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Question from a new ham on what to buy first TS990s or the bundled 6700+Maestro

I'm a new ham (General class atm) and am trying to decide on a first radio. What would be the advantage of getting the 6700 over buying a TS-990s?

 Thanks,
Richard K5RHA

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Answers

  • Jd DupuyJd Dupuy Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Night and day! The Flex being 20 times better. Bought one of the first Kenwood TS 990s when they were first released. The Kenwood is a pretty radio but beyond that it is a ****...period! Mine has been back 3 times for repair. And a lawyer was involved. Make the only "right" choice and buy a Flex!
  • DH2IDDH2ID Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Richard, look here:
    http://www.sherweng.com/table.html
    6700 at the very top, 990 in place 20...
    73, Alex - DH2ID

  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited February 2017
    Richard. I have a TS-990s. I also have a 6500 and very recently a Maestro too. I absolutely loved my TS -990S (which replaced a loaded K3 and P3) and I actually think it is a very nice radio. However, since having the 6500 it has hardly been turned on, and now I have the Maestro I am seriously thinking of selling my TS -990S (offers, anyone?). The TS-990s has many nice features (some which the Flex 6k series still don't. ..like cw auto tune) but I'd say that it is one of a dying breed; I think the writing is on the wall for big superhet transceivers. If it makes no difference to you not having 200w, I think it is a bit of a no - brainer.... and if you do 2m DXing in addition to hf and 6m, even better. But it's a big, expensive decision...I think I'd have a play with the Kenwood at your local dealer, and see if you can find someone with a Flex 6500 or 6700 plus Maestro nearby, and do a comparison. To answer your question in a nutshell: TS -990S is a legacy radio, 6700 plus Maestro is part of the new breed of SDR.
  • Kevin Va3KGSKevin Va3KGS Member
    edited June 2017

    Morning Richard

    Operating a legacy radio of some sort will get you into the HAM  fraternity.  Learning all about what you studied to get your ticket would be used and understood.  Then purchase a Flex after you have had sometime to understand what others have experienced in the past.  Without experiencing the legacy equipment you would not be able to give your two cents opinion on how things work or what you had to do to make it work..... Legacy radios are cheep to purchase these days, ands regardless if you by a Flex first, you should still get a "Boat Anchor" just to see what technology has done to this great hobby of ours. 

    Good luck on your decisions, and we will look forward to your involvement in the Flex Community soon.

    Cheers

    Kevin, Va3KGS

  • David Decoons, wo2xDavid Decoons, wo2x Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 11

    It also depends on what your interests are in HF. Being a newly licensed general that may be a tough answer.

    The Flex combo will give you more capability, especially with digital modes. Sure the 990 can encode/decode RTTY but there is no interface to a logbook program so you would have to manually enter the call, signal report, and grid square manually into the log. With the Flex you can use third party programs such as DM780 and HRD Logbool=k. Then it is a matter of right clicking on the decoded callsign and select call. Same for the other fields of info.

    Another thing to ponder. The Maestro will allow you to operate today anywhere on your home network (on the deck in the summer for example). A future software upgrade will allow wide area network access from the Maestro, meaning anywhere you have WiFi you can operate the radio at your home.

    I had the 990 and while I did enjoy it, I do enjoy the 6700/Maestro a lot more. The Flex combo has a lot more upside.


    Dave wo2x


  • Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZBLawrence Kellar KB5ZZB Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Yes indeed. I own a 990 and after I got my 6700 I hardly turn it on. It has been relegated to being a "back up rig". The only thing the 990 excels at is something I cal "desk presence". Now with the Maestro I'm not sure that applies.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Performance wise there is no comparison. the Sherwood numbers show a significant lead for the 6700 The FT-990 is end of life legacy technology sort of like driving a Model T technology Car to which they added lots of knobs and buttons to make it look new. But under the hood its the same era 1910's technology as the Model T. No spectrum display so you get a BLIND RADIO. There is no easy way to add new features through software upgrades so you are stuck with an obsolete device that won't get better. The 6700 is a beginning of life 21st Century SDR technology sort of like driving a Tesla. Fastest sedan on the road. Both my Tesla and my 6700 are disruptive technology that keep on getting better with astounding new features being added all the time The 6700 has much better selectivity and filtering, much better phase noise (signals sound louder because there is less noise) and much better close in rejection of nearby stations. Bottom line: FT990 is not in the same performance class as the 6700 Don't. Take my word for it. Look on the various ham auction, eBay, eHam. You will see people are always dumping FT990's but rarely if ever is an used 6700 offered. We still own a few legacy radios at the contest station but their replacements will all be SDR. There is no good reason to invest in legacy radios anymore unless you are trying to preserve them as museum pieces
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    As a first radio? As in never had an HF rig and it is your first one? I agree with Kevin, I would get a traditional radio and play with it before I jump into the "big" rig. Remember also that you need antennas and other equipment.

