Specs Specs specs

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  • Updated 12 months ago
Many are so into specs, as though they mean you should or not buy a certain radio. The specs only tell a small part of what makes a radio a really good radio. Consider a car magazine, say Car and Driver. They publish the car specs, like 0 to 60 in seconds, 1/4 mile. But they also talk about ride, handling, driver comfort, and controls. Visibility and options. Other than specs on our radios, what makes it stand out from others as a user? See, the specs do not tell the real tangibles. 

Sherwood only deals with radio specs. But what if he discussed things like, for SDRs, things like fit and finish of the radio, is the software easy to learn and use? Is the software well implemented, well writen? does it show the operator everything they need to know at any moment? And how about the user living with it day to day? And what is the customer support like?

So, to me specs are interesting, but have little to do with my actual enjoyment
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Posted 12 months ago

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Photo of KF4HR


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As odd as it may sound, I know hams that have purchased equipment solely based on the specs within Rob Sherwood's Receiver Chart.  I find this amusing considering Rob Sherwood, when recently addressing the Dynamic Range Narrow Spaced column in his chart, stated that from a practical standpoint, whether a radio tests at 95db, 100db, or 105db the user will likely never be able to observe the difference on the air. 

In general terms, important issues to me are, how enjoyable is the equipment to operate (ergonomics, features, ease of use)?  How reliable is it?  Is the equipment software software upgrade-able?  And how much Flexibility does it have?   (Pun intended. hi) 
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Lasse Moell

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It's been years since I was DR-limited. 7 MHz with EU BC stations pumping out Megawatts put a tremendous strain on receiver frontends. Now most have shut down, so most modern receivers do just fine. What bugs me now is the poor keying from many radios. Key clicks covering several kHz makes bands more crowded than needed to be. And no matter how good my receiver is.
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I kinda agree. A few db in receiver sensitivity probably doesn't make a difference to a majority of HAMS. Very few HAMS work to obtain signal performance above the thermal noise generated by the front end of their radio; especially working "voice" on the longer wavelength bands where the environmental noise overwhelms receiver noise. Digital modes might be a reason to reach down into the environmental noise to pick out a signal. How close do you really get to looking for signals above the receiver thermal noise? I'll bet, even the Space Station crews complain about the EMI up there!
Other specs are probably more important....?
You need specs, though. Comparisons are good to keep the limited HAM receiver market competitive.

From a retired Avionics System Engineer, who had to live by specs and test to them...
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I paid $7000+ for a radio. It better have good performance. I am not obsessed about performance but I don't want people constantly telling me, "why on Earth did you pay $7000 for that radio when a K3S could give you better performance for half the price?" That is pretty much where it ends. Features are more important for me now.