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chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

Base station transciever - Need some advice on selection

I'm looking for a base station radio and the kenwood ts-590 seems to fit the bill. What other radios should I be looking at in the same price/function range? The 590 seems to have many of the most used functions on buttons or knobs located on the front panel.

I hesitate to go with the 590 because the model seems to be several years old. I don't want to make a major purchase this year if a new model is just around the corner.

I don't have a store where I can go and play with different sets but there is a hamfest this weekend that I plan to attend and hopefully buy a new radio. I'm just trying to get my research done before I get there.

I have an IC-7000 now and I don't really care for all the functions hidden in the menus and to be honest its a bit too complicated for me.

Thanks
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123



drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

2 edits

The 590 is new.
The 570 came out in 1997.
What's your budget?
What bands do you want to operate? Does it have to be a new radio? There are some excellent used radios out there that are available for a fraction of the price of a new one.
Keep in mind that most new radios will have some sort of menuing system, although the ones with more knobs and buttons on the front panel generally don't have the depth of menus like the Icom 7000 does.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the reply and info. I didn't realize models only changed every 10? years or so.

budget: I need to stay under 2000.00 and I'm not opposed to buying a used rig. I'm just exploring and learning so my band coverage requirements are pretty open. I have another radio to cover 2m.

I'm ok with some functions under the menu, I just want to spend less time reading the icom manual and more time on the air. One of the frustrations I have is that some signals seem to come in and then be drowned out by static or noise and I can't or don't know how to adjust the radio to block out the unwanted noise.

I believe the ic-7000 is a great radio but I don't think I'm ready for it. I earned my license about 2 years ago and made a few contacts on phone and psk-31 but haven't done much with it since. I think you and few other helped me sort out some setting issues back then on this board.

Thanks again,
Chris
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123



drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

Ahhhh, yes, I seem to remember you now.
How often the companies change their line up depends on the company. It seems like Yaesu and Icom are coming out with new radios every few months! Kenwood announced their new TS-990, and I've read it will be their last "big" HF radio.
The 590 is a very nice radio, and I wouldn't mind having one, but I'm saving my nickels and dimes for a new Yaesu.
What are you going to use for an antenna? Are you mostly interested in HF? Keep in mind even an excellent radio can be severely handicapped by a poor antenna.
Learning how to use your rig effectively to minimize QRN (static and natural noise) and QRM (other stations) is just part of getting to know your radio. I'm not familiar with the 7000, although one of my friends has one. I tend to stay away from small, DC-to-Daylight rigs for my 'main' radio, and I don't care for having most functions buried in menus, either! I've always felt that the most used controls should have a button, switch, or knob, and leave the things that get changed infrequently as a menu item.
The ARRL has a nice article on "what rig should I buy", and you can find it here:
»www.arrl.org/what-rig-should-i-buy
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

Jim, I looked at the ts990 but its not released yet and well out of my price range.

I have a g5rv jr antenna. I don't have much space so its tough to go with anything larger.

What competitors should I look at for the 590? Can anybody tell me what radios have similiar features at the 1500-2000 price range? It looks like the ts-590 has a USB port for control and audio. I would like that feature in the new radio.
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123


Phillip
I Need A Nap

join:2004-12-21
Hatboro, PA
reply to chris123

The TS 590 came out in 2010 and was one of the more advanced radios to come out in the 1000-2000$ price range.

As for radios with a USB port, the Icom 7200 and 7410 have them, and the some of the newer Flex models as well.

One thing the IC 7000 has that these others do not, is the 2M and 70CM bands. So you will have to look at getting some thing to fill that spot when you trade in/sell your old rig.

If you can take a week end, you could rune here and get your hands on one.... »www.universal-radio.com/index.html


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

These Flex tracking notch filters look amazing.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=t17ipMS8···ure=plcp

--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

Yes, they are.
I have a Flex 5000, and it's an absolutely stunning radio, with a steep learning curve.
And the TS-990 is outside my price range, too!
I held off buying what will probably be my last big, new radio when I heard it was coming out. Now that they've released a "picture" of it, I've decided to go with what I almost bought, a Yaesu FTdx-5000.
But back to radios for you......
The Ten-Tec Eagle is supposed to be pretty good, but I haven't tried one. $1819 without internal tuner, $2019 with internal tuner.
An Icom IC-7410 also got very good reviews. $1899 at HRO.
A friend of mine has a Yaesu FT-950, and he loves it. $1420 at HRO.
Are there any radio stores near where you live? It's always nice to sit down and "test drive" one if you can.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

Jim, The closest shop is AES. Its about 2.5 hours each way. Hopefully I can look at some of these radios at the hamfest this weekend.

I thought I wanted the Flex 3000 but several on QRZ report RFI issues.

