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Does it REALLY matter if it doesn't pass Sherwood muster?

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by W3QE, Apr 23, 2012.

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  1. W3QE

    W3QE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Does it really matter what HF receiver you use if all you operate is CW and the receiver has earned a dismal Sherwood rating?

    And why if it matters so, do lots of CW buffs use ancient gear to operate CW? How does that happen without Sherwood's blessings?

    What about home brew or real cheap kits?

    Why doesn't Sherwood rate the cheap CW rigs like the NorCal 2N2/XX or Hendricks QRP Kits and other like kits/radios?

    And since he doesn't, why does anyone even bother to use them at all? I mean I thought a positive Sherwood rating was all that REALLY matters. Sure seems it considering what you read today with the weight given the Sherwood/Holy Grail tables.

    That said, the FT450D and other much newer advanced radios than the Drakes should be banned from US sales since they take second and third fiddle to any Drake made.

    No I don't own a Yaesu---I sold it after reading the report---- according to Sherwood the only radio worth owning is old Drakes, of course they sell kits to make sure of it-----lol

    Should I peruse eBay until I come upon a Drake station?

    Bonus Question--- AND why do some hams operate CW using a fifty dollar kit and six hundred dollar special made paddle from Italy or someone's basement?

    kivb-3 yea, I see things differently
  2. KJ3N

    KJ3N Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's CW. Who cares? :p :p
  3. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    not that many people operate with the Italian specials.

    Sherwood is like reading consumer reports, do you buy everything based on their analysis?
  4. K7JBQ

    K7JBQ Moderator QRZ Page

    Because CW ops live at their fingertips.


  5. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think a lot depends on how you operate. If ragchewing is your thing you can use most any reasonable rig. Serious DXing and contesting is another story. What you can afford may have a lot to do with it too.
    I think it is just as important to have a rig you would really like to have and use. The best rig out there isn't worth much if it doesn't compel you to get on the air and use it.

    Expensive keys are easier to sneak into the house than a new rig!!
  6. WG7X

    WG7X Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why place so much emphasis on what one "expert" said?

    A bit of thought on the part of the equipment buyer is all that is necessary.

    If you find a radio that fits your budget and needs, then buy it and be happy that you have one of whatever it is.

    Sure there are probably some out there that are better than others, but are you really going to worry about that?

    FWIW, and that's not much, I've purchased a few rigs in my day. Not many, but they all seem to work FB and do what I need them to do and I've never read the "Sherwood report". Heard about it, yes. Read it? No. I still manage to get on the air.

    Funny how that all seems to work out.

    73 Gary
  7. KJ3N

    KJ3N Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can do CW ragchews with just about anything. An Icom IC-718 with the 500hz filter will do that. So will an FT-450D, or TS-480, or any rig you can get a 500hz filter for.

    Just don't expect any of the above radios to survive in contest situations without overloading the front end.
  8. W7JZE

    W7JZE QRZ Lifetime Member #84 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    +1 again with a hearty "heh, heh, heh" to go with it [​IMG].
  9. KA5S

    KA5S Subscriber QRZ Page

    Agree with KJ3N. It can matter, and sometimes does.

    This weekend we put W8LRC on for the MIQP. There were problems, first being a local noise level of S9 to +20 depending on what rig was used. No rig we tried was immune, so we ended up using the beam on 40 SSB and doing without 20 for the time being. Needless to say, we need not be worried about being in the top half, not with a tenth or less of the numbers we were hearing, but it ended up being fun.

    Later, when later the local RFI noise got better, and we went to 80 and 40 on the sloper, the club’s TS-450 couldn’t hear a thing, and even a Jupiter I brought in needed its attenuator to get rid of IM-generated background noise. Using the spectrum display, I was able to demonstrate this visually to another op who came in while 80 was really hot. Without attenuator, even the Jupiter had problems pulling out all but the strongest signals, and the 450 was swamped.

    Not sure my Omni V, which is noticeably quieter than the Jupe, would have been much better. My old Corsair II might have been, but it’s sick at the moment. It’s for conditions like this that really good IMD performance is needed, and the more modern, better performing rigs are some 20 dB better (or more) than these in Sherwood tests. MOST recent rigs aren't that good, so for contesting, yes, one needs that kind of performance.

    It turns out the TS-450 we used at W8LRC has a quirk that makes its IMD shortcomings even more apparent than they would be in other rigs, for signals farther from the filter passband. In the ARRL’s 1992 review’s words, ”If we have only out usual test results, these receivers [NB: TS-450 and TS-690] would appear to be much less usable than they really are.” It seems that -- in the contest environment -- the 450 is only as usable as it appeared then.

  10. AG6JU

    AG6JU Ham Member QRZ Page

    many air craft / military radio , I have heard they need to receive weak signal while near by stations is transmitting 20 kHz and 100 feet away. I am lucky that I don't have any ham live close to me, so my cheaper radio don't get overloaded. once, I had a Ham lived 200 feet away, every time he transmit, it wiped out entire band of my receiver.
  11. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes they sent CW with Spark Gap also the receiver and it's abilities amounts to 90+% of the radios overall worth when it comes to operating the transmitter only about 10%. And Sherwoods is not the only tests out there QST,3 in EU at least one in VK land and I don't how many in Japan 6 I know of for sure they come out long before we see any tests here in NA.

    But like said if you rag chew on 80m across the street with 1k it makes no difference at all really 2 tin cans will work for you. Weak signal and noise issues plus an exceptional DNR, Filters work wonders with the right receiver architecture.
  12. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    NC0B specifically evaluates receivers with contesting as the objective. He started testing them a long time ago when he noticed his highly regarded Drake receiver was not performing well in contest situations. He then developed mods that brought it up to superlative levels.

