Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Messing Around with an FT 1000

I’ve recently had to do some dog sitting whilst friends were away. Looking after three German Pointers can prove quite interesting but luckily having previously owned a GP I know how they behave and the few days I stayed at my friends house went pretty well.

One of the reasons I volunteered is that my friend owns a very nice FT1000 and as I am thinking of replacing my old FT990 I thought it would be worth a play just to see the differences and how the radios match up together. Now I know the FT1000 is as old as my FT 990 but eventually I hope to purchase another 1000MP (I had one for a short time many moons ago) and so having owned one knew that the FT1000 would be similar since the 1000MP is based on the FT1000.

After successfully disengaging myself from the dogs and getting them settled, I sat down in my friends shack/office to have a play with the FT1000 and the first thing I noticed is that my friend has a strange set up between radio and antenna. He uses a Hustler antenna with the ground radials spread out at only a 100 degree angle (pretty small). Also the antenna is raised next to a telegraph pole with two wires (one electrical and the other a telephone cable) either side of the hustler; this was not a good start!

Switching on the FT 1000 my initial suspicions were correct, the background noise was extremely high not only from where the antenna was placed but also from the internal wiring in the shack/office, he also had two computers nearby, (after all it is his office) and with the main lights on the noise was deafening! Only strong signals were getting through everything else was drowned by the background noise, such a shame but there was very little I could do except turn all the lights and computers off and see if it got any better. Compared to my cobweb setup at home I suddenly realised how lucky I was with reception.

I nearly gave up there and then but thought I might as well continue to have a play and the first thing I noticed was how big the radio is compared to the FT 990. It was amazing how sensitive the main dial was, just a touch could send it moving across the band, very nice compared to the FT 990 but took a little getting used to.

As I’m a CW fan I went straight to the key and immediately loved the way that a small green light appears when you are on spot frequency, something that the FT 990 is sadly lacking. Contacting a German station who was calling CQ I had a quick chat and he gave me a 579 report although I could only give a 559 with loads of QRM mainly due to the background noise which I was suffering with, it was very frustrating to have a wonderful radio in front of me but unfortunately with horrid noises coming out of the speaker. I soon realised that I could not do a proper test as the background interference was so bad, but it highlighted to me just how lucky I was with my own noise free set up at home.

However, I did manage to have a play with the general set up of the rig and was extremely impressed, no manual was available so I went on memory from the using the 1000 MP and within a short period I was switching to the sub VFO and playing with all the filtering which was great fun.  But in reality the test could not be completed properly so I will borrow my friends FT1000 and take it home for a few days.
However, the initial play certainly gave me food for thought and has strengthened my resolve to purchase either a good FT 1000 or an FT 1000MP Mk V.
Watch this space!

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