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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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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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

Icom IC-7610 review

After quite some time trying to decide between FTDX101D and IC-7610, I finally opted for the Icom. The radio has arrived and now that I had a chance to use it for a couple of weeks I must admit that I am quite impressed. I live in a very noisy suburban environment, but this receiver is incredibly quiet comparing to any radio I had before.

The noise blanker is spectacular. On 40m I have some power line noise that I was unable to find the sorce of so far, but the IC-7610 wipes it off just like that. Most importantly, it does it already at about 10% (level 10), while IC7300 needed to go to 80% and still not completely kill it off. The signal distortion at NR level 80 on IC-7300 is pretty bad..

The display is simply gorgeous. Many have written reviews and posted various videos about beauty of this display and all I can do is comletely agree. It’s perfect.

The ergonomics – also top notch, with maybe one or two very minor objections. I wish there was a MODE button that flips between CW and SSB, while other modes are selected by touchscreen. The other thing is that I still go for the SUB AF/RF gain knob almost every time, because it just feels natural for AF/RF Gain to be there. Because this radio has two receivers, the main receiver AF/RF Gain control is further up. It’a matter of getting used to, I guess.

Yaesu has done something funny on FTDX101D, they put the main receiver knobs and buttons on the bottom and the sub receiver stuff above it. It looks weird but it seems to be working better, at least it would for me.

APF on CW is heaven. In the current conditions where we can barely hear anyone here in Australia, picking up that tiny signal amongst all the local QRM is quite a task and APF comes to shine here. APF on FTDX3000 was great, but this one is better.

The problem with the universally hated (or loved) elec-key plug on the front of the radio is easily solved by using an L-shaped adapter from eBay, best spent $2.

 

Now, all we need is for the sun to wake up and give us some joy on the bands.

 

 

 

Yaesu FTDX101D announced

Yaesu has announced the new High-Class HF/50MHz 100W Transceiver – FTDX 101D and the radio has been displayed at Dayton Hamvention 2018.

A few of the remarkable features of the new FTDX101D are;

  • YAESU High-Class HF/ 50MHz 100W Transceiver
  • SDR Technology and Waterfall Display
  • Large Touch Panel precision color display
  • Active Band Monitor enables rapid band changes with LED illumination of the operating band
  • Independent control of the Main and Sub Bands allows effortless operation for the serious contester needing to move quickly between the amateur bands
  • High-Q VC Tuning Front-End
  • Main tuning dial for Main and Sub Band frequency control includes an Outer Dial for clarifier, VC tuning, fine tuning or custom settings.

The pricing and availability is likely to be announced in late 2018.

The baby brother has arrived

My FT-DX 3000 now has a little brother. The new Yaesu FT-891 has finally arrived after a long wait over the holiday season.

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The radio is really tiny and so light, when it was delivered today I wasn’t sure if it was the radio or the MFJ tuner that I have also ordered. It turned out to be the radio.

I don’t know why but I was expecting it to be somewhat bigger, probably because FT DX 3000 is so big and FT-891 looks like a mid-size book next to it. I guess it will take a few days to get used to it.

I had a quick play with it but since I don’t have any antennas here at home it will have to wait for the weekend to have it’s premiere on air from one of the WWFF listed parks here around Brisbane.

Today all I could do is throw 10m piece of wire from the 4th floor balcony and listen a bit. The DNR seems to be impressive, even comparing to my FT-DX 3000.