Monday, 10-Mar-2014 15:33:41 GMT
October 28, 1997
INRAD tells me that the 2.1kHz SSB filter is on, and they expect to have it in about the middle of December. Estimated cost will be $110, but keep in mind that this is subject to change. My understanding is that the filter will replace the existing 2.4kHz filter, and requires that the circuit board on the bottom of the radio be at least partially removed to desolder the stock filter. You will then have to solder the new crystal filter in place.
I look forward to receipt of my filter, and will have more information about the installation process at that time.
October 26, 1997
WOW. What a kick. The CQWW contest was a blast. Worked 279, and learned alot about how to work DX with the FT920. With the IF shift, the noise reduction, and the DSP, I added 13 new countries to my total. Saturday was a problem with 30+ mph winds at my QTH, my antenna blowing around, and an S9 noise level. The 920 did an adequate job, but the noise was just too much for me. Sunday went well. The noise level dropped to about S3, and turning off the preamp seemed to help. I was able to work about 60 stations on 10m, including into africa, and really had fun on 15m. One thing that I really like about the 920, is that it seems to put out a good signal. Nearly anytime I could hear a station, they could hear me. I sometimes had to struggle to hear them, but very few stations asked me to repeat my call.
I used the DVR a bit, and wish that I had used it more. It would have saved some strain on my voice. The DVR needs to have the ability to control the input level. The output seems to be controllable by mic gain, and compression, but if the input is too hot (as it seems to be with my Heil mic), the recording will be too hot to begin with. I am going to try an HC5 element, and see how it compares.
The FT920 held up to my abuse this weekend extremely well. I admit that I am not an expert contestor, nor do I have an expert's station. However, I am really pleased at how the 920 works in a contest; both phone and RTTY. I might have to try a CW contest next just to see how it works.
Overall, the 920 works well, putting out a strong signal (no complaints of distortion, or splatter), hears well, and didn't skip a beat. Wish I could have said the same for my computer. Oddly, with TR running, I had all kinds of problems with the keyboard locking up. Seems that RF was getting into the computer from somewhere. I ended up removing all extra cables that were not in use, and added a toroid or two. That got me through the last two hours with no problems. This has not happened with RTTY, which strikes me as odd. I would have expected more problems with RTTY as it is full carrier all the time. Oh well, next phone contest will have a separate computer for TR. I really enjoy using TR (this is only my second contest with it), and it works well with the 920. It's nice to not have to think about band changes, and TR has some really neat packet cluster features.
October 23, 1997
Observation: The DSP settings for TX audio do not seem to work very well. I have played with them in the past, and I like the way it shapes the audio to my ear, but it seems to knock off much of the punch that my Heil microphone already has. As soon as I turn off the MIQ-EQ menu, the audio seems to come up quite a bit. There is little, if any difference in the ALC meter reading. The TX audio monitor is where it is manifested.
I bring this up, because I noticed over the past few day, that when trying to reach some DX stations, I was not getting heard as quickly as I used to. I normally keep the TX DSP turned off. For some reason I turned it on when setting up my station again. Last night when trying to call ZL7AA, I noticed that I had to turn the audio monitor up higher than normal. As soon as I turned the DSP off, the audio level came up, and shortly thereafter, I got my QSO with Stan. I imagine that I will not use the TX DSP until after the CQWW contest. I want to get on the air with someone who will be willing to take to time to evaluate the audio quality with all four settings, using both my Heil, and the Yaesu microphones.
Also, the other radio that I mentioned with the ATU problem... Turns out it was not serious either. Seems that one also had a problem with the motor coupling. The radio has been repaired, and is back with the owner.
October 20, 1997
Well, I have had my radio back for nearly two weeks, and it is working perfectly. Worked a little RTTY in the JARTS contest (not nearly as much as I would have liked), and worked a few more new countries. One thing that I have found with the FT920, is that I am beginning to prefer running the radio with the preamps turned off. There is a very high noise level at my QTH at times, and the preamp seems to do nothing but amplify it. Since I started using the FT920 without the preamp, I am having much more success hearing weak signal stations. I was able to copy a station from Italy yesterday that was not moving the S-meter, and was barely moving the indicators on my Kam Plus.
Most of my operating time lately has been RTTY, so I am really looking forward to the CQWW phone contest this coming weekend. Conditions over the past month or so have been good here in southern California. I have been able to work a lot of EU stations in recent weeks, (many on 15m), and this has not been happening for the past few years. Perhaps I'll learn something new about using my 920 in the upcoming contest.
October 13, 1997
Good news! Yaesu reports that the ATU in my FT920 lost an IC. Q5506 had an intermittent failure, and I am told that this is the first reported failure of that IC. This is good news, as it means that it is not a severe problem with the FT920.
October 12, 1997
I had to go to Indiana for a few days. The radio is in the shack, plugged in, and ready to go. I have yet to do anything with it due to my business trip.
October 08, 1997
I have been trying desparately to find out more information about the failure of my FT920. Based on conversations with Yaesu's technician, this is what I know: The antenna tuner will not tune from 160m to 17m. 15m to 6m tunes just fine. Yaesu Japan has asked that the radio not be repaired, instead shipped to Japan for evaluation. I cannot speculate on the cause of this failure, nor can I supply any more information.
There have been a couple of reports to me of other FT920s with ATU problems. One in particular was described as nearly identical to the problem I had. Another was caused by RF getting into the radio (a choke solved that problem).
Yaesu chose to replace my radio rather that repair it, and the new one was picked up today. I'll put it on the air tonight, and see how it works. I did open the radio up and noticed that the noise blanker modification was performed, and my CW filter, AM board, and FM board were installed. More to follow....
October 06, 1997
This past week, I have been using my FT900, and that experience reminds me of how good my FT920 really is. And it also makes me want my FT920 back even more.
I received a phone call from Yaesu this afternoon. Apparently the antenna tuner problem is serious enough that I will be receiving a new radio. Yaesu Japan has requested that my FT920 be sent to them, and that a new FT920 be sent to me.
October 01, 1997
In my contacts last week, I was fortunate enough to hear from someone who told me that my SSB signal was very distorted, and that it sounded like I was FMing. He was kind enough to work with me to help me find the source of my problem, as I was unable to hear this distortion on the monitor. It appears that I was getting RF into the 920 via my 2m packet station. As soon as I disconnected the 2m power connection from the power supply (I was sharing a PS between the two), the problem went away. I have not yet determined if it was due to the power strip, the connection between the 2m radio and the kam plus, or some other device. When I get my 920 back from Yaesu next week, I'll make an attempt to narrow it down.