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[CQ-Contest] Clicks (long)

Subject: [CQ-Contest] Clicks (long)
From: w4an@contesting.com (Bill Fisher W4AN)
Date: Tue Mar 6 17:14:54 2001

K1AR asked me to post this so you guys would quit picking on him and move
the conversation to something controversial that didn't include him.

I have noticed what I'll call key clicks are getting worse and worse
on the bands.  Normally, this phenomina can be observed when signals are
VERY strong.  The same signal that produces clicks at 40 over S9, will
appear "clean" at S9.

I made a post to CQ-Contest about this subject and received a few messages
that suggested that receivers were the problem, and not transmitters.  I
did get one message from a European who happened to take some time on
Sunday of the ARRL DX CW contest to make note of offending stations he
found on 10 meters.  This station was using an Icom 746 with 500hz filters
in both IFs, and his noise blanker was turned off.  No noise reduction or
DSP was used either.  Antenna was a 5 element mono band yagi at 33'.  He
noted that the band was "quiet" with many loud signals.

I took his list of callsigns (he prefers to remain anonymous) and asked
for rig types from the stations he noted as having the problem.  Here is
the list:

CALLSIGN    RADIO            AMP       QSK   PTT   VOX
W4AN        FT1000MP         AL-1500    N     N     Y
K2UA        FT1000MP         AL-1500    N     Y     N
K1ZZ        FT1000MP         L7         ?     ?     Y
K9NS        FT1000D          Henry 3K   ?     ?     ?
W4ZV        FT1000MP         LK800      N     N     Y
K1AM        TS940            Alpha ?    ?     ?     ?
KR1G        FT1000MP         Acom       ?     ?     ?
K1KI        FT1000MP         Alpha 86   N     ?     ?
KC1XX       IC-781           AL-1200    N     N     Y
K3LR        IC-781           KS9K HB    N     N     Y
vE3EJ       IC-775           Alpha 87a  N     N     Y
W4KZ        FT1000MP         Alpha 78   N     N     Y
W4MR        FT1000MP         AL-1200    N     N     Y
N3RD        FT1000MP         Acom       N     N     Y
W3LPL       FT1000MP         3-1000 HB  N     Y     N
UA3AB       FT1000MP MKV     Acom       N     Y     N
KR1G        FT1000D          Acom       N     N     Y
W3PP        FT1000MP         TenTec     N     N     Y
NA4K        IC-765 & 1000mp  none       N     N     Y
HG6N        FT990            HB         N     Y     N
KB1H        FT1000MP MKV     Alpha 77   ?     ?     ?
K4WI        FT1000D          Alpha 86   ?     ?     ?   ***
W4NF        FT1000MP         Alpha 374A ?     ?     ?   ***
K1XM        FT1000MP         AL-1200    ?     ?     ?   ***
K3CR        FT1000MP         AL-1200    ?     ?     ?   ***
K3NM        IC-775 or 765    Titan or HB      ?     ?   ***
K5RX        TS950            Alpha 89   ?     ?     ?   ***
KG9X        FT1000MP         none       ?     ?     ?   ***
K9MA        FT1000D          AL-82 / SB220    ?     ?   ***
K8AZ        FT1000MP's       8877's     ?     ?     ?
N4AO        FT1000MP MKV     Titan      N     Y     N

*** - rig type found from contester station database.

There were a few calls I could not find rigs for and they include:  HA3A
HA4FF, HA5MK/7, HG6N, HG8Z, K5YAA, LY5W, N2LT, RZ3A, S52ZW and SP8NR.

The reporting station said there were plenty of loud stations with clean
signals that he did not note.  He said one of the loudest with a clean
signal was K1EA (IC-781).

77% of this group using Yaesu FT1000X radios.

I have always said the IC-775 and Kenwood TS940 were problematic in this
regard, and if I include them in the list the number becomes 87%.

Note that not a single TenTec radio is mentioned (Tom Rauch recently
tested an Omni and told me that it was the cleanest modern day transmitter
he has tested).

Also note, no tube type radios.

At this point you might say to yourself "Well probably 75% of the
contesters out there are using FT1000X radios".  Maybe!  So I ran a poll
on contesting.com asking for what type of contest radios people were using
on HF in CW contests.  http://www.contesting.com/survey/35    The results
reveal that of the people who responded (796), only 32% of them were using
FT1000X radios.  Another 6% using the TS-940 (another offender).  12% are
using TenTec radios.

Worthless Information?
Maybe this doesn't mean anything.  Maybe the people who are loud enough to
produce big signals on 10 meters in Europe are also the same people using
FT1000X radios.  Maybe the people responding to the survey spend more time
answering surveys than they do operating the radio.  I don't know.  I am
just presenting this information for discussion.

What next?
I would like to see a number of stations using "good" receivers in the WPX
contest in May to make note of stations they observe clicking.  One person
who's opinion I respect highly said that he has noticed that listening on
a IC-781 will be clean when a FT1000MP isn't on the same frequency.  So
observations should be done using a radio not prone to overload (IC781,
R4C, TS830, TS930, TS850).

Solving this problem
N7DD posted a possible solution to this problem on the TopBand reflector
which can be reviewed at

I plan to try to fix my FT1000MPs if possible.  I hope the rest of you
will do the same.


Bill Fisher, W4AN

PS: I didn't run spell check on this message.  Please send your english
comments to my mom so she can say "I told you so" then next time I talk
to her on the phone.

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