[amsat-bb] Re: TH-F6A vs VX7R
n3tl at bellsouth.net
Sat Mar 7 14:26:02 PST 2009
Dave and all,
I've owned both, although my experience and familiarity with the VX-7R is much better than with the TH-F6A. I bought the latter in May 2007 from the Ham Radio Outlet store in Atlanta, which is about an hour from me. At that point, I had been totally off the air and inactive since January 1992.
I returned the TH-F6A after less than a week because of what I considered to be significant battery drain. I have since come to believe (through talking to the folks at HRO and to other owners of the HT) that I likely had either a bad battery pack or a bad radio. I decided to exchange it for a VX-7R because it (the Yaesu) also offered operation on 50 mHz. I thought that would be neat. I have never used it.
The Yaesu has served me extremely well on the satellites and the ISS. I worked my 100th grid with the VX-7R on the 28th day after I worked my first - all with that radio and an Arrow handheld yagi. I have since upgraded from the Arrow to an Elk log periodic, which performs much better for me at this location.
Both HTs are easy to program, although both are very sophisticated. As a ham who'd been away from things for more than 15 years, I had quite a learning curve to get through JUST with these two HTs.
The VX-7R will be at least slightly less expensive than the TH-F6A. However, I suspect we'll all start seeing "really good buys" on the VX-7R because of the VX-8R.
In terms of satellite operation, there is one featuer of the TH-F6A that most hams wouldn't even think of as an advantage if they were just starting out with satellites. Specifically, it's general coverage receiver includes CW/SSB modes for reception. Here's why that is an advantage.
If, like me, your friend gets really hooked on operating "in orbit," he may want to at least experiment a little with the linear satellites (AO-7, FO-29, VO-52). Full-suplex capability is really necessary on these satellites, and the TH-F6A could, indeed, serve as the receive radio for them because it will receive the downlink frequencies of all three satellites in either CW or SSB. If your friend owns another all-band, all-mode radio, the TH-F6A would provide the receive radio necessary for a two-rig full-duplex setup, which is what I use here. If he doesn't, but still wanted to try the satellites, he could shop for a deal on a used Yaesu FT-817ND to use for the transmit side. I have a confirmed contact on AO-7 Mode B at roughly 10 degrees elevation to my west using an 817 at 5 watts for transmit. Since it is our highest-orbiting satellite, working the others definitely is possible, and I have confirmed contacts on all of them using an 817 for transmit.
Both radios offer similar accessories, although I see another advantage to the TH-F6A that I wish my VX-7R offered - that is, the ability to use earphones while still using the HT's internal mic. The speaker/mic jack on the VX-7R is special, and doesn't permit that. I wish it did.
Finally ... I have PDF versions of both radios' owners' manuals. Email me off the board, and I'll email the PDFs to you or him for a chance to do a more detailed comparison of features and ease of setup and operation.
I hope this helps.
73 to all,
Tim - N3TL
Athens, Ga. - EM84ha
-------------- Original message from "David J" <n4csitwo at bellsouth.net>: --------------
I have a friend, Joe KJ4JIO, who is looking for his first HT to use for FM satellites. He is looking at the Kenwood TH-F6A and the Yaesu VX7R. Would anyone who has used these care to share some comments on them that I can share with
> him? I'm sure he would welcome comments about any other rigs you are fond of.
> Dave, AA4KN
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