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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kachina 505DSP Help

Reviews Summary for Kachina 505DSP
Kachina 505DSP Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $2,150.00
Description: Computer controlled 160-10M HF DSP Radio
Product is not in production.
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AC0X Rating: 5/5 May 12, 2000 09:28 Send this review to a friend
Noise Reduction Notes!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
An "addendum" to my previous Kachina review. I had mentioned the noise reduction as one of the few "sour points" on an otherwise great rig. I had said it was "too aggressive" at narrow bandwidths. Well, with experimentation, I discovered I was mistaken. On first listen, it does seem to actually increase noise when turned on at narrow bandwidths. But what it's actually doing is increasing gain all around **AND** increasing the desired signal even more! So with a little adjusting of controls, the noise reduction on the rig really pulls those tough signals out of the mud. So, a *very* nice dnr on the rig. Again, all and all, a sweet rig. Get one.
AC0X Rating: 4/5 Apr 7, 2000 17:27 Send this review to a friend
Excellent SSB DX rig, FB CW DX rig  Time owned: unknown months
I've had my 505DSP for 6 months now, and I have to say I really enjoy it. Having the computer interface, the EXCELLENT Kachina service, and the way rig upgrades are most often just a replacement of a firmware module in the rig are big plusses, sure, but the rig itself is a fine DXing machine. It's a very sensitive rig, one of the best I've heard/owned. Selectivity is sweet, with SSB bandwidths 3.5, 2.7, 2.4, amd 1.7, and CW bandwidths (also usable on SSB, too) of 1.0, .5, .2, and .1, plus IF shift and auto and manual notch with width and frequency adjustable. Features like the built in Smith chart, choices of transmit and receive meters, and the band sweep display are icing on the cake. Even the keyboard tuning entry, which some have maligned, becomes a great feature once you get yourself used to it. Better than knob tuning. Automatically tune any digit you wish, at normal and 5x speeds with just a couple of fingers (plus there is a tuning knob available for those who still wish one). A great front end at voice bandwidths. In SSB contests, I could hear a number of weak ones through the megawatt muck (using the 1 KHz bandwidth and moving the IF shift was a great help here). Transmit audio is very good, getting me a number of COMPLETELTY UNSOLICITED "great audio" comments. CW mode has some great features, too, including an internal keyboard keyer where you can adjust speed, weighting, and other features. Front end at CW bandwidths is very good, avoiding the AGC pumping that other DSP rigs seem to have at close quarters/high signal level work. These signals can, however, cause a background hi-pitched signal in the audio band pass, somewhat distracting but able to be ignored (because of the high pitch). But this keeps me from calling it an "excellent" CW front end. Other problems are the lack of a noise blanker (due out in a future rev) and a DNR that is "too agressive". Even the lowest setting it's "overkill", which causes problems especially in narrow bandwidths and keeps it from being as effective as it could be. But, remember, even this feature could be addressed in a future upgrade.

All and all, a great rig, and lots of fun. Highy recommended.
K2ZF Rating: 5/5 Oct 29, 1999 21:57 Send this review to a friend
Computer + radio = one happy ham  Time owned: unknown months
I have had my Kachina since April '99 and I have to say this radio has kept me busy! I have an Omni 6+ and an FT-1000mp here in the shack and have been using the Kachina almost exclusively. I love the keyboard control, the ease of opening menus, not like the FT-1000mp, it can be a chore to find the menu you want to change. The Omni's menu system better than the mp, but the Kachina has them beat, hands down. Take the mouse and point and click and you're there.
I find the cw performance great, the QSK is fast enough by my standards and the digital filters ranging from 3.5 khz to 100 hz are effective, I like the wider filters when listening or calling CQ, not all respond back on your QRG, then it is a simple matter of either a simple kybd combination or mouse click and you select whatever filter you need. Menus can be brought up either through the kybd or mouse, nice.
Any negatives, sure, every radio I ever owned over the past 34 years has had something I have not liked or wished it had. The noise reduction is not all that effective when using the more narrow filters, it can create more noise than there was there before. Though through the use of the digital agc you can find a happy medium of effective nr control. I purchased the radio without the built in tuner, when the swr is higher than 2 to 1, I have found that the power level jumps up to over 150 watts before foldback. Depending on what power supply use use, the extra demand on the supply can create problems, remedy ?, use external tuner or buy the rig with the tuner installed.
I bought the tuning knob and like it, but the kybd tuning is fine. I like the option of being able to use either kybd or knob tuning, whatever is closer is what I use. All in all, this radio has gotten my attention, ease of use, cw performance is great. I love this radio.
K1ND Rating: 4/5 Sep 17, 1999 09:07 Send this review to a friend
A nice different HF transceiver  Time owned: unknown months
After 45 years of knob twisting and button pushing we have the opportunity of using a computer to control the transceiver; I like that! I'm a casual operator these days: social chatting, some DX, a little contesting and once in a while CW. Since acquiring the Kachina in May,1999 I have enjoyed the operating ease of this "different" transceiver using almost exclusively the mouse and keyboard(had the KNOB, but it seemed confining). Although being second owner I have had excellent assistance from the folks at Kachina;the warrantee transfered. Friends ask me if I have yet tired of using the 505DSP and my response is NO(with a smile on my voice) I'm really enjoying this attachment to my computer...and excellent signal reports too. 73, Jan K1ND since 1996 and 1977-83,
W8SWN from 1954 thru 1996, 9M2JJ during 1962--1965
N5KM Rating: 3/5 Sep 16, 1999 14:01 Send this review to a friend
OK for casual use. Not for the power user.  Time owned: unknown months
I'm sure there will be some 5 star reviews of this
radio based on mail on the kachina reflector. But
in contrast here's my story. I bought the 505DSP
because the factory was offering a discount plus I
got a coupon for a free external tuning knob from
the Kachina booth at HamCom. Based on what I had
heard/seen I was ready to replace my TS-850. As a
general purpose radio for the casual user its OK.
But most of my hamming is weak signal, pull 'em
out of the noise, QRN fightin', QSO's. So here's
my list of complaints: No noise blanker! The noise
reduction algorithm adds too much echo,
in-a-barrel, effect. Very detrimental to weak
signals. In the presence of line noise (power line
QRN) the NR algorithm added additional popping/crackling to the
audio bandpass. (This was not heard when compared
to my TS-850). Used with narrow bandwidths (100/200 Hz) the NR was actually noisier than with NR turned off. The enhanced TX audio option cannot
be turned off. At one point the radio locked up
and I had to hit RESET to recover thus losing all
my configuration info. Strong
signals outside the bandpass raise the noise floor
obscuring weak signals. A local ham's signal bled
through such that his signal was heard wherever I
tuned. With the 100 Hz filter selected an S8
signal down 12.5 Khz was heard as a high pitched
signal in the audio bandpass! The monitored TX signal is rough. The "QSK" mode is simply semi-breakin with delay set to minimum. Initially Kachina
said they don't have a money back policy but
eventually I was offered a refund less a 20%
refurbishment fee. I took it.
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