not happy with the setup. What to do?

Reflections on the purchase of a new radio



my good old Yaesu FT-757G

Now back to the FT-757GX. As everyone can see, it also has its weak points which can partly be equalized with the G303e. One could think about replacing both the FT-757GX and the G-303e. But with what?

A new FT-857D or an FT-897D would greatly do the job but that's 950.00 S$ + 100.00 S$ GST. Plus the 300 S$ for the 400Hz Inrad IF-filter. The Yaesu radios also have the problem that they are not really compatible with a monitor program such as TRX-Manager. I have the microHam switch for the FT-857 somewhere but I remember that it did not work properly with the computer and TRX-Manager. The same would apply to programs such as OmniRig. But I remember that the MicroHam people changed their device so that it is better now. Buying a new MicroHam device?

Here is a review of the FT-857 vs. the FT-897:

And finally. After spending much money in the beginning of my radio activities, I decided not spend any more money on radios but rather to invest time and money into the technology for building my own ones. If I do not have all the options, who cares? I don't.

Anyway, I saw the Yaesu FT-450 with a built in antenna tuner at Victor's shop. It comes with a DSP that can be used for all stages in the radio. Very nice! Covers the whole HF band + 50MHz. For only 1050.00 S$ + GST. But. Has no "AGC off". And the power adjustment is hidden in a sub-sub-menu of the radio software. The trade would be a bad one. Money spent and no improvement at the existing weak points.

Ok, back home, I asked Laurent F6... what he thinks. He said that the FT-450 actually has an "AGC off". One week later back again to Victor's shop. He again not there. But double-check manual. Laurent is right, there is an AGC. But not easy way to reduce the RF power. Best ist the easy 20W option as in the FT-857. Simply connect an auxiliary ground cable to ground and the radio knows that it must run on only 20W. One further way to tune would be to run into a dummy load while tuning. I must check whether the power is then still high enough for tuning (schematics to follow).

The FT-450 has definitely an advantage with the TRS-Manager. No interface module needed.

here are some Youtube reviews of the FT-450:

 

 

 Some information about the contour filter for CW:

 

 

John 9V1VV recommends the IC-718. Surely a good and cheap radio but he says that the DSP is not useful under CW. This excludes it from the further candidates.

Another candidate would be the Kenwood TS-480 which is recommended by Laurent F6DEX for his TRX-Manager. He says that its DSP is good for CW. One can deactivate the AGC at the TS-480. There is also a way to reduce the output power for tuning my ATU but it is not as straight-forward as with my FT-757. One must press the PWR button, then turn the "multi" knob. Then do the tuning. And then the same procedure for setting the power back to max. But the TS-480 works nicely with the TRX-manager and OmniRig software which I would like to use. Laurent says that reception-wise the FT-450 is the better radio while the CAT control of the TS-480 is much better.

I found now a good solution for reducing power with the FT-450. I was in the HamRadio store in San Francisco and bought a Nifty! Mini-Manual for the FT-450. Theselittle manuals are better than the original manual, they are worth every penny of the purchase price. The author shows a wayfor assigning any function to one of the microphones [up], [down], and [fast] keys of the microphone. I am using CW only (and possibly WSPR in the future), so I do not need the microphone keys. perfect!

If used together with the TRX-Manager software, one could write a short macro for reducing the power and for tuning. Everything possible, but complicated. I would like to have an easy solution.

Or an Elecraft K2, but who can dedicate one whole week for building this radio? My friend John VV has built one, see here http://9v1vvshack.blogspot.com/search/label/Elecraft%20K2

Or a K3. Enno PF5X is so enthousiastic about it. http://pf5x.wordpress.com/category/amateur-radio/

Here is a comparison between K3 and the FT-450:

 

I am still not convinced and I will stay happy for the time being. Looking at the modifications of the FT-757GX. And waiting for an opportunity for a used FT-857D or FT-897D. Or buy an FT-450. It is surely a good radio. Or buy an TS-480. It is surely a good radio, too.

Or the new ICOM IC-7200, it comes with a USB connector and with a super stable transmitter. This is a prerequisite for WSPR, as my friend Jan has been telling me.

BTW, this is a good example why old people have less needs than younger ones. In my younger years I would just have bought the TS-480 and the FT-450 right away.

We aremoving very soon. And I am planning to set up the magnetic loop for transmitting and receiving. I am aiming for a low rise antenna because there is a non-neglectable lightning hazard at our new location. This means that i will have to run a transmitter on it and not only a receiver. But which one? Probably a nw one.

I also wanted to try the HB9ABX new transmitting antenna. Maybe I connect it to the FT-757GX and with an antenna switch to the ATU + long wire? And also a homebrew magnetic loop for the WinRadio? So many things to do. I need one or two sabbathicals.

Aktualisierung: 2010/02/06 - 13:50
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