    If you get a multi mode HF/VHF/UHF radio you can cover a lot of things and even if and when you buy the Flex or ts990 you will have VHF and UHF covered.

    I would get a used TS2000. It does everything and it has a tuner, 100w on VHF, 50w on UHF and all mode for SAT work. It will be a rig that will stay in your shack after you upgrade.

    You can find them used for $1000

    Between the 6700 and the TS990S, I will definitely buy the 6700, I did.
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited June 2016
    Howard, he was asking about the Kenwood TS -990S...not the Yaesu FT-990. I agree with you that the Maestro plus 6700 may still be better for him, but the TS-990s is a different kettle of fish to the FT-990.. Paul
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited July 2019
    If you want to be talked into the Flex, ask here.

    If you want to be swayed into a Kenwood, ask the 990 reflector on Yahoo.

    If you want to try one or both, go to ham radio outlet and try them.


    You got advice to go to sherweng, Rob Sherwood owns a 990.

    People on here, by definition, own a Flex, it's their website.

    You have to try them, or at least on of them for your self.


    Did you ever go to a Ford deal and ask which was better, the Ford or the Chevy? Or ask Rob Sherwood.
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Walt, he might have done that... ask in both forums. It is clear that the praises about the Flex will mostly come from here. I think buying either as the very first rig is not a great idea. Is like buying a Yamaha R1 1000cc sports bike as your first motorcycle but without the almost certain death outcome.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    I am just awed by the notion some have for asking purchasing advice on one of the whatever they want to compare, on their website or store, as in the case of ford v chevy. Aside from that Sal, I agree with you, I would recommend neither. I also would not recommend a radio valued at over $6,000 and definitely not one valued over $8,500 as a beginner rig. I might actually recommend the 590SG. Or I'd recommend going to, for instance, eHam or QRZ where, yes, there would be fanboys answering but it would likely be balanced.

    But if an HRO is at all a commutable distance, go there and get really unbiased advice. They may not sell Flex radios unless they have one on consignment, but they'll want that customer back for everything else. When I did my last pilgrimage there a year ago, they didn't kick me out or shun me for owning a flex.

    In order to throw up 'go see sherweng.com', which is grossly misleading, one would have to understand how to interpret the numbers, "figures don't lie but....." and all that. Rob should really remove discontinued models and multiple entries for the same model. He should also state there, "anything 85 and over is good" which he has stated publicly. Also, buying an expensive item based on numbers, in no way, tells a complete enough story to spend that kind of money. And if spending that kind of money is a non-issue, get one of each and sell the one you decide you don't want, at a loss. After all, hey, it's only money.
  • Barry N1EUBarry N1EU Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    I think the Flex (6500 in my case) rx performance advantage over a well executed superhet (K3s in my case) is WAYYYYY overstated on this forum.  No doubt the panadapter is much prettier though.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    I stand corrected. However the TS990 is an almost blind legacy technology radio Same 1910 era technology with even more knows and buttons. Ranked #20 on Sherwood list.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    You definitely will NOT get unbiased advice at HRO. They only sell Japaese Radio NOT American made radios.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    That's actually a question I've repeatedly asked, given the numbers for the SDR and high end 'legacy' radios are identical, what actually is the differentiators. Best I can determine its cost of manufacturing...margin. Answering 'in 10-15 years..." is a deflection. I love the ui of the 990. It's weight, given my desk layout, precludes it as a viable rig here. This is why I advocate for a SSDR Flex with a 990ss UI at an affordable price would be totally kickass.
  • Burt FisherBurt Fisher Member ✭✭
    edited August 2016
    Backup for what?
  • Steve W6SDMSteve W6SDM Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Being a new ham, you're probably less concerned with performance and more concerned with learning.  SDR is, without a doubt, the future of amateur radio and radio communications in general.  With a Flex, you will be learning what is to come.  Also, everything is much more visible.  Seeing a signal bandwidth, for example, on a panadapter is more revealing than trying to grasp the concept in theory. 

