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[CQ-Contest] TS-870 (S)

Subject: [CQ-Contest] TS-870 (S)
From: w4an@CONTESTING.COM (Bill Fisher, W4AN)
Date: Mon Sep 9 17:41:38 2002
I got rid of one of my FT-1000MPs prior to going to Finland and I sold the
other one while I was there.  It is a FB radio, but I got tired of hearing
about key clicks and something about the receiver that I can't explain.  
Yes, I know there is a mod for the key clicks.  I've also been tortured
with an RIT problem that makes the RIT jump all over the place when tuned.  
I had both radios fixed, and the problem came back.  Very frustrating.

Anyway, I have been using an TS870 for my remote control station and in
WPX we used it on one of the stations.  Kenwood radios just have the best
fidelity for whatever reason.  The radio was also easy to use and isn't
laced with a bunch of do-dads that I don't need or use.  That is when I
got it in my head to give it a try and get rid of the 1000MPs.

My first contest with the radios was the NAQP.  Unfortunately, the
receiver didn't pass the test.  Under loud signal conditions, the receiver
couldn't handle it.  I have the TS-870 and not the TS-870S.  In the S
model, they fixed some things with the frontend related to overload like I
experienced.  There is also a documented fix for this problem for the

Between NAQP and the Sprint I decided I would get the modification done
and while researching some other stuff about the radio I ran across some
documents and emails about installing a 1K mechanical filter in the front
end, replacing the existing filter (very wide).  I talked to George and
International Radio about this idea, and he told me about a German ham who
had recently published an article in the German CQ magazine about
installing an Inrad 600 hz (I believe) filter and switching it out on SSB.  
I don't care for SSB, so switching out the filter didn't matter to me.  I
went ahead and ordered 2 400Hz filters from George and installed them in
the radio at the same time I did the modification.

This past weekend was the CW Sprint.  A contest with some VERY large
signals and a great test for receiver crunch.  The results were great.  
The radio didn't crunch at all and the DSP filtering in addition to the
mechanical filter gave me the option to narrow up the passband when
needed.  I also like the IF shift on this radio better than the MP for
some reason.  I finished with the most QSOs I've ever made in the Sprint,
so I think the radios weren't a problem.

One of the 870s (K1TTTs) had a pre-existing problem that I discovered
right before the contest (thanks N2NT and W8LX).  N2NT was HUGE on 20 and
it sounded like he had a chirpy signal and clicks.  I told him so, and
W8LX jumped in and said I was the one sounding chirpy.  So I switched
radios, and the problem went away.  I'm taking it over to W6XA today to
get that fixed up.

Bottom line:  I really like the radio.  It is small without knobs designed
for children.  It has nice step attenuation, variable CW width, great IF
shift ability, smooth RIT, key & keyer input jacks, and receive antenna
input (easy mod).  I've had nothing but good signal reports from the
critical CW ops on 40M.  I've also heard that this radio is very good for
in band phase noise control.  I have not tested it yet, but that was
another thing that was bad with my MPs.

Negatives: The radio will only work on one sideband now (CW reverse).  It
doesn't interface with my auto-switching TopTen band controller.  And,
K4BAI has to learn how to use another radio for SS.  I think I'll send him
down one to play with before the contest.

FYI & 73

Bill Fisher, W4AN

PS:  George and I tried to get a translation of the German's article but
they wanted money to do it, so we passed.  I would contact George at
International Radio if you want more information /
filters:   http://www.qth.com/inrad

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