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ZL1BBW
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 09:58:47 AM »

This is the problem I have been mulling over for a few months.

Best is a broad term, best in what way?

Having now operated a K line, it just did not do it for me.  I need more power than a KX3, portable type work has zero interest.

Ten Tec have always fancied one of them, but hear reports from friends of reliability issues.

Ts590, seems to have plenty of bang for the buck, a good receiver, and a transmitter that people go on about only giving 89.37219 watts pep instead of 100, and a overshoot spike on the TX.

Its a hard choice.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
AF5CC
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 06:37:01 PM »

What reliability problems are there with the Ten Tec Eagle? Haven't heard alot about that rig. 

John AF5CC
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ZL1BBW
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 07:01:54 PM »

I think it was more of a generic comment.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
PA1ZP
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 12:41:40 AM »

Hi

I have a TS590.
The CW recieving is not sounding good.
Has power spike issues, enough to find on that.

KX3 for me to small and only 10 w max.
Even though I like small, but this is realy small.
Do not know tentec.

For me choise would be simple K3.

73 Jos
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K2TPZ
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 09:30:37 AM »

I currently have the 590, KX3 and the Eagle and I had a K3.I sold it as the ergonomics was a problem for me. Other then that it was one of the best rigs I've ever used.

I don't use an amp and I am primarily a CW operator. I am not an avid contester or DX chaser. Now with that said, I find the 590 to be the most flexible of the three. It is a pleasure to use and meets all of my operating requirements. Yet I so much enjoy using the Eagle. The receiver is a joy to use. It has the best receive audio of any rig I've owned. Yet it lacks some features I've learned to count on such as a memory keyer, CW notch filter and other features that are standard on most other high end rigs. Still it is a very pleasant rig and it matches the others in performance.

The KX3 is very close to the K3. Obviously it's meant to be a QRP portable radio. As I don't have a large operating desk area it's size is an asset for me. As small as it is I find the ergonomics better than the K3. I plan on ordering the KXPA 100 amp and using the KX3 as the other two rigs. All three of these rigs are so close in performance that it would be hard for me to decide between them.

But I will. If I had to sell one of them it would be the Eagle because it lacks features most CW operators count on in daily use. If I had to sell a second rig it would have to be the 590 because I have found the KX3 has the performance edge.

The good news is, at least for me, I don't have to sell any of them.
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KS2G
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 07:56:46 AM »

Which of these four is the "best".
Here we go again.

No rig --or any other product-- is "best".

Depends on what you're looking for:
     Best for cw?
     Best for ssb?
     Best for digital?
     Best for contesting?
     Best transmit audio?
     Best receive audio?
     Best for ergonomics?
     Best for reliability?
     Best price?
     Best value for the money?

And on, and on.

You'll get as many opinions as their are hams.

It depends on what YOU want/need/can afford.

Read the specs, read the reviews, see if you can find a dealer or local ham who has the rig so that you can try it out -- and decide what's important to YOU.

73,
Mel - KS2G


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KK4CRY
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Posts: 35




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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 09:43:33 AM »

Depends on what you're looking for:
     Best for ssb?
     Best for digital?
     Best transmit audio?
     Best receive audio?
     Best for reliability?

I am currently looking at the same rigs above is what i find the most important.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5443




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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 11:33:52 AM »

Depends on what you're looking for:
     Best for ssb?
     Best for digital?
     Best transmit audio?
     Best receive audio?
     Best for reliability?

I am currently looking at the same rigs above is what i find the most important.

But remember it is important to how it sounds and feels to you too. Unfortunately there is no way to quantify how it sounds just like on transmit every ones voice is different and a mic and setting that work for one may not for another. All that being said for the money, the 590 is hard to beat.
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KS2G
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Posts: 364




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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 02:09:07 PM »

Depends on what you're looking for:
     Best for ssb?
     Best for digital?
     Best transmit audio?
     Best receive audio?
     Best for reliability?

I am currently looking at the same rigs above is what i find the most important.

But that's my point, none of those rigs --or any other-- is going to be "best" for all of those parameters.

Just for example -- some might consider the K3 to be "best" for digital because it will copy RTTY without an interface and computer directly on its display and allow you to send RTTY directly without a keyboard using a paddle, as you would cw. Neither the '590 nor the Eagle can do that.

But the because of its IF-DSP, the '590 doesn't require (or even offer) optional roofing filters, which are needed to get optimal selectivity in the K3 and the Eagle ... making, some would say, the '590 "best" for ssb (and cw).

