Rob Sherwood Ranks Yaesu FTdx-101 as the New Number One!

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 4 weeks ago
Rob Sherwood has just ranked the new Yaesu FTdx-101 into First Place amongst all receivers on planet Earth, above the Flex 6700, and even higher on his rankings list than the $15,000 Icom IC-7850!

At Yaesu’s remarkably low price point for this transceiver, what “magic” did Yaesu discover and leverage that allows it’s product to perform better than any and all other radios, that cost oh, so much more $’s than the FTdx-101?

BTW, my understanding is that Mr. Sherwood’s receiver tests and subsequent competitive rankings are widely considered to be the industry’s absolute gold standard, so I take his top ranking of this Yaesu radio as a fact.
Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 179 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes

Posted 4 weeks ago

  • 1
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2310 Posts
  • 949 Reply Likes
Rob explained that he had to pick something to rank them by so he picked close in dynamic range. 

As far as what they have that Flex doesn't? I don't know that but I do know there were two samples of flex 6700 tested and Rob has said that the 6700 is really a 99dB radio. The chart topping dynamic range narrow spaced was with the preamp on, but later software versions eliminated the performance difference.

What do you want in a flex anyway? Anything above 90dB is simply a numbers game with no difference to normal ears in normal conditions on planet earth. I enjoy the integration and networking features paired with pretty decent performance.
(Edited)
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1842 Posts
  • 669 Reply Likes
Hi Ria,
Agree Rob also says anything of 90-95+  is good. 

Here is a snapshot of the review with the footnote explaining that the 6700 test showing 108 is no longer valid in the current software.   If you miss the footnote you may not realize that.

I believe Rob left the 6700 in the #2 position anyway because that is what he measured at the time back in 2014. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

This shows the 2014 test, the 2017 test and the 6600 test as well as the footnote Y.



Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 179 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
I think the footnote is perhaps slicing some fine hairs. The fact is, Yaesu is currently King of Sherwood Hill!

Perhaps more importantly, I will ask again:

What “magic” does Yaesu have that places their $4,000 radio above a $7,000 radio? Bang for the buck is extremely important, to those of us not quite as rich as Bill Gates.
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1842 Posts
  • 669 Reply Likes
Hi Larry,
The FT101D is a hybrid rig. Superhet then SDR from the IF freq. Here is my understanding of the differences and pros & cons.

A superhet down conversion stage before the analog to digital conversion stage can provide better dynamic range than a plain direct conversion SDR.

The downside is that it does not sample the full spectrum like a direct sample SDR radio.

BTW, the new K4 offers both direct sample models and a hybrid model, the K4HD.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
Photo of FISHULA X

FISHULA X

  • 30 Posts
  • 11 Reply Likes
 I gotta tell ya, I have owned many radios. Three Flex 5000A radios. and I own a 6300 now. I live in a very noisy area with limited yard space. I gotta say this for the Flex 6000 series. The WTB AKA wide band noise blanker is a life saver. Non of my radios could achieve the RX so well as the 6300. I have tried all sorts of units to cancel the noise. Nothing could get better results then using the WTB. As long as Flex continues to have this feature, I will be a Flex owner for life, I just loved the 5000a and I must admit I do miss some of the features however, This is the best yet for me. So If you are troubled with noise that you just can't seem to get rid of and it is interfering with your hobby, Look into the WTB It is the cat's Meow, Seriously. Thank you Flex radio for helping me enjoy my hobby. 73 all.
Photo of Mark - WS7M

Mark - WS7M

  • 1274 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
I live close to Rob.  I've seen his setup and he has a wonderful location.

I am a software engineer by trade and as such I've been involved with computers since their availability to the public.  Yes I started selling Z80 CP/M systems.  Later programming them until Apple and IBM came around.

Being in this for so long I can't help but meet people or have family members ask me what computer they should buy.  It is always a tough question to answer because it really depends upon your needs and your desires.

If you have unlimited money then of course you should buy the top rated, best thing you can buy.but be prepared that your new purchase, while it might be the hottest thing on the market may not be what you like or want to use.  This happens more often than not!

