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Reviews For: Idiom Press/Ham Supply SCAF-1

Category: Filters, Audio: (DSP and others)

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Review Summary For : Idiom Press/Ham Supply SCAF-1
Reviews: 93MSRP: 108.95 kit 148.95 assembled
The new SCAF-1 filter from Ham Supply/Idiom Press makes your radio listener friendly, whether you are an SSB or CW operator. Using a modern but little known technology called SCAF filtering, the SCAF-1 is an active audio low pass filter offering user control of the filter cut-off frequency, yielding a stunning 96dB per octave roll-off of signals above the cut off frequency, and no white noise. It is the perfect partner for your crystal or mechanical filters. And, unlike most audio filters, there is absolutely NO ringing.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KD8AMR Rating: 2005-02-25
Great Improvement for an already good rig! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Received my SCAF-1 filter from Idiom Press yesterday. I hooked it up to my TS-2000, which was already good, but the SCAF-1 just made it even better. I can dig stuff out of the mud now that I couldn't even hear before. Thanks for a great product!
AB4PP Rating: 2005-01-05
Wonderful additional filter for TS-440S Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I built a CMOS-4 kit from Idiom Press two months ago and it was very easy to assemble and use. I decided to try this kit to see if I could improve my reception of some signals that were hard to pull out with the rig. I have a 250Hz filter in line (built in)for CW and that works very well in my Kenwood TS-440S. I have tried it without the CW filter and it works very well without it too. When I assembled the kit and put it in line I found all the directions were very easy to follow. The parts layout was a good idea and made the assembly very simple. Assembly time about 3 1/2 hours. Tuning about 15 minutes, and then made up some cables for the attachment to the rig. Use of a head magnifier was a definite plus in assembly and the smaller watt soldering gun with a fine tip made the assembly very easy.
It definitely does not get out all the noise; but,
it does make it easy to hear some signals that heretofore were not intelligible. I find this a great asset to my listening. It makes it easier to pick out some signals and isolate them when listening. I usually only work CW and tried it on SSB and find that now I can even go over to that part of the band and listen now. It is a definite plus in my opinion. I recommend it highly for reception. With the solar flares lately I have found it helps to pull out those weaker signals. Using the RIT and the CW filter helps; but, when the SCAF-1 is used to notch out the noise it makes listening a pure pleasure. I have several other filters and when comparing this one to them I am happier with this one. The size is very desirable too. I can backpack this one and use on the trail or for FD operations too. The case is very neat and impressive. I have used used it with the Wilderness Sierra and the Norcal40A too and it helped with the reception there also, although both have their own filters built in.
K3ZXY Rating: 2004-12-11
Amazing improvement! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have an old Ten-Tec Triton IV. The SCAF-1 has breathed new life into this old classic. I never have the filter switched out because it improves the listening in all environments. There is never any ringing and it doesn't get any easier than tweaking a single knob to get the best signal. I know that the filter does not "reduce" the noise but it sure pulls the signals out of the background. Amazingly simple and worth every cent.
JH3VNC Rating: 2004-10-14
Good for 160mDX, Good for WW Hams Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I am a Japanese ham enjoying 160m DXing for years. I recently bought a newest super DSP machine to get better receiving ability on 160m. The basic performance of the new DSP machine is very good as it is advertised, but speaking only to 160 m band , the wide range CD-like audio quality does not work for better reception on 160m. When I was struggling to have the best receiving position on the DSP control screen, I happened to read an article about SCAF-1 on Japanese CQ magazine 2004 June issue. I first doubted the report, but I confirmed its efficiency through the Idiom Pressfs website. After I received the SCAF-1, I was surprised by the improvement. Just by adding SCAF-1 at narrowest width between the transceiver and SP plug, the total 160m CW receiving performance improved unbelievably. Very weak CW signal such as noise level comes up with no ringing. (when it is the narrowest band width) I can not express my mind fully by my limited vocabulary. I recognized that DSP technology is not always almighty through this experience. I would quote a Japanese proverb. e100 times hearing doesnft have sense, just get one.f By the way, Idiom Press must have done the same day shipment and it took just 10 days to Japan. It was the quickest and safest delivery I have experienced the import from overseas before. I received the product with the perfect package, no damage, no problems. Idiom Press is also a good company to amateurs outside US.
AB2EZ Rating: 2004-09-12
A very nice accessory Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Hi! I have an FT1000D and an FT1000MkV. The SCAF-1 filter adds an extra dimension of CW filtering flexibility to both rigs. I find it very useful for fine tuning the audible bandwidth. As an aside, it can be used to remove some of the raspy harmonics in CW monitoring (when transmitting) mode on both of these rigs. It is well worth the money, and it is fun to build as well.

The kit went together easily in about 4 hours, and it worked the first time. Take your time, lay out the parts in advance, use a 25 watt iron with a good tip, and use very thin electronic solder.

Best regards
VE3XDB Rating: 2004-08-05
Extremely nice product Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased an assembled SCAF-1 filter from Idiom Press earlier this year. My rig is an old Kenwood TS-440S with only the SSB filter, and my favourite mode is CW.