And you don't mention price; a well-configured K3 can cost twice as much as the other two, and the '590 includes an automatic antenna tuner, which is an extra-cost option on the Eagle.

So, which is "best"?

As I said -- depends on what you want/need/can afford.
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KE2TR
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Posts: 129




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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 03:18:42 PM »

I have owned both the K3 and the 590, there both very good rigs but my beef with the K3 is RX and TX audio, to IMO its not as good as the the 590 is but I consider the 590 not the best anyway on the TX side even when you adjust the multi band EQ. The K3 is set up on multi finction controls with each one being used for two to three functions and in the heat of the battle dxing or contesting I found it a pain, the 590 has also multi funtion controls but is so much better to use than the K3 but here again both radio's to me are too friggin small. The Eagle I have never used but I find that radio a work in progres and way to simple and small. After having both the K3 and the 590 which was the last I bought a FTDX3000 (yes I know its not #1 on sherwoods list but after the first two radio's I gave up even looking at that list). The TX and RX audio IMO blow both radio's away, its front end doent have that hiss and is very low noise which either the 590 or the K3 were. The SSB audio you can make very smooth or like a DX meat grinder with the built in EQ and the RX audio is like a tube hi end hi fi compared to the other two rigs. The DSP is as good as the K3 and better than the 590 plus you have a very deep notch and APF/Contor controls plus you can buy a 300Hz roofing filter for the front end for the die hard CW op's. I have friend who have the same radio on digital modes and tell me it work FB, I only use it on CW and SSB and am very pleased without spending over $5K on a 5000 that would be maybe slighly better. I dont do portable work so I dont care about super small rigs and dont do qrp and to be honest if I want a radio for a Dxpedition I would buy the 590 just for that and leave the 3K home and ther I would end up with two rigs for a little more than a K3 with the way I would want it set up. My beef with the K3 is  evey frigging thing is an option, its like going on a cruise ship the nickle and dime you to death.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 12:53:20 AM »

None of these radios are "best" yet.

I dont think a perfect ham transceiver exists yet.

A perfect radio in short

Would have excellent receiver dynamic range numbers. However there is no need to pursue numbers that cant be used in the real world.

The radio should sound  good and have low inband IMD distortion and a audio PA that has the lowest possible distortion. You wont find this information in the ARRL
or other reviews.  We should care more about the receiver IMD distortion than its output power. Why the hell do 10,000 dollar radios have 1 watt 20% distortion 50 cent
audio output stages? This just beggars belief but its the crap we get. Some of the best high dynamic range radios sound like 2 tin cans and piece of string. Paying attention to things like group delay in filters and impulse and transient response is critical  for producing a  non fatiguing radio.

The receiver should have a perfect AGC and deliver very little inband RX IMD. The receiver should have  calibrated S-meter along with flexible attenuator that can be set
in 3 or 6 db steps. This would allow the AGC and the receiver gain to be precisely set.  If the s-meter was accurate it would sample the noise floor of the location and precisely set the gain for the QTH noise floor level. This would make especially SDR receiver sound less noisy. Another way would  to this is to have  the pre-amp marked and set to the ITU survey definitions of various locations such as " quiet rural, suburban, city and industrial. Selecting one of these positions would automatically set the attenuation of the receiver and the AGC to have correctly gain balance for the environment that you operate in. There are number of ways to simply technical details into concepts that a ham can understand.  Look how silly hams looks telling other hams " your amplifier makes 5 s-sunits difference when the real different could only be 3db. Same goes with front to back ratio of beams. You hear hams carrying on like they have  receivers calibrated by NIST. What purpose does it serve giving exaggerated  propagation signal level report and totally non believable antenna gain and front to back ratios.  Hams could learn so much about antenna performance if they could actually measure signal strength level accurately. When you can you find  that you dont always need big long booms, 200 ft towers and massive amplifiers. However  hams like peddling the illegal power myth  and huge antenna gain myths when  the reality of accurate S-meter measurements would not support these emotional conclusions. We really amateurs in this one area. We could not justify our case for limit increases or maintenance of legal power levels because we cant  support our claims  with accurate data. A calibrated S-meter provides evidence when calibrated. Hams making lame excuses for their 10,000 dollar radios that have useless S-meters like the Icom 7800 are just playing a part in dumbing down ham radio for their ego's and  justifying buying crap equipment.

