[VHFcontesting] FT-817/897/847 overlaod

w8zn at comcast.net w8zn at comcast.net
Wed Dec 16 10:08:18 PST 2009

Mike and all,

Yes, an FT847/FT817 will be helped immensely by better filtering for in band crud. One other thing to bear in mind, all these multimode/multiband rigs are designed to cover a wide frequency range, usually 118 - 174 for VHF and 400-512 on UHF. Unfotunately, a wide front end can let in nearby pagers and commercial stuff which can degrade mixer performance and cause the rig to be near overload even before the kw on the next mountaintop comes on!!

While the multimode/multiband rigs are very nice and compact, they are not for the serious contester. There just is no substitute for a good HF I.F. rig and a good transverter. DEM, Elecraft, SSB, Microwave Modules, Yaesu FTV series, or even a good old Hallicrafters or a Drake TC2 Even with a middle range HF rig, a transverter combo is better.

I've owned an FT736 with the Mutek mods, a TS2000 with a different front end filter, an IC910 and none of them come even close to a TS850 with a transverter. For the casual operator who spends maybe 8 hrs total time in a contest or does packpacking to a mountain top they are great, if you are serious about really being competitive, get a decent HF rig and a transverter.
Now for my big plug, the Elecraft K3. I have two of them and I'm selling all 8 TS850's used by K8GP for the past 10 years. While the TS850 is a wonderful radio and one of the best "war dogs" out there, the K3's DSP design, firmware upgradability, ease of interfacing (direct BNC transverter in and out jacks!!!), dial coverage to 24 GHz and a DIRECT line to the CEO for suggestions/problem fixes via their reflector, it is second to none for joy of operating. Imagine a NB that not only works VERY well but it is done in the DSP so strong signals do not cause a lot of the problems like a traditional IF blanker does. There is a IF blanker included and both NB's are very configurable. I could go on and on about the K3 but check out Elecraft's web site. The only downside is it can get pretty pricey if you start loading it up with options but trust me, it is worth EVERY penny you pay!!

73, and Happy Holidays, wish for DX in 2010!!!


----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Sapp 
Sent: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 21:44:09 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] FT-817/897/847 overlaod

Hi Everyone:  Try good filters in the FT817/897/847. It costs $125 or more a filter, but the performance change is dramatic.  I put the Collins 300Hz filter  (Inrad #712) in my '847 and one in an 817. The improvement was so dramatic I went out and got the Collins 2.0KHz SSB filters (Inrad #720) a few weeks later for the 817 and for tx in the FT-847.  There was room in my 847 for the Inrad 1.8KHz crystal filter, for receive, which has even better performance at the -60 to -80 range on their charts. You will also notice a 2db improvement on transmit with a narrow SSB filter versus a stock ceramic resonator. I have a second FT-817 I use the stock ceramic resonator for SSB and a 500 Hz filter for CW. I use that radio as an i.f. radio for the microwave bands, as the wider filter helps when tuning/searching  for weak signals and I still can go narrow to improve the S/N when needed. I would put the 300Hz  cwfilter in that radio as well, but eventually you drain the budget.  My FT-84
7 is actually usable now for a 160m cw contest effort with the filter upgrades.  One other comment. I notice the dynamic range goes to pot on the FT-847 with the noise blanker on. I'm not sure how true that is on the 817 or 897, but try turning the NB off the next time your front end gets hammered on. Don't forget that RF gain control knob does work. Find a weak VHF or UHF beacon and see how far you can turn down the RF gain without giving up that much hearing performance.

Mike wa3tts

Mike wa3tts
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