German Radio Manufacturer Halts Transceiver Production
In a surprise move, Hilberling GmbH has stopped production on the much anticipated PT-8000 series of HF/VHF Amateur Radio transceivers. Apparently due to CE marking regulations, Hilberling had to make constant adjustments to the design of the radio and was unable to repeat the performance of prototypes in production models and was not able to justify the expense involved with further redesign work. The CE mark certifies that a product has met European health, safety and environmental requirements, ensuring consumer safety. Array Solutions -- which had been set to be the North American distributor for the transceiver series -- featured the PT-8000 at its booths at the 2008 Dayton Hamvention®.
Hans Hilberling, DK7LG, explained in German on the company's Web site why the company canceled production of the PT-8000 series:
Production of the PT-8000 equipment series has been halted. Due to the persistent challenges we've had to overcome in the process of bringing the official EU-wide manufacturer's model to fruition, it became necessary to make more and more adaptations in the design of this cutting-edge transceiver. The lofty design goals of the PT-8000 could be attained in some prototypes. We encountered difficulties that we could not overcome at justifiable expense in guaranteeing, without reservation, a high standard of mass production involving many suppliers. We appreciate the great interest this project has attracted over its entire course. -- Translation by Rick Lindquist, WW3DE
The PT-8000 was featured in a 4-page pull-out advertisement in the May 2007 issue of QST. The ad stated that Hilberling had not yet received approval by the FCC to market the radio in the US. All digital devices -- including Amateur Radio equipment -- must be approved by the FCC, meeting the requirements of FCC Part 15 and RSS 210 (Radio Standards Specifications, Industry Canada) to ensure its compliance as an unintentional radiator and as a generic receiver. Approval was granted in May 2008. Testing was done in April and May 2008 by Professional Testing (EMI) of Round Rock, Texas.
According to the QST ad, the PT-8000 was set to feature:
- An automatically tuned preselector
- Precision matched first and second mixers, designed by Synergy Microwave, with third intercept points at 40+ dBm
- Three roofing filters at 2.7, 6 and 12 kHz
- Six hybrid amplifiers from LF to VHF with third intercept points at 50+ dBm
- Seven 16-pole ladder filters working in combination with DSP filters in the 10.7 MHz second IFs of each filter
- 13.8 V HF MOSFETs (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) in the 100 W power amplifier; high efficiency (70 percent) SD3933 HF MOSFETs in the 600 W final amplifier
- Three additional 70.7 MHz roofing filters in the transmitter stages for clean output
- Designed with UHF and microwave transverters in mind, 1 Hz frequency resolution with the ability to connect transverters to both receivers simultaneously
- Taps at the first and second IFs for analysis, monitoring and experimentation
- Easily updatable firmware
The price for a 10 W PT-8000 started at $12,000, going up to $16,000 for the 600 W model. Commercial and military grades were priced at an additional $10,000.