This is the coolest station I have assembled to date. The main rig is an Icom 756 PRO II my ESSB rig is a Kenwood ts 870s, Back up rig is a Yaesu 757 GX running on solar power my first new rig bought in 1980. The amp is a Ameritron al 811H with the 572b swap. Antenna tuner is a Palstar AT4K ( a great tuner ). The antenna is a 600 foot loop up an average about 55 feet.
The Audio Chain
The PRO II runs at just under 3kc wide. I run the rack gear into the back of the radio. It gives slightly better audio response than the mic connector on the front. Running at 3kc is not consider true ESSB by many. However my goal is to sound as good as possible at 3kc. The audio chain starts with a Studio Projects C1 condenser mic. The pre amp is a Behringer VX 2000 that feeds a Behringer DEQ 2496. The 2496 is quite a piece of equipment with a steep learning curve. Next is the Behringer EX3200 the VOODOO audio machine. This little baby adds that smooth bottom end. Here is a great VOODOO audio site for set up information.I then feed the audio back in to the left channel of the DEQ 2496 to take advantage of the three band compressor. The last item in the chain is the Behringer DSP 2024 to give the audio just a slight wet effect.
I have recently acquired a Kenwood ts 870. I have to say the reports have been very positive. I have also added a Sherwood RX 4109 amp to drive the JBL speaker and the combination has been awesome. The first thing I did was tune to the ESSB guys running wideband 6kc. WOW what a difference... After picking my jaw up from the floor I noticed I was only at 4.6kc so I opened that baby up to 6kc and the audio was even better. I Then tuned around until I found the VooDoo audio guys. Oh man It sounded so sweet. This rig is going to be a lot of fun. On the transmit side I believe this puppy can surf right out to 3.7kc The audio reports so far have been great. I hooked the EX3200 up in the so called VooDoo audio mod and the bottom end is all there. Monitoring on the pro II the bottom end rumbles the desk. That's so cool. I am still setting up the EQ settings on the DEQ 2496 so if you hear me on the air a report would helpful. The Pro II is still my favorite radio but it's nice to have the option to go wider.
The Studio Projects C1
Talk about bang for the buck. Well here it is the Studio Projects C1 . I had shopped around quite a bit before I ran across this baby. The reviews were raving about how this mic sounds like one for 5 times the price. I brought this baby home and was not disappointed. The C1 is a large condenser mic It's like talking into a football. I hooked it up to the rack, put on the headphones... Yep it was a keeper.
The Mighty Loop
What can I say I'm a big fan of the large loop antennas (sky wires). First thing I noticed was where is all the noise? My noise level here runs about S7 It was down to S2. Ok I figured this thing must be garbage so I tuned around a bit. Nope all the signals were up. The antenna is just plain quiet to local noise, the big power lines to the north west were just not being picked up. My signal reports were on the average also up. The loop is about 600 feet, It spans a canyon so some areas are up to 90 feet off the ground while some points are only 45 feet up. On 20 meters the dam thing has a 13.5 dpi lobe at 15o pointed right at Europe. So far I am very satisfied with it. Below is a 20 meter Easynic plot made by W7LW.