Which radios are the best on RTTY? Which are not so good? If you are in the market for a new or used radio read what experienced RTTY operators say about the transceivers they are using now and have used in the past. If you have comments you’d like to make about a particular radio and how it performs on RTTY, please send an E-mail to me at email@example.com. (Note: I wrote this many years ago and it may not be pertinent anymore because all newer radios are more than capable of operating RTTY mode.)
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Donna, AG6V – Doing RTTY on the Elecraft K3 is quite simple. Most people who have a K3 have a computer handy for updates and to do logging. So using the K3 Utility software, available free from Elecraft, is a natural. Simple to set up: Just start the software and be in the proper data mode on the radio, then tune to a RTTY signal. Voila – decoding on the screen. Even without a computer, it is possible to use the K3 in RTTY mode: just turn on the Text Decode function and set to proper data mode. There is a small display where the decoded signal is displayed. –> No separate sound card needed, no separate cables for software to purchase. You can even decide both sides of a RTTY split operation if you have a subRx, but that requires two copies of MMTTY.
Bill, K4FX – I think this one is a keeper, no FSK but they tell me it’s coming soon, but for AFSK only the DSP makes up for it! Just after I got it running I was working EU stations and had people come in above and below me, I don’t think the 756 or the 940 could have stood it, but the DSP on the Flex was dialed down to about 200 hz and the QSO’s went on. Also with the Flex and VAC (virtual audio cable) software, no sound card is used with MMTTY or MixW or whatever, just the VAC and the Flex, all processing is done in the PC and the latency is zero! The external Edirol FA-66 handles the Flex, I removed the SoundBlaster to free those resources up, but suppose there is a need for a sound card in a particular app? No sweat, just run the “repeater” function in VAC and tell it to link virtual cable 1 to the FA-66 and viola you have sound, works like a dream, so far I have used MMTTY and MMSSTV without any issues. There are 10 DSP filter banks for every mode with “pre-made filters”, even 10 separate ones for LSB and USB, and 20 total DIGU and DIGL which are just lower and upper sideband for digital modes like RTTY and SSTV, in addition to those ten there are 2 variable DSP filters, with width and shift sliders, but these reset to center when you change bands so they are more for “on the fly use. You can go into the DSP filter banks and tweak them, you can move the passband up and down, and change the width, and its locked in stone, you can even change the labels on the buttons, I have redone all mine, there was a 1.0Khz on sideband banks that I felt was a waste of a position, way too narrow, now it’s a 1.7khz and very useful, but the good news is on RTTY filtering, I now have 4 main RTTY filters, a 1.0 KHz, 750hz, 500hz and *250hz (*for big-time contesting), and before I was using RIT to be dead on freq, well I tweaked these new filters up and down during QSO’s so now when I click on a signal, I am dead on it.
Icom transceivers prior to the IC-746 and IC-756Pro could not switch to transmit via software command. The last of the “non-software PTT” rigs were the IC-706mkIIg and the IC-756 (non-Pro) while the first Icom rigs to support software PTT were the IC-746 and IC-756Pro.
Icom rigs that do not support software PTT are: IC-78, IC-251, IC-275,
IC-706, IC-706mkII, IC-706mkIIg, IC-707, IC-718, IC-725, IC-736, IC-738,
IC-751. IC-756, IC-761, IC-765, IC-775, IC-781, IC-821, IC-910, IC-970
Icom rigs that support software PTT are: IC-703, IC-746, IC-746Pro,
IC-756Pro, IC-756ProII, IC-756ProIII, IC-7000, IC-7200, IC-7400,
IC-7410, IC-7600, IC-7700, IC-7800. IC-9100 (Thanks Joe, W4TV for this list.)
Randy, K5ZD – Is great on FSK. For AFSK you can use the IF Shift to narrow the bandwidth, but not as good as using the filters.
Bruce, WT4I – Used on FSK, 270Hz filter, small radio that tends to get hot, no rig control available, RIT but no RIT clear, good backup RTTY radio with amplifier.
Dan, N1JEB – This is our portable station, used most recently from Bonaire. Transmitter is OK, though gets hot, receiver is noisy when compared to the FT1000MP, but that’s to be expected. We’ve got a 500Hz filter in one of the filter slots. Works reasonable well. The Icom filters for these have slots. Works reasonably well. The Icom filters for these have been around for many generations of radios and really are just OK. We use FSK input on this radio with good success. Never tried it on AFSK. All around a decent rig, would be OK as a second rig or portable, but sure would not be happy with it as my only rig!
Jay, WS7I – Have tried both the 500Hz and the 350Hz filters. 350Hz are better, a nice little performer. A little better than a ‘751A and a lot smaller. This is my travel radio.
