The review in QST is misleading at best. They did not find those things, they
mis-stated the information that is up front in the Scout manual. They
corrected themselves in letters to the Editor later on.
For the microprocessor to correct the PTO frequency periodically, it must not
be busy with running the keyer. If you key at too high a speed continuously,
it does not have time to update the PTO. Ten Tec says to pause periodically
in high speed CW, and let the thing "breathe" if you will, and there will be
NO problem. Now, who does not pause in sending code? I certainly pause in my
vocal or CW conversation, but if you send the entire Constitution at 55 wpm,
and if the temperature around the PTO is changing, then, yes, it may have no
frequency corrected by the micro, and you will after some minutes be slightly
off the frequency you started transmitting on. Is this a problem? NO, for the
other guy probably is already using RIT to avoid the QRM that came on when you
were so long winded. This was an entirely normal artifact of ALL tube radios,
and entirely expected a few years ago. In those days, you rated radios by how
far they drifted.
Now, as to the other image comment. That too was a bad parphrase of the Ten
Tec manual. They were straightforward and up front with the fact that the IF
and mixing method naturally has to have some pickup somewhere with nine bands.
ALL radios do, unless they are some really high dollar conversion method and
triple shielded, (read EXPENSIVE). IF one of the Scouts picks up, it may be
in 17M band mentioned, by the mixing. BUT that is IF you are near strong
commercial stations at that particular response frequency. Most of us do not
live near short wave commercial transmitters. NO PROBLEM. I don't have that
problem with that band that I have been aware of, and I do have that module
and an all band tuned antenna for the band of concern. As to 20M, I am on
that band most of all, and never even on a dead band have heard so much as a
whisper of commercial broadcast stations. Again, with a tuned 20M antenna, or
even a mobile whip, no problems seen. No, they have not to my knowledge
changed IF's, for they could not sell modules now to fit the bands of early
Scouts if they had changed. One of the design goals was to have a radio that
could be bought in pieces to ultimately cover all bands when you wanted a few,
and later, more bands.
As to backlash, I don't think the reviewer would know backlash if it hit him
in the face. :-) The Scout I have is firm but smooth, like a screw would be,
and of course that is what a PTO drive is, a precision screw like a lathe
If it were out of whack, I guess it could have backlash, but mine did not, and
three years later does not. It does not and can not spin, like old flywheel
tuned radios of years ago, but I do not miss that. It is so repeatable, and
easy to get back from frequency to frequency, and gives you such confidence
that it will not creep off in mobile use, that it is elegant.
If you like clean, basic but FULL QSK radios, go buy the Scout and enjoy the
nice signal reports I get with mine. If you like SSB, it gives you many QSO's
where the other station invariably says, "GREAT AUDIO", "you are holding the
So go enjoy!
73, Stuart K5KVH