Saturday, January 9, 2021


 So, I did a thing...

First, keep in mind my K3 is #216, it hasn’t had any of the hardware revisions done to the original model, much less the K3S synth upgrade. But it’s still the best receiver I’ve ever used under tough conditions, so much so that I’ve spent most of the last 13 years completely free of rig envy. I did not and still do not need a better radio and am not looking for one; I just wanted a new second 100w rig, and I bought it fully aware of all the important (to me) K3 features the 10 is missing. 

I knew it would be a solid performer from reading some of Rob Sherwood’s comments, but I am stunned. I’ve been playing with this thing in the NAQP CW contest, purposely looking for weak signals next to strong ones to test against the K3, and I cannot find any case in which the K3 could hear better than the FTDX10. Mostly the same, but occasionally a few where the 10 really outdid the 3. 

North American QSO Party in full swing.

Best example: Both radios set as close to identical as possible: bandwidth 300 Hz, APF on, 6dB ATT, preamps off. Weak signal on frequency x, strong signal on x+100Hz. The strong signal was still clearly audible inside the passband of the K3, while there was barely a trace of it on the 10–maybe some light key clicks on signal peaks, but no cw at all, Even when using the 500Hz roofing filter instead of the 300Hz.. No matter what amount of tweaking I did to the K3, I could not remove it from the passband (short of using a notch filter). I think the difference can be attributed to its APF—the 10’s APF is adjustable with three settings (NARR, MED, WIDE; mine is set to NARR), while the K3’s APF only has one which appears to be not quite as sharp as the 10’s. The K3 did not, however, exhibit any noticeable AGC pumping or other degradation to signal quality. This was an extreme case that I deliberately went looking for. Most of the time I couldn’t tell much difference between the two receivers. Bear in mind that I’m just using an end-fed wire, my “real” antenna has been down since my last move in 2016. So there’s not a lot of microvolts present at the antenna connector.

On transmit, T/R relays clickety-clicking isn’t too bad. If I were to use it in a contest, though, I’d probably turn off the full break-in and go semi-. The fan comes on during RX and isn’t exactly whisper quiet. I’m pretty tolerant, I’ve got all sorts of ambient noise in my shack that’s worse, so it’s just another hum.

Noise reduction works nicely on CW. On phone, I typically run the DNR lightly on the K3; on the FTDX10 it introduces a reverb to the signal that I don’t like, but that is pretty much default settings. I haven’t tweaked any of the settings yet. And there are a LOT of settings to set! 😳 I’ve only got a few hours seat time with this thing and have barely cracked the manual. 

The panadapter works. First thing I did was turn off the 3D waterfall. I’ll let the fanboys argue about whether the 7300 or 10 has the better fishfinder; to me it’s like Ford and Chevy guys arguing about who has the better radiator. It works as well as or better than my Flex 1500, and that works well enough for me. All but three analog controls are crammed to the right of the screen. There are a lot of them (24) and some of the buttons are in a tight place between protruding knobs. Familiarity will come over time—I spend a lot of time with my finger ready to press or turn something, but not sure where to poke it. Lol! I’m happy to say that they’ve at least got the right analog controls. Nothing that important hidden deep in menus, I don’t think. And the menus are a whole lot easier to navigate through than the K3 by a long shot. 

I posted a video of my first 5 or so minutes using the FTDX10 for the first time fresh out of the box...before I even read The Book of Words!: 

More to come as I dig into this rig.

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