In addition to fun things like camping and portable amateur radio operating, I do a lot of emergency communications (EmComm) work. Over the past year and half, I have been setting up a communications network for my church over a large area (about half the state of Georgia). It is now up and running fairly well and I have enough trained net control operators to turn this function over to them. I still have more EmComm work to do but now it is at the local level. I also perform EmComm duties at the regional and national level; however, that is less taxing.
Over the past couple of months I had taken a hiatus from everyday amateur radio operation with the exception of winter field day with my local club. to be honest, I needed the break. One activity I enjoy is Parks on the Air (POTA) with CW being my primary mode. I used to visit the POTA Facebook page but I was finding the crowd becoming a bit churly. I guess that’s a function of growth and POTA is rapidly growing. Fortunately, the CW side of POTA is still rather civil and my cure was to avoid Facebook. I should have avoided it all along. So after giving myself a POTA rest, I am starting to venture out into POTA land, this time sans Facebook.
My gear hasn’t changed. At home, my primary HF radio is still the IC-7610 and has been with me for 5 years now. I had thought of maybe trying a Yaesu FTDX101 but after reading some reviews where they tried the FTDX101 but went back to the IC-7610, I’ll keep mine. A common theme is the ergonomics.
I still have my FTDX10 and I compare it to the IC-7300. It is part of my long term test. Like the FTDX101, the 10 suffers from poor ergonomics. At times, it gets in the way of itself. I know everyone is using Sherwood Engineering’s test data to tout how great the FTDX10 is; however, running the FTDX10 next to the IC-7300, the IC-7300 can and does work any station the FTDX10 can, even under contest conditions. In fact, the IC-7300 has a lower noise floor by a factor of 4. I admit that the FTDX10 does sound better, but overall performance still goes to the IC-7300. At this point in the game, I am not ready to sell either one, but if one had to go, it would be the FTDX10. Both these radios are used as field radios.
While testing the above 2 radios, I have been neglecting my QRP radios. Typically, when I go camping, I bring the bigger radios. I have room in the truck/camper, so why not. At most, I have to carry them 15-20 feet. My little radios have been languishing in the dark, unused and unloved. This year, I plan to break them out more. At this time, I have 3: IC-705, TX599 and TR-45L. Of the three, the IC-705 is the favorite. It’s just a good radio, with great performance. Nothing can touch it in it’s price range. If the trend continues, bringing big radios out to the field, one or two of the little ones will go.
I hope to hear your out there. Few things are better than spending a day or even half a day in a park, on a nice day, with a radio. 73’s Scott