    Why not invest an hour and listen to his webinar on the PVRC site at:

    It's free and very educational.


    Jim N3AWS
  13. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are induhviduals out there who will use the Sherwood analysis... or for that matter, QST Review, CQ Review, WorldRadio review, etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum... as their Gospel to promote the equipment they believe in & to shout down the Nonbeliever who likes something else.

    There's more to the reviews than just the charts. And you have to know what's being compared to what & under what circumstances.

    To put it another way, this is like reading an ad that says "Car & Driver rated Brand X #1 in Customer Performance!" Then you find out that what they were rating was how likely the customer was need major maintenance within the first 12 months, and in this case, #1 meant the Most Likely To Need A Tow To The Dealership.
  14. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Errrr, no they didn't! :)

    Two very different things, CW and spark. Now, they did send Morse with spark and Morse with CW, but that is were the similarity ends.

    I will say that even when ragchewing having the K3 makes such operation a pleasure. I wouldn't trade it back for the lesser Yaesu it replaced. I also disagree with Sherwood's placement of various rigs on the chart. I think it needs to be understood that the ranking is by the far rightmost column only and that the other numbers are not considered in his ranking. His test results are useful so long as one knows what they are looking at and his preferred criteria.
  15. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back in the "goode olde dayes", the 1950s and well into the 1960s, the average receiver used by the majority of amateur radio operators was drifty, prone to images, the selectivity could best be described as "broad as a barn", many were basically deaf above 14 MHz, calibration was horrid (that is why a 100 kHz crystal calibrator was a "must"), and a number of "other" things. Yes, there were a relative few receivers (i.e. manufactured by Collins) that did not have major problems. Unfortunately, the cost of those receivers was well beyond the budgets of most operators. However, no one told us just how bad the receivers actually were. Therefore, we were "fat, dumb, and happy", made thousands of QSOs, and, basically, "had a ball"!

    Starting in the late 1950s, better, more affordable, receivers started creeping into the marketplace. By the late 1960s, the average receiver performance was light years better than just a decade before.

    In my opinion, each individual operator has to decide just what features, performance, and so forth, that they desire in a receiver. Then, the affordability, in terms of that operator's economic situation, has to be considered. There are very few amateur radio operators who have an unlimited budget and, therefore, compromises will almost always have to be made. The Sherwood ratings can be considered if the person so chooses and those ratings can be ignored if the person wishes. Various factors really need to be addressed and, in the end, the personal requirements of the individual will "tip the scales" as to which receiver is "best" for the individual.

    Over the years, I have operated a LOT of different units, probably more than most operators since I do repair, restore, align, etc., equipment for others. Also, the city in which I live, Richardson, Texas, has a very high concentration of amateur radio operators. As such, there are times during which there is a lot of activity. I have my preferences which may, or may not, coincide with those of others.

    Glen, K9STH
  16. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think there is some validity to the test numbers published by Sherwood and QST, but for casual operating it probably doesn't matter that much.

    Where the numbers become important is the situation where you are trying to separate two closely spaced signals, particularly when one is very strong and the other isn't. A higher quality receiver can separate the two, making it possible to copy both.

    It would be interesting to see how some of the QRP kits compare to the higher end gear. When you consider that the direct conversion receivers used in some of those kits are technically similar to modern SDR's, there could be some surprises. It may depend on how the 'computer' between your ears works. QST has reviews of some of the Norcal/Hendricks gear, but no lab test numbers. I don't remember my old HW-7 or HW-8 being great performers in that situation, but I did manage to work the DX somehow.

    To some extent, it's still a matter of personal preference. I haven't played with the FT-5000 yet, but some of the higher ranked rigs on the Sherwood list would not be my favorites. I don't think my IC-7000 is as poor as his list makes it look, but I am also certain that my older Ten Tec is much better than the IC-7000 or IC-746 that I own, as his findings would predict. I also prefer the audio of the old Ten Tec.

    I know that a Lamborghini will run circles around my Toyota. Sherwood would rank the Lambo miles above my Toyota. But I'm not even sure I could contort my body enough to get it into a Lambo, while the Toyota is a very comfortable fit. The Lambo probably doesn't have a nice cushy suspension to handle the big bumps and expansion joints on U.S. highways - it's tuned for going 200 kph on the autobahn. Similarly, some of the top end rigs I've used are race cars - great for competitions, but not so hot for every day use.
  17. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps. Perhaps not. It depends on the specific use of a vehicle that Mr. Sherwood is interested in as to which he would rank higher. Similarly, I've tried to point out that his receiver list is based solely on close-spaced CW performance (the far right hand column). That is his primary operating interest. Mr. Sherwood's page doesn't claim otherwise about the numbers. One can go up and down his list looking at the other numbers and arrive at a far different conclusion about the overall performance between receivers.
  18. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You'd think so, but it depends on the order of ranking. If he ranked them according to gasoline mileage from best to worst, the Toyota would probably clobber the Lamborghini.:eek: For that matter, if he ranked them according to typical maintenance cost over the first five years from lowest to highest, the Toyota would likely be very close to the top of the list, and the Lamborghini near the bottom.

    Nothing is "best" at everything.
  19. WA9CWX

    WA9CWX Ham Member QRZ Page

    In addition to all the above comments, I would add another factor is the personal satisfaction with the whole package of a radio for certain functions. I LOVE my Drake R4B for rag chew CW on the lower frequencies, I would not even begin to use it for hunting a weak signal on 20 meters in a pile up.
    SHerwood ratings are valuable, but personal taste is aquired..

  20. N0WYO

    N0WYO Ham Member QRZ Page

    For me anyway, Sherwood serves as a measuring stick. Besides, what works under lab conditions, behaves differently in the field most of the time.
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