[VHFcontesting] ic 746 vs 920 vs FT-847 et al

David Pruett k8cc at comcast.net
Thu Mar 15 19:15:16 EST 2007


An interesting mix of radios under discussion.  Since I have experience 
with all of them, let me add my $.02.

My only experience with the FT-920 came on HF down at WP2Z where we 
endured a CQ WPX SSB contest with two of them.  One blew up and the 
three of us just couldn't get the other 920 to sound right.  All of the 
op team was used to FT-1000Ds/FT-1000MPs and the 920 just didn't cut 
it.  It's cool that it has 50 MHz.  I *wanted* to like the radio, but 
IMHO it didn't cut it.  One big problem; no cascaded CW filters without 
the add-in INRAD filter board.

I own a FT-847 with an INRAD 400 Hz CW filter and have been pretty happy 
with it, using it on 144 and 432 in a number of VHF contest operations.  
Right after I got it, I tried to use it in the CQ WPX CW contest but it 
was absolutely unusable, so I yanked the 600 Hz subreceiver filter out 
of one of my 1000Ds and stuck it in.  I've never seen such an 
improvement (however it *was* horrible to begin with).  I've found that 
with an IF CW filter, and using the radio's lame DSP in cascade, it's a 
decent radio on CW.  Never had the difficulties Josh mentioned on SSB.

I also own a IC-746Pro.  IMHO this is the best radio of the bunch.  Used 
it some on HF with zero complaints, and we've had a pair of them (my 
buddy K9TM owns its twin) on 50 and 144 MHz with very enjoyable 
results.  Really enjoy the adjustable receive bandswidth provided by the 
IF DSP.  My friend K8MR uses his "regular" IC-746 (non-Pro) on both HF 
and VHF with good results.

IMO, if someone wants a low cost radio, the original IC-756 (non-Pro) is 
a pretty good deal.  The one I have has been mobile contesting, has been 
to the Bahamas, Field Day, etc. with nary a complaint.  Now it lives out 
its retirement as the IF radio on 222 MHz (where the band score comes in 
very handy).



Joshua M. Arritt wrote:
> frank bechdoldt wrote:
>> I would pick the ft 920 over the ic 746, I have had both.  ....  Id go 
>> with a ft 847 over both of them.
> While it's a very capable rig, the FT-847 left a nasty taste in my mouth 
> when it came to 6 meter contest performance.  LOTS of debilitating side 
> splatter didn't show up on the TS-690S we had on hand as a back-up 
> 6-meter radio.  It quickly became the main rig during the openings, and 
> we took the 50-watt hit in power for better ears.  When the band thinned 
> out a bit, the 847 did OK.
> It should be noted however, that the '847 we operated had no filters... 
> just the cheesy AF DSP.   And, in uncrowded band conditions down in the 
> valley, it seemed to do OK on 6.  Haven't run it contest-wise on the 
> other bands... though for SSB/CW satellite operation, it seems to do 
> OK.  I would imagine with a good set of outboard RX preamps, a good TX 
> amp, it would make a fine radio for V/U work.
> On HF, the front end was REALLY hammered during contest, to the point of 
> painful operation.  CW was nearly impossible on a busy band due to the 
> AGC pumping from adjacent stations.  Again, I'm blaming my dislike of 
> the radio mostly on the lack of filters... thus I'd highly recommend 
> them if one plans on purchasing one of these radios.
> On 6, my old TenTec 1209 xverter into (of all things) an old IC-251A 
> seems to be a really hot combo for the price -- I don't dare publicly 
> claim it to be better than a new 756Pro or anything of that tier of 
> radios though.  No PBT, or narrow CW, though... and I'm in year 2 of 
> collecting junk parts to homebrew a meager >250W power amp to help that 
> blazing 8 watts make some more S-meters move.   On that note, if anyone 
> has a beloved hollow-state design they'd like to share....  ;)
>     73,
>       - Josh, KF4YLM
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