    As with anything, you should be concerned with the value of your investment.  (Yeah, Burt, I know.  :)  ).  A legacy radio will be obsolete much sooner than a Flex would.

    Whenever I buy anything, I try to get the best that I can afford.  You will find it worthwhile in the long run.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    One does not imply the other. The distributor relationship is not established at each store. The employees at each store are ham radio operators, not high pressure salesmen. When I was there they spoke very knowledgeably about Flex and did not shun me for owning one. Of course one could fly to London and ask a Flex distributor there that also sells Elecraft, ICOM, Kenwood, and yaesu.
  • Barry N1EUBarry N1EU Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I think in the next few years we'll definitely see 990-like UI's paired with Flex-like radio architecture.  Unless other parties step to the plate, it will come out of Japan.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Unfortunately, I agree.
  • Martin AA6EMartin AA6E Member ✭✭
    edited January 20
    For a beginner who wants to be on the right side of history, you could do worse than choose an Icom 7300.  :-)
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited June 2016
    You know what Martin, given that it is Richard 's first Rig, that is not a bad idea. Even so, let me go and get my fire extinguisher..... ;-) Paul M0CVX
  • WaltWalt Member ✭✭
    edited January 20
    I agree - for a beginner radio, the 7300 is an excellent choice.  It allows you to explore the radio world with a radio that does a lot.  You can plug it in, hook up the antenna and play.

    Use some of the extra money for a Really Really good antenna system that fits your situation.

    And after spending the $1500, you can always sell or trade up, or keep and buy another bigger, costlier radio.  And with the experience from the little one, you will know what features you want and don't want in a radio and pick accordingly.

    Cheers !


  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Martin and Paul. Giving your suggestion could that be reworded to be a monetary ceiling, above which you do not advise for a first grade?
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    The "problem" with your suggestion is that regardless of what he does, he will end up with only HF . I think my suggestion of a multimode radio first which will then become your base VHF-UHF radio makes more sense. I might even go as far as to suggest an 857D which will remain a viable portable rig.

    As to his question, I still think the 6700+Maestro as better setup than a TS990s.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    I'm actually, not convinced of that, last sentence. The problem with being pointed to a chart, beyond how to interpret it, is it is one dimensional. If the goal is to enjoy the hobby long enough to get good at it, one should get a radio that is fun, enjoyable, easy to listen to for hours at a time, and feels good to operate. I think the advise of start inexpensive and, if need be, work your way up, is the soundest.
  • WaltWalt Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    No disagreement there - if he also wants to explore the VHF-UHF world, there are plenty of radios to do so.  I have an 857 that I have enjoyed using for different things.  

    Cheers
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Consider also the radio is or can be the most expensive part of your station and provides the least **** for the buck. Buy the best antenna you can first.
  • Paul BradbeerPaul Bradbeer Member
    edited June 2016
    No, it doesn't have to be about money - not as some form of limit anyway. I'm glad that Richard is able to splash enough cash for a TS -990S or 6700 as his first transceiver; his cash and his decision. However, making the 'wrong' decision at that level will be costly, and im sure none of us have money to burn. Therefore, a more cautious approach may be to buy something like an IC-7300 or TS-590S and use it for a while to find out what modes he prefers, what his operating style is...or more's the point, what it isn't. With such experience under his belt he will have a far better understanding of his 'Requirements' and will know where he is, and is not, prepared to compromise. Buying a TS -990S may prove to be a costly mistake. How much would you lose on a 6-month old TS -990S? .....enough to buy a 7300 outright probably.

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