Ron Stone ron at gw3ydx.demon.co.uk
Wed Jan 31 17:08:47 EST 1996

| Ron Stone, GW3YDX -    EMail ron at gw3ydx.demon.co.uk                 
Following may be of interest to fellow contesters



Recently I was fortunate enough to have all three
 of  these radios in the shack for direct side by
 side comparisons. This was because I was kindly 
loaned a FT1000MP by Mike Devereux G3SED , Managing 
Director of Nevada Communications Ltd.


The FT1000MP is a first class transceiver with many
 desirable and useful operating features. Basic
 performance is excellent but there are some concerns
 about reception on 160m which are detailed in the
 review. The radio was compared with an early (#3mil) 
TS930S and a TenTec Omni 6 transceiver. The performance
 was equal to the Omni6 and significantly better than
 the TS930S.


For some time I have been looking for a second radio 
to replace the Omni or the 930. 

My interests are mainly LF CW work, contesting in
 particular. As the testing period included the WW 160 
contest this seemed ideal. The main objective of 
the test was to see how the MP performed. I have had
 the 930 for 12 years and the Omni for two, so I 
knew how they performed. 


Most of my efforts were directed to A/B tests MP 
vs Omni on receive.This is as most of the 
Cluster / Email from interested hams was
 from people wondering which of  these to buy
and those particularly interested in the low bands.  
The TS930 can still be purchased very cheaply but
 is no longer a current model.
As time goes on, maintenance may become a major issue.
Receiving was of primary interest in these tests.


The MP is a very fine radio, but there are some 
doubts about the RX RF performance. Antennas in use here
 for LF are inv vee for 160 at 120 ft , a 2 el yagi
 at 95 ft on 40m, and a full size delta loop at 75 ft /
 dipole at 90 ft for 80.

 The signals put in from the 40m antenna pointing East 
are awesome here in Europe during the peak evening BC time. 

The MP was set up for most tests with the "tuned" front end 
option enabled i.e best dynamic range for each part of the
HF bands. Read the MP literature for more details. 

The first doubt with the MP was when I accidentally 
listened to 80m with the 160 dipole. There was an S5 carrier
 on 3501 which was not there with the Omni or 930. On 
switching to the regular 80m ant it was gone. But the 
MP was now under suspicion !

On 160 there were some other mixing problems. The CW DX
 portion of the band was swept and unmodulated carriers were
 present on 1827 and 1836 Khz with the MP. These were not 
internally generated spurii as they disappeared with no
 antenna. The 1827 carrier was around S5 and pretty well
 exactly on 1827, a favourite Dxpedition transmit frequency. 
Furthermore there was what appeared to be a fax transmission 
on 1828.5, like the 1827  and 1836 carriers, not there 
on the Omni. 

There may be a local MW source which causes mixing problems
 in the MP which do not mix in the Omni6, and it may be that
 the MP may work quite happily elsewhere. However I do not 
intend to move QTH so that the FT1000MP "works" !!

The 1827 carrier was there (weak) on the 930 but the
other two signals were not. On the MP all of these signals 
were sufficiently strong to have been a DX copy problem and
 were evident at mid-day - somewhat weaker - when 160 was
 closed to all but local propagation. G3SED has also used this
 radio for some time and noted some 160m carriers that also were 
not there with his TS930. Incidentally G3SED has reported even
 greater problems with an IC775 he has been testing. Mike 
advises there is a local MW BC station at his QTH which may be 
causing the problems. 

Perhaps what is needed is extra front end 
bandpass filtering. I am the EU agent for Dunestar products
and I regret I do not have a 1.8Mhz filter in stock right now.
It is also rather a shame that the MP tuner works only on 
TX rather than on TX/RX as is an option with the TS870.

Most interestingly the 1827 carrier problem was reduced by
 connecting the main antenna to the RX input jack of the MP.
 This bypasses both the LPF and Main ANT units. Furthermore 
the use of an external 50R attenuator (AVO RA54) indicated 
that using the 6dB pad in the external attenuator reduced the
 1827 carrier more than using 6dB of MP attenuator from
the front panel control.

Without testing another MP we cannot exclude the possibility
 that there is a problem with the unit we both tested. G3SED 
has workshop facilities and will run a full test on it when
 I return it. 

Apart from these problems 160 was good on the MP - but I 
found in general that weak signals were a little better with
 the Omni, especially if the band was noisy. This weak signal 
differential was much reduced using the "FLAT" front end option
 - enhancing signals by maybe (not measured) 6 dB. Use of 
"FLAT" rather than "TUNED" did not adversely effect the MP's
 strong signal handling capabilities as far as I could tell, 
having found this menu option AFTER the CQ WW 160 ! I estimate
that the weak signal differential would only cause a copy / no
copy situation to arise with one QSO in a thousand. You need 
to make a risk assessment on this. Will that QSO be 3Y0PI ?!

