AK6GP Ham Radio

Formerly W6DEJ

Redesigning the Station: Blending Tradition and Innovation

(April, 2024) In the ever-evolving world of amateur radio, keeping a station up-to-date is not just about chasing technology — it's about creating a setup that fits the operator’s unique style and needs. My station has recently undergone a significant redesign, merging the reliable performance of my existing Yaesu FTDX101-MP with the exciting new addition of the Kenwood TS-890s. This transformation was driven by a preference for traditional knobs and buttons over the software-driven interfaces of radios like the Flex 6600, which the Kenwood now replaces.

The Yaesu FTDX101-MP: A Continuing Legacy

The Yaesu FTDX101-MP, a staple in my station, is renowned for its stellar performance and engineering. This radio is a high-performance HF and 50MHz transceiver, delivering up to 200 Watts on SSB, CW, and FM. The key feature that sets it apart is its unparalleled receiver performance, achieved through an advanced hyperclass narrow-band SDR design which combines a direct sampling SDR with a superheterodyne circuit. This dual approach ensures superb dynamic range and maintains sharp selectivity and low noise. The high-resolution display provides clear and detailed visualization of the spectrum, making it easier to hunt for signals even in crowded band conditions.

Welcoming the Kenwood TS-890s: A Nod to Classic Operability

The newly incorporated Kenwood TS-890s is a response to my desire for a more tactile operating experience. It's a high-performance HF/6m transceiver, pushing up to 100 Watts of power and integrating a large, easy-to-read LCD color display that rivals the best in the field. Technically, the TS-890s stands out with its down-conversion IF architecture, which enhances signal purity and delivers sharper audio clarity. This architecture is particularly effective in reducing out-of-band interference. Another significant advantage is its real-time spectrum scope and waterfall display, which operate fully independently from the main receiver. The TS-890s impresses with its intuitive layout, filled with ample physical controls that allow for quicker adjustments and a more engaging hands-on feel during operation.

Integrating the Station: Seamless Connectivity and Control

Redesigning the station included a meticulous setup to ensure that all antennas, microphone inputs, and amplifier PTT (Push-To-Talk) lines could be seamlessly switched between the Yaesu FTDX101-MP and the Kenwood TS-890s. The integration employs a high-grade antenna switch, enabling me to connect multiple antennas and direct their signals to either of the transceivers effortlessly. Similarly, the use of a sophisticated audio switcher allows for easy redirection of the microphone inputs depending on which radio is in use. This setup is complemented by an advanced PTT switching system, ensuring that the linear amplifier’s trigger can be accurately and reliably controlled from either transceiver, enhancing operational flexibility and efficiency.

Powering Up: The Addition of the Acom 1200S Amplifier

To further enhance the capabilities of my station, I've introduced the Acom 1200S amplifier, a robust addition designed to boost the power output significantly. The Acom 1200S operates seamlessly across all amateur bands from 1.8 to 54 MHz, delivering up to 1200 Watts of continuous power with ease. It features an automatic tuning facility, which swiftly matches the amplifier to the antenna’s impedance, typically within 2-3 seconds, ensuring quick transitions and optimal performance across different bands and operating conditions. The intuitive LCD touchscreen interface of the Acom 1200S provides comprehensive operational data, including power output, SWR, and temperature, allowing for precise control and monitoring. This amplifier not only amplifies the signal strength but also integrates smoothly with both the Yaesu FTDX101-MP and Kenwood TS-890s, thanks to the intelligent PTT and RF sensing circuitry. This ensures a high degree of protection for the transceivers and enhances the overall efficiency and effectiveness of my station setup.

This redesign not only refreshes the technical capabilities of my station but also aligns perfectly with my operating style, combining the joy of modern advancements with the comfort of traditional, tactile controls. Whether I'm dialing into distant signals or tweaking settings on the fly, the renewed setup promises a balanced and enriched ham radio experience.

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