My “working conditions”

As i already explained in my previous post, I live in a small flat in a building block where I am not allowed to build large antennas. So let me describe my modest setup I have in my shack.
My “working conditions”.

The Radio

The radio is a standard Kenwood TS-480SAT. I’m a Kenwood fan, but for no particular reason. During the last cycle I owned a Kenwood TS-50 which I exchanged for a Kenwood TS-570D and I got to know these radios, I know more or less how they work and I like them. So the obvious choice for my next radio was the TS-480. It’s a fairly cheap radio and performs as good as many rigs that have a much higher price tag.

I never used Yaesus. I don’t like the audio of them when I tried one, but I assume that you can adjust the audio to your liking like any other rig.

I like the Icoms a lot because of the huge displays they provide. One of the things Kenwood could improve on is the fact that you cannot see any settings on the display. If you want to know what your filer settings are you have to go into menus. If you want to know your DSP settings, menus. If they show something at all it is if a function is switched on or off. NR is an example. You can see if NR is on or off, but you cannot see the level of NR you are applying.
The issue I have with Icoms is their price. They are way too expensive for what they provide as a radio.

If there will ever be a “next” radio it will probably be a Ten-Tec Orion. I hear good things about that radio. However, there are many things that have to improve on the rest of my setup before I can justify a better radio.

The antenna
I am using a Falcon Outback 2000 antenna. This antenna is meant to be for mobile use and covers all bands from 6 to 80m by connecting the base of the antenna to different predefined spots on the coil of the antena.

Now, this antenna has a maximum length of 1.85m. With an antenna this short in theory it is not easy to work the lower bands. However, although the antenna performs best on 10 and 12m (and on 11 which I still occasionally use, I do make contacts all over the world on 20m as well.

I cannot say that I’m the strongest station in pile-ups, but I can participate and by being just a little bit smarter than the majority of the other stations out there, and by tuning the audio of the radio so I produce a strong audio signal, i can get through pile-ups as well. Obviously, when big stations with a lot of power and good antennas are calling at the same time, I lose. But as I said, you don’t always have to be strong if you try to be smart. Sometimes I feel like David fighting the Goliaths of the air waves.

PC

For following the DX Cluster and for logging I use an old Dell laptop running Windows XP and Ham Radio DeLuxe.
I like HRD for it’s extensive range of features, it’s reasonably easy to use and it’s free. At least until now. Two weeks ago the developer of HRD sold the program so we will have to see what the future will bring regarding HRD. I ALWAYS use my PC when I am using the radio and at some point I will try to write an article what I use the PC for and why.


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