Dave, WW2R – Wouldn’t use as my main RTTY rig but great for expeditions. Used it on last 2 years expeditions to Crete. Has provision for 2 optional filters for RTTY. Installed 350Hz filter which helps performance. Fan runs noisily at high speed in hot climates but rig still gets very hot after extended use. Use FSK on transmit, interface is easy. With the Kenwood switched mode PS40 psu (external switchable 240/120V, the Icom needs a soldering iron!) makes a cabin baggage expedition setup. CW filter is usable on SSB by menu selection.
Joe, DJ5JK – My oldest one (Icom). (Joe rates this radio is pro + and con -) + RTTY mode: true FSK, correct MARK frequency reading. + Standard 500 Hz filter and additional 250 Hz filter selectable. – FSK shift not quite stable due to the fact that frequencies are generated by crystal oscillators rather than by digital synthesizers. – AFSK: only in USB/LSB mode, no CW filters available unless you modify the control circuits – no recommended. + Easy installation for RTTY, AFSK or FSK, through rear panel accessory sockets. + No RFI problems at all. + Transceiver control running with all kinds of software and hardware (e.g. PACTOR controller, WX0B SixPak).
Joe, DJ5JK – The radio I like best for contesting, 5 years in use now. (Joe rates this radio is pro + and con -) + “RTTY DATA”: excellent mode for AFSK, turns mike off. + Correct MARK reading, all filters can be selected 500/250 Hz. I found that two 250 Hz filters in series are too narrow for RTTY (group delay distortions). I use one 250 Hz filter in the first IF channel, that is perfect for me. + “RTTY”: FSK perfect due to synthetical frequency generation, all filters selectable. + High/Low tones (2125/1615 Hz) and shift (170/200/524) menu selectable [unfortunately the low tones do not match with WriteLog Rttyrite settings. + Easy installation for RTTY, AFSK or FSK, through rear panel accessory sockets. + No RFI problems at all. + Transceiver control running with all kinds of software and hardware (e.g. PACTOR controller, WX0B SixPak).
Don, AA5AU – I used the IC-775DSP for several months on RTTY and although I liked the radio very much for FSK operation, the receiver overload was too much to handle on non-RTTY modes. I never really noticed it on RTTY, but nearby signals on CW and SSB would cause noise to be generated on my receive frequency. I ended up selling the radio and getting a new IC-756PROIII which is the best radio I’ve ever owned. See my Icom IC-756PROIII review on rttycontesting.com here or read my general comments lower on this page here. One thing I really liked and disliked was the 200 watt transmitter output. I like using it barefoot at 200 watts, but I did forget to lower the power one time and burned the 20 meter section of my Dunestar filter.
Bruce, WT4I – Not the best RTTY radio. I found no easy way to run the CW filters in SSB mode. SSB filter too wide for contesting. No FSK.
Walt, EU1SA – I am using the IC-756 with 2 x 250 Hz CW filters installed. AFSK is used as otherwise I cannot use such filters. The radio obviously has a FSK capability, and I’d love to use it but unfortunately it is not possible. The radio is configured just like the narrow band SSB filters are installed. It gives a possibility to use CW filters on SSB. In order to match the filters’ passband the SB is configured for frequency offset of no more than 600-700 Hz. With such a setup I can easily print a weak station as close as a few hundred Hz from a 500+40 signal. The transmitted signal goes to an AL-572. Even when it goes full power, there is no complaints (even from my neighbors) on quality of the AFSK signal.
Army, AE5P – The ‘756 is very well suited to RTTY operation. I have used mine exclusively on FSK, although AFSK is also possible. Mine is equipped with the INRAD 400Hz filters (both high and low IF), which are very effective on RTTY operation. In addition, the ‘756 offers passband tuning which allows you to further narrow the response passband if necessary. One of the outstanding features of the ‘756 is it’s spectrum analyzer. It allows you to “see” the activity on the band, and RTTY signals stand on the scope due to their continuous carrier. You can literally “see” a signal, and rapidly tune to it. Once you have used this feature, you will feel blind without it. The transmitter can run all day long at 100 watts output. The built in fan seldom has to run. The receiver includes two stages of RF pre-amplification, especially useful on 15 and 10 meters. Overall, an excellent radio, highly recommended.
Bruce, WT4I – AFSK, 350Hz filter (250 & 500 available), does have FSK, RIT, RIT clear, given it’s spectrum display it is the best radio I have found for S&P. Runs 100 watts entire contest with no heat problems.
Bill, K4FX – I use a Icom IC-756 at present with only 1, 500hz filter in the 9Mhz IF, but that in conjunction with the twin PBT and bandscope for search and pounce make for an excellent RTTY rig, in the FSK mode of course. Have ran the majority of a 48 hour contest at 100 watts with no over heating at all, it’s a very tough and stable radio, for a rig that is now going for 700-800 dollars it’s hard to beat.
