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The “Goldilocks Evaluation” of ham radio

Steve K9ZW
Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
edited August 2019 in New Ideas
After hearing other hams not only express their individual rig preferences but overtly discount anyone else’s (mine included) preferences it was time to click the keyboard a bit. https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/ratings-of-the-lab-vs-user-experience-which-is-valid/ I’ve always held that each individual’s preferences are valid for themselves. It is worrisome when measured facts are ignored, but each of us puts a weighting on what facts matter to us. This is the “Goldilocks Evaluation” we each undertake. 73 Steve K9ZW http://k9zw.wordpress.com

Comments

  • Gary NC3Z
    Gary NC3Z Member ✭✭
    edited August 2019
    It's nice to know how a radio performs (and most of these lab tests are for the RX only). There are several things I also want besides a decent RX, such as great recovered audio, clean and clear TX, ease of digital mode interfacing, external equipment integration, human interface, etc.

    But as you noted, these RX numbers mean nothing if you don't have well designed low noise antenna systems to back them up, all those great numbers gets lost in the noise. Put some money into the antenna system, especially on the RX side, before dumping a lot of money into the latest top of the lab test pile.

  • Clay N9IO
    Clay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited July 2019
    Indeed Gary. My DX experience changed dramatically after I started experimenting with receive antennas. My mentors taught me well many moons ago. I am biased to my 6600 flex including the 6300 before it but neither would stack up without my antenna scheme. Thank you WB9Z and K9NR. Just wish I had more acreage.
  • Gary NC3Z
    Gary NC3Z Member ✭✭
    edited July 2019
    Yeah, when I put up my SAL-30 a couple of years ago it was like magic. The improvements on 160-40 are just unbelievable until you experience what you have been missing. 20dB or more of improved SNR is just amazing on RX.

    The downside is many stations can't hear me with my 1KW+ with their higher noise level :)
  • Michael N3LI
    Michael N3LI Member ✭✭
    edited July 2019
    Hi Steve - I visited your page as part of moderating rec.radio.amateur moderated, and couldn't agree more. Altogether too many people get too worried about some number, use it for bragging rights, or as a way to put other people's radios down. Let's not forget there was a defective and used Flex Radio that had it's specs published. I still hear people talking about the poor performance of Flex Radios because of that. 

    And superior radios, like say the K3S are at least to me, not much fun to operate. Short push/long push just doesn't do it for me. Would not own one even though it is a really good one.

    The best radio for a person is the one that is the most pleasurable to operate, and 95 percent of the performance of a radio is the operator. I've had several Field Day operations where I could run off a quick hundred QSO's on a radio someone else said "wasn't working". And I'm not even that hot an operator.
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2019
    Michael you've touched on some of the usability aspects we "evaluate" rather than "measure."

    How the radio functions on your station desk is in the end a true measure.

    I've really enjoyed working rigs that perhaps are not in the lead on lab tests, but are certainly in the lead when it comes to field reports from actual users.

    As for labs testing second hand off-spec gear is that any worse than labs taking sponsorships/retainers or selling advertising?  I do not want to downplay the various lab reports usefulness in a general sense, and the way things are there is little avoiding the appearance of conflicting interests.  

    Have you every found certain gear has a great balance performing exceptionally well albeit for perhaps your purpose & circumstances?  Or how high-performance/exotic gear may briefly throw down some great performance numbers, but is fragile and more often under repair than in use?  Just last week I as offer a vintage Espada that the proud owner (who was looking desperately to become and ex-owner) admitted in five year of ownership repairs had taken it to the shop half the time and drained his pocket by nearly $40k - almost half of what the Lambo sold for.  

    Yet for someone the Espada was a dream car that fit their wants enough to be worth it.  

    From my "Goldilocks Evaluation" I'd linked prior posts on the "balance" and the sweet spot certain gear just has.  

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW

    Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com


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