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[TenTec] 555 Scout. User report.

To: <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: [TenTec] 555 Scout. User report.
From: cathedu@ruralnet.net.au (Catholic Education Office)
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 12:39:10 +1000
Well, after years of dreaming about owning a Ten Tec rig, the smallest of
their siblings arrived. I purchased it second hand, and it was everything
the vendor said it was. It was in excellent condition.

However there are a few comments which I think are pertinent to prospective

1) The audio hiss with no signal applied is annoying as many before me have

2)The audio jack on the front, does exhibit a tone on low volume when using
8 ohm headphones. Yeap.... the volume is much too high... for head phones,
and the head phones will need padding as many have reported previously.
A real shame the designers did not think of this, as most, if not all CW ops
use headphones.

3) The rig is far from full QSK. I have only used QSK on the japanese rigs,
and their QSK is far superior. This scout is some where inbetween semi break
in, and full QSK. ( I would rather have one or the other.) I see the AGC
response can be altered by changing C 19 on the IF board. I would love to
try this.. if I could find the darn C19 they mention. It is mentioned in the
text, but not indicated on the pictorial view of the board, that comes with
the manual.

4) The rig has awful SSB audio if the voltage runs at about 12 volts, plus
it does indeed drift about a bit. ( I use a small motorcycle battery when I
go portable.) This makes no sense to me...as ...if I want to run the full 50
watts, when portable...my 12 volt source will not be sufficient. I backed
off the rig to about 5 watts and this cleaned up nicely for QRP operation..
(Irrespective of the current.) At 13.8 volts (AC power supply) the rig's
audio is magnificent when using the full 50 watts. Reports were excellent !.

5) I have noted no frequency drift at all on CW or SSB, when using a
13.8v,(10amp) supply. It is rock solid.

6)The PTO mechanism leaves a great deal to be desired. This brings my major
criticism. As the PTO drives an iron core through an inductor it is indeed a
precision instrument. However, when tuning a station there are three things
to content with. i) The FLS system. (not a real problem.) ii) The turning of
the main dial itself. iii) And the change in frequency which occurs when you
take your hand off the main dial.

Hence, when you tune in a station on CW,then take your hand off the dial,
the CW station is often lost as the frequency has changed. Further
inspection noted that any slight pressure on the PTO knob, changes the
frequency of the rig.
I opened the rig, and saw that when tuning the dial, you in effect place
some force on the PTO shaft on the iron core. This obviously flexes some
what, causing a frequency change. Matter of fact, even some slight pressure
on the top cover causes a frequency shift. I cannot fathom.. why ten tec
designed this as such.  A small rig like that should be able to handle
handling when it comes to frequency netting.

7) In order to try over come the above, I attempted ( and attempted is the
operative word here) to take the knob off, and place a felt washer behind
it, so the inward force would be minimized.
Well this knob initself is a story. In short the rig did not come with an
allan wrench.. and finding an allan wrench of that size here in VK is posing
to be a real problem. In short... a local tool and die maker ( who sells
allan wrenches of all types and sizes) has never seen one that small. So the
knob remains as it is.. until I can find one... I may have to ask Ten Tec
USA to assist.,

8) The 30mx module poses some problems here in VK. The 30mx band here is a
popular mobile SSB band. (Yes we are allowed SSB here on 30mx.) However, our
conventions are such that 10mhz and above we operate USB. The scout operates
LSB. Not an enormous problem, but a nuisance as one cannot even monitor SSB

9) The receiver is excellent. The scout hears signals, that my large Kenwood
barely discerns. An excellent receiver, and the jones filter system is
effective, and a delight on CW.

10) On CW the the keying characteristics are "hardish" and makes for
excellent copy at the other end. The make and break of the CW is clean, and
with out chopping. On the scope it has an excellent waveform.

11) The internal keyer works beautifully.... but a shame there was not an
outboard "regular - potentiometer type" control for the speed. As... if you
need to adjust the speed after contacting a station, you need to flip the
switch etc, and this in effect changes the frequency again, as it brings
some pressure on the front cover of the rig, which in effect forces the PTO


Ten Tec are reknown world wide for their CW keying. This means they will attract
CW operators. The sense in this.. is that one would think ten tec would have
all the CW aspects of the rig perfectly designed. My scout... and I stress
this.. this individual scout in my possession... is far from perfect.. even
at times.. it's far from acceptable. 

Right now, part of me is disappointed, and the other half of me is
delighted. It is a bitter sweet sensation which is hard to sit with. I hope
in time.. to do a few mods which will make the operation of the unit more
acceptable... again a darn shame one has to do this.

As far as i know this is the only scout on air in VK. Over here they sell
for about $1200 with only one module. They are far from cheap. The question
is... are they value for money at that price?? And I could only respond
honestly if a VK asked for an opinion on the scout. I wish I could give a
better testimonial. 
Because the local new price makes them cost prohibitive, I obtained mine via
other second hand sources.

I would appreciate any advice.. if anyone feels inclined to do so.

But........I still yearn for the omni 6 plus!!


Maurie.("moz") VK3CWB.

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