Joe, DJ5JK – My Radio 2, now 1 year experience. (Joe rates this radio is pro + and con -) + FSK and AFSK perfect transmitting. + Filter bandwidth in all modes can be selected in 50 Hz steps to match the desire, great! + No noticeable group delay distortions, flat top passband. + “USB-Data” mode for AFSK, turns mike off, displays correct MARK frequency. + Most accurate MARK frequency readout (+/- 15 Hz). + Selectable RTTY DSP filter is very sharp, excellent for weak signals and QRM, but.. .- selectable (front button) RTTY DSP filter is too sharp for S&P mode, puts out strong hiss audio with no signal coming in, therefore it is difficult (at least for me) to tune in a signal. Once you stay on a frequency this filter is very useful. + Built-in RTTY decoder, data are shown on front display, makes it easy to check a signal with turning on your PC. – RTTY tuning indicator is not a great help. + Tones and shift: same as IC-775DSP (see above). + Easy installation for RTTY, AFSK or FSK, through rear panel accessory sockets. + No RFI problems at all. + Transceiver control running with all kinds of software and hardware (e.g. PACTOR controller, WX0B SixPak).
Dave, WR5O – FSK RTTY is the radio’s strong point. Front panel RTTY filter is very sharp. As a low power S&P contester, I love it. I didn’t notice any obvious audio hiss with mine (7 months old in 1/01). 100% copy on signals that didn’t’ move the S meter while using a vertical. Spectrum display is helpful, I usually use 12.5 or 25 kHz display. Tuning guide could have been better designed, but once you get used to it, it’s not that bad. Excellent mid level contesting radio. Allows for computer control and rear panel FSK/AFSK connections. If I had room for another antenna I’d definitely buy another 756PRO.
Don, AA5AU – This is by far the best radio I’ve used on any mode and the Twin Peak Filter for RTTY operation allows for excellent RTTY receive capabilities. There too many good things to say about this radio here. Read my detailed review on rttycontesting.com here.
Bob, W9BU – The IC-7600 has a built-in RTTY encoder/decoder. The decoded RTTY text appears on the screen. There is a small waterfall on the RTTY screen which helps tune in the signals. The IC-7600 also has a twin-peak audio filter that can be enabled on RTTY. All of these features seem to work pretty well for receiving RTTY. The decoded text screen scrolls up as text is decoded and the scrolling can be paused. To send RTTY using the internal encoder, you need to plug a USB keyboard into the USB port on the front of the radio.
The F12 function key on the keyboard toggles transmit mode. Text can be typed ahead for sending when the radio is put into transmit mode or text can be sent as it’s typed. Up to 8 “canned” messages, aka macros, can be stored and sent by pressing a function key. There is no provision for on-the-fly text substitution in these stored messages, so these messages are good for chasing DX, but not so good for contesting.
To use the IC-7600 with computer-based programs, such as MMTTY, I bought and assembled an FSK Keying Interface from an eBay seller (http://www.ebay.com/usr/xyzzy-807). The interface works great and was easy to interface with the AUX port on the radio. This interface is similar to the one described by W3YY (http://w3yy.com/fsk.htm). The IC-7600 CI-V command set does not have a command to key FSK, so using an external interface is necessary if you want to use a computer to key the radio in RTTY. One of the advantages to using external keying is that the RTTY Mark frequency can be changed from 2125 Hz. I set it to 1275 Hz and adjust the parameters in MMTTY accordingly as listening to 1275 Hz diddles is easier on my ears that 2125 Hz diddles.
Scott, N0IU – I have been using an IC-7410 for just over four years now (stated on 7/4/2016) and up until the introduction of the IC-7300, I consider it to be (has been?) the best value for the money all around, but especially for FSK RTTY. Having had an IC-756 “Classic” and IC-756 Pro, I already knew about the great RTTY features Icom builds into their rigs and in that regard, the IC-7410 does not disappoint. While I do miss things like the band scope, dual VFOs and color screen, it does incorporate the RTTY features of its bigger (and older) ancestors, and especially the real game changer; Twin Peak Filtering.
Another feature I really enjoy is the USB connection for both sound card input/output and CI-V communications. These features work flawlessly with MMTTY and N1MM+ (and other popular programs like Ham Radio Deluxe and FLDigi). For FSK RTTY transmitting, I built the W3YY interface circuit.
