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[TenTec] Orion II = pure pleasure!

To: "'Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment'" <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: [TenTec] Orion II = pure pleasure!
From: "Gregory J. Knapp" <gknapp@freshrain.org>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 20:37:03 -0700
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
All the posts the last few days grumbling and complaining about Ten Tec and
the Orion I/II seem so strange to me, because I have nothing but praise for
Ten Tec and the Orion II (which I've had about 8 weeks now). It almost makes
me feel like I am using a different radio than everyone else.
Frankly, I really hesitated buying an Orion because of all the negative
posts that made it seem like the rig was really plagued with major problems,
but in my experience, I didn't find them to be true.
There were numerous posts on the RF problems that would have to be dealt
with.  My experience:  I've never had a single RF problem with the Orion II
despite running about 1200 watts out from a Centurion, and that is with no
special grounding! 
Then there were all the posts I read about the Orion II SSB transmit signal
not being the best, or compromised from the Orion, in the latest firmware
updates. My experience:  Using the new Ten Tec 709 mike and standard factory
settings right out of the box, my wife (KB6TTC) said my audio was the best
she'd ever heard and that it sounded exactly like me, and my friends on 75
meters thought it was awesome (actually "exquisite").  
Before getting the Orion II a few months ago, I had, of course used many
rigs in my 46 years of hamming, but most recently was using both a TS-940
(because of its great SSB audio) and an Elecraft K2/100 with almost every
option.  My experience: Literally everyone said the stock audio straight out
of the box on the Orion with the Ten Tec 709 mike was fantastic, and
greeting me with comments like "What did you do to your audio, get a W2IHY
box or two?" I'd tell them no, I got bought a new Orion II!
And on CW, I really like my K2/100, but I don't personally feel it is even
in the same ballpark as the Orion!  With the Orion, I have found myself
hearing and actually working really, really weak stuff, way down in the
noise floor, with relative ease. And in a contest, it is amazing...it is
like each signal is the only one on the band! When DXing, the Orion II's
selectivity can make the difference. Recently on 30 meters I worked VK9NLO
in the S-0 noise floor even though a close Caribbean station with a raspy
AC-hum signal was pounding in S-7 just about 75 cycles away! I am constantly
amazed at the Orion's capability! And with the N4PY software, the remote pad
gives you incredible control at your finger tips even as you relax in your
easy chair!
Yes, I know the rig isn't perfect. Yes, there are things I think it could do
better (like NR), but because the Orion II's performance in so many areas is
totally impressive to me I just feel I can't complain. If I never read the
posts on this internet site I probably wouldn't even be aware of most of the
problems people are continually fussing over (like being able to hear
between dits at 60 wpm), because the rig works so well! I never would even
notice them with my style of hamming...balanced between weak signal DXing,
ragchewing, contesting, CW, SSB, PSK, and just plain listening.  
As you can tell by this long post, it's hard for me to put into words the
positive feeling I have about the Orion II and Ten Tec. Ten Tec has given me
outstanding service on my other Ten Tec equipment over the past 30+ years.
To me, Ten Tec is the finest of companies, one that does stand behind their
products and where you can actually talk to real people who know what they
are talking about and who, in all my dealings with them, showed they
actually CARE about you and fixing your problems. That's important to me. 
I hate to see people discouraged about buying, owning, or using an Orion
because of some of the posts here, because then they will not experience the
pure joy of using the Orion! It's like when I was practicing family law
years ago...I didn't feel bad about people getting divorces, but did feel
bad because they obviously had never experienced a good marriage! The Orion
II is an OUTSTANDING rig that I wish everyone could experience. I feel
privileged to own one.
I am very grateful to the guys at Ten Tec for making this rig available at
an attainable price.  
In light of all the negative posts lately, I know that what I've written
probably sounds corny or too syrupy or like I work for Ten Tec (I don't),
but I just wanted to honestly state what the Orion II does for me...it
brings me constant joy and amazes me with its capabilities (it does rings
around the other rigs I've owned/used), and now that I have used an Orion, I
just cannot imagine being without it! And I have absolutely no
buyers-remorse, even though it strained my budget to the breaking point! The
radio is incredible!
Thanks for letting me express to you my personal impressions of the Orion
gained through actual use.
Greg, N6GK 

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