I'll take a closer look at the others you listed Jim. Thanks.
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123



drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

"RFI Issues" with the Flex series of radios are kinda overblown.
There are some basic, simple steps that eliminate 99% of the "RFI Issues" people complain about.
All I had to do was put some small, snap-on ferrite cores on both ends of the keyboard and mouse cables, at the PC, and at the KVM switch I use to switch between the "Flex PC", and my Linux machine.
I had some problems on 12 Meters where the keyboard and mouse would lock up, and I couldn't unkey the transmitter, and the cores cured it.
I also connected the case of the PC (It's an all-aluminum Lian Li case) to the ground post on the Flex, but I did that just on "GP".
I have a 'line isolator' on the coax to the antenna, just before the coax goes into the SGC Smartuner I have at the base of the antenna, but I'm not sure if that helps or not, because it's been in the line ever since I put the antenna up.
My 5000A sits on *top* of the PC I built for it, and except for the KVM cables, isn't bothered by the RF.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

In that case I may go with the flex 3000. Are you happy with the 5000 and if so why are you saving for a new yeasu?

I don't like the idea of having a radio tied to a PC but I think being able to see as well as hear whats happening in the band may be helpful to me.

Any chance I can get the flex 3000 to work with my ah-4 tuner? From what I read the internal tuner won't match beyond 50ohms.
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123



drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

I love my Flex 5000, BUT, I also like big radios with lots of knobs and buttons!
And I'm fortunate to be able to afford having both. I'd keep my TS-950SDX, too, but in a compromise with my YF, I'm going to sell it to help fund the big Yaesu.
And like you, there are times I just don't want to power up the PC to see if the bands are open. I'd rather just hit a switch, plug in the headphones, and go at it.
For contesting and serious HF work, I think the Flex is about the best radio I've ever used. It's just amazing to crank the receiver bandwidth down to about 1kHz, have the interfering signals disappear, AND still have intelligible audio!
I'm just finishing freshening up my TS-950SDX (new memory battery, latest firmware, alignment, good clean and scrub) before I put it on eBay, and after it sells, I'll have enough mad money to get the FTdx-5000.
The PowerSDR software has a "Tune" button that puts the radio in CW mode, at about 10 watts output. If the AH-4 is anything like my SG-230, that should be plenty to make it tune. I've never looked into the AH-4, but I'm pretty sure you can use it stand-alone, as opposed to being connected to an ICom radio.
One thing to keep in mind, though......if having to dig into menus bothered you, the entire Flex radio is one BIG menu system!
It has a ton of frequently used functions available as buttons, and most of the "Advanced" or "Expert" menu functions are preset, and hidden.
And the email reflector and knowledgebase have about anything you'd need to ask about already asked and answered.
Read the eHam reviews (but stay OUT of the SDR forum!) before you decide, but from what I know, the Flex 3000 is also an excellent radio.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.



fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to drjim

said by drjim:

Keep in mind that most new radios will have some sort of menuing system, although the ones with more knobs and buttons on the front panel generally don't have the depth of menus like the Icom 7000 does.

I think Ten-Tec radios minimize the number of menus, moreso than others. They tout this as a feature, IIRC.


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

I know a couple of people who have the (fairly) new Omni VII, and I had an Omni VI for a few months while I cleaned it up to sell. The Omni VII has a very good receiver, and is trivial to network as a remote radio. The Omni VI and the VI Plus were the last of the "classic" Ten Tec radios in terms of feel, fit, and finish.
I've also used both the original Orion, and the newer Orion II, and I didn't care for them. Both of the radios I used (especially the older one) had buggy firmware that would result in them locking up from time-to-time.
The older Omni's were nice, but all of their newer radios that I've used have had a really cheap, "home brew" feel to them.
Cheap wobbly knobs, thin metal cases that oil-canned when you pressed your finger on them, "plasticky" looking front panels, and a bunch of other things that don't belong on a $2000+ radio.
If I was going to buy an American made radio in that price class, I'd buy a K3 without hesitation.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

I'd love to buy an American made radio but I just can't get into the looks of the thing. Plus I know this is dumb but the thing has a serial port on it and the mere presence of a serial port gives me the impression that the radio is outdated.

»www.theregister.co.uk/2001/10/04···_drives/

This article is from 11 years ago and talks about intel dropping serial ports and floppy drives.
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123



Hank
Searching for a new Frontier
Premium
join:2002-05-21
Burlington, WV
kudos:2
reply to drjim

said by drjim:

a really cheap, "home brew"

Come on now DrJim, please don't make that a general statement. Unless you are referring to the items that you have built.

chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

said by Hank:

said by drjim:

a really cheap, "home brew"

Come on now DrJim, please don't make that a general statement. Unless you are referring to the items that you have built.

Another persons opinion is always welcome. What gear do you prefer?
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123


Hank
Searching for a new Frontier
Premium
join:2002-05-21
Burlington, WV
kudos:2

My personal preference is the Elecraft equipment for American made. I also like Yeasu and Kenwood. Have you thought about the Flex series?


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN

Yes, the flex 3000 is certainly on my list of possibilities as well as the ts-590 from Kenwood and the Yeasu ft-950.

I like the waterfall display on the the flex 3000 and the notch filters but I'm not sure if I want a radio tied to a computer yet.
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123



drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3
reply to chris123

Hank, have you used or handled a recent Ten Tec radio?

Maybe "homebrew" was a bit harsh, but they definitely do NOT meet the "fit and finish" standards of an Icom, Kenwood, Yeasu, or Elecraft.