I know the IC-7410 plays well on FSK RTTY as I have won 1st place in the Missouri Section in the SOLP category in the RTTY Roundup for the last two years in a row! Even though the IC-7410 has officially been discontinued, there are sure to be plenty of them up for sale with the introduction of the IC-7300. If you don’t want to spend $1500 on a brand new radio, I most heartily recommend the IC-7410 as a very capable all-around rig for less money.
Bob, N3FR – I use a Kenwood TS940SAT. I’ve used it in the AFSK mode but really dislike the lack of filtering. I currently use my 940 in FSK mode and it works great. While it is capable of 250 hz filtering, I have mine equipped for 500 hz. Seems sufficient for my needs. Both of these filter configurations are optional in the 940. My bottom line: It suits my contesting needs quite nicely. Handles the stress of RTTY key down for very long contesting periods with relative coolness.
Al, KE1FO – I’ve had great experience with the TS-940 running AFSK and using the slope tuning. You basically get a nice bandwidth that seems to work really great, even in crowded band conditions.
Don, AA5AU – The TS-870 is the best radio I have used on RTTY. I now own two of them. I use it only on FSK for RTTY, but also on AFSK with PSK31 & MFSK16 and it does a great job. The DSP in the receiver’s IF makes for a very quiet receiver. There are several variations of filter combinations for the various modes and are all digital and standard. For RTTY I use either the 500 hz or 250 hz filters. For AFSK I use the LSB or USB mode and vary the filter down as narrow as 400 hz. It also has menu options for a 300 hz PSK filter but I prefer the regular SSB filters for PSK31. All filters are switched from the front panel. I have no problems running it fully keyed on RTTY as long as I want. It does not get hot. During contests, the receiver can get overloaded. However, using the AIP (Automatic Intercept Point) function reduces ALL overload and nearby interference in crowded contest band conditions which is a plus. I would recommend this radio on RTTY to anyone.
Chuck, N8CL – I owned a TS-870 until lightning recently zapped it and now have a IC756PRO. The 870 is a great FSK radio, with some minor shortcomings: digital 250, 500 and 1000 hz filters on FSK but not AFSK; factor set filter parameters; and – for me – rather confusing split operation. For those who run FSK only, the 870 is hard to beat for the price.
Walter, DL4RCK – I am running a TS850SAT and it work very well with RTTY with a 500Hz and 270Hz filter. I already tested some TRX (transceivers) in RTTY and this one is one of the best.
Bruce, WT4I – Used on FSK, 250 and 500 Hz filters, small RIT knob, no RIT clear (other than via software), runs 100 watts entire contest. Easy RCA jack for FSK hookup. Solid mid range performer.
Jim, KD4OM – I am using a Kenwood TS 850 here and have for several years. Biggest advantage is FSK capability. The radio was used for several years 24/7 for BBS use in the Winlink System set-up for Amtor using a HAL PCI 3000 card. I have the crystal oven for frequency stability and used 500 Hz CW filter with the rig. Did not experience any down time for maintenance while in use – over two years. I am still using the radio for normal everyday pursuits and have been well pleased with it.
Roy, N8YYS – I’m using the ole standby’s here.. TS850S/AT for SO2R. I also use FSK which gives me the narrow CW filter options with the TS850. Both have 500 Hz and 250 Hz IF filters (INRAD).
Dave, K6LL – I used a pair of TS-850’s in the RTTY Roundup. I didn’t have any com ports available in the computer to send FSK, so I used AFSK. With the TS-850, you can select the two 500 Hz filters in the SSB mode. Setting the computer for “low tones”, the filter bandpass was absolutely perfect.
Jan, SM5FUG – I run FSK keying only. Filter: 270 Hz (in 8.83 MHz IF) and 500 Hz (in 455 kHz IF). Rugged final. Band noise blanker. Good large signal performance but the “AIP” is recommended on 40m at evenings. Fixed AF-output is on the low side for P38. No separate receive antenna input. Radio control works well with RTTY (by WF1B) and WriteLog. Probably today the RTTY-radio for the money but forget the Kenwood power supply if you run full power.
Joe, K0BX – I bought the Kenwood TS-850S/AT for RTTY. I am using FSK, 170Hz Shift with an IRC 400Hz filter. The incoming signal in the FSK position goes right through the narrow filter. The TS-850S is capable of running 100 watts on rtty with no problem. I am not sure of the FSK, that is, if it is true FSK or just a tone keyer, but it always has a nice clean signal.
Dave, WW2R – Up to now my main RTTY rig (just got an FT1000MP). I use the International Radio 1800Hz 1st IF filter and their 400hz 2nd filter. Use FSK on transmit, easy via interface via phone plug on back. Runs 100W all weekend without getting excessively hot. Only failed once when went deaf on 10/15m discovered Kenwood Service Bulletin on replacing PIN diodes and not a problem since.
