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[TenTec] Orion prototype

To: <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: [TenTec] Orion prototype
From: sdprat@worldnet.att.net (Scott Prather)
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 16:56:57 -0800
Jim-The first receiver (that I'm aware of) to utilize DSP in such a way that
S-meter is independent of the RF Gain, front-end attenuator, preamp, etc.
was the Watkins-Johnson HF-1000 back in 1994 (my review of the HF-1000
appeared in the Spring, 1995 issue of Communications Quarterly). The
HF-1000's S-meter was calibrated from -120 to 0 dBm, in 2 dB increments. It
was a strange experience, indeed, to listen to a weak signal (at, say, -100
dBm), turn on the preamp, hear the S/N improve but see the S-meter remain
locked at -100 dBm.  If only all S-meters worked that way!

As for the differences in the receiver between the Pegasus and the Orion,
while you may find that many of the preliminary specs are fundamentally the
same, they may not tell the whole story.  Considering the proposed price tag
of the Orion, I would expect it to incorporate a synthesizer with extremely
low phase noise, something that is not true of the Pegasus.  Depending upon
how receiver certain parameters are measured, the effects of phase noise
(and other impairments) may not always show up as a degradation in the
performance numbers.

Although I never had an Omni VI or VI+, the receiver in these rigs has a
reputation for being one of the best available for amateur use, and since
the Orion replaces this radio, I would expect the same level of performance,
with added functionality provided by an IF-based DSP.  That's no small
feat in a synthesized radio, so I'll be quite interested to see what the
folks in Sevierville come up with.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Reid" <jimr.reid@verizon.net>
To: <nn9k@arrl.net>; <tentec@contesting.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 18:01
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Orion prototype

> Pete suggested:
> > Seems to me, after reading the reflector for the past few
> > weeks, that the folks running a Pegasus and RX-350
> > combination are really running an Orion prototype.................
> The Orion's target price,  per Scott is about $3300.  Should
> get more than just the added synchronous AM detection
> added to the RX-350, plus the 8 kHz added IF bandwidth
> selection of the 350.  All other rcvr details of the Pegasus
> and the Jupiter are identical to the 350.  34 selectable DSP
> IF bandwidths are in all three;  therefore the 350,  going on out
> to 8 kHz,  must have fewer narrow BW's to choose among.
> Anyway,  the price of a 350 plus a Peg is way below $3300.
> I believe the Orion will incorporate some of the Ten Tec
> "high end" rcvr,  the RX-340,  which only has 57 selectable
> IF widths to choose among,  going on down to 100 Hz BW,
> and all the way out the 16 kHz BW!  Also,  the DSP filters
> of the 340 are really steeper/sharper brick walls than those
> within the other three offerings.  The front end of the 340 is
> "stronger";  higher IP's by some 20 dB,  typically.  No other
> rcvr in the amateur market is so "strong" so far as I know.
> And the S meter of the 340 is really amazing!  Very accurate
> all the way down to the noise threshold,  exactly 6 dB per
> S unit,  run by the processor, and completely independent
> from the RF gain control and AGC selection;  never saw
> that before (maybe in the K2,  I have been told).
> The 340 has 120 dB of IF gain;  that also is amazing;  you
> won't miss any signal even down in the front end noise
> or along with the antenna noise,  hi.
> Also,  I do expect the Orion to have a similar LCD display
> to the Jupiter and the 350,  maybe a better one.  The
> 340/Peg system does not,  though the Peg does offer
> spectrum sweep on the computer monitor screen (not
> as real time as I would care to have,  however.  Nor is it
> really fast enough.)
> There was a rig called the Softwave sold at Dayton a few
> years ago (1995,  maybe).  It had a super spectrum analysis
> display,  it also used your shack PC for control and display
> as does the Pegasus,  and did the Kachina.  Unfortunately,
> not long after Dayton that year,  the founders of the Softwave
> product got to fussing among themselves, and they folded.
> The argument stemmed from a market direction decision:
> were they after  the communication/amateur radio folks,
> or the gadgeteer SWL hobbyist.
> Would be nice to see Ten Tec come up with that sort of
> display for the Pegasus.  Have no idea how the Softwave
> product did it so well!
> Just have to wait for that hamfest in March before someone
> outside TT gets a good look at an Orion!
> 73,  Jim  KH7M
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