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Who makes a modern HF transceiver with TS-830S receive audio

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N8FVJ, Aug 27, 2019.

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  1. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I want a very clear & quiet sounding HF transceiver on receive like a Kenwood TS-830S. Reliable and no frequency drift with no tune SS transmit. Old TS-930 and TS-940s are also great sounding, but not reliable.
    AF7XT and KA4DPO like this.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    As far as I know, "nobody."

    At least not today. There are all-analog radios but they're all QRP rigs or CW-only or otherwise limited in many ways. For "big home station" 100W multi-mode transceivers, zilch.

    But a "used" rig that sounds very good (analog, not DDS, not DSP) but is all-band, all-mode, solid-state and reliable, the Drake TR-7 fits that bill. I've had mine since 1978 (purchased new), it was manufactured for several years but the newest ones are about 35 years old. It actually came to market before the TS-830S, but does cover the WARC bands. Actually, it covers everything from 1.500 to 29.999 MHz, both RX and TX so be careful about not transmitting out of band. But its digital readout is accurate (it uses a real frequency counter, which you can also use as a bench tool since you can access the counter for general purpose use via a rear-panel connector) and warmup drift isn't much -- about 500 Hz over the course of the first 15 mins or so and then just about none.

    The TR-7's RF signal path is analog, although the injection frequency generation is synthesized. The stock SSB filter sounds very good, but two more filters can be installed and for more "fidelity," a wider filter can be used. For AM, a 6 kHz filter was available, or to go whole hog for SW listening, you can just install a simple jumper wire where the filter would go (so "no crystal filter for AM" at all), and it can produce real fidelity, with about an 8 kHz bandwidth established by the roofing filter which is always in line.

    If not abused or serviced by a "golden screwdriver," they're very reliable and were often used for MARS and embassy services around the world. I've had mine for 41 years and the only thing that's ever failed were the #53 pilot lamps.:p
    WA8FOZ, K3XR, NL7W and 4 others like this.
  3. K1LKP

    K1LKP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page



    73 - K1LKP
  4. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is not the Drake TR-7 drifty even after warm up? Ham radio operators complain if you drift 2Hz off of frequency.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    WQ4G likes this.
  5. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are several stabilization circuits that can be used to fix the drift in a TR-7.

    As I recall, Ten Tec stopped making PTOs for their rigs because the lady who did the temperature compensation on them retired!
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    No, it's not.

    Certainly not more than a TS-830S! It uses a very stable PTO and in my experience that settles to "no drift measurable" after 15 mins. Possibly a bit less in a temperature-stable and fairly warm (25-30C) environment.

    My test is to just tune to WWV at 10.000 MHz and let it sit there but in SSB mode (not AM) so I can hear a beat frequency; set it to zero-beat when cold, come back 20 mins later and it's off maybe 200 Hz. Re-set to zero beat, come back several hours later, it's still zero-beat.
    VK6APZ and KA4DPO like this.
  7. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The TS-830S was one of the best sounding rigs ever. The only other radio I can think of that sounds as good on SSB is my R4B, however, the TS-830S was far more selective, and was really a much better receiver than the Drake. Too bad no one makes radios that sound that good anymore. I think probably because it was ham band only, it had a much tighter front end that band limited the amount of noise into the RF amp and mixer.

    That made for a quieter signal path all the way through the receiver. I also think the audio section a lot better than those in todays radios, Almost all of the modern rigs audio is an analog reconstruction of a digital IF signal, D to A from the DSP. The audio from heavily processed digital signals is usually harsh, and contains some high frequency artifact that is annoying.

    I don't think the TR-7 drifts very much at all, maybe plus and minus a few HZ after warm up. Drake PTO's were about as good as they got back then, I think they were as good as the Collins PTO's of the same era.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    NL7W likes this.
  8. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I read the TS-930 & TS-940 was very close to TS-830 receive audio. The TS-850 was almost as good as the TS-940, but still unreliable. I also read the TS-570 & TS-870 audio is about as close as one can get to a TS-940 receive audio in a modern radio. But....
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    IMO, not really "as good," but quite different.

    The famous, stable, amazingly well-tracking Collins PTOs used vacuum tubes and generated heat, so they not only had to be compensated to track properly but also for temperature. They got them to track amazingly well, which I understand was pretty much done "one at a time" by technicians who were really good.

    The Drake PTO is solid-state and generates about zero heat, plus even if it didn't track very well it hardly matters since the display is a digital frequency counter.:p But in the TR-7 there also is an analog dial and it tracks impressively well. It just doesn't need to be perfect, since there's almost no reason to look at it.:)
    KA4DPO likes this.
  10. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    My experience with Kenwoods. I love the late 80's and 90's kenwood, especially the blue VFD displays.

    TS-430 - I only recently got one of these and it has been sent to for alignment and checking out. It was only doing about 70w when I got it. The receive audio sounded way better than I expected. I call this one "the little radio that could"

    TS-440 - Probably one of the greatest entry-level radios of all time. Universally suffers from the "dot problem" (PLL unlock due to anti-vibration glue absorbing moisture over time) and from keybutton bouncing, both of which are repairable. I have two of them I am working on right now.

    TS-480 - A solid mobile-ready radio. I only owned one for a short time during the lull of 2006/7 but it did well for me.

    TS-590s/sg - A solid radio all around. No reliability issues yet but the early "S" models (prior to S/N B4xxxx I believe) had a faulty ALC design that requires extensive rework. There is also extensive power overshoot on transmit with all of them, which precludes using a 590 with most solid state amplifiers, which will protect themselves from even a milliseconds-long input overpower event. I would not get a 590 of any flavor for use with a solid state amplifier.

    TS-690 - A great workhorse for an entry level radio. Expect TS-440-like receiver and audio performance, though not quite as good. I am on my second one and love it.

    TS-850 - earlier rigs have problems with failing DDS ICs on the carrier board. Later units not affected, and there is an aftermarket replacement DDS board for all of them. Nearly all 850s at this point need to be re-capped as well. These make fantastic CW rigs but need the optional filters installed. Mine is fully functional but needs filters.

    TS-870 - Wonderful radio in almost every respect. Zero group-delay filtering for great audio reconstruction. Many have issues with the 9174 GIPO expanders used to select the RF filters. These ICs are difficult if not impossible to obtain, but can be emulated easily with a CPLD or FPGA with external drive transistors (because 12 volts). Mine has this issue so sits in the closet for now.

    TS-940 - A great radio with serious component reliability issues. I would not even consider buying one except as a project radio (and who has time for that anymore?) We had two of them at Georgia Tech when I was there and they were finicky.

    TS-950SDX - A truly amazing radio. I have owned one for about 6 months now and it has become my daily driver despite having a 590SG right next to it on my desk. I get great signal reports on it and can hear just about everything. It has a few squawks, mostly with dirty encoders. I need to get some deoxit on it some time soon.
    N3AWS and NL7W like this.

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