and DSP Stuff:
capabilities of this rig seem to be comparable to an Icom 706MKIIg to me. It's a little noisy, but not horrible. My Icom 746pro seems like it is more sensitive and has better audio fidelilty, but it's also twice the price. Basically if you remember that you're using an $800 rig, your expectations will be met.
One thing that isn't terribly obvious from the manual is that there is a RX
Preamp that is turned on by default. For HF
use, you're probably going to want to turn this off by default to minimize some of the noise. The manual calls this feature "IPO" or "Intercept Point Optimization". Check page 26 for the instructions on how to disable this. For me, this made a big difference.
I find that the Noise Blanker really does work pretty well. On one occasion I was using the rig on the base while my neighbor was mowing his lawn and I was picking up a little motor noise in the RX
. Kicking on the NB eliminitated it. It also seems to reduce some of the various odd sounds I pick up from living in the middle of a big city.
Another useful feature that isn't obvious by looking at the face of the radio is that the Clarifier knob doubles as an IF Shift, as well. IF you hit the little button that isn't labeled just above and to the left of the clarifier knob, it now functions as IF Shift. I actually find it more useful to leave it this way. There is also a menu function that moves the clarifier knob function to the Mem/VFO CH knob (menu 021). This also seems to be a fairly useful way to configure the front panel since the rig already has a large VFO dial. Check page 24 of the manual for more details on this.
The basic DSP functions like Noise Reduction and Auto Notch works pretty good for AF DSP. Using the noise reduction in conjunction with RF Gain yields the best results. To adjust the DSP bandpass cutoffs, you have to go into the menu settings. It would be really nice if you could just vary this from a knob on the front panel, but some things have to be sacrificed when you go small with the rig. The quickest way to adjust this is to hit the DSP button on the top right which activates the DSP functions on the screen. Now you can press the C button below the panel which will be labeled DBF on the screen. This takes you directly to the menu settings for DSP HPF and LPF Cutoff. It's not the quickest thing in the world, but it does work OK for general usage. It's also not as easy to understand as some of the other rigs available.
One other thing to note is that this rig has a built in 0.5ppm TXCO and seems to be very stable on frequency. I've used it on Ham and MARS frequencies in both voice and digital modes. I've never had any complaints about this rig being off while passing digital traffic on the MARS nets, and I know I would if that was the case.
For me, this rig is a very useful and capable portable base rig for both fun and emergency use. It's almost as if they designed the rig with the emergency operator in mind. If you attach the LDG tuner to the side, you really do have a very good all mode HF
take anywhere rig.