Drake ICOM Yaesu receiver dynamic range measurement


Home ]Up ]Sorted by IM3 ]


Here a few measurements of receivers, using 500Hz filters. 

MDS is a measure of sensitivity. -135dBm is 10dB
more sensitive than -125dBm. This number doesn’t matter very much in what you
actually hear.
The real test is if you hear a very noticeable noise increase
when you connect an antenna to the receiver.  If you hear an obvious noise
increase when you connect an antenna instead of a dummy load, your receiver is sensitive enough!
You should check sensitivity at the quietest time with the narrowest
selectivity you use on every antenna you use.

Contrary to folklore and hyperbole, there isn’t a receiver sold today that
can dig into noise more than others on CW based on sensitivity or the use of a
DSP or multiple DSP systems. The exceptions are:

  • Increased selectivity will reduce noise
  • Poor AGC design or detector problems can cause mixing of signals and noise

If you read a review that claims a receiver made weak signals appear from
nowhere, you better keep a wary eye on the rest of the review. It is possible
for a receiver to be abnormally bad, but it is not possible for a receiver to
work better than other properly working receivers based on sensitivity.

BDR is blocking dynamic range. This is the point
where a strong signal either 2 or 10kHz just starts to make your receiver lose
sensitivity. The bigger the number the better, ESPECIALLY at 2kHz spacing.
number you want here is probably around 80dB or more if you live in a reasonably
location and work weak signals on crowded bands. If you run two transmitters on
the same band or have a neighbor who operates near your frequency, you almost
certainly need more dynamic range. I’m in a very quiet rural location and have very
directive antennas, and 80dB blocking DR suits my requirements just fine most of the

IMDR is intermodulation dynamic range. This
is the single most important number when comparing receivers.

This is
where two or more strong close-frequency signals mix and generate a new phantom
signal or multiple tones in a adjacent frequency SSB
signal mix with themselves and make what sounds like splatter. The measurement
is made just at the point where the phantom signal level is high enough to
interfere with the weakest signal your receiver can detect. IMDR is a measure of how badly your own receiver causes
problems you might blame on other people. Bigger numbers mean better receivers. It
is most important the 2kHz number be good. The 10kHz test number doesn’t mean
nearly as
much, because almost any radio is good enough at 10kHz or wider.
number above 80dB is enough to stay out of trouble 99% of the time. If you
are in a noisy location, you obviously need less performance. 85dB keeps my
receivers at the point where poor quality external signals cause nearly all
off-frequency problems. With 85dB IM3DR only a few of the strongest stations
cause my receiver to make its own internal problems.

Be aware the very good Drake receivers in the test below are essentially
gutted and rebuilt receivers.  They DO NOT use Drake mixers or amplifiers! Stock
suffer from severe problems. See the notes!


Model serial MDS 2kHz  BDR 10kHz BDR 2kHz IMDR 10kHz IMDR
FT1000MP 8N370165 -135 73.5 84 62*      75.5**

note 1

70.5*    80**  note1
FT1000D -134 68 85 72 81
FT1000D/W8JI mods -136 73 87 89 88
FT1000MK V stock -131 74 86 60 note1A 77 note 1A
FT1000MK V

W8JI mods




Mods and Inrad







-137 pre1 on

-127 no preamps





IC-751A -140 83.5 98 79 91
IC-756 PRO -133 N/A 78 67 77
IC-7800 -127 80  98 78 88@5kHz

R4C S/N 17816 stock -132 57 109 48 82 note2
R4C S/N 22291 stock -139 80 116 68 86 note3
R4C 17816 med mod -140 96 115 92 103 note4
R4C heavy mod -143 127 131 118 119 note5

TS-870 Inrad 400Hz IF filter mod (AIP) -139










TenTec Orion -129 98 100 92 92

Note 1: The FT1000MP has the same inherent problem as the FT1000 and FT1000D.
A noise-blanker FET is left on even when the noise blanker is turned off with
front panel NB and NB-W switches
This FET connects directly to the IF, and overloads when strong signals are
present. Unlike the FT1000 and FT1000D, the front panel noise blanker level
control affects the FT1000MP IMD performance. * is with the NB gain control fully
advanced, ** is with the NB gain control fully off. In ALL cases the NB
off-on switch is OFF!!

Note 1A: Yaesu copied the same basic NB from the FT1000D, and
so this radio also has a NB problem even when the NB is switched off. This test
was with NB gain menu set for minimum gain. The radio is worse when NB gain is
increased in the NB gain menu.   

Note 2: This is a MOSFET 2nd mixer R4C, aligned and in good shape but with no
changes. This receiver is almost useless for weak signal CW work of any kind
because of poor IM performance and filter blow-by.  

Note 3: This is a tube 2nd mixer R4C, aligned and in good shape but with no
changes. This receiver is almost useless for contesting or crowded bands because
of poor IM performance and bad filter blow-by. 

Note 4: This is the same receiver in note 2, but with the following changes:

  1. Increased screen voltage on RF amplifier to 130 volts.
  2. 6J6 first mixer with oscillator injection increased to 5 volts.
  3. Diode double-balanced 2nd mixer with +10dBm injection.
  4. 10dB of gain removed from first mixer and first IF and redistributed
    behind the narrow filter.
  5. Sherwood Engineering 600Hz roofing filter.
  6. New AGC system. After narrow filter only, no AGC on front end.

Note 5: Gutted and rebuilt with solid-state double balanced high-level
mixers. No vacuum tubes in signal path. Sherwood 600Hz roofing

This page has been viewed
Hit Counter times since revised on June 28, 2004

©2004 W8JI