Yaesu FTDX10 in CW contest

Earlier this month I decided to put my IC-7610 aside and give the FTDX10 a good go in a contest. It was Oceania DX Contest and I opted to run SO 20m HP category. 24 hours of CW madness.

Conditions were excellent, but not as good as in SSB leg a week earlier.

One thing I love about this radio is how good its receiver is. The roofing filters did a great job, 300 Hz is amazing, albeit a bit too narrow for contest when running CQ. Too many stations tend to be off beat a bit and 500-600 Hz works best for me.

I was able to hear weak stations quite easily right next to a big signal and only once I had to ask someone to QSO as they close within 100 Hz of my frequency.

Talking about the off beat stations, I had to use the Clarifier (RIT) quite a bit to pick them. I never liked the way the RIT is implemented on this radio. The CLAR RX and TX buttons are in the right place, but using the MPVD ring (multi purpose VFO outer dial) is not a good idea. A few times in contest the CLAR RX was off and moving the MPVD moved me way off my frequency. Very frustrating.

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N1MM settings for FTDX10

To operate CW with FTDX10 via USB using N1MM logger you need to install the virtual COM drivers, change radio settings and configure N1MM.

Virtual COM port drivers

To install virtual COM port drivers follow instructions here .  You can download drivers here.

Change radio settings

On your FTDX10 press the FUNC knob, select CW settings, select MODE CW and under PC Keying select RTS.

Press Back to exit this menu, then select Operation Settings, select General then select the CAT rate (mine is 4800). This value must be selected in the N1MM settings (below).

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Yaesu FTDX10 deep-dive review

I purchased Yaesu FTDX10 in early 2021 after having read many reviews and watched every video on Youtube that I could find.

The radio was beautiful, the right size, right weight, exactly what I was after. It had a big, crisp and bright touch screen and looked amazing on my desk.

I put my IC-7610 aside and set the FTDX10 as my primary radio, just for enough time to learn to really appreciate the latest Yaesu technology and to learn to love this radio.

Over the following 10 months I kept swapping it with my IC-7610, using both of them for about the same amount of time. I had an IC-7300 previously, but sold it in order to upgrade to IC-7610. However, I had access to a friend’s IC-7300 so I put it alongside the FTDX10 to be able to compare them.

I am a strong believer of product usability and I am expecting a product to perform to its specifications, to have high reliability and that the usability of the product is not flawed. By this I mean the product should do things in a simple, unobtrusive and logical way, not requiring the user to go out of his way to achieve something.

This review is written from that point of view – the radio usability and reliability.

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Russell Island OC-137 – September 2021

VK4DX was active from Russell Island – OC137 from 23 – 26 September 2021 signing as VK4DX/P

Activity was mostly CW as well as some FT8 on 40-10m bands.

Update 7 Nov 2021 – all direct QSL cards have been sent today. As postal services worldwide have been experiencing severe delays, please note that it may take up to 6 weeks for the card to arrive.

QSL information available here.

Yaesu FTDX10 firmware mess

Read a related article – 5 Jan 2022 – Yaesu FTDX10 deep-dive review

In early April 2021 Yaesu issued a new firmware version 1.05 to address a few issues in V 1.04. This update turned out to be quite a disaster for some hams causing their radio all sorts of problems. Yaesu were quick to address this and released version 1.06 a few days later.

It turns out that the version 1.06 is more of a downgrade than upgrade over 1.04, and this is why.

 

Band selection

In V1.04 you could change the band by pressing the BAND key and selecting the band on the touch panel. You could also press the BAND key, turn the MPVD ring (multi purpose VFO outer dial) to the desired band then press the FUNC knob and your radio changes the band. Both of these functions still work in V1.06.

However, in V1.04 you could press the BAND key, turn the MPVD ring to the desired band and after 2 seconds the radio changes the band. This has been removed in V1.06.

Interestingly the same functionality for MODE selection has survived the cull and is still available in V1.06.

(Update: the MPVD band change functionality has been restored in V1.08 in May 2021)

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Russell Island OC-137 – November 2020

After a not so successful operation from Russell Island in 2018, I decided to go back this year and have another go. I booked the same place from Thursday 19th to Tuesday the 24th November.

This time I brought two different antennas and some spare coax, some wire and a 8m squid pole, just in case.

I had the trusted multiband vertical (Hustler 6BTV) and an end-fed half wave (MyAntennas EFHW 8010).

Last time I had my vertical antenna in the middle of the backyard, about 5m from the water, but this time I decided to go to the edge, fully knowing that the ocean tide will affect the SWR.

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Yaesu FT-DX10

Yaesu FT-DX10 is a new 100W HF transceiver with a hybrid SDR receiver. It is expected to be available in December 2020.

The FT-DX10 size (266x91x263 mm) is almost identical to Kenwood TS590SG and slightly larger than FT991A (229x80x253 mm) and weights 5.9 kg, compared to 4.3kg FT991A.

 

Considering its rumoured price of $2,000 (USD), this radio doesn’t look like a direct competition to Icom’s IC-7300 ($1,000) but rather a replacement for the Yaesu’s own FT-DX1200, albeit in a smaller body.

Features of the FT-DX10

  • HF/50 MHz Transceiver (incl. 60m)
  • Hybrid SDR receiver – Downconverter 9 MHz ZF + direct sampling SDR
  • 250 MHz HRDDS Synthesizer
  • 500 Hz 3 kHz and 15 kHz Roofing Filters (300 Hz optional)
  • 15 separate bandpass filters
  • Adjustable Shift & Width, Notch, Contour Filter Audio Peak Filter and more
  • Push-Pull MOSFET PA 5 – 100W transmit power (5 – 25W AM)
  • 5″ Touch Display with 3D Spectrum Stream display
  • Quick Memory Bank
  • Decoder for CW, RTTY and PSK-31
  • SD memory card slot
  • Remote operation with Yaesu SCU-10LAN

Sun activity in isolation

Some interesting sun activity in the middle of COVID-19 isolation, unfortunately not “that” activity. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sunset here in Brisbane.

17m diamond loop

 

Six band trap vertical – Hustler 6BTV

QRV from Europe again

From 12 Agust – 6 Spetember 2019 I will be QRV from Italy and Bosnia, signing as I5/VK4DX and E7/VK4DX respectively. I’m planning to activate a few WWFF parks in Bosnia and some SOTA peaks if time permits.

I’ll be using FT891 (on CW and SSB only) and a linked dipole for 40, 20 and 15m. I hope to see you on air.