So when relatives, friends and others ask me what computer to buy I always say the same thing:

1) Do not try to buy cutting edge.   You might have the hottest thing out there but you might not really like it very well either as in the computer field sometimes things need a chance to catch up.
2) Buy the most able you can afford.  Buy a good solid machine, with enough RAM and DISK to do what you want to do.
3) Be prepared that you may need to upgrade in a few years.

Now all of that being said, the most difficult thing is to decide what you need.  This is true of Hams as well as computer users.  Sure that extra dB or two is desired, but do you need it?  What are your operating habits?  If you hang out on 75 and do the nets it is unlikely that you need the hottest receiver on the block.

If you are searching rare DX and have a HUGE tower and beam then probably yes that extra hot receiver will do you some good.

BUT keep in mind that you don't get to buy the sensitive receiver alone. You have to buy the entire box and you might not like the rest of the box!

It is a balancing act.

While Robs report is fun to read does it mean your 6700 is now a horrible receiver compared to the FT?  Absolutely not.   You are just now in good company instead of being the leader.

Just my take on things.  My 6600 hears more than all of my friends on a crummy little 80m loop antenna that is not very high.  I wish I could do it justice and give it a massive beam at 400 feet but I just can't.   But I don't think my radio is angry with me.  It seems to find plenty of RF to chew on.

Sure it might have preferred to be on the space station working the world but I think it has accepted that it will be my radio and do the best it can do with the meager antennas I can feed it.

Mark - WS7M
(Edited)
Photo of FISHULA X

FISHULA X

  • 30 Posts
  • 11 Reply Likes
 I gotta tell ya, I have owned many radios. Three Flex 5000A radios. and I own a 6300 now. I live in a very noisy area with limited yard space. I gotta say this for the Flex 6000 series. The WNB AKA wide band noise blanker is a life saver. None of my radios could achieve the RX so well as the 6300 and actually drops my noise floor. It's increadable . I have tried all sorts of units to cancel the noise. Nothing could get better results then using the WNB. As long as Flex continues to have this feature, I will be a Flex owner for life, I just loved the 5000a and I must admit I do miss some of the features of Power SDR however, This is the best yet for me. So If you are troubled with noise that you just can't seem to get rid of and it is interfering with your hobby, Look into the WNB It is the cat's Meow, Seriously. Thank you Flex radio for helping me enjoy my hobby. 73 all.
(Edited)
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 733 Posts
  • 249 Reply Likes
Most people look at Rob's Chart rankings as something seriously significant. 

Question: What operational difference is there between a 99 db receiver and a 110 db receiver?  Rob himself will tell you there's not much in the way of operational performance in any of the receivers,  90db and above.  The main difference is just lab numbers. 

I'd like to see Rob's Chart include audio files (of set standard SSB and CW signal strength) for each rig so people can actually hear the difference between the rigs.  Odds are, no one would be able to hear any difference between a FTdx-101E and a Flex-3000.

If Rob's Chart numbers make you feel good about your buying decision.  Enjoy.


Photo of Michael Walker

Michael Walker, Technologist

  • 805 Posts
  • 229 Reply Likes
I want to pass on something that Rob posted on the 7610 reflector.  I would also not be surprised if he is also part of this community.  Unless you really understand all the parameters, the number 1 is dependant on how the list is sorted.  Not all units are created equal and there are trade offs in all areas.

------------

Hi, 

 

RMDR and dynamic range (DR3) are separate measurements. If the phase noise is significantly better than the DR3 measurement, then the two measurements don’t interact.  If the LO noise is about the same or higher than the third-order intermodulation product, then that reciprocal-mixing “noise” interferes with the measurement.  My table is sorted on close-in (usually 2 kHz) DR3 measurements, not RMDR. 

 

I don’t have an RMDR column because RMDR was only defined by the ARRL in 2012, and my test data goes back to the mid 1970s.  I do have an LO Noise measurement that really should have a minus sign before the number.  Ignoring that for now, if you take the LO Noise value for the TS-890S of 155 dB and subtract 27 dB for a measurement in a 500 Hz bandwidth instead of 1 Hz, then you get an RMDR value of 128 dB.  The FTdx-101D has an RMDR value of 127 dB. 

 

On 40m the difference is 2 dB, (Kenwood 2 dB better) which is also insignificant from a “who’s radio is better” consideration. Both radios are top notch in that respect. 

