So briefly, here's what I've been wrapped up with since January:
- I found myself purchasing my second Yaesu FT-891 mobile HF rig. I was an 'early adopter' of the FT-891 back in late 2016 but found it had too many rough edges and some questionable performance issues, so I sold it within a year of buying it. Fast forward two years and I'm looking for a small portable HF rig with good DSP filtering. Much to my chagrin the FT-891 is really the only viable option currently on the market. So I swallowed my pride and bought a second unit. The design still has flaws (mainly programming and firmware - the hardware seems solid) but Yaesu is deaf to the pleas of the radio owners to get these issues addressed. There'll be more discussion on this in the upcoming blog post.
- CommRadio CTX-10. I'm in the process of evaluating the new CTX-10 HF QRP rig from CommRadio in Colorado. This radio seems to hit all the sweet spots for a rugged, portable DSP-based rig. The problem is, soon after receiving it I had to send it back to the manufacturer to address some audio clipping issues, and I'm still waiting to get it back. In fact, CommRadio has had the radio in their hands longer than I had it in mine. But I'm willing to wait because I feel the design and execution is compelling, and if they get the (apparently widespread) TX audio issues figured out this little radio has serious potential to carve out a large niche in the QRP & portable HF segment. Once I get the radio back in hand and do some more testing I'll publish my impressions.
- Headphones. Like a lot of guys my age (rapidly closing in on Social Security eligibility) I'm starting to experience some minor hearing loss. Considering my past career (lots of time around lots of things that go 'boom!') it's to be expected. The weak, often muddy speakers built into rigs these days often just don't sound right. This launched me on a quest to find good, but not expensive headphones. To my surprise and delight I found that you really don't need to spend a lot of $$ to get really good communications headphones.
So stay tuned, dear reader. More to come, and soon.