Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

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Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK7HH » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:13 pm

Ok,
New radio time. I've just moved location and getting round to setting up the weak signal station. I have narrowed it down to buying either a 910 or TS2000.

Now I haven't been a BIG fan of Kenwood. Always been Icom or Yaesu for me, but I hear the Ts2000 is an excellent performer, especially on weak signal. But still tending to lean toward getting the Icom.

I know there is already a thread similar to this, but what are your opinions? Why should I get the 910 over the TS2000? Personally benefits I see of the Kenwood are you get HF and 6m extra, however this comes at the extra cost. No "power output" or "deaf receiver" problems that I have heard the 910 has etc....

73
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK4TS » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:04 am

I like the features of the 2000 series - ability to be remoted via internet etc etc - my only experience with them was in a John Moyle a few years back and only on HF.

Running six identical stations - IC718, FT920, FT857, IC706, FT2000 with no amplifier(s) but every rig to well spaced mono-band antenna the only rig that suffered co-station interference was the Kenwood..

But its the users to point to how good they are and one reference would be VK4CDI who runs one in his EME setup..
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK7HH » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:43 am

Thanks Trent,
Well I know of a few hams using them down here on VHF and above, and they say they perform pretty well, this is my intention too, if HF was added, that would be a bonus.

I think you still get 100W on all bands except 70cm too.

It just seems the 910H is the "rig of choice" among some weak signal operators. I notice there are quite a few articles on the net about GPS locking etc too, which will come in handy down the track for microwave work.

Thanks
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK5PJ » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:24 am

Hi Hayden,
I have to say that having one radio for all bands, well how do I put it, um er SUCKS! I have tried it a number of times and if you become attracted to the weak signal type operation on VHF/UHF you will soon find you spend more times clicking buttons for VFO's and memories etc that actually listening / talking.

I have at home more than a few icoms, some are monobandsers and some dual or more. (IC-736[HF/6}, 575A, 275H, 475H and a 910H) I initially thought I would retire the 275 and 475 with the 910 but while the 910 works well (with all of their known issues) I spent so much time flipping VFO's and going to memories I quickly returned the monobanders to full operational status and are now working out the best way to keep them going for another 20 years. There are added overheads with more radios, like swapping the I/O ports for digital modes, added power supplies and which microphone do I grab to reply but the ability to key the right amplifier on the right band when needed is very good. I am the first to admit I have not even sat in fromt of a TS2000 so my opinions are biased (I have owned a collection of Kenwood gear over my time too, so I am not totally ICOM fixated)

Good luck in your choice, it really comes down to what you want as no two hams operate their stations in the same way

Regards,
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK2JDS » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:48 am

It all depends on what you want to do with it.
My obervations are the ts2k is great on hf, the dsp works well and its good on 6m too. about as good if not better than my icom 746pro.
The display digits are small, the buttons are tiny and there are lots of them.
I didnt buy one because of what i chose to specialise in , and thats weak signal terrestrial 144, 432,1296 , and EME on 1296. hence the 910 was the radio of choice
Both people i know with ts2ks using them for eme and weak signal work have had their radios in for service for drift or audio problems, one fellow twice. both my 910's here havent had a problem at all.
weigh up what you will mostly be doing with the radio then if the ts2k doing everything reasonably well is the answer , then get one, if you want to specialise in a particular area of weak signal work, then get separate radios and transverters etc.
73's from the bush, Dave vk2jds
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK7HH » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:02 pm

Peter,
I know what you mean! I also have a Icom 706MKIIG which is fine, except, only one band at a time listening, usually this is annoying, because I like to monitor 2m/70cm locally, and in summer, the 10m beacons/repeaters. Thus I bought a FT-8900R quad band for 10m/6m/2m/70cm repeater listening, and the 706 can be for HF. When I look at that now, it seems the 910H would be the way to go, since I already have the 706 for HF/6m.


Also another question, is the power output problem with the 910H prevalent in most models, or just the early ones? I also heard the sensitivity isn't as good as it can be, but apparently you can do a mod to them.

Thanks for your replies guys.