 

Unlike in the past when synthesized radios came out, we now have radios from all five major OEMs that have excellent RMDR, and also excellent dynamic range (DR3). 

 

The buyer has lots of choices of fine transceivers that will rarely limit his ability to copy weak signals in the present of lots of very strong QRM.  There may be limits by SSB splatter (IMD) or key clicks on CW, but that is a whole different subject.

 

73, Rob Sherwood, NC0B

===========

Part 2 on my comment is today I received a call from a customer who purchased the FTdx-101.   Here are his exact comments:

  • The 3D display was cool - for about 5 minutes.  Then, it got so annoying to look at, he covered it with cardboard since it was like watching a video game.  I asked him if he was kidding, and he said, no, he was dead serious on the cardboard part.
  • He thought the receiver was OK, but it was not as quiet at the Flex radio he had a year ago.  The 101 was somewhat hard to listen to.
  • The transmitted audio was terrible and it was only 3.2 khz wide - max (maybe he said 3khz)
  • He sent it back for a refund and even took the 15% restocking charge as there was no way he was going to use it.
Then, he surprised me by ordering a new 6700.  :) 


Mike
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1842 Posts
  • 669 Reply Likes
Hi Mike,
Yes there is a lot more to consider thar the DR3 numbers. What you do with the digital data ( i.e. DSP) as well all of the other software features, the ergonomics of the user interface, etc.

All of the receivers with DR3 numbers above 90 are a good place to start, not finish your evaluation.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
Photo of Steve

Steve

  • 96 Posts
  • 67 Reply Likes
"All of the receivers with DR3 numbers above 90 are a good place to start, not finish your evaluation"  Obviously a quote from NN4ZZ.  He has summed it all up VERY well.  There really is nothing else that needs to be said.  73's
Photo of N9VC

N9VC

  • 180 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes
I have a hard time believing the cardboard comment. I don't doubt he said it
to you, but, all he had to do was change to 2D Waterfall/Panadaptor mode. I
think the novelty of the 3D display wore off fast and an impulse purchase
of the radio was made in haste. At least he did the right thing and rather
than keep the radio, made it right to himself and got one he had really
wanted in the first place. Hats off to him for buying a Flex.

73, Jim N9VC

Photo of Robert Lonn

Robert Lonn

  • 361 Posts
  • 115 Reply Likes
Spent the last hour comparing, Once Again, my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver to my Flex 6600M.. Per Bob chart, the Icom is right near the top... But once again, when on 20 or 40 meters, the Flex just HEARS BETTER and Clearer then the ICOM..  SO for normal in shack use, I will stay with the Flex... The 8600 is my DStar radio, RTTY decoder, and OTHER stuff from DC-3GHz.. I am not a big YouTube video person, busy at work, even at age 71,,, but tempted to make a video... BTW, the Icom NR is not that great, average at best compared to the Flex.. AND!!!! I dont think I could live with any radio that does not have HD HDMI output feeding into my 4K  LG TV set...

Robert

Photo of Robert Lonn

Robert Lonn

  • 361 Posts
  • 115 Reply Likes
Photo of Zack Schindler - N8FNR

Zack Schindler - N8FNR

  • 152 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
OT: how do you like the LP-700?
Photo of Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

  • 197 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
I also have an LP-700.  Happy to discuss with you outside of this thread.
Bob. WK2Y
Photo of Robert Lonn

Robert Lonn

  • 361 Posts
  • 115 Reply Likes
Sure, just got a VHF unit for it,, so now 3, One before and after the linear, and one for my Yaesu FT-991.. Even though it is 2 meters it still works on UHF.. Only off by a few watts.
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 913 Posts
  • 255 Reply Likes
More research into your desired platform and the measurements involved would probably be wiser than taking that top ranking as "fact".
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3749 Posts
  • 901 Reply Likes
Lets see, does anyone know how old the 6700 is?  How old is the  FTdx-101  don't you think the 6700 will fall off that meaningles chart at some point? some year?

Amazing the 6700 is still near the top I think. that is just how darn good the 6700 is.
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1842 Posts
  • 669 Reply Likes
Hi Bill,
Even if you ignore the invalid test that has the 6700 at #2, the 6700 is still in the top 10%. (With a DR3 of 99, it is about number 14 out of 140+ tests).

