Did AC0C Go To The Dark Side?

28 May 2011


I have done a lot of work on various mods for the FT2000.  The most significant of that work has been a tie-up with Network Sciences to produce a high-performance 1st IF replacement roofing filter for the rig.  Although the $20 2nd RX roofing filter mod is one of my personal favorites – especially for the serious SO2V op...


Anyway, fast forward to last weekend.  I bought a 5K at Dayton this year.  And since then, several friends and many filter owners have sent me messages asking if work on the 2K would continue, as well as reasons for the purchase given my interest to tweaking the 2K to max performance.  One guy asked me if I had given up on the 2K totally and in his words, “went to the Dark Side.”  ha ha.  


Well, I’m pretty sure that the Force is still with me – as it most certainly is – for all 2K owners...  But I wanted to set the record straight here on where the 2K and 5K work is heading.  I hope Jose and the board will accommodate my ramblings.  Especially given the abysmal band conditions on this WPX CW weekend.  And John K3UR is still (generally) longer-winded than I am!




In no particular order...  I love my 2K and bought a 5K because...


1. No backup rig.  In working on the 2K over the last couple of years, the rig has turned into what you could call a “surgical freak.”  I estimate that I have installed and removed about 25 of the NS filters of various prototype iterations into the rig.  And this is just one of many - the 3 and 6 Khz MCF on the main board have been pulled at least 2 times each (the thermal stress to the main board is horrendous for that).  


While I have not damaged any core function of the rig, a few smaller things have been subject to “collateral damage.”  It’s the nature of the work and I’m perfectly comfortable with it.  Every time I take the case off the rig, there is a chance I will do something bad to it.  And if (or when) that happens, I have no backup rig.   A 5K gives me that “backup” rig function.


1a.  Rigs on the bench...  Related to point 1...   My rig spends more time on the bench than it does in the op position.  And for that reason, I spend a lot less time “operating WITH the rig” compared to “operating ON the rig while present on the workbench.”  The 5K will give me a functioning rig to USE as opposed to a test bed that I also happen to make Q’s with...


2. SO2R.  My contesting passion runs to the RTTY orientation and here, the SO2R ops are cranking up the pressure.  I have SO2V running with a Microham Microkeyer II but that’s a simplex same-band operation.  If I am going to keep pace with my zero-land competition, I need to run SO2R.  The options here were to get another 2K or go up to a 5K.  [For the guy who suggested I should “diversify and pick up a K3” – good try but I’m heavy metal from back in the day.]  Since I have not lost my mind and bought a K3, the 5K opens the door to SO2R.


3. SO2R in the attic.  One of the prime moving forces of my personality is to do what other guys say can’t be done.  That’s really how the NS filter came into existence.  Too many guys saying “it can’t be done.”  Had the same issue with antennas...


I live in a restricted “no antennas” neighborhood and have from that cooked up a pretty elaborate antenna system in the attic.  Steve Ford in the new ARRL book “Small Antennas for Small Spaces” called it one of the most advanced indoor antenna ever.  19 functional elements.  CPU controlled.  160-6m band operation.  Multiple directional elements per band.  Electrically reversible.  


So how cool would it be to run SO2R?  Very, I thought.  Retrofitting this beast for SO2R is on deck for this summer.  I’m giving a presentation in October to the Central Arizona DX Association and hope to have it complete by then.  Of course, a guy must have a 2nd rig if his antennas are configured for SO2R!


4. Basis for Comparison.  By far the most common question I am asked on the email relating to the FT2K NS filter is “how will the modified rig compare to a 5K (or K3).”  Bench measurements are one thing.  A-B comparisons are another.  And (this worked really well with my wife...) the only way to do an A-B is to have a NS filter-equipped 2K and 5K side-by-side.  “Honey, this is not a second radio – it’s more like test equipment.”  She’s a great XYL!!!  


I am presenting at the W0DXCC convention in July regarding the FT2000 rig mods and part of that presentation will cover the modified 2K vs. 5K.  In addition to the FT2000 performance mods forum, some really big dogs will be presenting including W8JI, W5ZN, K9LA, W0AIH, K5GO, N5DX, K5UR and more.  Serious midwest DX and contesters may want to take a look here for more details.




5. Personal reasons.  The 5K has a lot of cool knobs and switches.  With the new harmonic here, no more big medical bills.  My “day job” is going pretty well now that the economy is more or less heading up.  Did I mention the 5K looks great?  I miss locking horns with N6WK (Gordon).  “John (K3UR) has one, why can’t I have one?”  hi hi




My point of all of this is to say that there were a lot of reasons for adding the 5K into the line up.  And none of them reflects anything but positive on the 2K.  Work on the 2K will continue.  Couple of interesting mods on that in the queue including a very sweet NS built 2nd IF filter mod...


But there is risk.  Remember the scorpion and the turtle story...  Daniel and I were kicking around some interesting ideas at Dayton related to the 5K...  But I’m trying “to not go there” as my kids would have me say...  We will have to see how long that lasts.


73, Jeff ACØC



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