Results on 40m were quite interesting. The MP had significantly
 better RX performance on phantom carriers than the Omni when
 the MP was set up for "TUNED" front end and with the Omni not
 attenuated. Unfortunately the TenTec designers thought 
that a single 20 dB pad would be sufficient. Well it removed 
the phantom carriers effectively but 20 dB is a lot to rob from
 a weak signal. Too much.

To test this further the external attenuator was connected in
 the Omni antenna lead. It was then adjusted to give the same 
reduction of phantom carriers as evident on the "TUNED" front
 end MP. Equalisation occured at the 10 dB level. 40m tests 
for both radios were carried out at approx 20 GMT beaming 
East on 40m. A severe test. No difference in copy was noted.
Although I have not studied the circuit of the MP in depth, 
the TUNED / UNTUNED differential had the same effect as 
invoking the IPO control, and attenuated signals by around 
10 dB. Attenuating the Omni input by 10 dB would implement
a "level playing field" fit this test.

Some 40m tests were then conducted using the TS930 vs the MP.
Using the 930S on 40 SSB there was a memorable occasion when a 
"carrier" was 59+10 on the 930 (and seemed little improved with
 attenuation) and not there at all on the MP.I worked a 9M2 
with the MP that simply was not audible with the 930.

On HF - both radios worked well, the Omni having a very slight 
edge on digging out the weak ones from the noise - with the MP
 front end set to "FLAT". 

Use of the IPO on the MP reduced background noise and signals
 but did not reduce the 1827 problem, which was still there 
with the attenuators progressively switched in. The 1827
 carrier reduced linearly with further attenuation, causing one 
to wonder just where the signals were getting in. 


The borrowed MP had a full set of IF filters ie both 250's, 
both 500's and an optional 2.0 at 8.215. The Omni has a 250
 and 500 at 6 Mhz and a standard 500 Hz at 9 Mhz for NAR
 position. Most of the tests were performed with 500 Hz 
filters invoked in both radios. Results were very similar,
 the TenTec filters having a small advantage to the LF of
 received signals. The availability of 250/250 on the MP
 meant better copy when the going got really tough.

On SSB the MP sounded much nicer both on RX and TX,  this
 being hardly surprising with the 2.4 Khz filters. Although
 not measured I felt that these filters would probably measure
 out to 2.7 at the 6 dB points. The Omni SSB filter is 
theoretically 2.4 but I have measured mine at 2.05 at the 
6 dB points. Not surprisingly this makes for boxy audio on both
 RX and TX. DX RX copy is better with the Omni  than the MP
 using the stock MP 2.4/2.4 filters. With cascaded 2.4 / 2.0
 in the MP, no difference could be detected on receive.
 Certainly it would be very pleasant if the Omni could radiate
 as good SSB as the MP. Just as well I do not operate much

It was extremely useful to have such a wide range of  filter 
options on the MP. This made it a very versatile radio. 
It is a great shame that TenTec allows users such a limited
 choice. There is plenty of room in the box and TenTec could
 have made lots of money from a wider filter option choice.

IF Shift on the MP was far too coarse both on SSB and CW and
 the Width control usually removed a CW signal entirely. This 
part of the circuitry did not seem aligned very well. The
 TS930 CW VBT control was much better by comparison.The Omni
 has no width control but has PBT which is much more effective
 than the MP "Shift", on both CW and SSB

 The IRC filters in the TS930 seemed better than the 500's in 
the MP but not as good as the 250's. As the IRC filters are 
400 Hz this is not surprising. 

The notch filter did not seem as effective as either the Omni, 
930 or on the DSP9. It was however adequate for most purposes. 


The DSP on the MP was used  in the Peak position with the
 bandwidth value menu set to 120 Hz. It was definitely not 
as effective as an external Timewave DSP 9 on peak and the MP
 Noise Reduction circuits did not seem particularly effective.
 This is not however a QTH with much man made noise problems.
 The TS870, which I have tried here very briefly and not in a 
major contest, seems to have the best DSP set up of all. A 
great pity all the filtering is left to the last IF as the 
870 falls over further up the RX chain, with nothing one can
 do about it on a stock model. The Omni6 was (I believe) the 
first production radio with DSP but this consists only of an 
auto-notch filter and low pass audio filters. They are
 effective but of limited use on CW.


