We reviewed the Emperor TS-5010 a couple years ago for our Ham Radio column and really liked the rig alot! Personally, I'd been a 2510 fan for years even though the display isn't very good during daylight conditions. I found myself leaning over a tad to far while driving. This made the display easier to read, but my driving terrible. After going through several RCI-2950's, and then watching several friends send theirs back for repair, I decided to try something else.
While a modified CB is okay for 10meters, I don't particularily like being stuck with 10khz steps, and buying a TS-50 just for 10meters seemed a little expensive. Along came the Emperor TS-5010, and we got one to review. I liked it immediately - It had a nice large, easy-to-read display, memories, and functions which were easy for me to use (because they were like the 2510). With the STEP button, I was able to vary the steps that the VCO took, and once I modified the RIT control 10 meters was once more a pleasant place to be.
Since the review, we've had several E-mail's regarding the Emperor's dubious quality and origins. Some RCI-lov'n folks thought I was downright evil for liking the 5010 over an RCI-2950/70. Well, I decided to re-survey the local group (the other fellows who switched from RCI to Emperor) and found that over a two year period and 10 owners we had 2 radios eventually fail. Compared to the type rigs previously owned, this ratio was pretty good and I'll stand by our previous opinion of the Emperor ( it doesn't bother me not knowing a rig's parents as long as it seems to do the job).
Above, as you can see, we have a picture of the TS-5010. As you can see, the digital readout is much easier to read than the Uniden HR-2510, but not quite a big as RCI's. Two features that I like on this rig which aren't included on the 2510 are: Variable RF power output control, and Memories (although the memories can be a pain to use). Modification of the RIT control was a snap, and frequency drift was little to none. We tested several different Emperors and found the VCO knob to be easily turned although how easy seemed to vary from one rig to another (very soft to "clicky"). The noise blanker/ANL seemed to work just fine in the test van, in fact, when we switched to AM (for the all important engine noise test), the receiver was so quite we thought it was dead! Looking at the inside we found two pcb's, one looking much like a 2510's, with components neatly arranged.
The first week I had it in the test van, 10 meters was wide open and I made several contacts to the West coast. Everyone of them seemed to think the transmit audio sounded decent, and even better with my favorite handmike, the Turner +3. This of course is on SSB where I like to hang out. If you're an "ANCIENT MARINER" (AMer) the low level modulation may bother you. The test van isn't the easiest ride, but I didn't notice any problems from being bumped around. One thing I didn't like was the up/down button on the hand microphone. It's worked great on even 10khz steps (28.300-310-320), but when set to an additional 5khz (28.325 for example) it reverts back to it's previous setting (next step 28.330) when the up channel button is pressed. There are so many rigs on 10meters using the extra 5khz setting, it's almost a natural for it to work on those steps too - but it doesn't. It has a feature called "Auto" squelch, which tries to automatically adjust itself while still letting you hear a real transmission. It's a good idea, but not foolproof. I ran this as a base station and compared it to my Icom IC-738 and found the receiver to be about as sensitive plus the NB/ANL really worked! (why do most ham radios have lousy noise blanking circuits?). With the 738's transmitter output tuned to match the Emperor's contacts reported equal signal strength.
Like I said, the RIT modification is easy, and as a Ham operator this mod is perfectly legal. Like most other 10 meter rigs you can modify this for out-of-band operation, which of course, isn't legal here in the States, but nonetheless done by some folks.Can a ham operator do this mod? Technically yes, if all he does is listen to the other frequencies - there is no laws against receiving (well, at least on that spectrum) only. Remember, Uncle Charlie may decide to visit your neck of the woods some day....
The Emperor TS-5010 performed very well during our test period, and compared to it's competition on the market, seems to be decent quality. It's not the quality of an Alinco DX-70 or Kenwood TS50, but then we're talking about a rig that's about $600 less expensive than either of those. In our opinion when you are dealing with an import in this price range, you will always be subject to less features, and perhaps a higher percentage of flaws, but I have yet to find anything I would consider "perfect". Later shipments of the 5010 indicated a lack of quality control, with some rigs requiring a "warmup" period before they could be used on sideband. To my knowledge, this model is no longer available, although they should be fairly plentiful on the used market. Much like a used RCI, just be sure of who you are buying it from.
Last Update: 03/26/97
Web Author: Woody
Copyright ©1997 by woodyworld - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.