Yes, isn't it interesting how well some of the older designs compare
with current new radios? Collins knew what they were doing most of the
time. They had many talented engineers along with Art Collins who
started it all. My impression is post WW2, he let the engineers do the
prototypes, then he wold pass or fail them upon marketing, or business
issues at a given time. There was a transceiver they tried to get him
to approve late in their ham product line, and although well thought
out, he would not move it forward. By that time, he had lost interest
in day to day ham operating, and maybe did not grasp the trends that
ended all the American ham companies, as the import and kit transceivers
captured the ham world's attention. It would be interesting to know,
but likely-that Heath sold more HW 100 and 101 transceiver kits than
Collins did KWM I or 2's to the ham market. Collins sold those models
into the commercial and military markets as well, which may affect the
overall production numbers.
To me, the key receiver specs are dynamic range wide and narrow, and
performance with a strong signal close by (Blocking). The roofing
filters are all important to get things started. The sensitivity of
most receivers is plenty good at the lower bands, but you want it about
as good at 6m or what ever the highest frequency might be. But all
receivers seem to have down to 0.3 micro volt these days. I look at
Noise floor, because you don't want to be listening to the internal
circuits of the receiver. The local oscillator figures I think
reflect if the LO interferes with the signal or contributes by products
by leaking through the mixer.
The Corsair II is a fine radio, from what I saw of a friend's one. It
might be adequate for all your hamming desires. However, another issue
is how much longer will parts be available for it, should something fail?
I am thinking the same of my various radios, Kenwood 450, and Scout, and
The Eagle really is calling out to me, as it has the front panel clean
layout of my Argonaut V, but the V is only 20 watts top. I like the use
of dual function controls and no need to pull up a long small print menu.
I hope to get our club to buy one for the club station to replace a
lightning affected TS 850. (or at least we think it might be lightning.)
You can see how the Eagle compares, receiver wise, with other Ten Tecs
by the Sherwood test list. Hard to quantify, as Sherwood points out in
one of his papers on his web site, are effects of modern AGC and DSP
making the bands sound noisier than they are.
I think TT still has their 30 day trial period where you can order a
model and return it after a trial.
If all you need is a back up radio, if you can get by with the lower
power, you could get the Scout at 50 watts, or the Argo V at 20. I have
done quite well with my Scout at numerous field days with wire antennas,
(albeit they were gain wires such as large loops or extended double
Zepps). You could get a HF Packer amp I believe to ramp up the Argo V
from 20 watts. It all depends on your number of bands of operation, but
if you mainly stay on one or two, QEX had some amplifier projects a few
years back, that are easily built for one or two bands. I put the
Corsair II in the class of the Omni VI with all its upgrades, a well
done evolved product. I wanted an Omni VI for many years, but now
realize that its semiconductor inventory is getting on the hard to come
by list. Plus, its crystal filtering has aged, and will continue to age
possibly degrading its
performance, being an older radio. But, the radio was a high end model
in its time. The simplicity of controls apparent on the Eagle really
attracts me. I find the modern menu driven HTs very hard to deal with
in programming, and use. With eyesight not as good, I can most enjoy
simple uncluttered controls and displays.
There are some things in the controls of my TS 450 I still don't know
what to use them for, and may never get around to it. I can make it
play for my style of operating, and that seems just fine. Extra buttons
and knobs than the basics really only increase one's chances of getting
something set wrong.
More and more, I am attracted to the historic old radios, with few
knobs. I do like bandswitching, but my choice of the plug in coils
Scout showed me that is not a bad way to use a station. In most
contests you have to remain on a band a certain minimum time anyway, so
having to plug in a coil set is no biggie. I found I could buy a box
that held all my not in use plug in coil modules, and it kept them
organized on the operating table
at Field Day just fine.
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