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Jim Low man
Well, Dave, your observations have caused me to take a second look at
the K3(S) with transverters for VHF/UHF weak-signal work.

The only problem is, an amplifier to bring the 2m power output of the 2m
option for the K3(S) up to 120w or so is around $650 (looking at Mirage)
and 120w is not all that much power, absent an antenna with very high gain.

But your observation as to the number of serious weak-signal operators
caused me to do some research.

Looking back 10 years to the 2004 June ARRL VHF contest, and comparing
it with the results for the same contest in 2014, the total number of
stations submitting logs actually increased from 766 to 1,042.
I'd have to say that these results show that we still have a good number
of serious weak-signal operators.

The January VHF contests from the same 10-year span showed a decrease
from 833 to 622 logs submitted, but I might attribute that to having a
larger number of operators being able to set up shop on mountaintops,
whether portable or rover class, due to better weather conditions in June.

The sample size of 1,042 goes to prove what Eric (Elecraft) stated about
the limited market for a dedicated VHF/UHF transceiver - and these
operators obviously have the required equipment already.

73 de Jim - AD6CW

On 9/17/2015 10:44 AM, Dave Olean wrote:

> There used to be a larger number of "serious weak signal VHF
> operators, but the serious VHF operators are all dying off with no
> young ones to replace them. I use three K3s and  three K2s in my VHF
> station. I have one Ten Tec OMNI V as well on 432. The big difference
> between a great HF vs VHF radio is that LO purity and reciprical
> mixing performance is paramount on VHF, while HF requires the close in
> dynamic range to be exemplary. I have yet to see a good multi mode or
> "do all" radio from any manufacturer. I have never used one in my
> station as a result. Strong signals on VHf can be a huge problem when
> giant antennas and high locations are in use. Stations 60 or 70 miles
> away can clobber you very easily. ERP levels can approach 150 KW.
>    I have always been intrigued by the Sherwood numbers for the
> Kenwood TS-820S and TS-830 with YK88 filters. They don't look so bad
> in the listing, but they were awful on VHF in strong signal
> environments with high gain (20 dBd) antennas. Local oscillator noise
> did not cut it.  The K3 with the new synthesizer is about 40 db or
> more better. I had the Kenwoods back in the 90's and dumped them for
> K2s and Ten Tec radios. What a difference. The K3 is icing on the
> cake. I started using them soon after they came out. They are great on
> VHF and not too shabby on 160 meters also. (heh heh) I don't think I
> can recall an overload problem with the Elecraft radios or the Ten Tec
> OMNI for that matter. The OMNI V used crystal oscillators in the 1st
> LO, so it was pretty clean. The new K3 synthesizer is awesome. It can
> handle a 0 dBm signal next to a -135 dBm signal and live to tell about
> it!
>    I have the 144 built in transverter in one of my K3's, but have not
> used it as it is too low power to drive my big amplifier. Someday I'll
> resolve that situation and it should work great. Of course VHF
> contesting is different in different parts of the country. I live in
> rural Maine about 250 or 275 miles from New York City.  I am on the
> edge of the golden activity corridor. From my place, it is unwise to
> use multi mode Japanese rigs for serious contesting. Between the
> deafness and LO phase noise problems, you would have your hands full.
> Another ham 50 miles away could have a KW and large antenna that was
> line of sight or almost line of sight, and squash your receiver like a
> bug. Every  VHF band here has a good HF radio for the receiver. K3s,
> K2s, and one OMNI V from Ten Tec
>
> Dave K1WHS

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Serious weak-signal VHF operators?

Jim Low man


Well, Dave, your observations have caused me to take a second look at
the K3(S) with transverters for VHF/UHF weak-signal work.

The only problem is, an amplifier to bring the 2m power output of the 2m
option for the K3(S) up to 120w or so is around $650 (looking at Mirage)
and 120w is not all that much power, absent an antenna with very high gain.

But your observation as to the number of serious weak-signal operators
caused me to do some research.

Looking back 10 years to the 2004 June ARRL VHF contest, and comparing
it with the results for the same contest in 2014, the total number of
stations submitting logs actually increased from 766 to 1,042.
I'd have to say that these results show that we still have a good number
of serious weak-signal operators.

The January VHF contests from the same 10-year span showed a decrease
from 833 to 622 logs submitted, but I might attribute that to having a
larger number of operators being able to set up shop on mountaintops,
whether portable or rover class, due to better weather conditions in June.

