Thursday, October 8, 2009

I could not resist... a sneak preview

That was me not posting, since I had my nose in the books, well, and wikipedia ;-)

The exam is written, new books did not arrive yet, no parties or other obligations... a perfect time to ... buy a new rig.
Which I did!
Now, there is an additional small big one sitting on my shelf. Small and big to the same time? Yep, I bought a Yaesu FT-450. Primarily w/o the internal tuner option. The very friendly dealer gave me the hint, that in fact buying the tuner-less FT-450 and the tuner ATU-450 itself later on will actually be saving money over buying the FT-450AT. We both agreed that this does not make any deeper sense, marketing-wise and could be explained by a stragetic error in Yaesu's HQ only.

Experience sofar, nice rig, however pretty useless without a manual! I guess, I will have to free space in the shack to allow easy access to the printed documentation. Some settings come along easy, for some settings one needs to dive deep into the menus. At a first glance, the rig seemed to be factory set to voice operators. Actually, I was even dissapointed with the CW capabilities at first. However, with the help of the manual, I am coming closer to settings which would satisfy my needs for comfortable A1A operations.

Things I liked directly:
  • the key/paddle connects to the front face
  • 3.5mm key- and phones-connectors
  • nicely arranged display
  • all dials positioned low
  • flat "car type" fuses
  • receives well below 100kHz (tested on DCF77)
Things I disliked directly:
  • noise from the AF stage, even w/ volume set to minimum
  • ATT on by default at lower frequencies
  • single leads power-cord (not twin-lead!)
  • tiny GND-connection screw
  • a lot of the default settings
A few words to the last point. The main dial, you would assume, dials in all modes. But no, the default setting of the main dial is not to do anything when in AM or FM modes. To me, that does make little sense. In the default settings, the only way of navigating around the SW-BC ranges in AM is the smaller "select" dial, which defaults to 5kHz steps. At short-wave ranges, this does make some sense, however, it does not, when going lower, since in Europe, tuning steps for MW-BC are required to be 9kHz wide... Since the main menu is silent about the main dial, in order to activate the main dial for AM and FM, one has to activate the extended menu first.
Settings settings settings...

Thus, more on the radio, as soon as I understood more of the transceiver's main, extended and hidden menues.