Non QSK CW from the MP was perfectly adequate,with just a trace
 of click on break. There was no attempt to adjust the shaping
 via the menu system. Full QSK on the MP was OK up to about 30 
WPM, when some clipping set in. QSK on the Omni is much better.
 I also prefer the sound of the Omni both on air and sidetone -
 but the sound of CW is a personal thing. Although the MP hand
book suggests that the use of the MONITOR control is not needed
on CW, users will find that, with MONI implemented, they can 
regulate the sidetone vol from the front panel control 
(rather than via that frightful little hole in the rear apron) 
and that the sidetone sounds much better. 


The MP excels in this area. The second RX was not found to be 
particularly useful but probably because I did not get used 
to it. The second RX shares the same bandpass filter as the
 main one. This means that one cannot reliably use splits on
 different bands with equal RX sensitivity. It is however
 possible to receive sigs on 14 and 21 simultaneously without
adverse effect to either.I did not test all the band
 combinations !

 It was certainly very useful to have a seperate VFO knob for
 adjusting frequency during splits. However it was irritating
 that the MP sub VFO did not automatically track the band used 
by the main VFO. Someone will probably tell me there is a menu 
setting to enable this. !!!

The best MP bell and whistle was the availabilty of a CW audio 
beat note between 300 and 1050 Hz. I prefer a note of about
 400 Hz and the MP allowed this choice with ease. Ever since 
I have had the Omni I have hated being boxed into listening 
to 750 Hz note - the design freq of the NAR CW filter. The 
hate extends to the point of having a custom filter made to 
get round this. Omni users who are not aware of my activities 
to commission a batch of filters for this (400 Hz note 400 Hz
bandwidth filter for the "NAR" position) are advised to get 
in touch quickly. 

This resume will not go further into the bells and whistles 
area, where the MP must be the winner. 


Many of the MP controls were small but at least they are
 accessible.The AF gain and MIC control were too close
 together.I would have liked them to be of different sizes.
 I kept on reducing the MIC gain when less RX audio was
 desired. The RF Gain (hardly anyone uses it these days
 I think) is reduced sensibly to the status of a minor 
control not used much. The keyer controls were awkwardly
 placed under the SUB VFO tuning knob. I tried to imagine
 myself after a 48 hour contest with both radios. I felt 
that the Omni would probably be less tiring. Having said
 all this, the MP was not at all difficult to drive. 

One small point. As I approach my half century, reading
 glasses are a necessity (and curse). I can still read the
 big digits on the Omni display without them. The damn glasses
 are necessary for the MP display and also to read the labels
 on the controls. This IS an issue after 48 hours with the 
bridge of your nose hurting like hell.

Yes I do think the MP display is poor with many unlit segments
 showing - but with me that would not be a show stopper.


Which radio would I buy ? If I was a 50% or more SSBer the MP
 would have to be the choice. If the 160m phantom carriers get
 sorted out on the MP, I will save my money for one. Until that
 the Omni6 rules.

If you have the chance to try out an MP at your QTH to see if 
it is affected by this 160m problem at your QTH with your
antennas that is probably the way to decide.

The 930 is showing its age and lacks PC interface. It remains 
excellent value though, particularly if you are not a PC / Radio 

If you would like me to expand on any detail of this review 
then please Email / Cluster / Phone / Fax. However by the time
 you read this the MP will have been regretfully returned to 
whence it came. If anyone would like to loan me an IC775 / 
FT1000D / Whatever / I will be pleased to carry out similar 
tests ! I do read the reviews in the various magazines but 
concluded long ago that the world is somewhat more complex
than two pure signals into a  hybrid combiner !

Ron Stone
Phone +44 (0) 1691 831111 (08 - 22 GMT)
Fax   +44 (0) 1691 831386 ( 24hr ) 
Email ron at gw3ydx.demon.co.uk
DXCluster GB7MDX

>From David L. Thompson" <thompson at mindspring.com  Wed Jan 31 18:25:31 1996
From: David L. Thompson" <thompson at mindspring.com (David L. Thompson)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 13:25:31 -0500
Subject: NO E-Mail of Logs to CQ for 160 Meter Contests
Message-ID: <199601311818.NAA16244 at borg.mindspring.com>

I do not accept logs sent via E-Mail.  Maybe in the future!

Dave K4JRB
CQ 160 Meter Contests Director

>From tomf at neca.com (Thomas E. Francis)  Wed Jan 31 18:56:54 1996
From: tomf at neca.com (Thomas E. Francis) (Thomas E. Francis)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 13:56:54 -0500
Subject: WH6R via AK7Q??
Message-ID: <199601311856.NAA29872 at orion.neca.com>

I've tried everywhere else, thought I'd try this - sorry
if this is inappropriate for this reflector - if there is
a reflector this this type of question, please inform me.

I have two QSL cards out to WH6R at the CBA, but have not
received any returns - GO list states via AK7Q, but that
was only listed for 1986.

Can anyone help me with a good address??



Tom, NM1Q (tomf at neca.com)

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