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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK2JDS » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:17 pm

the sensitivity on the 910 is just fine, no need to fiddle. there is a mod going around about increasing the IF gains. dont bother.
i posted up some screen captures of the dural beacon a while ago in the 23cm eme thread showing the 910 by itself then with preamps added as a comparison.
the set works well and decodes data down into the noise quite ok. if you are gearing up for some serious digging into the noise you will be adding a mast mounted VLNA anyway as well as a PA for 23cm.
output power on 2 and 70 is influenced by any missmatch to the load so keep things right and use good quality heliax and connectors etc.
this morning on 23cm jt65c EME Phil vk4cdi worked israel on his ts2k and i was copying the station about the same as him on my 910, its right on the limit for equipment and the israeli had a 2metre dish and low power.
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK7HH » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:41 pm

No worries Dave,
Yes I have a LNA which I need to build up and mount on the mast. I thought i'd get away with turning the gains up on the radio, thus I wouldn't need the LNA, saves bias tee, etc.

Mind you I live in a quiet RF area, so a LNA might not have any effect at all. Yes I have a few runs of LDF-450A and perhaps 550 which will go up the tower, antennas need to be matched on frequency, but this isn't a problem.


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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK2JDS » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:18 pm

forget the bias tee arangement and run some figure 8 up the tower. a run for preamp power , another for TR switching.
get some good second hand sma or N coaxial relays from field days etc that come from mobile phone service base gear.
just turning up the gain in the radio at the end of the run of cable just amplifies the noise , adding a vlna right at the aerial eliminates all that noise caused by the long run of cable from the tower.
the lna at aerial will make quite a difference
have fun
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK2TDN » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:17 pm

Hayden,
Just noting Dave VK2JDS's several comments about 1296....

just remember that NEITHER rig comes standard with 1296 they are addon modules in both cases

If I was in the buying market it would be the TS2000X which does comes with 1296 out of the shop :)
The Icoms are known for not delivering the stated power out... sometimes significantly lower 10 - 15Watts

The only major bugbear with the TS2k is the birdie or 2 in the satellite band... poor design
but if your not into satellites then who cares :)

my 2 cents ;)

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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK3PY » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:52 pm

Quoting VK7HAY:

Mind you I live in a quiet RF area, so a LNA might not have any effect at all.


It's precisely in that environment where a VLNA will make a difference. No point using a low-noise amp in a noisy location as external noise will be the limitation.

In most suburban locations, there is little point using an LNA on 2m for terrestrial work. A system NF of 5dB or less would be more than adequate. Conversely, no out-of-the-box rig will ever have adequately low noise figure for serious work on 70cm or 23cm, especially if there's a significant transmission line loss involved (1 dB is very significant!). A mast-head LNA will be necessary on these bands. The rig's noise figure is then less important as the LNA should determine the system NF.

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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK1DA » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:43 am

I think several prominent UK operators dissed the IC910 and one actually told me about it at Dayton. Said the LO of the IC910 on 1296 was very poor and he would never have one. LO had tons of spurs and a beacon signal was received on multiple frequencies.

BUT... he only measured one as far as I know.
AND... I've never noticed the problem he described, on my 910.

However the folklore in the UK is apparently that the TS2kx is a better radio on 1296.
The folklore is also that the 910 only outputs 8 or 9 watts instead of the rated 10. But no-one talks about whether they have had the power output adjusted. The modules in these radios are rated for 15 or 18 watts, so it is probably only that the radio has not really been set up correctly at the factory.

Trouble with all this stuff is that anyone having a bad experience with a radio will then generalise to ALL radios of that brand.

I'm just as bad. Having owned, repaired and given up with many different HF and VHF radios from the Y brand, and having had several vhf field days basically ruined by an unreliable multiband radio from the same stable, I swore I'd never buy another.

However that brand is getting good reports from its owners, so logically that must mean either quality control has improved since the 70s and 80s, or other people are more tolerant and I'm too fussy.

I do agree with the "radio for each band" idea. Flipping a radio between 3 bands as I do on field days, is not the best. But as contacts mostly originate on 2m, allowing you to flip to the other band by arrangement, a multi band radio is usable for a single operator station. You can only be on one band at a time making contacts, so one radio is a good compromise. One radio to carry, set up, have space for, etc. I have also found that the dual receiver system in the 910 is quite usable to allow you to monitor your 144 MHz liaison frequency while using 432 or 1296 on "main". This works best with the receiver outputs to separate speakers, so you get a "left" band and a "right" band. This is probably also available in the TS2k?
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby ZL4PLM » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:07 am

VK1DA wrote:I think several prominent UK operators dissed the IC910 and one actually told me about it at Dayton. Said the LO of the IC910 on 1296 was very poor and he would never have one. LO had tons of spurs and a beacon signal was received on multiple frequencies.