Jon, K1US – The TS-570DG is fun to operate, and has made a fine backup xcvr to my faithful ‘850. The chief points I’d consider for RTTY are these: Computer control is smooth and reliable with the built-in RS-232 port. AGC can’t be switched off, though there is a somewhat intrusive mod for this available at http://www11.cds.ne.jp/~cqdx/ A narrow filter is definitely a must! Only one IF filter can be used (and that only in the 8 mhz 2nd IF.) A narrow CW filter works quite well in FSK but not in AFSK unless you trick the rig by selecting the 1.8 mhz in the Menu filter item. If that’s done you have to move the IF shift knob to get the right center freq. (I use low tones.) It’s useful if you must use AFSK for some reason in preference to built-in FSK. Beware though that if you do resort to this trick, it has to be undone and reset to the actual 500 or 270 value before operating CW. Otherwise, you’ll get no output and fear the worst! Audio output from the ACC2 is marginal at best. I’ve found it better to take it from the speaker jack or use my always-in-line MFJ-784B to control speaker/headphone volume. While monitoring of outgoing AFSK RTTY is provided with the DG upgrade, it disappointingly does not give you anything for FSK, which should have been quite easy for the designer to implement. (So I just use MMTTY’s “Sound + ComPort FSK” keying option which provides monitoring from the PC speakers.) The DSP noise reduction features are some help on RTTY, but work great on SSB and CW. So does the nifty CW auto tune, tight filters, nice memory keyer, and fantastic SSB Beat canceling. Audio DSP gives you a 500 and 250 hz position in FSK, and there’s some debate about how this really combines with an IF filter. I’ve no complaints with this, but I do find that for RTTY I much prefer to rely on an outboard MFJ-784B for noise reduction and really tight filtering ahead of the TU or soundcard. Mine is an original 1997 vintage 570D, with upgrade to DG done quickly and inexpensively by Kenwood Service. That was really worthwhile, and solved serious problems with early battery failure and antenna tuner disorientation.
Wes, K4WES – There is a 13 pin DIN connector on the back which allows the user to run RTTY as FSK or AFSK (use LSB mode). I use it with FSK and a TNC and it works great. The manual didn’t explain it well on how to use it for AFSK, so I’m not sure how it would work with a sound card set up. I can use full power (100 watts) without any problems or the rig getting hot. For FSK the filter bandwidth is adjustable via the front panel. There are also two levels of noise reduction and a noise blanker via the front panel for FSK. I didn’t find these to be very helpful in reducing QRM though. You can even listen to your own FSK signal via the Transmit Monitor function.
Jon, K1US – What a surprise! This is one fine rig for RTTY, CW, SSB, any mode you choose. After three weeks of solid enjoyment, I can certainly recommend it to anyone as an outstanding transceiver. As a very satisfied owner of two excellent TS-870s, I can also say it has already become a marvelous replacement for one of them. Can hardly bring myself to turn it off! After reading early disparaging comments some had written about the unusual appearance of the TS-2000, I was prepared to be unimpressed when I finally saw one at the Boxboro convention last summer. The fellow I was standing next to in the mob said he had a 950SDX and really couldn’t imagine that the 2000 was rugged enough to do what Kenwood claims for it. For my part, having owned an 830, the classic 850, the light-weight 570DG, the superb 870 and even a little TS-50 for a while, I was eager to see what the 2000 would actually do, but had not had a chance to try one out. I didn’t know anyone who had one. Then in the fall of 2002, I stumbled onto a VHF portable contesting setup on a mountain top here in southern Maine. The big contest was about to start, but he gladly took time to offer enthusiastic comments about the smooth ruggedness of his prized TS-2000. Food for thought… Hmmmmm!
Now it’s mid-summer, and I’ve made a rare visit to the HRO store in Salem, NH. A customer has returned his brand new TS-2000 after a few days trial, saying it was too complicated for him. Hmmmmm! More food for thought… Feels solidly built, and is not all that funny looking either. Next thing I knew, I had the nicely discounted box with me on my way home to Maine. There it slipped right into the console space where I had kept the backup 870 and the 570 that preceded it. All the cabling and the RTTY FSK interfacing was identical to the 570, and 15 minutes later it was up and running and purring nicely on 14.085. A few days later it was doing a great job for me in the Russian WW RTTY test.
Audio is fantastic, sensitivity is tip-top, selectivity is at least as good as the IF DSP-based 870, plus it has the AF DSP features of the 570 I had liked so much for CW. TX monitoring of FSK is there, just like the 870 but strangely left out of the 570. Noise reduction options feel like a combination of the best of the 870 and 570, and are better than either alone. The split function works like the 570 does, not the somewhat awkward setup of the 870. The automatic antenna tuner has a wider range than either the 870 or 570, and works great with loops and rhombics and verticals. Front panel is actually quite pleasant in operation, ergonomically designed for easy switching, and tuning is very smooooth! One other happy discovery was that it has the high-stability TCXO as standard equipment. Nothing else to buy in the way of filters, either. (It came with a mike, but I’ve never really learned to use on of those things.)
