Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VA2PV, May 21, 2018.
I disagree with all of your unfounded assertions and opinions.
Have another glass of Koolaid.
Would that be Japanese Kool-Aid, the same that you're drinking?
No,,,, I own a dozen American rigs in addition to my Japanese radios.
I didn't realize the release of the new Kenwood was going to hurt your feelings so badly. The good news is that the competition from all of these new Japanese offerings might just push Elecraft to up their game.
My feelings aren't hurt by the facts, that is, when they are, indeed, facts. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, let's express our opinions and behave like mature adults. Let's back up our "facts" with verifiable examples to make our point, let's not make unfounded statements and resort to argument when someone disagrees with them. If you look at the results of the Sherwood Engineering tests (verifiable "facts") you will see that the rigs that are CONSISTENTLY among the top performers are all superheterodyne receivers. The second examples of SDR receivers, the Flex 6700, Icom IC-R8600, Icom IC-7610, and Icom IC-7300, all show a wide deviation in performance between individual units, as much as a 14db difference for one of the specifications. There is no guarantee that the units that were tested represented the best or the worst performance of which these rigs are capable, or even where the "average" performance of all of the rigs of a particular model will fall. As I stated in an earlier post, SDRs achieve high dynamic range by "dithering" and "randomization" of their quantization noise (Icom calls this IP+) , and sensitivity and noise floor suffer as a result. Superhets don't have this limitation (which is why, I assume, that Kenwood designed the TS890 as a superhet instead of an SDR) and exhibit good sensitivity and good dynamic range AT THE SAME TIME. Therefore, any claim that an SDR is a "top performer" is questionable. Of all of the superheterodyne receivers, the Icom IC-7851, the Hilberling PT-8000A, and the Elecraft K3S (both examples of which had identical test results, except for a 1db difference in dynamic range) have the best results for ALL of the parameters for which Sherwood tests. The Yaesu FT-dx5000 does quite well, but it has phase noise problems (which also makes for a dirty transmitted signal) and its 100kHz blocking is more than 20db worse than the 2 best rigs. If the new Kenwood TS890 equals or betters the top three performers that we already have, that's great. Keep in mind that these are just "preliminary specs", an actual working radio has not been tested to verify Kenwood's claims. But it will STILL be a single receiver and NOT upgradeable to have dual receivers like the Hilberling, Icom, and Elecraft rigs. I'm sure that the folks at Elecraft (or any other manufacturer, for that matter) would like to hear just exactly how they could "up their game".
So what did I specifically post that is not a fact?
The Kenwood TS-890 IS a superhet.
According to Rob Sherwood the deviations, for the IC series radios at least, were all corrected by software enhancements which would lead one to believe that all of the models currently being sold would meet the stated performance. Keep in mind that there is a certain tolerance in all components so some variance between two of the same analog models is not inconceivable. Therfore, I would say the chances of the SDR having very close tolerance is higher than the analog representatives.
Looking at the Ic-7300 and the IC-7610, the noise floor is -133db and 132db respectively without pre-amplification or dithering of the bit stream, the Elecraft KsX is -123db. Those are facts. That is, in every case more than sufficient sensitivity for weak signal work. And that is also a fact.
Superhets also have limitations because of , component tolerances, component noise, filter blow by (although very small these days), LO phase noise ( a second sample of the K3 had to be tested with an improved HFO to correct that problem.) Fact. Your K3S requires the (expensive) Ultra low noise synthesizer option in order to make the specs on Sherwoods list, that cranks the price up will above the Ic-7610 which is becoming a very popular rig. Fact.
The FT-1000 was a really good contest radio for many years but it's day is gone and the rigs you mentioned are also getting long in the tooth. I'm sure Elecraft would like to know how to up their game. Maybe a re-design using an H-mode mixer followed by a digital platform. I don't know, but I do know that software defined radio is the future from a cost vs performance standpoint it simply cant be beat. The manufacturing costs for SDR are less which means more profit. ADC's are getting better every day, and FPGA's are getting higher in density and faster at the same time. I don't see analog radios lasting too much longer but for the foreseeable future I see the Kenwood rig at the top of the heap. Not a fact yet, but very likely in the near future.
The beauty of Elecraft gear is that it allows you to grow into, upgrade, downgrade or update your station as needed. Nobody else offers that modular flexibility. I started with a basic K3 and added second receiver. Now I can update select components to K3S standards. For example new low noise synths. I can pull the second RX out (since I rarely use it) and sell it and reinvest that into another upgrade or update. Yes, you pay a little more upfront for this type of gear but in the long run you don't have to rebuy a radio to get new features or functionality. I'm talking myself out of buying a new Flex 6600M !
Agreed on all points about the Elecraft gear. What really scares me about the Flex rigs is that the software is proprietary, it isn't open source like the ANAN equipment. When the software is no longer developed and when the OS gets changed or updated, there is no guarantee that your SDR will work. You may have a very expensive door stop or wheel chock, unless you have the Maestro or one of the "M" models with a front pannel. You really have to look at the Sherwood Engineering tests and read the annotations to understand the results. There are multiple results for sensitivity, noise floor, and dynamic range. If you follow along with the annotations, you can see that the high dynamic range figures apply ONLY when "dithering" and "randomization" are enabled, but this lowers the sensitivity to a point where you may be unable to hear weak signals on the higher bands where the background QRN is low. Switching off the dithering and randomization (Icom calls it "IP+") will raise the sensitivity, but the dynamic range will drop well below that of the better superhet rigs. With an SDR, you have to choose sensitivity OR dynamic range, with a superhet you can have both at the same time. This is a definite advantage when the bands are full of strong signals (like maybe during a contest weekend) and you are trying to work a weak station that is just above the band noise. The FPGA will be overloaded by the sum voltage of ALL of the signals that are present at its input, rendering the weak signals unreceivable. SDRs are probably the future for a lot of equipment because they are cheap to make, that's why the manufacturers are promoting them so heavily, and their performance will probably be "good enough" for a lot of people. Superhets will remain the top performers for a long time, we'll see how well the new Kenwood model compares to the current rigs after Sherwood publishes his tests.
"Your K3S requires the (expensive) Ultra low noise synthesizer option in order to make the specs on Sherwoods list, that cranks the price up will above the Ic-7610 which is becoming a very popular rig. Fact."
Be advised that the "Ultra low noise synthesizer" as you name it, is not an option, as you state, but standard with even the base K3S. I will admit we all get emotional about our favorite brand, myself included.
[QUOTE/]Be advised that the "Ultra low noise synthesizer" as you name it, is not an option, as you state, but standard with even the base K3S. I will admit we all get emotional about our favorite brand, myself included.[/QUOTE]
He confused the reference oscillator with the synthesizer. Just one of many things that he's confused about or doesn't understand. That's why I quit responding to him. Never argue with a fool.