Reading about the various fixes that Ten Tec owners apply to their
radios always gets me thinking: The current Ten Tec rigs in
production-- which would include the Scout, Omni VI+, and kits-- may
be the last radios which are user-serviceable. That is, we are moving
into an era where transceivers, either because of surface mount
construction or because of the increasing role of software, or due to
other reasons, may no longer lend themselves to the kind of
troubleshooting, repair, modification, experimentation, and alignment
that so many of us value and enjoy.
Evidence: The top-of-the-line Kenwood transceiver belonging to a
friend of mine developed VCO problems within a month of his buying it.
To extract and repair the board, which was loaded with nothing but
tiny, unmarked surface mount devices, took him weeks to do. (Kenwood
would not replace it under warranty, but that's another story.) It's a
good thing that my friend is an electronics engineer with 20 years of
experience building satellites at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and felt
confident enough to tackle the job, isn't it?
Evidence: I just read a newsgroup message from a ham whose Icom IC-730
went on the fritz. He was soliciting help from other hams. The
shocking answer was that the internal battery went dead, which sounds
like it would be an easy fix, except that the rig's firmware was
stored in *volatile* RAM which was lost forever with the battery
failure! I guess Icom figured no one would still be using their
IC-730s in the late 1990's; the "throw-away" rig concept. This poor
guy is hosed if he can't find a way to re-load the program into his
Evidence: How many mods for the Kachina/Pegasus do you think we are
likely to see in the next few years? How much experimentation with
filtering, keying, front end, audio, aftermarket components, etc., so
much of which you see on this reflector? Will all of the modification
involve software only? (Way cool, how did you get the S-meter on the
lower left of your front panel? Oh, I just wrote, compiled, and linked
a new GUI...)
Hang on to those Omnis, everybody, we may be witnessing the final
phase of a fix-it-with-a-paper-clip-and-chewing-gum approach to
amateur radio which has proved so rewarding for so many of us.
What say you?
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