The earlier Ten Tec radios were constructed to higher standards than the current ones.

Chris, I have an Elecraft K2 radio as my "back-up/portable/camping" radio and it's a gem. Excellent receiver, but takes some learning to get used to. Most of the buttons have 2 functions, depending on if you "tap", or "hold" it.

It sure packs a big punch in a small radio.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.



Ender3rd

join:2001-07-15
Connecticut
reply to chris123

Hi Chris,

I own a Flex (5000) and a Kenwood TS-590S and have to say they are both excellent rigs that perform beautifully. If I could only have one rig I would definitely choose the Flex platform since it offers more versatility than any rig I have ever owned. Once you have a panadapter it's really hard to go without one! That being said, the TS-590S certainly holds its own and in fact at this point I prefer to use it for all my digital mode communications and CW.

If you have narrowed it down to the Flex 3000 or the TS-590S you won't be disappointed with either choice. If you are comfortable with your computer and are willing to read the PowerSDR manual the rewards for traveling the SDR path are great. The issues with RFI problems are horribly overblown by those who have not bothered with installing a single point ground system for their operating bench. I run full legal limit power with my Flex 5K from 160 - 10 meters and have never had an issue.

For better or worse, if you are interested, I have some information about the software EQ settings for the TS-590S at the link below:

»www.w1aex.com/ts590s/ts590s.html

Good luck with whatever you choose to run with!

73,

Rob W1AEX
--
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. (Charlie Reese)



battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to chris123

That's very cool but I still want some knobs and buttons to turn and push for that kind of money.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN
reply to Ender3rd

said by Ender3rd:

Hi Chris,

»www.w1aex.com/ts590s/ts590s.html

Good luck with whatever you choose to run with!

73,

Rob W1AEX

Rob,

Great website. I enjoyed reading about the Viking radio you brought back to life.
--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3
reply to Ender3rd

Holy smokes, Rob.....I've been to your website a bunch of times!

Never knew you were here on DSLReports!
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


chris123

join:2002-07-23
Highland, IN
reply to battleop

said by battleop:

That's very cool but I still want some knobs and buttons to turn and push for that kind of money.

I totally understand that because I feel the same way. On the other hand though none of the other radios in my price range have a nice bandscope like the flex SDR. The notch filters in the flex implementation are also unique and on my small lot I get a fair amount of noise. Most of it was fixed through grounding but others I have yet to get rid of.

Both Jim and Rob seem to really like their flex 5000 and Rob has a ts590 as well. I think I'm going to ignore my want for buttons and knobs and give the flex 3000 a shot.

Is the flex website the only place to purchase their SDRs? I can't seem to locate them at the usual places.

--
see my Uverse Review @ »Review of AT&T U-Verse by chris123


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3

Yes, in the US, Flex radios are sold factory direct.
Their customer support is excellent. I had about 4 hours of receiving on mine, when the receiver went belly up. I posted a message on the reflector, and within a few MINUTES, somebody got back to me, and this was on a Sunday night!
The next day we did a Skype session, and they walked me through some of the service menus, and determined one of the devices had gone bad. I had a UPS shipping label within minutes, and sent the radio back the same day. They had it repaired and shipped back the same week, but because "regular" UPS doesn't deliver on Saturdays, I had to wait until Monday to pick the radio up at my friend's business where I get all my packages shipped.
That was in 2006, and the radio has performed flawlessly ever since.
The only other Amateur Radio manufacturer that I've dealt with that's that good is Elecraft.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.



Ender3rd

join:2001-07-15
Connecticut
reply to chris123

I'm glad you enjoyed the Viking story Chris. That was the best 30 bucks I ever spent!

I think you'll enjoy the Flex 3000 very much. I agree 100% with drjim regarding the product support you get from Flex on those rare occasions when it might be needed. They go the extra mile and make things right for their customers.

PowerSDR has a number of tools that do a beautiful job of scrubbing out noise when it shows up on the band. The noise blanker is unbelievable. Following a huge storm during the fall of 2011 there was tremendous damage to the neighborhood power lines. Until it was repaired I suffered from S-9 + 20 dB of noise on 10 meters from a cracked insulator about 800 feet away. Check out how the noise blanker completely removed that noise:

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRWBY4NEsB4


The tunable notch filter is also nothing short of amazing. In the video below I was able to completely silence the local 50,000 watt AM broadcaster's S-9 + 30 dB signal with the TNF:

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtKquVJ5ueM


I'm not aware of any other amateur rig that can do these kinds of things. You're in for a treat!

73,

Rob W1AEX
--
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. (Charlie Reese)


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to chris123

said by chris123:

I'd love to buy an American made radio but I just can't get into the looks of the thing. Plus I know this is dumb but the thing has a serial port on it and the mere presence of a serial port gives me the impression that the radio is outdated.

»www.theregister.co.uk/2001/10/04···_drives/

This article is from 11 years ago and talks about intel dropping serial ports and floppy drives.

Most radios use serial ports. They may not use a DB9 connector but they use serial ports. Icom for example uses an open collector interface at TTL levels it calls CI-V. But the signaling is RS-232.