I’d say that anyone who is familiar with the 570 will be instantly right at home with this rig. It’s my celebration present after 50 years in ham radio.
(Jon Harder, K1US, became a Silent Key in February 2004. We’ll miss you Jon – Don AA5AU)
Martin, VE2NMB – The TS-590S incorporates many improvements that makes RTTY operations fun on both FSK and AFSK modes. First, this radio comes with a USB interface that simplifies computer integration. The interface contains a virtual com port for cat control and a sound card interface for signal decoding and AFSK transmission. No additional sound card interface is needed for ASFK. The radio needs proper setup and activation of the data VOX. Narrow filters are available in this mode by enabling the data mode available in USB or LSB. FSK is also possible with a simple interface connected to the ACC port in the back of the radio. I have operated both modes successfully with the 590. I can also operate with both my contest logging software and the stock ARCP-590 for quick config changes using the USB port and the regular serial cat interface at the same time. When running in high power, you may need to add additional RF insulation to the USB cable.
Floyd, K8AC – I use an Orion II on RTTY, primarily chasing DX. With the Orion I use an LP-Pan and NaP3 which I find very useful when trying to identify where a DX station is listening when operating split. When the range of split is wide and full of signals, the spectrum scope helps identify open spots in the pileup and all I have to do is mouse on the open spot to set the Orion transmitter to that frequency. The Orion has nice features that are useful in RTTY work – via a menu item, you can route the audio from both receivers or one or the other to your RTTY demodulator. The line out level can also be set to Hi, Medium or Low. The bandwidth of the DSP IF stages is continuously variable down to 100 Hz, with the crystal roofing filters automatically switched as you change the bandwidth. Both the step size and the rate of change can be set for either VFO, so if your preference is to manually tune for weak RTTY or PSK signals, you can easily do that. All in all, the Orion is maybe the best transceiver I’ve used for RTTY, and that includes the K3, IC-781, IC-765, FTDX-5000.
George, N7GC – Several features make the TT Omni VI a neat digital radio. Not the least is the ease of connecting the multitude of cables! Instead of those accursed DIN plugs of various sizes, plain old “RCA” sockets are used. (It makes it very easy to home-brew shielded cables.) Operating features include: Ability to operate either AFSK or “True” FSK. (BTW, Ten-Tec’s FSK is real FSK, because an oscillator is frequency shifted); any filter can be selected in any mode and for the truly narrow-minded 250hz filters are available. All filters are easily owner-installed with no soldering required. Under the miscellaneous heading, the tuning rates of main tuning and RIT/XIT’s can be slowed down to a boredom rate.
Chuck, WA0ROI – RTTY filter for 2nd IF has not been installed nor used since I run low-tones and it is optimized for “normal” tones. I used the 500 hz or 250 hz filter in the 1st IF in conjunction with the BPT. It does have FSK input and separate “keying” dedicated to the FSK on the rear panel along with an FSK mode switch which activates the above inputs. Since I’ve been limited to AFSK due to low tones, I’ve never used the FSK position but rather utilize LSB. The Omni-VI also has a DSP-based Low Pass filter and Noise Reduction that is used extensively on RTTY. The Low Pass filter will be a non-issue when I go to FSK and high tones I suspect, although I’ve not checked the optional cutoffs on the LPF. The Omni-VI has both RIT and XIT (+/- 10 kHz, programmable range) that can be activated and is VERY nice in its operation. The radio also has rear-panel input for AFSK.
Bill, K5YG – I used my Ten-Tec Omni VI Plus exclusively on RTTY. Omni VI Plus Features: 1. Outstanding receiver selectivity and sensitivity – Very good for contest/pileups. 2. True FSK input. 3. Fixed rear panel audio output – level sufficient to drive HAL DXP-38 to proper level. 4. Rear panel AFSK input. 5. Clean AFSK – Easy to adjust to proper output level. 6. Tune button works in any mode – easy to set for “clean” AFSK output. 7. Xmtr is capable of 100 watts out – continuous. 8. All filters can be used with FSK (any mode for that matter). I have 500 hz (standard) and 250hz filters installed for RTTY and CW – any combination can be selected. 9. Connector convenience – RCA jacks on rear panel for all inputs.
