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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | PATCOMM PC9000 Help


Reviews Summary for PATCOMM PC9000
PATCOMM  PC9000 Reviews: 10 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $650.00
Description: HF + 6M Transceiver with built-in CW keyboard interface
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.patcomm.net
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KT8DX Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2011 10:40 Send this review to a friend
Second Review  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Here goes my second review. My first review was back in 2002. I sold that rig and bought another one a couple of months ago. I really am having a lot of fun with it the second time around. The front panel layout makes sense and the variable tuning that is selectable makes it easy to get around the band and then fine tune in CW signals. Sure there are a lot of birdies, but that hasn't prevented me from working almost anyone I can hear with my 40/20 meter dipole. The variable filter works nicely without any digital "artifacts". The size and form factor are about right, and the milled alumninum knobs feel nice.

The little bit of contesting I did with the radio was fine. Its not my Omni VI+ but its no dog either.

All in all, I am content with this radio. I use it a lot and the challenge that comes with using something slightly less refined than the norm makes the experience all that much more enjoyable.

Contrary to popular belief, support and repairs are available for this radio from the builder. If you come across one, don't be afraid to give it a try. You may like it.

KT8DX
 
T32AI Rating: 0/5 Jun 14, 2009 14:35 Send this review to a friend
Shoulda never bought it  Time owned: more than 12 months
Rcvd front end problem and now company outa biz so zero support. Manual had no schematics and nobody will touch 'em. Tnx NY guys!
 
N7JBH Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2008 14:07 Send this review to a friend
Built like a tank  Time owned: more than 12 months
Picked up a Patcomm 9000 on ebay about four years ago for around $275, a real bargain. Had to calibrate the S-meter, no big problem. This radio is built like a tank, machined aluminum knobs, steel case, no plastic. Works just fine, can't tell much difference running 40W with the Patcomm compared to 100W with the main rig. I think these radios are going to be collector items one day, they are very scarce and the prices have gone up considerably on ebay since I got mine.
 
W9ECJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2006 15:28 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding for the price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had the Patcomm PC9000 for three years. It was my first solid state rig. Prior to it, I was strickly a vintage gear operator. I found the technical support from Patcomm to be remarkable. The rig, itself, I state is "elegant simplicity". I bought it new directly from the factory. Since purchasing the Patcomm, I acquired a used Ten Tec Omni-D and a new Ten Tec Orion2. I have a setup that allows me to switch immediately between all rigs, so I can compare signals. A surprise--the Patcomm had a better S/N ratio that the Orion2, though the Orion2 has many high end features that the Patcomm has not. The simple SCAF to isolate signals is simple and straight forward and effective. For the price, it cannot be matched.
 
K7VO Rating: 2/5 Sep 7, 2004 14:59 Send this review to a friend
Decent on HF but very poor on 6m  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have very mixed feelings about the PC-9000. Some things are done incredibly well while others are done incredibly poorly. My radio was a Rev. B model. After a month I decided to sell it off, which says a lot right there.

The PC-9000 has very good ergonomics, making it usable in almost any environment: base, portable, mobile. There are no menus and each button or knob does exactly one thing. This simplicity is ideal for mobile use.

Receiver sensitivity on HF is very good indeed. On 6m the radio is a bit deaf. Filtering and overall selectivity are excellent. The SCAF filter reminds me of the Jones filter on the Scout and Ten Tec Delta II and is perhaps slightly more effective. For SSB operation you can go quite narrow with it and adjacent channel QRM drops away, as does some noise, while the desired signal remains intelligible. On CW the receiver seems to lose sensitivity at very narrow filter bandwidth. It isn't that the desired signal has fallen out of the receiver passband (which can happen and requires retuning) but rather the receiver seems to go deaf at the narrowest bandwidths. Still, you can probably go down to 500Hz or less, which is acceptable for a CW rig and as much as the Jones filter did. For those of us who like ultra-narrow CW filters (my favorite is the 200Hz crystal filter in my NCG 10/160M) this is a bit disappointing.

I read the QST review and I wonder if the Rev. A had some issues that the later revision did not. I did not find receive audio to be pinched at all. Indeed, I can tune in broadcasters on 40m and the audio is quite clear through an external speaker. The internal speaker, OTOH, sucks rocks (to put it mildly) and distorts even at moderate volume. Plan on an external speaker and you'll probably be satisfied with the way it sounds. Transmit audio gets very complimentary comments.

There are two glaring faults in the receiver: First, the huge flock of birdies described in the QST review is real. It's not too bad on the lower HF bands, a bit worse on the upper bands (17m and above) and intolerable on 6m where there are birdies all over the place. In addition, the synthesizer is noisy when tuning the rig. You hear each and ever synthesizer step audibly regardless of the tuning rate. This is annoying at best and could cause me to miss a weak signal when tuning at anything but the slowest rate.

