[CQ-Contest] If you were buying a new contest radio today...

Paul Young youngp at hp.com
Thu May 24 12:23:35 EDT 2007

There were several good candidates at Dayton.  I thought these
three were the most interesting:

1.  The Hilberling PT-8000A is very impressive.  I expect the
     receiver to top the performance list when it is tested.  The
     meter on the power supply is wonderfully retro and whimsical.
     It comes in several colors.  Even the price is impressive!

     The design is up-conversion with the first IF at 70.7 MHz,
     second IF at 10.702 MHz, and an audio DSP.  Classic design,
     done at a level beyond the normal.

2.  The Flexradio 5000 has incredible potential.  This is a
     software defined radio which requires a computer to make it
     complete.  It can be bought with two identical receivers
     which can be used duplex, SO2R in a box.  Preliminary claimed
     receiver performance is excellent.

     The radio has no controls.  For contesting I would need a
     control surface with main tuning, RIT, volume, and bandwidth
     modification knobs.  The knobs Flexradio sells would not do
     it for me.  It wouldn't be difficult to build one and they
     plan to publish the interface information needed to connect

     If I were a RTTY contester I would note that with software
     and a sufficiently powerful computer it would be possible to
     copy every RTTY signal in two bands simultaneously and from
     there to fill a bandmap or even to have an automatic pounce
     capability.  This may be possible for CW too...

3.  The Elecraft K3 looks really nice.  The first IF is at 8.2 MHz
     and the second, for DSP, is 15 KHz.  This is similar to the
     conversion scheme used in the Ten-Tec Orion.  Unlike the Orion
     the second receiver is identical to the primary.  The receiver
     performance is likely to be excellent, top-tier (except maybe
     for the Hilberling).

     The front panel and human factors of the K3 are very different
     from the Orion.  The K3 is a small radio.  The display is small,
     leaving more space for controls - a deliberate choice.

     The radio has some really weird features, such as being able to
     send PSK-31 from a paddle, which won't matter to contesters.

     Based on the size, features, and expected performance this may
     be the best DXpedition radio ever.

I have not used any of these radios.  Elecraft and Flex were taking
orders for delivery later this year.  Array Solutions is the US
dealer for the Hilberling and they were not taking money at Dayton.
Your mileage may vary, specs may change, objects in this mirror are
closer than they appear.

                             Paul, K1XM

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