First 2 contests with the FT5K / FT990 combo

As you already know from a previous post I purchased a Yaesu FT DX 5000 MP last december. Since then I operated in both the ARRL RTTY Roundup and in the CQ WW WPX RTTY. Time to write down my experiences:

The combo FT5K/FT990 is of course a great enhancement over the former combo FT990/TS50S :-). Even with the 500Hz filters the TS50S has a poor receiver for contesting, don’t misunderstand, the TS50S is a great transceiver for travelling but filtering in rough contest conditions is pretty poor. Moreover I was persuaded the FT990 had a great receiver but that’s because I never operated anything better… The receiver of the FT5 seems pretty unbeatable to me when compared to the FT990.

With the FT5K, narrow means NARROW! Using the the 500 Hz filter on FT990 you can see a pretty wide band in the MMTTy scope, using the with 600 Hz filter of the FT5k only a fraction of that band is left, when the need arises it can even be made narrower when using the ‘Narrow’ knob and/or when changing the settings of the RX. Sometimes I had the feeling the receiver is even too good 😉 because you get into very narrow holes on busy band to try and start a run. But it isn’t because I have a good RX that the other stations have one that is as good!

Being used to operate the FT990 it was not that hard for me to learn the basic functions of the FT5k, operation seems pretty straightforward to me.

Since I have the FT5k I made 2 RS232 interfaces so I can run both transceivers in FSK instead of AFSK, this avoids me the need to retune the level of the AFSK tx audio at every band change.

The only negative point I see in the MP version is the band scope which is pretty slow and with low resolution. The speakers that come with it are great but the scope isn’t. Guess I’ll have to go look for an SDR solution on the IF output of the FT5K.

I was pretty happy with the results in both contests! In both my claimed score beat the belgian record!

In search of a new contest transceiver, the decision

In my previous post about this topic I started with a list of available HF-transceivers here in Belgium and afterwards I had narrowed it down to 6:

  • Yaesu FT-2000 €2500
  • Icom IC-7600 €3600
  • Ten Tec Orion II €4300
  • Elecraft K3 €5300
  • Yaesu FT-DX5000MP €5700
  • Icom IC-7700 €6000

Prices are merely an estimation for comparison, they’re based on information found on the internet a few months ago.  Some may have changed by a few hundreds of euros by the time you read this!

I did’nt have the time (or rather did’nt make time) to write more about this in the last few weeks but in the mean time I ordered (and received) an FT-DX5000MP.

The decision was a little less scientific than it started in my previous post however. Let’s say it has been partly emotional also.

These are the reasons why I bought the FT5k: (not necessarily ordered by importance) Continue reading In search of a new contest transceiver, the decision

Friedrichshafen 2011

Logo Ham RadioLast weekend we made our yearly ‘pilgrimage’ to the Friedrichshafen HAM RADIO in Germany. For the last few years there were always 4 of us, Andy ON7TS, Luc ON7KZ, Jan ON4KB and me. As Jan had to cancel at the last minute there were only 3 of us this year. (Jan, we missed you!)

For me it was the 18th year in a row and I can say I have seen a steady decline of the rally over the years. Every year there are less vendors at the flea market and at the ‘new’ market. I guess there are a few reasons for this: the prices for the rental of the fairgrounds and the competition of the internet sales.

This year there were only 2 halls of flea market with the second hall filled about 60%, last year it was 3 halls with the third hall filled about 50%. The following well known companies did not come back to the fair this year: Conrad, Classic International, Kabel Kusch etc. The room these companies took last year now seemed to be taken over by companies selling toy helicopters, handbags and even *very* cheap riflescopes…

But of course there were a few highlights for me at the Ham Radio: Continue reading Friedrichshafen 2011