[CQ-Contest] TS-850SAT -- interesting rig for contesting

Rick Lindquist, WW3DE ww3de at comcast.net
Tue Mar 30 15:17:47 PDT 2010

Hi, Bob

In case no one else has mentioned it, N6TR maintains an excellent Web page
on TS-850 mods, repairs and hints at http://n6tr.jzap.com/850repair.html.

I had a TS-850S/AT that I bought new on sale, just after the TS-870 - its
successor - debuted. I equipped it with 400 Hz Inrad CW filters in each IF.
It's an excellent radio, despite its 1990 technology, and I enjoyed using

The only major problem I had with mine was that the '850 can be susceptible
to RF ingress that takes out a chip on the RF board that, as I recall,
controls switching on the LPF board. The main symptom is that power output
will be low, esp on the higher bands. The good news is that the chip is very
inexpensive. I bought 10 of them. The bad news is that it's a bear to pull
the old chip off the board; it is not socketed. I installed a socket in
mine, just in case.

One issue for CW: As it comes from the factory, you can only set up the rear
apron key jack for KEYER or for KEY (ie, external keying). If you use a
computer to send CW for you in contests, you'll have to switch or, as I did,
keep a manual keyer handy and put its output in parallel with the keying
line so you can do fills, etc. It's possible to modify the radio, but it
involves cutting a PCB trace and installing a second jack. 

The 850 will operate on 60 meters, if you have any interest. The downside
here is that you must remove all the screws holding the front panel in place
in order to reach the diode that keeps it from transmitting outside the ham
bands. I did this on mine and had no ill effects, but keep in mind that the
LPFs were not designed with a ham band at 5 MHz in mind. 

73 and good luck! 

Rick, WW3DE

-----Original Message-----
From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Bob AD5VJ
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 12:33 AM
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] TS-850SAT -- interesting rig for contesting

Hi all

I must say I had my doubts about my new to me TS-850SAT when I first got it
in the shack. I said: "Too small, no filters, no dual watch, no scope, no
roofing filter, etc", I said to myself: "I don't know how they ever called
this a "contest radio".

Well, I just finished CQWW WPX Contest single operator all bands. 
(I had to know abt the rig)
Total: 1059 Prefixes = 514 Total Score = 1,318,410

My first EVER - over 1 million points out of all the rigs I have owned-
using this rig and it performed flawlessly and was effortless and was
untiring to use. 

I would recommend this radio to anyone for any Ham Contesting Adventure.

I thought about selling this one BUT NOW:
I am going to get two and gang them together.


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