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what is the best HF rig ever made??

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by M3WFO, Dec 5, 2009.

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  1. N8YX

    N8YX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ahhh...Steve...just where do you think the design concepts for the '830 originated?

    That's right - from the "R-820". Which is what I'm running with my TS-820S, in the same manner a TenTec owner can slave an RX-340 to a Pegasus.

    Comparing specs between the two, the '830's receiver is better in some areas; worse in others. Any one of the three I have will definitely hear a signal weaker than the 0.35uV spec published by Sherwood.

    No, the TS-820S is not the equal of an '830. But a set of "twins" most assuredly is.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You may be right about that. I've used an R-820 once or twice, but never owned one. If I recall correctly, it cost more than the TS-820S did (!) which is probably why I never owned one.:p

    Re "sensitivity," for me that's a fairly irrelevant figure since the figures are all lab measurements in a shielded system. That doesn't represent any sort of reasonable application. If you plug an antenna into a receiver (in the absence of a desired signal) and the noise level increases, you pretty much have all the sensitivity you can possibly use, with that antenna. On the HF bands this can be well over 2 uV; so 0.35 uV or 1.5 uV would sound exactly the same.
  3. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    And on 160 meters and 75/80 meters during the warmer months like 25 to 50, or more, microvolts may sound the same.

    Glen, K9STH
  4. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    FWIW I'll add my opinon(s) in the great Collins/Drake debate, specifically S-line vs. 4-line. And the nature of my comments make the specific incarnation of each irrelevant because they're focused around areas outside of "ultimate" performance; and pretty much centered on the subjective use of the receiver of each line. I doubt if there's much noticable difference between the transmitters in either line (of course, with the exception of the S-line transmitters that had multiple signals). The ouput power and cleanliness of the signals is pretty much in the realm where differences don't matter.

    Collins is the clear winner. While the Drake's PTO tuning is all that it should be...smooth, backlash free, resetable, can't hold a candle to the solid, tank-like feel of the Collins. (BTW...200hz readout is bad in the late 60's? :confused: ) Not to mention the solid, well-built permeability tuning arrangement in the pre-selector or driver stage in the Collins. That puppy was built to last and take massive abuse...again, built like a tank.

    And what crystal filter could ever have the smooth listen-ablilty of a Collins mechanical filter? I'd say none, especially the way it was used in the 'A4 or 75-S receivers. Once you get used to that Collins sound, you just can't go back.

    It could be argued that the Collins' 200kc bands and its lack of PBT is a drawback. This amounts to "convenience" rather than performance. Sure, it's a REAL PAIN to switch bands and crank around the tuning knob when one ventures below 3800 or 7200 on the Collins. But what one gets in return for that "work" is a 200kc PTO, and that translates to cost savings and probably better tracking. It's easier and cheaper to develop and build a 200kc PTO than it is a 500kc PTO. I'll make the same claim for the lack of PBT. One can acheive PBT in the Collins receivers with the BFO pitch control. No, it's not as convenient as a one-knob PBT, but, again, it's fewer parts, translating to a cost and reliability benefit.

    And that is eveident throughout S-line. I like to say that the 75S-3 is a vastly improved 75A-4. It retained (and maybe improved...but dunno about that) all of the performance while eliminating a whole bunch of hard to maintain stuff and put it in a smaller, lighter, more rugged package.

    I like to mangle an old Toyota slogan in this regard,

    "Get you hands on a 75-S3 and you'll never let go!"

    There's a reason for the "Collins Aura", and it doesn't have anything to do with price.

    Next installment will be the Apache vs. the Valiant!
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    More than a "few" people don't really like the way a Collins receiver "operates" the very first time that they use it. However, after a very short period the vast majority of those same people fall "in love" with the Collins equipment and just don't want to "go back" to anything else.

    I personally own a lot of equipment besides Collins and I have "worked on" a considerably large number of equipment manufactured by all of the "major" manufacturers and more than a "few" of the equipment manufactured by the less well known companies. Some of the equipment comes close to the performance of the Collins equipment and many units fall way "short" of the Collins equipment. There are all sorts of "toys" that can be found on more "modern" equipment. However, when "push comes to shove", it all boils down to whether or not a satisfactory level of "communication" can be achieved under all sorts of conditions. In that regard, you are going to have to look very hard to find equipment that even comes close to the absolute performance of the Collins equipment in every possible situation. Various individual units may outperform the Collins in a particular situation. But, when looking at the total overall picture, at least in my experience, the Collins equipment is going to come out "on top".

    Glen, K9STH
  6. W3JN

    W3JN Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only manufacturer I've seen that exceeds Collins quality is TMC. The one receiver they made for ham use - the GPR-90 - is a middling performer, but of the 10 or so I've had NONE have ever needed repair. Still, the GPR-90 is my favorite receiver in the shack - I like it better than any of my other recievers - it just looks, feels, and works "right" - and it matches my GPT-750 :D

    They used top-quality components in their products. The chassis are anodized, and the covers have Zeus fittings so as to afford easy access without removing a bazillion little screws. Finally the paint is also first-class - you never see peeling or "acne" bubbles under the paint on a TMC product.
  7. N8YX

    N8YX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Isn't that the truth.

    I really lucked out with the ones I currently have - bought the first back in the late 80s, when prices were low. Next unit was part of a 'set' being sold and all told, the receiver cost about the same as the transceiver.

    Last was an eBay "rescue" - $226 with "some pieces missing; blown-up AF-AVR board". The only thing missing was the shield over the IF-A board, which itself was loaded with accessory filters. That receiver sat in my spare closet for several years until I rebuilt it this past June/July. Probably took $50 in parts to get it fully functional, then another $180 in band-range crystals to shift its ham-band coverage to the newer BCB/ute ranges.

    The filters were transplanted into one of the "ham band" R-820s.

    A recent QTH sale listing had a TS-820S/R-820 pair going for $1500. I don't know whether or not the seller got his price, but I have less than that in all three of the receivers I own! :eek:

    I owned and operated an '830 for a number of years - liked the rig a lot - but the ergos of the '820 are more appealing to me. One day I may pick another one up.
  8. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You kidding, the older Collins mechanical filters had great skirt selectivity but sounded like an old fashioned reverb ( boing, boing) if you were dealing with strong signals. The Collins aura is a myth, they're just radios.//

    Besides a very nice Round Emblem KWM-2 I have owned a Collins 75S 3C receiver and a 32S 3A transmitter. They were very good and did feel solid, they should, Collins S line is Mil Spec equipment Drake 4 line is not.

    My Drake TR4CW with RIT and the Noise Blanker was a better rig by far than my KWM-2 which also felt solid and operated 100%, just not as good as the Drake. My S Line twins were no better than my Drake B line except the 75S had much better selectivity but the R4B sounds better.

    You have your opinion and I have mine. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and we all have our personal favorites.

    One things for sure, the best rig ever made simply hasn't been made yet.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  9. W4JJA

    W4JJA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had a Heathkit DX 100B. That gets my vote.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had one, also.

    It get my vote for the heaviest damned thing ever.
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