Upgrades/Update FTDX10

I am continuing to spend time with the FTDX10. Like many things, it is a process. The ergonomics are not like my Icom’s and frankly, not as good. The touch screen can be sluggish at times when making changes. None of this is insurmountable and like the U.S. Marines, I can adapt, improvise and overcome. Some of the controls are a little tight for my size large hands and yes, it can be pretty easy to knock the frequency off while trying to manipulate a control by the main tuning knob. Here are a few things I do to help mitigate the ergonomics of the radio.

Usually, once I get the radio setup for a band or mode I do not make very many other changes. In the field, I change the power setting and CW speed the most. Before I start operating I set the Function knob to RF Power. Now changing the power is but a knob twist away. I set the MPVD to CW Speed. To reduce errors I turn the ring from the bottom where it is clear of any other buttons.

I also use the Main Dial Lock Button to prevent inadvertently changing the frequency. One thing Yaesu did well was put a big warning on the screen when the dial is locked. When you turn the dial, you see this.

I have made some upgrades to the radio in preparation for getting it ready for the field. One of the first things I did, ordered the CW 300 Hz Filter.

One of the reasons I purchased the FTDX10 was its crystal filters. They do make a difference and may be the reason why the 2kHz dynamic range is so good. Installation was simple, remove 9 screws and then insert the filter.

Just make sure the pins on the radio match the holes on the filter. Yaesu provides a good set of instructions on page 112 of the manual.

The next addition was a set of side rails from portable zero. The rails protect the knobs on the front of the radio and the connections on the rear. I don’t use a special padded case. My radio goes in with all the other radio gear in a Dewalt toolbox. I often find myself setting the radio on end during setup and teardown. It just makes things easier. In addition, the rails protect the knobs and buttons while being transported in the toolbox.

The last addition today was a Mat-30 tuner. Yaesu is more fiddly than the Icoms, when it comes to tuners. With this tuner, it is pretty much plug-and-play. Even the tune button works like it is supposed to. The big rubber band is a Grafitti Band Joe silicone band found on Amazon.

Wrapping up, the radio is pretty much ready for its first outing. I have been making contacts from the home shack and I am pleased with its performance. The crystal filters are a godsend. I worked a couple of CW stations that were mired by QRM and fairly easily got a clean signal. My final thoughts for today are I wish the ergonomics were better. They are a little clunky and awkward, but not so much that the radio becomes unusable. I think Icom has the correct balance and layout of buttons, knobs, and screen interface. One thing I do like better about the Yaesu’s is the separate shift and width filter knobs and having the programmable MPVD ring. Setting the MPVD ring to CW speed and the Function Knob to RF power saves me a few steps over the Icom which both are buried one layer down the menu system.

The receiver in the Yaesu has better filtering and the roofing filters do make a difference. However, looking at Sherwood’s specs, the Icom has a lower noise floor which means it hears better by a factor of 4 over the Yaesu. Initial thoughts are that the FTDX10 has a better receiver than the IC-7300 and is on par with the IC-7610. One thing I can do on my 7610 is tune both receivers to the same signal and then set up different filtering on each. I have it set up where each receiver goes to a different channel giving me a unique stereo view in my headsets.

Are the IC-7300’s days numbered? I don’t think so. There are things I like about both radios. Each will get their time in the field. After a good amount of time, I will see which one gets more. Over the past year, the IC-7300 has seen a lot of use. I am sure I will be wearing the new off of the FTDX10 for the next couple of months. de Scott

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