Would have the best phase noise performance at narrow signal spacing less than 5khz. Look at the phase noise performance of  radios  that others claim to be the best
yest they have dismal phase noise performance on both RX and TX that make them dismal radios. The reviewers clearly are telling emotional lies about the radios supposed performance. This is common practice in ham radio reviews. Look at the Eham reviews even the worst radios in the world get rated as the best radio.

Would have a perfect transmitter. Low IMD spurious, clicks and other associated sideband noise attenuated to the lowest possible level.
The transmitter would also have the lowest possible phase noise performance. The dismal performance of even the most expensive radios  ham radio models should leave one shaking ones head in disbelief that such crap transmitter can be sold for such a high price. There is not one transceiver on the ham market that could meet ITU  specifications for high power operation. In this one area  of transmitter  performance all current ham radio models are crap.

Ergonomics plays an important part of the radios usability  and contributes to the radios comfort factor when used for long period of time.
The radio should have maximum flexibility in terms  of its input output connections for things like digital modes and other connectivity that
hams require. An example of this is the digital voice record. It would be so easy to make the DVR turn off the speech processor and go to a flat EQ
for transmission playback. We dont find one radio doing this.

Another useful feature would be to enable  and disable a linear key line from the front panel.
When   you enable linear key, the power level should be set to the required drive power of the amplifier. This way you can run with and without a  amplifier with ease.
A radio should incorporate things like a audio sweep generator and precise control of all gains and levels so we can accurately set audio levels for things like remote operation etc. Commercial HF radios have for years had line level inputs that are defined by a accurate standard.

The best radio is one that has a combination of features, tools, performance and ergonomics that helps you enjoy ham radio. Unfortunately ham radio companies are not interested in delivering the best performance and moving forward. Current ham transceiver manufacturers like bragging that they taking 2 steps forward in performance and then going 5 steps backwards. Then the next model takes 3 steps forward and 20 backwards. They dont seem to  want to define what good is and dont below the  benchmark line on what is considered the best possible technical performance of transmitter and receiver performance.

As an example. Take Pan adapters or bandscopes. Every decent engineer knows that what makes or breaks a spectrum analyzer is dynamic range and  then resolution bandwidth.  These facts are indisputable. Yet every bandscope on just about all radios are just crappy toys that  are not much more than eye candy. When you look at a bandscope  which is a spectrum analyzer you should be able to tell the signal strength precisely and and have sufficient dynamic range and speed to tell if another station is splattering.

While some hams in ham radio dont mind everything been crap and  many hams want to be brain dead CB'ers who would like  ham radio transceiver to be like a TV set  where you only have to concerned about the TV's on off switch. Many more hams are interested in the science of radio that needs radios to be instruments capable  of delivering the tools that you need to make your hobby more interesting and meaningful. Unfortunately most transceivers fail in so many areas and the transceiver you list  all have issue that make them all far from the ideal. Its not that the perfect radio cant be designed, its because hams are not demanding enough and are  becoming  so technically illiterate that they dont want to  try and understand the issues that make a radio perfect. The end result is ham manufacturers are delivering ham radio models  like the users have the IQ of the average CB'er. Performance does not matter but some  new model and some  BS claims is enough to take thousand of  dollars from hams.
The crappy useless features on most current new models are just a disgraceful marketing  nonsense features that does not make hamming better. New models are just a tick list of crap features for comparisons purposes only.

From an engineering perspective the science of measuring and understanding  what makes the best radio is well understood. Its just ignorant and uneducated hams who want to believe in brand worship and voodoo. So rather than asking what is best  radio, start studying what the specifications actually mean and you will soon be able to decide what is really the best. Unfortunately no manufacturer has delivered the perfect radio in all the areas that I have mentioned. But good luck on the road  trying to find nirvana. Only the like of companies like R&S might be able to deliver the perfect transceiver but they not in the ham radio business.  Why would they want to deal with consumers who dont know or understand what they want. What is it that  you want from a radio? They all turn on  and work. Thats  all hams seem to want these days because they keep buying radios with crap specifications and heap praises on the models. The ham manufacturers just love consumers who have blind faith and buy  anything. As Confucius said, "crap sells" And none of the radios are far  way off from being declared the best. Fact is no current model amateur transceiver  can even come close to claiming that crown. It will be decades before we see a perfect ham transceivers while hams continue to be ignorant consumers.




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K2GWK
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 12:38:24 PM »

Don't take the con, buy an Anan.........

Sorry, I couldn't help myself..... Tongue
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DJ5BT
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2014, 11:52:19 AM »

Hi ZENKI,
take a look at the PT8000 -could be the right one for you!!!

73
Markus
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