VK3NM  6 Metre Equipment Reviews
On this page various 6 metre rigs past and present will be briefly reviewed with some of the rigs going back to the early 70s to the latest rigs available in the new millenium.
73 Lionel VK3NM

Yaesu FT- 620   -  This was a 10 watt all mode transeiver with bands of 500 Khz from 50 to 54 Mhz each segments were controlled by crystals. This radio was very popular in the 70s but the receiver would need a good pre amp for serious DX working.

Yaesu FTV- 650B - Yaesu made 2 models of this transverter  the earlier version used Valves in the RX and TX and the B model used solid state components in the RX but still used valves in the TX  12BY7 driver to a 6146 final delivering about 60 - 70 watts out, The FTV- 650 was designed for the FT- 200 and the B model was for the FT- 101 series both models got their supply voltages from the accessory sockets of the HF radios I found the B model had a better receiver than the first model. The transverters used 28 Mhz as the tunable IF and the 12BY7 driver in the FT-101 and 200 drove the TX in the transverters.

Yaesu FT- 690B - These were 3 watt all mode transceivers that can be powered by internal C size batteries with a silver telescopic whip antenna on the front and a UHF ant socket at the rear. These units worked very well with good receiver sensitivity and worked well with a small linear amplifier in the car or in the shack however the S - Meter was a bit small to see when mobile.

Yaesu FT- 680R - An excellent all mode 10 watt mobile or base station transceiver with a very sensitive receiver and had a light blue frequency readout plus a repeater off set switch on the earlier model this switch was underneath the radio while on the latter model this switch was on the front.

Yaesu FT- 625D One of the best rigs made it had very sensitive receiver and an usefull power output of 25 Watts. The radio had a digitial readout and it was about half size of the FT- 101s with all mode operation.

  IC - 502- An Icom 3 watt portable SSB/CW portable transceiver with a large telescopic whip and an external ant socket  and because of their small size and power they were known as  "pea nut whistles" but they were fun rigs to use.The only negative thing about them was the dial calibration.They ran off dry cell batteries inside the radio.
The 502 covered 1 Mhz of the band but they were easy to retune them down to 50 Mhz from 52 Mhz when 50 Mhz was returned to us in VK.

IC- 551 - An all mode 10w transceiver with 2 VFOs which could be used for repeater offsets and split frequency operation a decent S meter, power meter and discriminater meter all in one. This unit came on the market in the early 80s and was followed by a 100 watt model IC - 551D.
The 551 could be tuned below 50 Mhz by playing around with some of the front panel controls which made it usefull for monitoring 49.750 Mhz TV signals but the sensitivity dropped off below 48 Mhz and the VCO dropped out all together around 46 Mhz. When listening to 49.750 Mhz the readout will display 59.750 Mhz.
The AC power supply in the IC - 551 was a switch mode type and some of the 240 volt models gave trouble due to not high enough voltage ratings of the diodes and mine had 1000 PIV installed replacing the 600 PIV diodes.

IC- 505 This model was a 10 Watt all mode transceiver that could used of internal C type batteries or an external 12 volt supply. It had a telescopic antenna and a external ant socket at the rear. It worked very well pedestrain mobile with a shoulder strap or in the car.
One important note about this radio is never remove the whip antenna otherwise the final transistors will be mismatched even when using the external antenna.

Kenwood TS- 600 All mode 10 watt transceiver with an analogue dial about the half size of a TS- 520 the 6 metre band was divided into 4 one meg segments. This a very good radio for DX working but the only flaw I could find with the receiver is it was proned to AM broadcast station cross modulation if you lived near some like I did.

TS- 680 This was a HF plus 6 metres radio with 100 watts on HF and 10 watts on six and it was one of the best 6 metre rigs I have used both in the shack and in the car, it was slightly small then the TS- 600 and had a digitial readout and seperate ant sockets for HF and six.

TV- 506 This was a 10 watt transverter for the TS- 520 HF transceivers using 10 metres as the IF and unlike the Yaesu transverters the TV- 506 was all solid state. Eventhough I never owned one myself I knew of others using them and thought the receiver could use a pre amp for weak signals.

TR- 9300 A 10 watt all mode mobile transceiver with a digitial readout and very sensitive RX One of features is to be able to tune very quickly with different steps and also with the up/down buttons on the hand mic. A very good rig for serious DX work.

The rigs reviewed above can be found at various Ham conventions or advertised in the radio magizines and perhaps on the internet.
By obtaining one of these radios will get you on the magic band for a fraction of the price of present day radios such as the IC- 706 or other expensive HF/VHF/UHF radios.
73 Lionel VK3NM