I also picked up broadband interference on 6m between 50.175-50.215 that I have never had before or since with any other rig. It was everywhere (direction of the beam makes no difference) and S9+ to boot. Either the rig is *very* prone to front end overload on 6m or else it's more sensitive than anything I've had. I suspect overload or mixing products in the receiver is the correct answer and that is not good. On HF even with a local ham running high power there is no overload problem.

The noise blanker reminds me of the one in the Alinco DX-70TH -- it really doesn't do much.

Power output is a little lower than rated on most bands, with my rig running about 19W on 6m and 38W on 20m, for examples. Close enough.

I love the way Patcomm implemented the split and RIT functions. Both bands are displayed all the time (unless transmitting CW by keyboard), including the default 800Hz CW offset. The AGC has a fast and slow position which is helpful, but I wish there was an AGC off position for copying very weak signals adjacent to strong ones (or strong birdies). Still, adjusting the AGC helps reduce AGC pumping and is effective.

Something I really liked on the Ten Tec Argosy was the ability to go from 50W to 5W QRP with the push of a button or vice versa. It's great to see that Patcomm has implemented this as well. Unfortunately, you can't adjust the power between these levels or to below 5W. That's a minor complaint.

I've read complaints about the fact that you have to cycle through all the bands to go down one, to cycle through the various modes, and to cycle through the various tuning rates. I'm used to all that from my Tokyo Hy-Power HT-750 and it doesn't bother me at all. My one minor nit to pick is that the tuning rates cycle from narrowest to widest. Most of us tune around rapidly to find what we want or get in the neighborhood of the frequency we want and then fine tune. It would have made more sense to go wide to narrow as THP did.

I've also heard complaints about the choice of tuning rates (10Hz, 100Hz, 1kHz, 10kHz) which, again, are identical to the THP rig that is my favorite ham toy. Yes, intermediate steps would be nice but I can tell you as a former programmer it's a lot easier to program a radio to step based on a digit as both THP and Patcomm have done. I find 100Hz very comfortable for tuning around and 10Hz for fine tuning.

The backlit LED display is clear and readable in most lighting and at most angles. The small S/RF meter is also well lit. The S-meter is a bit hypersensitive by default. More serious was a 3.3kHz frequency error on 6m. I wrote Patcomm and got instructions on basically doing a software reset on the frequency display. It worked and was simple to fix. However, Patcomm does not publish a service manual or even a schematic.

Transmitted CW keying with the keyboard is a neat concept but the transmitted CW from this rig isn't the best. I think the character weighting may not be ideal, as in a bit light. The rig does not generate key clicks like some of the newest generation of Japanese rigs. The QSK is very nice, as in as good as a Ten Tec rig. My biggest complaint on CW is that there is nowhere to plug in a straight key and you actually have to wire to a mic. connector and go in that way. What was Patcomm thinking? People do still use straight keys.

I like the looks of the rig. Keith saw it and said "You finally have a modern piece of equipment!".

In summary: the sensitivity, selectivity, and the SCAF filter make this a very decent little HF rig. All the flaws are worst on 6m and are bad enough to make the PC-9000 rate as one of the worst 6m rigs I've had to date. If someone is looking for an inexpensive, small, and very capable HF rig I could recommend the PC-9000. The 6m issues completely ruin it for me since 6m is my favorite
band.

Please also see my review of Patcomm's customer service (or lack thereof) in the Company Reviews Forum here on eHam. My experience contributed in my decision to dump the rig. I paid $250 for a nearly mint PC-9000 and managed (with some difficulty) to sell it for the same amount. These rigs have almost no resale value, IMHO, for good reason.
 
HFHAM2 Rating: 2/5 Apr 27, 2003 15:40 Send this review to a friend
Worst radio I've had  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a used one of these which dated from late 1999 and what a dog it was. It had an undisclosed problem when I bought it (thanks "brother" ham) so I sent it to Patcomm for repair, told them what was wrong with it and asked them to check it out thoroughly and align it too. The cost of service was reasonable and they even gave me a freebie FM unit, but it took a long time for them to return it to me.

Okay, so now I have a radio which the manufacturers have just thoroughly checked and aligned to perform to spec. so here's what I found.

First, there are birdies everywhere on this rig and I mean everywhere. The audio was very narrow and choked-off (just like the QST review said) and if you turned it up to a reasonable volume, it would have a rattling sound. At first I thought it was speaker-rattle, but it wasn't. It was coming from the radio as it sounded the same through 'phones; dreadful. The 3-speed? tuning was a pain in the neck and the built-in keyer produced CW so choppy that I had difficulty sending with it due to the odd timing or weighting; whatever it was, it just wasn't "right". On top of that, the rig has *no* straight-key/bug input except via one of the pins the microphone socket!