Previously, I had used a JPS NIR-10 which worked well, but had that "hollow sound" associated with DSP. As well, I grew tired of the delay associated with the DSP filter, and didn't bother with the bypass, because I thought I was upgrading my radio anyway. I did upgrade to a TS-570 and REALLY didn't like the DSP implementation. Gave me a real headache, and couldn't operate for more than half an hour at a time. So I sold the 570 and bought another 440, which I really like.

Purchased the SCAF-1 and hooked it up to my new old TS-440. What a nice piece of equipment! It works great on CW. With skillful use of the internal filters, IF shift, RIT, gain controls and the SCAF-1 you can really pick out signals from a crowded band, or hear signals on a noisy band. Last night, I was working a station on 40 metres. He was in Portland, OR and I live in Brampton, ON (a distance of about 2000 miles). Condx were quite bad, QRN was about S7-8. Without the SCAF-1, I couldn't hear him. Turned on the SCAF-1 and heard a weak station calling CQ. Did a zero beat, adjusted the SCAF-1, and then used the RIT control to reduce the frequency of the tone generated by the other stations signal. Turned the SCAF-1 filter down to its lowest level, and was able to copy the Oregon station at 559. This is typical of the kind of performance I get from this filter.

Was thinking about looking for a 500Hz CW filter for the 440. The SCAF-1 has ended my search. I'm sure the 500Hz IF stage filter would do a good job, but the SCAF-1 definitely does a good job, too, and provides me with more flexibility.

By the way, I am also a shortwave listener, and the SCAF-1 does a very nice job cleaning up the noise on a SW transmission. Wide open, the frequency response of the filter is just a touch low for my old ears on AM transmissions, but it really does get rid of the noise. If it's a trade-off between frequency response and noise, I generally turn on the filter to get rid of the noise.

Based on my review, you might think the SCAF-1 is a bandpass filter. Actually, it is an active audio low pass filter with user control of the filter cut-off frequency. What's cool about this on CW is that you can manipulate the received signal to a very low frequency, and crank down the SCAF to eliminate "everything" but the desired signal. I have been surprised by how well this works. There are some sample sound files on the Idiom Press website. They are an adequate demonstration of the SCAF-1 capability under moderately good conditions. I can make it do amazing things under really bad conditions!

Based on my success with the SCAF-1, I placed an order today for the CMOS keyer. I'll review that, too, once I have some experience with it.

Thanks, Bob, for the great product and the good service!
NZ7C Rating: 2004-07-31
Extremely good product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I am using this filter with a Ten Tec Omni VI+ (564). It is an EXCELLENT piece of equipment and a perfect compliment to an already great transceiver. Even with my narrowest Omni filter settings I can still use the SCAF-1 to improve the quality and clarity of the received signal. I operate 99% cw but it appears to work fine on SSB as well. I doubt that there are very many transceivers out there that wouldn't find this a very helpful addition. My SCAF sits right next to one of my favorite pieces of equipment - the Idiom Press Logikit CMOS-4 keyer - which is pretty close to Bob Lochner's The Complete DX'er! When Bob puts a product on the market - you know it's the voice of experience backing it all the way. His products are top quality and very well thought out. AND he seems to be just one heck of a nice guy :-) 73/NZ7C
W2NSF Rating: 2004-06-18
It works! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This was a fun kit to build and the thing works as advertised. I found it better on CW than SSB, but given some time with it, I'm sure the performance will be equal. It definitely eases listening fatigue and I use it in combination with my Clear Speech DSP speaker - it actually improves the listenability of the signal. Highly recommend it.
W3PH Rating: 2004-06-10
A gift from above for aging ears! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My ears aren't nearly as good as they were when I got my first ticket 43 years ago (lots of ringing, decreased ability to deal with random noise)and having gotten active again after a decade off the air, I was surprised to find that CW wasn't as comfortable as it used to be, and digging out the weak ones was particularly fatiguing because my ears were turning everything into mush when there was more noise than signal. The SCAF-1 fixes that, and I'm really impressed. Operating fatigue is much reduced, and I really can copy weak signals with the filter that I can't without.

Quality of the kit is excellent - I particularly appreciated the quality of the circuit board compared to the many Heathkits I built back in the day.

The case is the same as the CMOS-4 keyer, so it doesn't take up much operating space, and keyer and filter are stackable.

The SCAF-1 is one of the best additions to my shack ever - I may have to get a few more (one for each radio ;-) )
Randy Johnson Rating: 2004-06-03
Nifty product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got my SCAF-1 operational in time for the WPX CW contest, a great proving ground. Given the price of an IC-756PROII, you'd think that it would cover all the bases and give you everything you'd need. Not so.

This audio filter is a distinct improvement over the rig's DSP. Reduction in white noise makes long hours at the rig less fatiguing. It is also EXTRAORDINARILY easy to use. I also think that there is a "sweetness" to audio signals that go through this filter that is not characteristic of DSP processed signals. You'll like it.

I like gadgets but this goes well beyond the gadget category and should be considered by every serious operator.

NOTE: I did not try it on SSB but there are enough other comments here for those with that interest.

Finally, Bob Loucher also a delight to deal with.