Carter, K8VT – A great radio with many features, but as related specifically to tty, it has true FSK and the ability to use any filter (TT or INRAD) in any mode. Will run a rtty contest all day at full power without a fan. Lots of auxiliary functions brought out on the back panel (PTT, FSK, fixed level audio output, etc) to RCA jacks, not those miserable DIN plugs. American made (not jingoism, just easy access) and superb customer support.
Chuck, WA0ROI – RTTY filter for 2nd IF has not been installed nor used since I run low-tones and it is optimized for “normal” tones. I use the 500 hz or 250 hz filter in the 1st IF in conjunction with the BPT. It does have FSK input and separate “keying” dedicated to the FSK on the rear panel along with an FSK mode switch which activates the above inputs. Since I’ve been limited to AFSK due to low tones, I’ve never used the FSK position but rather utilize LSB. The Omni-V has no RIT or XIT so the split VFO’s must be used for this activity. The Omni-V does have a Tone and a Fade control which can be used together to enhance or suppress freq range. The radio also has a rear-panel input for AFSK.
Dale, W6IWO – I use a Ten Tec Omni V radio here. It was setup at the factory with special optional 6.3 Mhz IF filters. It has PBT and a 500 Hz is recommended for digital modes. However, in addition to the 500 Hz filter I also have a 250 Hz filter which I use for RTTY. It works great except that if someone is right next to me calling CQ, I may not hear him. On the other hand if some one is calling me and some one moves in close, I still can copy the calling station. The radio does not have RIT control so when I’m H&P I don’t have this feature. Again, when I am calling CQ, I use the dual VFO in split and then have a RIT control. It is really handy when calling CQ but I do miss not having it for H&P. The radio is equipped for FSK and I use it exclusively for RTTY. Since I operate the digital modes only, I need not worry about SSB. I have a mic that collects dust here and a bug doing the same.
George, N7GC – I have used an older Ten Tec but no other brands…I completely wore out a TT Corsair with contesting and DX’ing, and truth be known I think the receiver on that non-digital rig was better than the Omni’s. But the filter selection was not as flexible. In order to get narrow filtering for RTTY, I swapped the SSB and CW filters. Also, the Corsair did only AFSK as different from the Omni which can do either.
Marty, NW0L – Overall great RTTY contesting rig. I’ve used it with AFSK only on RTTY (via WriteLog’s WinRTTY as well as the DXP-38) and other soundcard-type modes (PSK31, MFSK16, etc.) Can do AFSK or FSK easily via dedicated DATA jack on the rear. I have added a small audio amp to bring the level from the back panel up a bit for injection into the DXP-38. Has dedicated DATA mode for FSK or AFSK (and FM packet), with adjustable frequency offset display (to show true Mark frequency) and control of shift, sideband and high or low tones. One narrow CW filter can be installed and selected in the DATA mode. International Radio sells an add-on board that allows using either a single filter or two in cascade (two boards could be installed, one for CW/RTTY and one for phone.) Note that setup of this rig for AFSK is NOT explained correctly in the manual – there is an application note available from Yaesu that explains proper setup (also available from WM7D’s fine FT-920 site – http://www.wm7d.net/hamradio/yaesu_pages/ft920/ under “Known Problems”). Capable of running 100% duty cycle at full output – I run this radio at 100 watts for every RTTY contest with no problems. Receiver tends to get overloaded when there are lots of strong signals and the INRAD 400hz narrow filter has a “ring” from the opposite sideband if there’s a strong signal nearby, but it’s not a significant problem in my experience.
Marty, NW0L – Not exactly a “contesting” rig, but does do a good job on AFSK RTTY via dedicated data port on the rear of the radio. Can also do FSK via the same port. Recently used this radio as second rig in SO2R setup. Most notable problem was the phase noise present on the other receiver – coax stubs helped eliminate that problem. I use the Yaesu 500Hz CW filter and it does a good job getting rid of strong stations nearby. Easy to set up, easy to use – keying is handled via software command in rig control (in WriteLog) so no need for keying circuit. I also run this rig RTTY mobile from time to time (this rig is normally installed in my Ford pickup – I park before operating!) and have received good signal reports with it.
Marty, NW0L – Was a good starter rig for RTTY, probably not great for any significant contesting effort. Had to use microphone jack for audio input and external speaker jack for output on AFSK but worked well. Adjustable bandpass and bandwidth were great features – you could get the effect of a 400Hz or narrower filter by twiddling the knobs “just so”.
Don, AA5AU – The FT-757GX Mark II was the very first transistorized radio I used on RTTY. It runs only AFSK, there is no input for FSK transmission. This radio did very well on RTTY despite not having narrow filters. I liked the compactness of the radio and took it on DXpeditions to V2 Aruba and VP2M Montserrat. It was a fun radio and I still own it. But I would not recommend it for RTTY today with too many other radios readily available that have FSK capabilities.
