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[TenTec] should I buy a FT-1000D

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: [TenTec] should I buy a FT-1000D
From: Lee Crocker <w9oy@yahoo.com>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 07:31:22 -0700 (PDT)
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
I have been thinking about buying a FT-1000D.  It is a
firmware defined radio.  To update the firmware you
have to send it back to Yaesu.  It is no longer in
production, so I guess there won't be any updates
coming out soon.  The transmitter is pretty good, but
it has a key click problem that Yaesu hasn't been able
to figure out for 15 years.  There is an aftermarket
fix, but if you implement it, it destroys the QSK of
the radio.  It has a noise blanker that is basically
on all the time.  It was poorly designed and degrades
the IMD performance of the radio, and to fix that you
have to go in and rewire the noise blanker control
circuit.   You have to add several components for each
of these fixes.  In order to run a pin diode QSK amp
with this rig you have to go in and find the correct
control voltage in the radio.  You have to isolate
this with a breakout box.  If you use the stock
control line you will hot switch the diodes.

The radio puts out 200W but I always worry that it
might blow out the grid in my 8877 due to overshoot. 
A lot of contesters and DXers use this rig.  There is
no real control over the AGC just a couple of
positions and off.  In fact there isn't a lot of
control over a lot of things.  You have to go into a
little hatch in the top of the rig to set up things
like vox and keyer and such as that.  Makes it hard to
put stuff on top of the radio.  It would be nice of
you could change this stuff in a menu.  

The receiver is pretty good, though it has no DSP and
the notch is manual.  If you want auto notch you have
to spend a couple hundred extra for something after
market, and then the notch is no longer in the AGC
line.  There is no DSP.  It needs a boatload of
filters to make the receiver better, and they tend to
ring.  The tuning rate is lousy it makes the radio
hard to tune.  Maybe they will fix this in a firmware
release, but then to upgrade the firmware you have to
send the radio back to Yaesu and pay for that.  There
was an after market fix for this but you had to
completely dismantle the radio to install it.  The
receiver is decidedly noisy compared to let's say a
ten tec Paragon or a Pegasus or an Orion.  It has
receiver characteristics in the upper third of the
pack but it is not top dog by any stretch of the
imagination.  There was a pin diode upgrade you could
get by sending the radio back to Yaesu.  It really
didn't do anything for performance but it did lighten
your wallet.  Did I mention this is a $4000 radio?   
Computer control is optional for another $100 but the
control is minimal, certainly nothing like the Orion. 
It doesn't have a screen either, B&W or Color, but it
does have a nice florescent display, even though
that's 30 year old technology.

I just want a radio I can plug a mic into and an
antenna and a ground and talk for my $4000 dollars. 
Even though this radio has been out for 15 years it
still seems kind of experimental since you have to
make all these modifications to make it work
correctly.  There have been some upgrades to the
series and every couple of years you can spend a few
more thousand for a different box, but they have many
of the same problems.  It?s all so friggin'
experimental, but then there are a lot of them sold
and a lot of contests have been won with this radio. 
I understand there is an 11,000 dollar version of this
radio around the corner, it apparently has a lot of
problems, maybe I'll wait for that, or maybe I'll wait
for the new firmware upgrade for that.  Do I have to
send it back to Yaesu for the update?    

I never had these problems with my old Icom 735 but
the receiver in that radio was a disaster, and my old
friend the Puke of Paducah W4MPE when I talked to him
down on 3895 in the old days, used to tell me that
Icom radio was a "Tank Radio" which made me feel bad. 
He always used that Ten Tec stuff.

So what do I do?  Do I wait for a new ROM to be
released.... or do I wait for them to fix all the
bugs... or do I plunk down my $4000 for this out of
date radio?  Do I wait for the $11,000 disaster?  I
dunno it sure has a lot of buttons... and the screen
is in Technicolor... and it puts out 400W...  wonder
if that would bother my 8877....   Maybe I'll ask a
few guys on the reflector who don't own one of these
radios what they think...  

73  W9OY

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