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[TenTec] The Last Radios

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Subject: [TenTec] The Last Radios
From: AL_LORONA@HP-USA-om33.om.hp.com (AL_LORONA@HP-USA-om33.om.hp.com)
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 13:41:57 -0400
     Hi, Everybody,
     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 
     few-year-old transceiver.
     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?
     Al W6LX

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