Many of the rigs tested go back to the 1970’s 1980’s etc. So the 6700 is not likely to drop off or even drop down too much in ranking for a long, long time. Same for the other Flex models that are at about the ranking.

There will likely be more receivers join the top tier . New models will probably also have a DR3 rating in the 95+ range. But in the big picture they will all be fine, and it will be the other aspects of their feature set that are more important than the DR3 ranking.

So yes the Flex line can still be on or near the top from an overall performance standpoint, it’s more about the software and other features. And that’s why it is important to keep making improvements there.

So I’d say Rob’s chart is a valuable tool and his work testing over the years has been a valuable contribution that has helped us get better radios.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
Photo of Martin Ewing AA6E

Martin Ewing AA6E

  • 319 Posts
  • 76 Reply Likes
Rank ordering of complex things that are fairly similar is a losing proposition.  Which is the best college? The ordering (who is #1, #2, etc.) depends critically on what "figure of merit" you choose.  Is it Nobel laureates, student/faculty ratio, football standings, or what? 

There are many parameters in the radio ratings charts, and there are many factors that aren't in those charts.  In these days of near-perfect HF ratings (for top radios), one of the biggest factors for me is UX - the user experience.  Display quality, knob arrangements (if any!), computer interaction (OS support), remote options, user support, and on and on.  

We Flex users enjoyed being #1 -- according to the lists.   There was a certain amount of crowing about that.  I'm sure it sold a lot of radios. Now the cards have been shuffled again, and we are "in the top 10" -- until the next product round, maybe.

Don't worry, be happy!

73 Martin AA6E

Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 539 Posts
  • 223 Reply Likes
I would never buy another Yaesu radio again no matter where it placed on any lists. I had so many problems with my FT 450D that I actually threw it in the garbage.  That's right, I tossed a radio that I bought new for almost $1,000 right in the garbage.

BTW...still waiting for Yaesu customer service to call me back. It's only been three years but I'm hoping I'll  hear from them soon.


Photo of Doug

Doug

  • 143 Posts
  • 52 Reply Likes
I am mostly a ssb guy and it is my understanding that Sheerwood test on CW. I don't doubt his rankings however on K9CRT's desktop his numbers don't hold up. I have or had many of  the radio's tested lately and this is what I am using for my opinion. This includes a FTDX5000D that I still have. Again it's rankings in my shack on SSB don't hold up to Rob's and it just sits on my shelf after buying my Flex 6400M a year and a half ago. I can afford any radio on the market today but I am not a buyer for the new Yaesu.
Photo of Rich McCabe

Rich McCabe

  • 1119 Posts
  • 238 Reply Likes
Having a multitude of radios over the years that are on "the list" I can assure you that anything on the top 30 of that list has good potential. The specs mean nothing. 

That said we all still check out the list for fun. And if I am being fair with myself I feel let down when my radio (6600 currently) does not make it as high as I would like :)

There are radios on that list that you could not give me for free.  My new operating style has been formed around Flex. And unless they really screw something up, I dont see myself switching brands anytime soon
Photo of Roger,  W6VZV

Roger, W6VZV

  • 254 Posts
  • 111 Reply Likes
A totally meaningless statistic.  Yawn.
Photo of Robert Lonn

Robert Lonn

  • 361 Posts
  • 115 Reply Likes
At first I was excited about a 3D waterfall, neat and different,,, but the more Videos I watch of it, the less impressed I am, for me that is.. The best way to describe it is "It does not appear natural".. The way the brain works, it seems more complex and more confusing then a regular linear waterfall.. I have the ability to change the GPS in my car from 2D to 3D, decided many years ago 2D made more sense from a quick glance perspective.. 2D just look, 3D  need to think for a second what you are seeing..  NOTE! I have a 3D Blue-Ray player, a Sony 3D TV set and about 35 3D movies.. I Love It..  But that is a Movie, your watching for entertainment value with a Beer in your right hand and popcorn in the left... But as a waterfall,,,, no thank you... Glad Yaesu gives you the ability to choose what you want...
Photo of Craig Williams

Craig Williams

  • 199 Posts
  • 64 Reply Likes
My fallback radio.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3749 Posts
  • 901 Reply Likes
Keeping in mind the list is a very limited resource for deciding on a radio.

