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[CQ-Contest] contest radio comments

Subject: [CQ-Contest] contest radio comments
From: k8cc@comcast.net (David A. Pruett)
Date: Thu May 30 00:52:47 2002

I just sold my old FT-726R (50/144/432) at Dayton and bought a new 
FT-847.  My objective was to get a more modern VHF radio, more power, with 
possibly some satellite work.  The HF capability was not really a concern - 
the radio's primary use was for 432 MHz in our VHF contest efforts.

Since I've only had the radio a week, my only operation with it has been on 
75M with the MRRC club net, and about four hours operation in WPX CW on 
80-10.  I've not had the opportunity to use it on VHF/UHF yet.

My reference points are the FT1000D/MP radios here at K8CC.  Perhaps this 
is not a fair comparison considering the $$$ difference.

For ragchewing on SSB, the FT-847 sounds great to my ear, and received 
reports on the TX signal are good.  Perhaps this is due to the relatively 
wide ceramic filters which are standard equipment - a narrower 2.5 KHz 
Collins mechanical filter is available, or better yet the high quality 
INRAD crystal filter.  One interesting point is that there are separate SSB 
filters for TX and RX to support full-duplex satellite operation.  Yaesu 
says that replacing the SSB filter results in flatter, more natural 
transmit audio, however both RX and TX filters would get expensive.

For CW operation (at least on HF) the radio is a disappointment.  First of 
all, the headphone audio level clips before reaching a comfortable level 
when driving a Heil ProSet.  Patching the headphones into the speaker jack 
on the back was much better.  Second, the sidetone is not a pure tone but 
sounds like its DSP-generated with white noise superimposed on the 
waveform.  Its the worst-sounding sidetone I've heard since an unmuted R4C :-(

I forgot to get the CW filter when I bought the radio, but since my WPX 
operation was casual I figured I could get by with the DSP audio 
filtering.  WRONG!  AGC pumping from adjacent signals (the bands WERE 
crowded with strong signals) made it difficult to work anything but the 
louder stations.  I got so frustrated I popped open my FT-1000MP and stole 
the sub-receiver filter (same P/N) and stuffed it into the FT-847.  With 
the filter things were a LOT better.  The FT-847 only has one stage of 
narrow filtering, but using the internal DSP for the second filtering stage 
pretty good, but you'll never mistake it for a FT-1000MP.

I'm really sorry to say such negative things about the receiver because the 
radio overall is pretty cool.  Like the MP, the FT-847 has a comprehensive 
menu of items to personalize the radio to your tastes.  Its small in size, 
yet I've found the controls to be laid out pretty well.  Still, I think the 
Yaesu engineers should be taken to task for not including a CLEAR button 
for the RIT (oops, I mean "clarifier").

I've used K8MR's IC-746 (regular model, not a PRO) a good amount on VHF 
during the past three MRRC Field Day efforts with no complaints.  100W on 
144 is nice, cascaded CW filters are a plus, and according to the W2SZ web 
site, they use two IC-746s for their main stations on 144 from the mountain 
which says something.

The ARRL Members Only web site had the QST FT-847 review from 1998 which I 
found pretty accurate.  One thing to keep in mind is that early FT-847s had 
a crippled CATS system computer interface which could not report anything 
useful back to our logging programs.  Since then, Yaesu had added the 
capability to read operating frequency and mode, but you still can't do 
certain useful things like set the split VFO (at least its not documented 
in the manual).

In my case, 50W on 432 plus the satellite capability means I'm still glad I 
bought the FT-847.  We'll see how I feel about it after the June contest...



At 10:50 PM 5/29/02 +0000, David Robbins wrote:
>I am considering a combo hf/vhf/uhf radio to replace the rather lame
>ts-680 and ft290r vhf stuff here.  In a quick scan through a handy
>catalog I see at least 3 options:
>Ft-847 $1250(+$120 cw filter, any others??) hf+6+2+70
>Ic-746 $1300(+$190+$120+++ cw and ssb filters, which does it really
>nead?) hf+6+2
>Ts-2000 $1760! Hf+6+2+70 more expensive, but does it need extra filters?
>Does anyone have experience using these or any other similar radios in
>contest conditions?  Note, I can see w2sz/1 once I get above the trees
>here.  Anything to stay away from?
>David Robbins K1TTT
>e-mail: mailto:k1ttt@arrl.net
>web: http://www.k1ttt.net
>AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net
>CQ-Contest mailing list

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