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Re: [CQ-Contest] Elecraft size

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Elecraft size
From: Bill Tippett <btippett@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2004 12:33:41 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Hi Igor,

        I must disagree with you about Orion and Ten-Tec's
responsiveness to customer inputs.

UA9CDC wrote:
>Orion being good front end performer got several annoying issues like
>lack of CW PTT

CW PTT is coming. Actually it was released in a beta just before the CQ
160 CW and I suggested they wait so it would not upset existing station
configurations immediately prior to a major contest.

>lack of choice of baud rate for RS232

First time I've heard anyone complain about this. My old Win98 computer
works OK at 57600 but I suppose it could cause problems for some.

>underpowered processor that makes you CW choppy when you adjust DSP BW during TX

Most radios simply lockout changes like this during TX and Orion's latest
revision now does the same (i.e. changing BW while transmitting has no effect
either on DSP BW or keying characteristics).

>poor choice of tuning rates

The "digital" sound while tuning has been fixed in the latest revision. I
don't find a problem with Orion's tuning rates either on CW or SSB, but more
choices could easily be added in a future firmware revision. I use Enc Rate
Fast and Step 1 Hz for CW and then toggle xm10 for faster tuning in 10 Hz steps.
This gives a rate of 2.5 kHz per knob revolution which has worked OK for me in
both modes.

>clicks in one of the head phones when monitor is engaged in CW

        Not yet addressed, but I know this is on their list of outstanding
issues to fix.  It did not bother me during extended sessions of the
CQ WW CW and CQ 160 CW, but I agree it should not be there, and I have
no reason to believe it will not be addressed in a future revision.

>The radio freezes up during TX and needs reloading from time to time

My last crash was January 31, and newer versions seem much more stable.

>worst thing is that TT is reluctant to deal with these problems claiming
these are "features" and not problems

        Absolutely not true.  CW PTT WILL be in a revision in the very near
future.  The beta team for Orion consists mostly of knowledgeable well-known
contesters and they, along with Ten-Tec, are making excellent progress in
making Orion even better.  One change which I personally wanted for DX-ing
on the low bands was to allow the Spot tone to go below 300 Hz (I often like
to listen to 240-250 Hz when listening to extremely weak signals).  Ten-Tec
modified Orion with a month of making that suggestion and even extended the
lower range to 100 Hz from the original 300 Hz.

        There are several other issues being addressed besides those on your
list.  I also suggest you always update with the latest firmware, since new
issues are continually being addressed.  What is a problem today will likely
NOT be a problem in the future.  This update capability, along with Ten-Tec's
willingness to listen, is a very powerful combination to continue refining
Orion.  I repeat, there is one competitor of Ten-Tec that has been shipping
radios for >15 years with known click problems, and that company has yet to
even acknowledge the problem exists.  Owners of that radio are either left to
fix them at their expense, or else pollute our bands with needless clicks.
I feel the contrast to Ten-Tec is very striking.  No, Orion is not perfect,
but it is backed by a company that DOES listen and does offer an update
capability in Orion to incorporate suggested improvements.

73, Bill W4ZV

P.S.  I have no connection with Ten-Tec, and yes, I paid full price for mine
in case anyone is wondering.

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