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Re: [TenTec] Fwd: Is Orion really worth it? Given thepublishedproblems?

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Fwd: Is Orion really worth it? Given thepublishedproblems?
From: William Addams <wiladdamsham@yahoo.com>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 08:58:48 -0700 (PDT)
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
This has been a very informative day.
Since I posted this, I have, of course, received the posted replies to the 
I have also received 148 different emails directly to my email address.
Responses ranged from... Orion is a dog, don't want it... to ... This is the 
best radio on the market.
Of the responses, most simply stated to listen to the comments, but to prove 
them out myself first on my friends unit.
A few had links to sites that showed the main issues.
So, this morning, my friend and I did just that.
He was able to reproduce only a few of these issues.
And of these issues, we had a long discussion as to whether these issues really 
warranted such a hard beating and berating on TenTec as we have seen over the 
last few months.
Our answer, well, if these problems were the reason you are telling others not 
to buy a TenTec, then maybe you shouldn't buy one in the first place. Maybe 
nothign would please you then, no matter how good it is.
The NR issues are real, but when he adjusted a few other paramters, the issue 
was minimized to an annoyance, not something that is so horrible that I would 
post on here and tell everyone that TenTec is going down the tubes and no one 
should ever buy an Orion again. Saw that posting in several threads on this 
site. Very disconcerting.
Then, we went to the board again, trying to find a link between the posts, who 
was sending them, and who was emailing me about not buying the Orion. Very 
interesting exercise, something I suggest of others, then you will see exactly 
who the main posters are who are against TenTec now. Even though some have sold 
theirs, and moved on, they feel it appropriate to continue to tell others why 
we shouldn't have them. 
Yes, there were a few that told me flat out to not buy a TenTec, because it 
simply doesn't work at all. Same guys that had posted that they sold theirs 
because of the problems.
Strange, tell that to the guy my friend talked to in Japan this last weekend on 
low power. And to the other guy in Lebanon on CW who was informing the outside 
world on the real ongoings inside of the bombing areas. Yep, this radio sure 
stinks, won't pick up nothing, and TenTec should shut its door. Both of them 
reported my friends radio as the clearest they had heard from the states.
Come on guys, get real.
This radio is great.
Yes it has problems.
Help TenTec with informing them of issues, don't berate them.
Don't try to slander them stating that they are losing all of their business 
because of a radio that doesn't work.
You see the posts on here of sales lost because of these types of messages, and 
if you keep this crap up, people will remember the Orion as the radio that 
broke TenTecs back.
When in reality it was the crap you are spewing to the world about how bad it 
is that is causing them loss of business, when in reality, it is one of the 
absolute best ever made.
Yes, it has problems, and I also see answers now from Scott at TenTec of 
developments as we speak concerning fixes forthcoming. Maybe not enough info on 
what is being fixed, but it is being addressed.
An interesting note.
Of the 148 emails I got from this one posting, 120 of them were from current 
Orion or Orion 2 owners who have upgraded to the latest firmware, or are Orion 
Owners who have traded in for an Orion 2 and were very glad they did.  They are 
able to pick out the weakest signals, and when I look up their call signs on 
the web, they are some of the highest performing contesters out there. 
So I think I will listen to them, and not the naysayers who are probably the 
same ones that predict the end of the world tomorrow.

Good Job TenTec.

I will definitely be buying an Argonaut when I buy my first rig after I get my 
license, then, when funds allow, an Orion 2 or 3.


"Dr. Gerald N. Johnson" <geraldj@storm.weather.net> wrote: On Mon, 2006-07-17 
at 21:27 -0700, Ron Castro wrote:
> And just how does one do that on a radio that has the ALC level fixed in the 
> firmware and controlled by DSP?  This isn't like a Kenmore that has a 
> "carrier level" control on the front panel.  There is no menu setting to 
> control it either.  The ALC light blinks on CW at all power levels settings 
> from 1 to 100.

There is an ALC setting, its for power output. The manual says ALC sets
the power output whether 1 watt or 100 watts. That compensates for the
varying gain of the transmitter circuits from 160 through 10 meters.

Then that not allowing for a gain setting to hit the ALC limit softly is
the software problem, not as others have described it.
> The good news is that since the ALC control is so tight and consistent, 
> there is no need for the traditional ALC loop from an external amplifier to 
> the exciter (if anyone ever used that--I never did)...just turn down the 
> power control.

ALC derived in the PA has some advantages. It protects the PA and it
should keep the PA in a linear region. Suppose the PA used two tubes and
one heater circuit went open. So the PA had only one tube, though
mismatched then it needed only half the drive. The auto tuner in the
exciter took care of the mismatch and without PA voltage derived ALC
drives the PA to full power with one tube, RTTY. Then the owner notices
the air stream above one tube is hot and the other cold and swaps tubes.
And continues to operate full amplifier power from one tube. The tubes
when I got to them had blistered darkened silver plate. Yes the 8874
will run twice rated power for a while. Wasn't something I did, though
when I returned the amplifier to its owner after replacing the tubes and
the metering resistors that had drifted and I used it to boil the oil in
a cantenna checking for balanced tube heating, I insisted on connecting
ALC from PA to exciter and setting that PA ALC level for 90% of
saturation power. Didn't need to replace those PA tubes again.

Or take the situation where the microphone gain was chosen to set the
gain of the radio and the band opens up, the operator gets excited and
shouts... Good ALC preserves the linearity, no PA ALC gets the shouts

Its sure that the PA gain is not constant from band to band, so that
setting a drive level on 160 meters where the gain is probably highest
isn't enough on ten meters. Do you KNOW without good test equipment not
normal to the ham shack what drive the PA needs at all frequencies? How
does that change when the PA is loaded a bit differently? It does change
but how much?

Yes a fast acting fast decay ALC introduces distortion. And that fast
acting on every dit causes a click and the shortened rise time from the
rise time setting. If the ALC was fast acting and slow decay there might
be a click on the first dit but the rest transmission might not have any
at all. At least not until after the next pause. Generally the ALC
clipping is less distorting than PA clipping.

Granted the cool, calm, collected and perfect operator will never
overdrive the PA. The excited operator or the neophyte looking for
higher average power may only be calmed by properly set and working ALC.

While checking performance on a VHF receiver recently I discovered that
the audio level across the audio spectrum varied a few dB depending on
the selected AGC speed. On fast, it rolled off highs a bit and as I was
making a curve of audio vs RF input to check out the AGC, the peak
frequency varied with RF input except on the slow AGC position. Things
are not perfect in Utopia here. The AGC time constants on medium and
fast were inside the audio spectrum. ALC time constants can be such a
problem, but in a digital radio attack and delay times can be set
arbitrarily to achieve truly fast attack and extremely long decay.
> Ron Castro
> Chief Technical Officer
> Results Radio, LLC

73, Jerry, K0CQ,
All content copyright Dr. Gerald N. Johnson, electrical engineer

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