Rebuilding the station 

After 10 years of service which saw me in and out of amateur radio due to other interests and QTH's which were less than ideal for radio antennas (Once being reported to the local council as running a mini-cab company from my house, thanks Keith) I am now in a location where I have the space for HF antennae and lower background noise.

 

The Yaesu FT-2000

First Impressions

It's a fine radio, the recieve being much better than the FT-847 it replaced on HF. The controls over noise and DSP are far easier to drive than the 847 first gen DSP, and the features are very useful for everyday radio activities. Controls are typically Yaesu and everything is where you would expect. The dual tuner is good, but adds some confusion to the button layout from previous Yaesu's.

From opening the box, the only criticism so far is the quality of the potentiometers on the radio. For a £2.5k radio I would have expected a better quality pot to be used, not a cheaper scratchy pot. It let's down the feel of the radio, which is otherwise a nice package. Could have been easily sorted for about £5.

Living with the FT-2000

Out of the box, the FT-2k has been a performer, and I've not had much cause to do too much set-up yet. The audio reports seem good without setting up or using the EQ, which I'll leave for another day.

The Auto Tuner on-board is good for an internal tuner, but as you can see I have a beast of an ATU, the AT2K. This means the internal one is switched off most of the time.

Still getting to grips with the VRF and DSP, with some results.

Next, finding out from Yaesu if I can get on 5 Mhz with the FT-2K. After speaking with the UK support chap, it would seem that it should transmit on the old allocation (it does'nt) and that a software update will come soon to enable the rest.

I also enquired about the FT-2000 IPO amp's and the issues surrounding RF internally to the shack, where I was told rather abruptly that there shouldnt be any RF inside the shack. Of course he was quite right, apart from the FT-847 beside the FT-2000 that I use for Digital modes. No information was forthcoming, therefore at the moment, I'm switching off the FT-2000 and removing the UHF plug. Safest until I know better.

CAT

To provide Computer controlled functionality, the FT-2000 is different to the FT-847. The RS-232 is wired as a DTE device so a Null Modem cable is no longer required, much to my amusement. This therefore requires a straight through from a PC RS-232 DCE terminal. See http://www.w3yy.com/ft2000.htm

My configuration uses an RJ-45 switch, where I can select the FT-847 and the FT-2000 for CAT. The use of RJ45 to 9-pin D shells means that I can wire up pretty much any 9-pin devices to select.

E-SSB

I've always wanted a headset for HF. I don't know why but I do. I could go for the Heil as many do, but with noises being made that the recent pro-set isn't durable, and not one to follow the herd, I've decided on the following :

Audio-Technica BPHS1 Headset

Behringer FBQ100 Pre-amp / FBQ Killer

Custom cable and PTT for FT-2000. 

Not sure if it will work, but I want to do more homebrew now I have some spare time. I can always ebay the parts if I get bored. The FT-2000 has a parametric Equaliser for the Mic, therefore I don't need anything fancy outboard, although the FBQ100 can do a few things if required and I may still hook up the FT-847 or FT-857 to it.


Palstar AT-2K 2kw Tuner

It's a tank. End of.

Apart from it being a massive tuner, nearly as big as the FT-2000, it is excellently built, although mine arrived with the inductor collar panel nut being loose but it's not rocket science to tighten that, I'm a Radio Amateur after all !

The settings in the manual give an excellent indication of starting values and have found them to be in the close region of the actual value on the 6BTV which is currently out of tune for most of the HF bands.

Switch gear and gear ratios are good fittings, although I would have preferred a white background on the meter, the beige / magnolia colour on the model makes it look either aged or a bit 1970s, although I will drop in a Blue LED to make it match the rest of the shack at a later date.

A very much recommended tuner, which although expensive will last for your as long as you are a radio amateur. Think of how many MFJ's you'd buy over that time (I've bought 3, over 10 years for various reasons).

Pro's - It works, buy one.

Con's - it's not portable, but it's not meant' to be.