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[TenTec] Orion problems in contest

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: [TenTec] Orion problems in contest
From: Knut Baczko <knut.baczko@t-online.de>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Jun 2005 16:34:18 +0200
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>

This was the first time I used the TenTec Orion in a contest and must  
say that I was disappointed. My previous rigs were the OMNI VI and  
some time ago the Drake C line modified. All had good filters in the  
first and second IF. One thing what I didnt like with the Orion  
before the contest was that I could hear strong signals several  
kilocycles off the main frequency. I am not used to that with my  
previous rigs except when somebody had a bad signal. During the  
contest it turned out on 20m that I could not hear several weak  
stations calling me because there was a very high background noise  
from adjacent strong stations usually arround S4 to S5. The  
"interferring" station were about 600 to 700 Hz off my frequeny. I  
never experienced such difficulties with the OMNI VI or modified R4C.  
Therefore I exchanged rigs i.e. used the OMNI VI instead of the Orion  
and everything was fine from then. I have of course read the test  
reports of the Orion. However there seems to be a problem. 2KHZ  
spacing used in the tests  is to my opinion not sufficient at least  
for contest conditions. In my qth in the middle of Europe I hear the  
big US contest stations and the Europeans (short skip) very often  
with S9+. And very often many strong stations are seperated only by 1  
to 2 KHZ.It has not been a problem for me before with the Omni or  
Drake R4C to go inbetween 2 strong stations seperated only 1-1.2 KHZ  
and call CQ and copy weak stations. I have now ordered the Inrad  
600HZ filter and hopethings are better with it. Unfortunately I could  
not find any data or graphs of the TenTec 500 or 1000Hz filters  so I  
would be able to compare them with the Inrad 600Hz filter.
Other problems with the Orion:
On several occasions the Orion computer crashed apparently because of  
high powered RF nearby. Of course the reason is my working conditions  
but still I dont like it. For explanation in my QTH in the mountains  
I cannot put up beams or quads because they would break or fall down  
during the winter time. Instead of this I use wire antennas e.g. vee  
beams and a rhombic antenna. All antennas have open feeder lines  
which go directly into the shack.Sometime ago the circuit for the  
linear keying output  of the Orion broke using a TL922 linear. Now I  
use output 2 with an external relay and everything is ok.
There is still the question if such a complicated rig as the Orion is  
good for contesting. Personaly I dont like that I have to change  
several parameters when changing from one band to another i.e. 160m  
with high background noise to another e.g. 15m with low background  

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