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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Watkins Johnson 8709 half rack rcvr Help

Reviews Summary for Watkins Johnson 8709 half rack rcvr
Watkins Johnson 8709 half rack rcvr Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $$6500.
Description: The WJ 8709 half rack version of the 8718A HF rcvr
Product is not in production.
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NS6Y_ Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2006 23:11 Send this review to a friend
Hears more  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got one of these, it hears stuff my FT-897 can only dream of. Mine is missing the lower case panel, easy to make another one, it may perform even better once I have that done. It also lacks truly narrow filters, I think the narrowest is still considered a bit wide for SSB.

The beauty of these receivers is, they have a wide IF output that can be put into a spetrum analyzer, and that way you have a band scope. Sneaky spy!

This has some really neat features, like being able to adjust the BFO plus or minus, and the four tuning resolution buttons going down to 10Hz.

I'm planning to get a manual for this, and then considering, if possible, putting a nice Collins 500Hz IF filter in it, for CW listening. That will be nice!

These have HPIB (IEEE-488) and RS-232, not sure if Ham Radio Deluxe can work with WJ's though lol.

I would say that other than the wide IF filters on this, I am delighted with this rig. And the wide-to-wider filters are simply what the original buyer needed - I'm sure I can install my own selection of filters in time. The display is easy to read, and the rig is of very high quality, it just has a very solid feel. This rig will also listen down to something like 10kHz, you need the right kind of antenna for that, and it should be high-Q and tunable to deal with the noise down in that region - I tried a Palomar loop with this, and with that, it received AM broadcast as well as my CC Radio, but the CC Radio is pretty decent. A "BIG" loop like KI0PF mentions assembling for his Collins lowfer rig is probably more the ticket, since the CC Radio also performs better the bigger the loop hung on it.

For a lowfer to top end of HF receiver, yeah, grab one of these when the rare chance presents itself.
W4EWJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2005 21:23 Send this review to a friend
simplicity and reliability  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Operation of the 8709 is as straight forward as
an HF rcvr can be and yet incorporates all the
sound RF characteristics of the 87xx series of
Watkins Johnson rcvrs. The chassis layout is
much more cramped and its a few inches deeper
but in a package 5.25" high 10.5" wide (in the
configuration shown in photo) some came without
the rack mount ears...and different handles. All
came with 488 but SSB was optional and none had
ISB (the slot..A4A8 is eliminated. My particular
rcvr has the FSK option but little documentation
is available...DRS Signal Solutions has about
1 page. Most boards are interchangable with the
8718A with the notable exception of the A5A1
synthesizer board...the coax feed to the input
converter is approx 12" the 09 board
will work in the 18A but not the other way around. The encoder wheel, display board and
front panel switches are unique to the 8709 and
not interchangable with other 87xx series radios.
The RF performance is at least equal to the 87xx
series and the filters are the same. The back
panel term block has "line out only" the rest
of the rear panel connections are BNC. The memory
back up battery is mtd on the rear panel. The
cast machined aluminum tune knob has a very good
feel and the remainder of the knobs are somewhat
small. It has the 4 tune speeds and lock same as
the xx series rcvrs...not sure what the range of
options are but some radios have COR option
controled from the front panel. The 8709 was
produced in rather limited numbers from 1988 to
about 1997 and not many have been released to the very rare. A pair with the DDC (dual
diversity combiner option) make an excellent dual
diversity system in a small footprint...but
installing the very small card is still a trick
because of the limited chassis space...and rear '
panel area for the AGC out BNC...Only the top and
bottom covers are vented...the side panels are
solid aluminum plate...the rcvr is robust and
heavy with the build quality common to all WJ
products. A very good rcvr.


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