Hello to all. My name is Tim, W0YV, and a proud new owner of the FTDX-5000MP. I wanted to share my first impressions of the radio, which are not scientific in nature just one man's opinion.
First of all I have been a ham since 77 and been on and off the air in numerous locations around the world. (check out QRZ). I am
a heavy SSB
user, I can operate CW, but just haven't devoted much time to it. I purchased the 5000MP model to get the 300Hz filter (which is specifically for CW) so I do plan to run a lot more on CW. I have operated limited data modes (RTTY/PSK) but am
planning to use this rig to expand my operation of these various modes also. I love to Ragchew, chase DX, and participate in contests, but due to my military commitments over the years I've never had the time to devote myself the hobby.
My home station (Robins, IA) includes an Ameritron AL-82 Amp and a Mosley Pro 67a antenna at about 75Ft. My previous rig was a FT
-920 (with all the INRAD filters) which I purchase back in 98 while stationed in Hawaii (KH6/WE8P).
With that intro let me give my first impressions of the FTDX-5000MP.
1. It is a heavy well constructed radio (approx 50lbs). Not for portable or even transportable operations. You are going to want to find the right place in the shack for this radio and leave it there. When the shipping box has nylon handles on the side you know there is some heavy metal inside.
2. I read the manual prior to receiving the radio and found it to be easy to follow with lots of examples. It allowed me to begin using the radio as soon as I had it powered up. Unlike some other radios that require a lot of menu settings to really work, you can plug this radio in, hook up a mic, key, antenna and off you go.
3. When I got the radio on the bench I immediately liked the feel of the dials, knobs, switches, its hard to explain but it had that feel of luxury. The main VFO knob has a great feel to it.
4. The next thing I did was hook up my Mosley antenna, set the band to 20M/USB and noticed how quite the receiver was. Again, hard to explain, but itís was striking. I tuned in my first station (DX out of Europe) and the voice of the operator just jump out at me. (I do have the station monitor with the dual speakers and they sound really nice) So I took the stock hand mic that came with the radio, adjusted the ALC and made my first contact (DX in Germany) within 5-10 minutes of putting this rig on the air. For all the stories of frustration some Hams have had getting new rigs on the air, this is not one of them.
5. Casually working into Europe through the morning hours, and spending a little more time working the various adjustments, I realized how great the ergonomics of the rig is. Particularly the way Yaesu laid out the controls to the filters for both receivers. The small dedicated LCD screens give you an immediate graphical representation of what adjustments you are making. Not only do you reduce the QRM/QRN noises, you can see what is happening and therefore become a lot smarter of filter dynamics in a short period of time. Throughout my initial 10 DX contacts (to include VQ9LA) I was always able to reduce or eliminate the QRM. This initial out of the box experience made me feel pretty good about my decision to go with this higher end radio.
6. I found the band scope that is part of the station monitor to be an excellent addition. I would highly recommend anyone thinking of the FT
-5000 to go with the FT
-5000D model and get the monitor. It not only shows the stations around your frequency, but it also lets you see your own signal so you can be confident in the quality of your transmission. The speakers that come with the monitor sound great. The nice option with this set up is you can set one speaker to VFO A and the other to VFO B each receiver with their own AF/RF adjustments so you can look around for other stations at the same time you having a QSO, or maybe keep an ear on 6M openings or such. I tried setting both receivers on the same freq and routing their outputs to the separate speakers, the sound was really nice. I look forward to using this feature on 75/160M where signals are a little harder to pick out some time using multiple antennas. (e.g. diversity)
7. The transmitter was pretty straight forward. After a while, I put away the hand microphone and put my old Heil Goldline (wide element) on the air with no equalizer or compression, and the reports I received were all good to great. I ran a small pill up last night on 40M as there was a lot of interest on the FTDX-5000. After about 100 QSOs, over a couple of hours, I think I can say with a sense of confidence that this radio sounds good on the air. One Ham recorded and played back my transmissions and I must say it sounded good to my ears.
8. The only issue I have come across so far is a popping sound when I key the microphone after enabling the equalization and/or compression modes. If I turn those features off there is not a pop. One Ham suggested that it might have to do with the slower relays in the Amp (Ameritron), but I am
not sure yet. I will be curious if anyone else has seen this issue or not. I will do a little more investigation and then get with Yaesu as needed.
9. One feature I really like is the 75W Class A amplifier. I know there has been a lot of discussion about running Class A or not. Class A is not about making you signal sound better, because Class A/B is plenty good enough for that, it is about the IMD of your signal and whether or not youíre wide or very narrow. When I am
running the amp, I try to keep my signal as clean as possible, and class A definitely makes a difference. Put it on a scope and see for yourself. You can go in and adjust the bias of the class A amp to make it more A/B but I havenít had the time to see what the optimal setting (in regards to IMD and Heat dissipation of the finals) might be to run somewhere between A and A/B.
10. Barefoot (200w) has a lot of punch and I found working DX was not a problem without the amp.
11. I received a lot of questions over the last day or so about features and such. I would just say, at a minimum I would get the FTDX 5000D model with the monitor scope. It not only gives you a nice sound from the stereo speakers but the band scope quickly becomes a key accessory that would be hard to live without. If you are into CW you definitely want the MP version with the better oscillator and 300Hz filter. I tried listening to some CW and when I put on the 300Hz the signal just jump out of the rig and all other QRM was gone.
I hope this helps those who are looking at the rig and trying to decide if it is worth the money. I have not had time to really dig into the specifications; I am
only giving my first impressions. I have had more fun on the air with this radio than Iíve had in a long time. It really is a beautiful looking and sounding radio. I look forward to the ARRL review to check on the specifications. And did I mention that this radio is software upgradeable. It can only get better.