Subject: Latest test results for S/N 455
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 08:50:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Ken Miller (Consultant)" <ken.miller@vlsi.com>


Well I have not only finished installing the 160 Meter/2nd receive antenna, Noise Blanker, firmware upgrade and SSB options, but I have also brought the unit back into the lab here at work for another go-round. This time I used all of the equipment in the lab to carefully "tweak" the rig to it's maximum sensitivity.


The new firmware helps by putting all of the filters in very nice alignment without all the fuss of going through the spreadsheet method, thus saving a bit of time in getting all these filters set up. Also, assembly, installation and test for all 4 of these items took me 22.5 hours, but then again, I'm very slow and careful with each step and the units all came up and worked perfectly first 
time.

On the air tests with the 160 Meter option were not very rewarding as I don't have a 160 antenna and I really did not spend a lot of time looking for stations. In addition, I have peaked the 80 meter coils so that they optimize results on 80 which has taken away some of  the sensitivity on 160. It was nice to listen to some of the local AM broadcast stations though.

The results with the noise blanker were however, exceptional! I found that this option has allowed me to "tune out" the noise from the pump on my neighbor's Jacuzzi (this ought to be a blessing there in California), and from the hash-noise that my wife's treadmill makes! A very good job indeed!

The SSB option is also installed and operational and I made some nice contacts and signal checks when for the first time in 4 years I actually checked into our local SSB phone net on 75 meters. All comments received were very favorable indeed and most of that kilowatt crowd were VERY surprised that 5 watts could sound that good or even get through!

And now onto the results of the lab optimization and test. By the way, I was absolutely taken aback by these numbers, and had our senior RF engineer verify them. Incidentally, after my previous testing I went back (when installing the 160 Meter option) and re-soldered every connection in the bandpass filters and I replaced the 3.3 pf caps that you sent up as replacements for the ones I had damaged (where I had put in 3, 10 pf caps in series until these had arrived).
I also spent about 3 hours with the test gear getting every last fraction of a dBm of performance out of each step in the alignment process. I used the ARRL set-up as described in the write-up put out and set the K2 with the pre-amp on, 400 Hz, AGC off.

Band - MDS (400 Hz instead of 500 Hz as per the ARRL testing )
160 -127.3
80  -138.0
40 -138.2
30 -139.0
20 -137.1
17 -137.0
15 -136.8
12 -135.9
10 -136.6

Our senior RF engineer (who is also a ham) has had to go on a trip but when he gets back, we are going to try and schedule more weekend time to run the rest of the tests from the ARRL suite on the K2 so that we can compare all of the numbers we get with those reported by the folks at the ARRL for some of the other current rigs. 

Thought you would enjoy seeing these numbers, and I hope that the rig you send to the ARRL for testing does as well. Folks really need to see that a kit can very favorably compete with the manufactured rigs that cost a LOT more money.


Also, I'm now ready for the CW Sweepstakes with the rig, I'm just getting the computer, logging program, etc. ready during the remaining days. This is gonna be FUN! Wish me luck as all I have is the Butternut HF-6V vertical, but I plan  to give the competition a descent run for their money and the K2 will be a big part of that!

73,
Ken VE7CTW