The sample size of 1,042 goes to prove what Eric (Elecraft) stated about
the limited market for a dedicated VHF/UHF transceiver - and these
operators obviously have the required equipment already.

73 de Jim - AD6CW

On 9/17/2015 10:44 AM, Dave Olean wrote:

> There used to be a larger number of "serious weak signal VHF
> operators, but the serious VHF operators are all dying off with no
> young ones to replace them. I use three K3s and  three K2s in my VHF
> station. I have one Ten Tec OMNI V as well on 432. The big difference
> between a great HF vs VHF radio is that LO purity and reciprical
> mixing performance is paramount on VHF, while HF requires the close in
> dynamic range to be exemplary. I have yet to see a good multi mode or
> "do all" radio from any manufacturer. I have never used one in my
> station as a result. Strong signals on VHf can be a huge problem when
> giant antennas and high locations are in use. Stations 60 or 70 miles
> away can clobber you very easily. ERP levels can approach 150 KW.
>    I have always been intrigued by the Sherwood numbers for the
> Kenwood TS-820S and TS-830 with YK88 filters. They don't look so bad
> in the listing, but they were awful on VHF in strong signal
> environments with high gain (20 dBd) antennas. Local oscillator noise
> did not cut it.  The K3 with the new synthesizer is about 40 db or
> more better. I had the Kenwoods back in the 90's and dumped them for
> K2s and Ten Tec radios. What a difference. The K3 is icing on the
> cake. I started using them soon after they came out. They are great on
> VHF and not too shabby on 160 meters also. (heh heh) I don't think I
> can recall an overload problem with the Elecraft radios or the Ten Tec
> OMNI for that matter. The OMNI V used crystal oscillators in the 1st
> LO, so it was pretty clean. The new K3 synthesizer is awesome. It can
> handle a 0 dBm signal next to a -135 dBm signal and live to tell about
> it!
>    I have the 144 built in transverter in one of my K3's, but have not
> used it as it is too low power to drive my big amplifier. Someday I'll
> resolve that situation and it should work great. Of course VHF
> contesting is different in different parts of the country. I live in
> rural Maine about 250 or 275 miles from New York City.  I am on the
> edge of the golden activity corridor. From my place, it is unwise to
> use multi mode Japanese rigs for serious contesting. Between the
> deafness and LO phase noise problems, you would have your hands full.
> Another ham 50 miles away could have a KW and large antenna that was
> line of sight or almost line of sight, and squash your receiver like a
> bug. Every  VHF band here has a good HF radio for the receiver. K3s,
> K2s, and one OMNI V from Ten Tec
>
> Dave K1WHS


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Re: (no subject)

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by Jim Low man
On Thu,9/17/2015 8:40 PM, [hidden email] wrote:
> The only problem is, an amplifier to bring the 2m power output of the
> 2m option for the K3(S) up to 120w or so is around $650 (looking at
> Mirage) and 120w is not all that much power, absent an antenna with
> very high gain.

Remember I said yesterday that I found four vintage (meaning good
quality, NorCal) Mirage or RF Concepts brick amps just by asking on
local club reflectors? The most I paid was $100. All four were in good
working condition. They put out about 150W.

73, Jim K9YC
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Re: (no subject)

Wes (N7WS)
My experience (admittedly ancient) is that good quality and Mirage said in the
same sentence is an oxymoron, or in other words, a mirage.

RF Concepts amps were fine.


On 9/17/2015 10:30 PM, Jim Brown wrote:

> On Thu,9/17/2015 8:40 PM, [hidden email] wrote:
>> The only problem is, an amplifier to bring the 2m power output of the 2m
>> option for the K3(S) up to 120w or so is around $650 (looking at Mirage) and
>> 120w is not all that much power, absent an antenna with very high gain.
>
> Remember I said yesterday that I found four vintage (meaning good quality,
> NorCal) Mirage or RF Concepts brick amps just by asking on local club
> reflectors? The most I paid was $100. All four were in good working condition.
> They put out about 150W.
>
> 73, Jim K9YC

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Re: (no subject)

Jim Brown-10
On Fri,9/18/2015 1:46 PM, Wes (N7WS) wrote:
> My experience (admittedly ancient) is that good quality and Mirage
> said in the same sentence is an oxymoron, or in other words, a mirage.

Wes,

Do you include the original ('70s vintage from NorCal) in that assessment?

73, Jim
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