Month: December 2014

SOTA activation: YO/EC-520 Seciu peak

After more than 2 months of ugly weather – wich included a full consecutive 30 days of overcast sky, the days around Christmas are finally taking a turn on this side of the world. The Christmas Eve morning caught me in my hometown of Ploiesti, with a long list of chores ahead; luckily, outside was the clearest and bluest sky I’ve seen in months, and I immediately thought of the SOTA bag I was carrying in the car and the new antenna I had to test. So after helping my father with a few things around town, I took off for the closest and most accessible SOTA peak: YO/EC-520, Seciu peak. This little guy is only 406m tall (1 point, no season bonus) and is one of the smallest I’ve ever activated, the only one below it being YO/MM-005. It is known thanks to the famous wine maker and touristic complex right on top of it “Casa Seciu”, usually reserved for the high-ranking members of the communist party before the 1989 revolution. Now it’s open for everyone and I had the chance to visit it about 3 years ago, take a tour of the wine cellars, taste their excuisite cooking and purchase a few unique bottles “for closer examination”. All the mountain is a big vineyard and adhering to the SOTA rules I had to park the car and...

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Icom’s new flagship: IC-7851

Icom just posted their new flagship product on the japanese website: IC-7851. It doesn’t seem to be a completely new product – as the front panel is almost identical to the IC-7800, but appearences can be misleading. Icom claims redesigned insides for the IC-7851, aimed at improving performance “no matter what cost”. They targeted the LO (much lower phase noise local oscillator), the DSP (we might finally have a working bandscope), the exciter BPF block is now relay-switched (as the PIN diodes bring some distorsions into the mix) and they added few more bells and whistles such as USB mouse support, DVI display output and SP-DIF audio I/O. There is also a new 1.2kHz “OPTIMUM ROOFING FILTER” on the 1st IF (64MHz). Probably the most effort was put into improving performance as the IC-7800 didn’t really measure up to the competiton from Yaesu and Kenwood, so the new figures for Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range look impressive: Official claim is 110dB dynamic range and +40dBm IP3, wich is competitive enough. The price point for the Icom IC-7851 in the japanese market is 1.1 million yen, wich is about US$9200 – both the Yaesu FTdx-5000MP and the Kenwood TS-990S were initially listed around US$8200. The complete list of specs below; not sure what’s with the limited TX range on 160m and 80m, might be a requirement of the japanese market. General...

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