FT-1000MP MkV Field

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I chose this radio after a long review of the available option on the market in mid-2003. Unfortunately, I was unable to try any out but I did consult widely. The FT-1000 series is a long-standing favourite with DXers and EXpeditions but does it really live up to its reputation?

In essence I don't think that it does. At its current price level it is certainly good value for money but here are the problems:

bulletKey clicks - a longstanding problem with the FT-1000 series. Can be cured by doing a mod to the radio but for this price and with a long-standing design, Yaesu should have fixed it.
bulletPoor second order intermods on receive - I don't know if this is something peculiar to my radio but with two or more strong signals in the passband on CW there are audible distortion products (spacings a few hundred Hertz). Not good.
bulletClicky sythesizer - tune around 3525kHz to hear a click as a loop resettles. This happens in various places in the amateur bands - poor design.
bulletDSP used to mask RX inadequacies - using the menu option, disable the DSP and see what I mean! The basic receiver is just not that good. No wonder Yaesu warn against turning it off in the manual.
bulletNoise blanker problems - the 3rd Order Performance of the RX is severely compromised with the noise blanker switched on. Again this is a long-standing problem and there is a mod available. Poor.
bulletPoor CW ergonomics - I got fed up with cycling through the CW DSP filters and Noise Reduction filters on the first day. It bugs me every time that I have to do it (frequently during every use of the radio).
bulletNo provision for both computer CW and using the internal keyer. An amazing oversight for a contesting radio. Elecraft manages a neat implementation of this with just one key jack ,Yaesu fails to do it even with two.

Those points combined with the fact that it took three goes before I got a radio that actually worked at all have knocked my confidence in the "top flight" radio.

Overall it is rather a disappointment. I'll keep it because I simply can't afford to replace it (and to be fair I'm not sure what would be better). In many respects the IC-737 that I had before was actually a better radio!

G3CWI

February 2004.

 

Here is a critique of my review with my comments inserted.

From UK Amateur Radio Newsgroup


"Stu" <Samalex@eidosnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<bvtssd$dek$1@sparta.
> If you look at the radio as is its very disappointing for sure and yaesu seem unwilling to repair or
> acknowledge the faults but if you do the mods or get someone to do them you will have a top class radio {how it
> should be}I felt I had made a bad move when I first bought a mkv but with time learning and playing I know feel
> it was the best that was on offer



You obviously feel that having to modify a top-of-the-line radio to
make its performance adequate is acceptable. I don't.


>
> Key clicks: most if not all radios have keyclicks mod is easy to do

I disagree. Most radios do not have keyclicks to any great extent. The
FT-1000 series all seem to have this problem.


>
>
> Poor CW ergonomics: seems ok to me on cw I use the 500hzs filters then if qrm around stick 250hzs in solves
> the problem with one button push I spent a long time getting the radio set up how I want it so maybe its time
> and playing you need with the radio the filter selection is easy to set up once you read the manual on cw and
> ssb you have 3 positions I have mine set for ssb as normal and then push second button to bring in the 2.0s on
> cw its set normal 500hzs ands 250hzs ok you cant select like the orig mp but in my eyes I want to have it the
> way I set it
>

My ergonomics beef is not related to time playing with the radio. It
is related to the cycling selector for the DSP filtering. There is no
"one touch" solution to this.



> CW with pc and key works fine with external keyer never tried with internal one as its no memories no use to me


The internal keyer does have memories but they are not accessible from
the standard radio. You need an external keypad (simple resistor
network design) to access them.


>
> As for contest use I think the ft1000 radios are the better of all new radios out there cw is easy when set up
> correctly with key and pc keying
>


I have not tried all the new radios out there so could not comment.

>
> I think its all down to what you want from a radio what is good for one isn't for another how one uses or is
> used maybe different as well
>
> What is out there that's new and better? nothing yet!
>
> K2 not perfect has troubles as well not all singing and dancing as they would want you to believe it also has
> key clicks
> Orion not perfect has trouble as well but hopefully will be the radio of all once the bugs are ironed out
> icom 756 pro2 not perfect no crystal filters can be added has keyclicks but easy to sort with menu setting
> 7800 LOOKS INTERESTING BUT YET TO BE PROVEN
> Kenwood ts2000 now that is a disappointment
>
> as for 737 do a side by side and like for like you will see the 1000 is better or maybe you have a bad one


In terms of overall functionality the FT-1000 wins hands down. In
terms of keyclicks and 2nd Order IMD the IC-737 is easily better. As
you say, maybe my second FT-1000 is a bad one as well? Incidentally I
dont think that I'm alone in noticing this second order IMD problem -
here is a quote from the INRAD website "Some operators [of the
FT-1000] on major DX-peditions have complained about poor readability
in large pile ups. From a joint effort between INRAD and some of these
operators, we are now offering the AGC mod which improves readability
somewhat for both CW and SSB. " I do not believe that the AGC is the
problem here which is why the Inrad mod is an imperfect solution. I
think that this is a manifestation of the same problem that I hear. Of
all the shortcomings, for me, this is the worst one as once I spotted
it I now hear it all the time on pile-ups. I spent ages trying to
figure out where the distortion was coming from and finally concluded
that it was not the AF stages (as I thought at first) not the DSP
(second guess), not the AGC (third guess) but was reciprocal mixing
due to close-in phase noise on the main sythesiser.

>
> A friend also had 1 mp that was duff but the second was ok

Good endorsement of a top-of-the-line radio. New purchasers would be
best to order two at a time to ensure that they get one good one...

I am inclined to think that the FT-1000 series lives on because people
remember how much better it was than the competition when it was first
introduced (was it 15 years ago or more?). It appears that the recent
development of the series has been largely cosmetic with some rather
mediocre additions to functionality and no real attention to the basic
performance issues. It still represents good value-for-money (in fact
never more so than now) but if you think that you're buying the
ultimate radio, be prepared to be disappointed!

73

Richard
G3CWI

 

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