Bruce, WT4I – Used on FSK, 250 and 500Hz filters, big RIT knob, RIT clear, runs 100 watts entire contest with no heat problems. Due to it’s front panel similarities, good second radio with the FT1000. Four pin DIN connector required to wire for FSK.
Dick, W1KSZ – I use the FT-990 and the DSP-59Y (audio filter) on FSK. I like the ability to switch in the 250 Hz filter when QRM gets bad.
Phil, GU0SUP – AFSK only (no FSK), and the CW filters (where fitted) are not available for use whilst engaging on RTTY. For improved performance in crowded conditions, I operate split, and use the receive VFO in CW mode, and transmit on the other in the normal SSB mode. I use a home-made “patch panel” into which I either plug the TNC for RTTY, or the cables from the PC sound card for the new soundcard-based programs for digital modes. This is easier than trying to fiddle about the back of the radio. My rig runs contests at 60-70 watts output quite happily, and it is feasible to turn up the power the full 100 watts if you need to “bust the pile-up”, but remember to reduce the power once that QSO is made. PROS: Relatively cheap radio. Data connection is simple. Has SHIFT control, allowing you to shift the IF passband. NOTCH control enables you to lessen the impact of a noisy station just to one side of your spot. Has a programmable tuning knob step selection. I use 2.5Hz steps, which is great for tuning RTTY, PSK, etc. It has a CAT interface for the proprietary Yaesu rig control interface. Small, compact size (similar to the Yaesu FT757 or 847). CONS: The manual has very little information on digital modes, and how they can be operated. Lacks the WIDTH control of some other Yaesu radios (such as the FT757). The 3.5mm stereo jack used for data in/out is not too easy to solder, and only provides one ground connection. The SHIFT control takes a bit of getting used to, although using something like Digipan allows you to see the effect of turning the SHIFT control. The internal ATU is not very good. The manual recommends running at less than full power (100 watts).
Tom, W7WHY – I’m presently using a Yaesu FT-840, and with the MFJ-784B DSP filter, it would be useless. No filters in the SSB position and no possibility of putting one in. The MFJ filter works like a bomb on RTTY!
Randy, K5ZD – Great for FSK and good for AFSK. On AFSK you can use the 500 Hz filters even when in LSB.
Ed, W4EP – Am currently using the FT-1000D on FSK with the HAL ST-8000. I have also used the TS-450, FT1000MP. After selling my first 1000D and going to a 1000MP in order to get the DSP and “mix and match” 1st and 2nd IF filters, I returned to the 1000D because of the 200 watt output. I never use more than 100w output from the 1000D. I do NOT think the 100w output on the 1000MP is adequate for long periods of key down rtty operation. I loved the filters in the 1000MP though. I returned to the 1000D because it can be used at 100W all day long.
Dan, N1JEB – Excellent RTTY radio. Separate RTTY inputs/outputs on the back, separate key to select them. FSK input connects to audio tone generator inside (not “true” FSK) but outstanding quality. Receiver is fabulous. I used both the crystal filters (500Hz in both IFs, and 250Hz in 2nd IF) as well as the DSP filters. The combination is quite good. Really nothing bad I can say about this rig. It’ll handle running barefoot at full power for an entire weekend of mult-single.
Goetz, DJ3IW – I use the FT1000MP, loaded with all filters (standard Yaesu) and TCXO-6. I use both its RTTY/FSK input and its PKT/AFSK input. The RTTY/FSK input is fed with TTL-level FSK from a HAL PCI-3000, the PSK/AFSK input with audio tones (high tones) from my SCS PTC-II. For Baudot RTTY I can use the cascaded 250Hz filters if required. For Amtor/Pactor/PSK31 it is better to use the broader cascaded 500Hz filters, the 250Hz ones are a bit too tight for these modes. The setup – using 2000/2240 Hz filters is also good for SSTV with PTC-II. The 1000MP’s flexibility in filter selection is outstanding! I have set the 1000MPs menu options so that the frequency readout shows the MARK frequency for all am combinations. I run the 1000MP with 70-75 watts in RTTY – no problem even in prolonged contest sessions. At present I only have a 2x10m inverted V dipole, apex at about 7.5m (25feet). To get an impression of the capability of the FT1000MP with the HAL PCI-3000 and this poor antenna see my SWL results in the recent JARTS RTTY contest. Overall I think the FT1000MP is a superb performer for RTTY.
Bruce, WT4I – Used on FSK, 250 and 500Hz filters, big RIT knob, RIT clear, runs 150 watts entire contest with no heat problems. Excellent low power run radio. Second receiver good for S&P on same band as run (single radio operation). Four pin DIN connector required to wire for FSK.