[CQ-Contest] Radio Comparison

Jon E Hamlet w4zw at juno.com
Mon Jun 23 18:40:46 EDT 1997


I have three of the four sitting in front of me now.  I have the Yaesu
FT-1000D, the Yaesu FT-1000MP, and the Kenwood TS-950SDX.  Until
recently, I had the ICOM 775DSP.  I did have 3 QTh;s, one in Moscow
(R3/W4ZW), one in Colorado, and now my permanent QTH here on Casey Key
Island off the SW Florida coast.

I believe any evaluation of these radios must be divided into two parts,
CW and SSB, since they have different characteristics in each mode.  I
have used the FT-1000D and the TS-950SDX for the past three years and the
FT-1000MP for the past year.  I used them all quite heavily at different
times while in Moscow since I averaged about 3000 Q's per month there,
especially in contesting.  

For CW, my first choice is the FT-1000D.  It lacks a few nice to have
items like a separate key jack so you can use the internal keyer and a
computer port and an external pitch control among other things, but it
has in my opinion no current peer.  My second choice for CW is the
Kenwood TS-950SDX.  I think its reputation  has suffered from the
mediocre performance of the TS-940 after the superb TS-930S/AT which I
had unti I got the Ft-1000D, but it is an excellent and under-rated CW
rig.  My third choice for CW would be the FT-1000MP which I really like.
but I still give the edge to the TS-950SDX.  My last choice for CW is the
775DSP, which in my opinion is not in the same league at the other three.

For SSB, it's quite a different story.  For SSB I would rank the Kenwood
TS-950SDX first, the ICOM 775DSP second, the FT-1000MP third, and the
FT-1000D last.  The DSP features really do make a difference on SBB
whereas my old CW ears are better than most DSP systems.

The third ranking is cost.  Considering the investment AFTER adding all
the filters, I think a used TS-950SDX would probably be the best buy
since they have suffered unjustly in reputation as I mentioned earlier
and the used price for a loaded unit  should be very attractive.  A good,
used, FT-1000D is the best buy for CW in my opinion.

I also have the ICOM 756 and the Kenwood TS-570D and have to say that the
Kenwood is an outstanding CW rig for the money.  The ICOM is great for
checking the HF bands for activity with the built-in bandscope, but then
I use the Kenwood SM-230 with the TS-950SDX for that purpose.

I also used the Kenwood TS-870S for two months while in Moscow and really
liked it as well.  It performed fine for me and I never experienced the
intermod problems I heard rumors about.  It ranks as a great SSB rig, but
I'd take the TS-570D over it for CW work.  I plan on installing the
TS-570D at my Colorado QTH as my regular rig there.

Hope this helps.

Jon, W4ZW	
w4zw at juno.com

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