Radio W4KAZ

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K2 Impressions – Part 4

I had hoped to spend more time on the air in CQ WPX CW, but the XYL had reached the melting point on getting the bedroom painted. So the contest was shot from the git-go, ‘cuz I knew I’d be too tired from moving the furniture, painting, etc.

I did spend a few 30 minute breaks twirling the knob on the K2 during the contest. I must say, the K2 really is a good CW rig. Based on the ARRL Lab and Sherwood Engineering test numbers, it should downright blow away the FT-920 for selectivity. Not so fast there, Bandwidth Breath…..

The K2 was indeed better atseparatingthe signals, but the FT-920acquitteditself well in the head to head A/B testing. I didn’t call NT4D up to give it the full Monty acid test. When Jay fires up his Alpha within about 30kc of me, the FT-920 screams for mercy.(We are close enough neighbors to run Multi-2, we are within a 500 meter circle.) The AGC pumping makes all but the strongest signals difficult copy on the 920.

Even lacking the real acid test, it is still obvious that the K2 is a better receiver. I really am looking forward to trying it out in the ARRL 160m this winter, and FD this summer.

I have also spent a bit more time toying with the K2’s DSP filters. I need to research this area more fully. I have everything set up for both SSB and CW the way I like it to sound. After resetting the CW filter center frequencies to the side tone frequency, I am now very pleased with the DSP selections available. The SSB filters were a bit more difficult. They are easy to set, I just had difficulty deciding which sound characteristics made for easier copy.

The feature I need to research is the Noise Reduction/denoiser. Turning the NR on for CW works okay, but on SSB I find that it distorts the audio. I’m sure I have something set incorrectly.

I’m also getting more accustomed to the control function and layout. I found that the switching the filters is really the only feature I have a lot of need to change with any frequency, and that is easy.

One more caveat turned up during WPX play. The K2 seems very sensitive to high SWR situations. All of my antennas are of the resonant variety, with the exception of the Inv-L for 160m. Unfortunately, only the 80m folded dipole is resonant at the RIGHT PLACE. 🙂 (yet another project…) So until I get the autotuner, I’m using an outboard MFJ 949. I really need to tweak the 20m and 40m dipoles.

I am still missing my FT-100D – but only for its VHF/UHF capabilities. The K2 rooolz.

– more – at the K2 Impressions series

2 comments to K2 Impressions – Part 4

  • Ed

    I, too, was quite impressed with my K2 during the CQ WPX contest. I did a fair amount of A/B comparison with my FT-1000MP and I came away feeling that I will start the next CW contest with the K2 instead of the 1000. The 1000 has a great 500 Hz filter, there’s absolutely no ringing whatsoever, but it wasn’t enough (I don’t have any other filters installed, to be fair). But with the K2, I could crank the filters tight and tune up and down the bands hearing ONLY one signal most of the time. The times that I encountered more than one, I still had easy copy. The selectivity and lack of noise of the K2 was fantastic by comparison too. Granted, I didn’t have someone down the road lofting a KW into the air, so I can’t speak for how it would reject that kind of torture.

    But, more importantly, when the bands turned sour – which they seemed to do a few times during the contest – the K2 was still an absolute joy to tune with, very pleasant to listen to and not fatiguing at all using headphones. Plus, the QSK of the K2 was head and shoulders above the 1000.

    I’m in the same boat as you, I’m saving up for the autotuner. I have the one for low power and the times that I’ve used it, its never failed to achieve a low SWR quickly, something I can’t say for my outboard LDG.

    Enjoy reading your comments and thoughts about your K2.

    Ed N4EMG

  • Hmmmm. I forgot to mention the QSK.

    The Omni VII QSK is probably slightly better, easily the best I have used. The K2 and Orion QSK seem about the same. I might get a chance to A/B compare that for Field Day. We should have those three radios all on site this year.

    tnx de w4kaz

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