A radio may have great specs but the radio could be a dog to use. The screen could have low res, the buttons are to close so I fumble around trying to get a finger on one. The menue system is all over the place and hard to work. The audio tires me out. Oh, but the SPECS!!

I have already talked to people ready to buy a radio based on the list alone, disregarding everything that makes a radio really nice to operate.
Photo of Erika - KØDD

Erika - KØDD

  • 4 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Rob's tests pretty much lay everything out and present what's going on with each rig.  It's NICE that in the past when a radio had a performance issue or limitation he was able to determine WHAT was causing the issue and where. Once his reputation grew to the point the manufacturers actually listened to what he had to say they started correcting problems.

Just because a radio costs a LOT OF MONEY doesn't mean it's the best thing out there.  At our station at one time we had "the latest and greatest radios out there" and "Money was no object" when it came to selecting our station's rig...

FOR INSTANCE...  The Kenwood TS-930 early serial numbers QRM'ed themselves.  We received a brand shiny new top dollar IC-781...  Well it had the ALC overshoot issue that would blow up linear amplifiers.

IC-756 Pro II  our station had two of those at one time (Bought together) and BOTH of those radios came out of the box with weird oscillations on 6 meters...  Ordered a 756 Pro III but that radio right out of the box wouldn't turn on. 

Then we had the 7800...  OMG what a nightmare that thing was.

You sure couldn't tell another owner 7800 had some issues we'd all paid $10000 for those radios and heaven forbid the sun would come up in the morning if ones 7800 was not sent by the high and mighty himself.

My point here is its been far too long since the last radio war...  The Move is all towards SDR so everybody hopefully going to come out with VERY serious and competitive radios. 

Due to past history Brand Loyalty around here anyway is going to become a thing of the past...  My loyalty needs to be earned and is a continuous process.

I will state this... It's always best to place as much selectivity as possible as close to the antenna as possible.  (tracking Preselectors are very good)  devices that cannot be overloaded no matter what are good. We operate a lot of weak signal VHF and UHF stuff.  Low noise figures and quiet IF's are imperative.  PURE AUDIO amplification is good.  Your LO's need to perfectly clean and pure... 

I'm all for whatever company is raising the bar.  Just don't keep raising the prices... I'm no longer impressed with spending $$$$ and ownership ego... 

The one thing I'm not impressed by is the background noise on this widdle 1500 it is NOT band noise.  If you take the antenna off I hear a roar... That sort of noise exhausts your ears during contesting. You need to be able to hear a pin drop out there and when the band is hot even on 80 or 160 the band is silent and the weak ones appear out of the vapor and can be worked.

The manufacturers must remember these radios might be named SDR...  but are RADIOS FIRST.  Keep development going and provide improvement to the radio art...  Stop worrying about creating massive feature sets, Continue developing the SIGNAL portions of your radios to give us COMMAND PERFORMANCE... 

I will never again write the check for HUGE money to get a box that some consumer product manufacturer banged out.... from now on right up front it better be worth every cent...

Have a nice day everybody.

Erika DD

Photo of Zack Schindler - N8FNR

Zack Schindler - N8FNR

  • 152 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
Here is the link to Sherwood's test page: http://www.sherweng.com/table.html Interestingly he rated every Flex-xxxx rig higher than the TS-990s. The 1500 which came out in 2010 is just above the 990s.
(Edited)
Photo of Pat N6PAT

Pat N6PAT

  • 539 Posts
  • 223 Reply Likes
Do you purchase a radio because someone you never met says it's a good radio or because it has the features you really want?

If I put together a list that says 2 beer cans and a string work better than a TS 890S would you buy the beer cans and string? Why not? After all, the beer cans are at the top of my list so they must be better than the 890S

(Edited)
Photo of Robert Lonn

Robert Lonn

  • 360 Posts
  • 115 Reply Likes
That will work Pat, but the beer cans must be FULL first, then you open them, drink a lot, then attach the string between the two cans.. I believe that the COORS cans are rated the best!! Probably has to do with the quality of the aluminum being used... :-)
Robert