I see they are closing the PC-9000 out right now and I can understand why.

It would seem by all accounts that Patcomm have a winner with the PC-500 and good luck to them, but my PC-9000 was a dog.
 
KB3ING Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2003 09:03 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Received my PC-9000 about a week ago, and have been very impressed with it. I had some problems with the transmit audio, due to the gain being set too high, but sent an e-mail to Patcomm and had the problem resolved the next day. The support I recieved from Patcomm was the best I have seen from any company. Every e-mail I sent them was answered within 1/2 hour! Since I got the gain fixed, the transmit audio has been fine. The ease of use of the radio, the support, and the receive sensitivity make this a great buy.
 
W2AGN Rating: 4/5 Jul 29, 2002 12:40 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio for the Money!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been very pleased with my PC-9000. I also have an SG-2020, and find the PC9000 much superior in receive, and much easier user interface, for less money!
 
DK3QN Rating: 4/5 Apr 5, 2002 12:49 Send this review to a friend
Update re: S-meter sensitivity  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Hi:
this is an update to my review of July 2001 regarding the then critisised S-meter sensitivity.

Problem was that when I got the radio brand new, the S-meter needle was kind of pegging full scale even with moderate signals tuned in. Not only is it impossible to "guess" a signal report that you may want to give to your fellow ham, but it is also not a very good idea to have the meter needle pegging against the needle stop almost all the time.

So here is the fix (quite simple):

- disconnect any Mike or Keys
- remove the cover
- place the PC-9000 with the front panel facing towards you
- locate the three 10-turn variable resistors on the vertically mounted PCBoard PRECEEDING the Low Pass Filter Board (the very last one at the rear end of the transceiver, where you can easily identify the LPF toroid coils).
The three 10-turn variable resistors are all mounted next to each other on the left hand side of the PCBoard. The most right hand one has a blue color while the other two are white color. This BLUE one is the one we are going to adjust later on. To double check whether you have identified the right one: look at the resistor from the REAR side of the transceiver. There should be white letters indicating 'METER SET' on the PCB at the left side of the variable (blue) resistor.
- connect DC power to the radio
- sitch on the Radio and tune-in a frequency mid band 40 or 20 meters, whichever is your favorite band of operation
- make sure the radio is in Receive and has no way of going into Transmit
- connect a calibrated RF signal generator (50 Ohms output) to the PC-9000 antenna jack
- adjust the signal generator output level to 50 micro Volts RF
- tune the signal generator frequency to the PC-9000 receiving frequency
- fine tune the beat note so that the meter shows maximum deflection (to the right hand side)
- adjust the 'METER SET' blue variable resistor to an S-9 meter reading
- double check the adjustment by fine tuning the PC-9000 a bit up and down an watch the S-meter reading. It should peak to S-9.
- You can also double check the reading on other HAM bands. With my unit I did not have to touch up the adjustment again as it was reasonable stable across a wide frequency range.
- disconnect Signal Generator, DC power and re-assemble the cover.
- that's it.

(If you do not have a signal generator at hand you can do the adjustment by comparing the PC-9K S-meter reading with your other radio that has a reasonable S-meter accuracy. Select a steady carrier signal - e.g. HF Broadcast station - and switch antenna between units. Adjust PC-9K S-meter to the same reading as your reference unit.)

Disclaimer: This is a hint which is based on the particular PC-9000 unit which I own. During the production run Patcomm may have made changes to the radio which I am not aware of. So please double check and contact Patcomm if you are not sure of what you are doing. I do not take responsibility for any damage.

73, Klaus, DK3QN

 
K4ZNC Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2002 23:56 Send this review to a friend
Followup to earlier review!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Still really love this radio which I purchased just before Christmas last year (see review below). As of this date, just worked my 100th DX station on SSB using 5 watts. This evening I added VK4, YO2, AL7, VQ9 and EA6 to the log. Will be sending in documentation for DXCC/QRP ASAP!

Added to pieces of equipment to the PC 9000: (1) Heil mobile microphone with two settings - DX and ragchew, and (2) AMCOM Clearspeech DSPspeaker. Both of these addons really helpd with my DX contacts. Clearspeech also increased the audio clarity on my TT Omni 6+.

Service is great. Replaced the stockmike when the PTT switch went bad. No propblems - sent a new one immediately.

Although have used mobile, spent most of the time in shack next to the 6+ which has not been used much in the last 3 months. This is a fun radio, very stable with an excellent SCAF filter that really works!

Have used the PC 9000 with my AL 80B amp with no problem - good 500 watts out with good reports.

When in 5 watt mode, DX stations are very suprised at signal strength, and I have to tell them that I am also using the Force 12 C19XR as an equalizer for pileups.

No regrets on selecting this rig over other possibilities, like the FT817. Will start on WAS next.

John K4ZNC

 


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