I live in a location that is "RX Challenged" with high QRN
and little space for high performance 160 m directional
antennas. Although I have installed a couple of pennants,
a low dipole and a EWE, all kinds of filters, pre-amps and
phasing gear, there were still many stations I could not
copy that nearby top-banders were working.
Over the years I went through a number of rigs: FT1000D,
FT1000MP, ICOM 756 III PRO, 746 PRO. Eventually I got an
FTdx9000MP. I thought that such an expensive rig must be
as good as can be. In comparison test with my FT1000D and
FT1000MP (unmodified), the FT9000 was indeed better; on
MDS by almost 10 dB. Still, while I could hear more with
the 9000, I often had trouble copying weak signals. The
narrower I set the IF filter, the harder the signal was to
copy! The DSP seemed to "mix" the noise with the signal,
reducing its clarity.
Last week, after a long wait (very long), I received my
K3. I did some perfunctory comparison tests with my
FT9000. On MDS the K3 was marginally better -- maybe 2 dB.
On the air, however, the difference was substantial: I
could copy signals on the K3 that were not readable on the
Please note that this is purely a subjective comparison.
Still, many times during the past week I've been able to
copy stations on my K3 which were not readable (but often
detectable) on the FT. I am sure others with the right
equipment will do some formal testing to explain the
difference. For me, being able to hear is enough for now.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with Elecraft in any
manner. Also note that the FT9000 has original firmware
(May 2006). It was never upgraded.
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