Thursday, 21 February 2013

Visit to Waters and Stanton

I visited W&S this morning. My trip was to purchase a KAT3 internal ATU for my K3. I couldn't wait for Dayton!
My trip coincided with the first demonstration of the new Kenwood TS990 136kHz ( the ads say 1.8MHz) to 50MHz transceiver in the UK ( it said.....) at a UK dealer.
Unfortunately I am not sure I got the correct name of the Kenwood guy who was doing the demonstration. I think it was Dave Wilkins. Apologies if I got that wrong. He did a good job, however.
My first impressions were very favourable. A nicely made radio with lots of features and buttons! Kenwood have obviously put a lot of work and thought into this new flagship radio.
For over £6k I did think it missed a couple of things I would like to have seen included. The radio is clearly aimed at the HF operator. It may not really cut it as an ideal IF radio for VHF or above. Now there is a surprise! Although it has a reasonably good transverter interface arrangement (transmit is 0dBm at the DRV socket, with receive via the Phono rx in socket), I didn't get an answer as to what its transvert band options were. Neither did I find out if it had facilities for displaying transverter IF offsets etc.
It did include an external 10MHz reference input that could also be used for reference out to synch two such radios. A nice touch that will be especially appreciated by the digital guys.
The facilities included a colour screen that can display from +/- 5 kHz to +/-500kHz in both spectrum and waterfall. However, it didn't appear to include a continuum noise measurement mode and since the radio has no IF output it cannot apparently drive e.g. an SDR-IQ receiver that can run continuum mode. If you don't know what continuum mode is used for, or how useful it is, you aren't really using your radio!
If I seriously operated HF and had the money, I would certainly consider buying one. For now my K3 offers better value. Now to go and fit the KAT3 to it and see how well it works compared to the external MFJ manual antenna matching unit I have been using.
Look for me on WSPR. When I'm in the shack or office, but busy on other things I tend to leave it on. Yesterday I was on 20m. From the WSPR reporting page I noticed that my coverage from the improvised vertical seems to be nicely omnidirectional. That is as I would expect from the vertical at the bottom of the garden, with a clear take off over more than 320 degrees.
73 for now de Sam
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1 comment:

  1. But who can seriously justify £6.6k for an AMATEUR radio? I have problems justifying even £1k for the KX3 (to myself).