BUT... he only measured one as far as I know.
AND... I've never noticed the problem he described, on my 910.

However the folklore in the UK is apparently that the TS2kx is a better radio on 1296.
The folklore is also that the 910 only outputs 8 or 9 watts instead of the rated 10. But no-one talks about whether they have had the power output adjusted. The modules in these radios are rated for 15 or 18 watts, so it is probably only that the radio has not really been set up correctly at the factory.



Sadly they are not wrong and regardless of the odd radio misaligned the facts are the IC910 is a diabolical performing radio

And you also have to remember that this radio has to withstand the multi KW stations in places like JO31 .. aptly named "Kilowatt Alley" and one of the highest populated amateur locations on the planet!

The main issue on the 910 is the absolutely awful tx phase noise performance ... now running that into a KW linear where you are surrounded by other stations on 144 or 432 then your transmitted noise will wipe out your neighbours band

Problem is that 99pc of amateurs wont even know whats happening .... all you will see if the MDS rise some dBs and your receiver front end fold.

Having lived in JO31 I know too well on contests what will and will not work

The 910 is not used by any of the lead DX stations .... they will resort to a modern +40 IP transceiver and something like a TR144+H from DB6NT ... about the only thing that will survive!

Down under the 910 probably wont upset anyone with its poor performance!

and you would also have thought with modern devices that could build a transceiver that approaches 1dB NF on receiver ... not 6-8 dB!

not to mention poorly aligned radios - btw those mosfet modules in the radios - be careful the 18W is rated max and only under CW conditions .... SSB will be half that

I still use an old FT736R with Mutek front ends ... they could survive ok!

I am watching the IC9100 closely ... it would remove complex switching in my station with the ME1500V PA!

73 SImon ZL4PLM (RE66DL) ex DL4PLM (JO31JF) ex GM4PLM (IO75TL)
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby VK1DA » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:42 pm

All good points Simon. And in a difficult RF environment, only good receivers will survive.

Do you know of any actual measurements of the IC910 LO on a spectrum analyser? I know the reports done by the Germans are fairly damning of all commercial radios, virtually all models since DDS PLL LOs were introduced.

The difficulty for people who don't want to transport multiple bits of gear around for field use, or who don't feel confident enough to assemble their own even from well rated system components (HF rig, transverter, sequencer, power amplifier, rx LNA), the choices are narrow.

The original question was what rig should someone buy, when faced with the IC910 and TS2000 options. The purpose stated was "getting a weak signal station going" and we don't know what RF environment he will have in his part of Tasmania, but I doubt if it will be anything like the situation it can be in the UK or EU. I also doubt if there are too many other weak signal operators nearby, but I suppose he might add a 1kw amplifier!

We have managed to cast doubt on both his suggested options, so what should he do?
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Re: Icom IC910 v Kenwood TS-2000

Postby ZL4PLM » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:11 am

VK1DA wrote:All good points Simon. And in a difficult RF environment, only good receivers will survive.

Do you know of any actual measurements of the IC910 LO on a spectrum analyser? I know the reports done by the Germans are fairly damning of all commercial radios, virtually all models since DDS PLL LOs were introduced.

The difficulty for people who don't want to transport multiple bits of gear around for field use, or who don't feel confident enough to assemble their own even from well rated system components (HF rig, transverter, sequencer, power amplifier, rx LNA), the choices are narrow.

The original question was what rig should someone buy, when faced with the IC910 and TS2000 options. The purpose stated was "getting a weak signal station going" and we don't know what RF environment he will have in his part of Tasmania, but I doubt if it will be anything like the situation it can be in the UK or EU. I also doubt if there are too many other weak signal operators nearby, but I suppose he might add a 1kw amplifier!

We have managed to cast doubt on both his suggested options, so what should he do?




that was my point .... certainly the EU's wont use kit that falls over under high RF environments

out in the wilds its probably fine ... with a preamp .... even an older FT736 or similar would be fine or single bander like the older IC275/475/575/1275 icoms

perhaps a transverter ... I wouldnt reject a XV144 from elecraft etc they are v capable or even an oldder Mutek all are sub 1db NF receivers and wont need a preamp to get started

rgds

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