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Re: [TenTec] Is Orion really worth it? Given the published problems?

To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Is Orion really worth it? Given the published problems?
From: Tommy <aldermant@alltel.net>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 02:18:09 -0400
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
Taking a presentation out of context proves nothing about the 
numbers, but proves a lot about the poster! The best numbers does not 
make a good radio, the whole radio determines if it's best or not.

You MUST also include the accompanying write-up and pay specific 
attention to what was said about incomplete firmware, to be fair AND correct.

Tom - W4BQF

At Tuesday 01:22 AM 7/18/2006, you wrote:
>Let the numbers speak for themselves:
>73 fer nw,
>Member CTDXCC
>10X# 37210, FP#-1141
>SMIRK#-5177, RARS #-149
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Dick Green WC1M" <wc1m@msn.com>
>To: "'Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment'" <tentec@contesting.com>
>Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:00 AM
>Subject: Re: [TenTec] Is Orion really worth it? Given the published
> > There's no easy answer to this question. I should probably keep my mouth
> > shut, but here goes...
> >
> > 1. Pro: I'm a serious SO2R contest operator. I have an Orion I and an
> > FT-1000D (with the INRAD roofing filter mod.) While the 1000D is one of
> > the
> > all-time best contest radios out there, I almost never run with it because
> > the Orion is hands-down superior. The roofing filters are narrower (I use
> > the INRAD 600Hz filter in the 1000Hz slot), the DSP selectivity is sharper
> > with less (almost no) ringing, and the sensitivity is better. Bottom line,
> > I
> > can copy a wider range of signals under conditions ranging from excellent
> > to
> > horrible. Throw in BinRX for running big pileups, and you have a
> > combination
> > that's hard to beat.
> >
> > 2. Caveats: I use 1.373b5 because V2 has some problems that preclude my
> > using it for serious contesting -- primarily slower QSK and BinRX doesn't
> > work. There are other problems with V2 that were nicely detailed by N6AHA
> > in
> > a previous post, but I don't use those features when contesting -- no time
> > to fool around with most of that stuff. Probably the only broken feature
> > that would really affect me is the speech processor, but only if I happen
> > to
> > do an SSB contest from home, which is rare. I'd love to use V2 because
> > it's
> > more stable, it seems quieter, the panel controls work when the rig is
> > transmitting, and the QSK noise is somewhat reduced (see below.) But I
> > simply must have BinRX for CW contesting, and while I could live with the
> > slower QSK, I'd rather not.
> >
> > 3. Another Caveat: I believe what N6AHA refers to as "click-clack" in the
> > CW
> > sidetone is something I refer to as the "WC1M Lament" because I complained
> > about it to Ten Tec many times over the last three years. This is a sharp
> > clicking sound in the left headphone. You can hear a similar click in the
> > right headphone, but it's not as bad. The problem doesn't exist in the
> > speaker audio output (obvious if you connect your headphones to the rear
> > panel speaker output.) Over many beta releases and some official releases,
> > this sound has sometimes been mixed up with DSP artifacts introduced by
> > bugs
> > in the firmware, resulting in confusion about the source of the noise.
> > 1.373b5 has a bit of DSP switching noise, while V2 appears to have very
> > little DSP switching noise. However, that makes the WC1M Lament really
> > stand
> > out. Unfortunately, the WC1M Lament is caused by a hardware problem.
> > Recently, I worked with Ten-Tec on an experimental mod to correct the
> > problem in my Orion. It worked. The mod takes a bit of doing and I
> > wouldn't
> > recommend it to anyone who is not completely comfortable with working
> > inside
> > expensive transceivers and working with SMD components. Probably best to
> > wait for Ten-Tec to release information on the mod.
> >
> > 4. Con: Regardless of whether you get an Orion I or Orion II, and
> > regardless
> > of whether you use V1 or V2, the Orion is not for everyone. While it can
> > be
> > used successfully by "appliance operators" (and I mean that with the
> > utmost
> > respect), many such ops would be frustrated by it. In some respects, the
> > radio has been over-designed (e.g., the complex and confusing VFO, TX, RX,
> > ANT, and audio assignment process, which is very powerful but lacks, for
> > example, a quick and easy way to get in and out of split mode for chasing
> > DX.) In other respects, the user interface is unintuitive (e.g., it's not
> > obvious that you have to push the PBT/BW button to switch functions.)
> >
> > 5. Conclusion: I would highly recommend the Orion to serious contesters
> > and
> > DXers, who are looking for the utmost in performance from their rig. I
> > don't
> > think there's any other radio on the market that compares. But prospective
> > owners should be comfortable with tinkering to get the best results. I
> > would
> > not recommend the Orion to casual operators or people who have difficulty
> > with complex equipment. At the present time, I wouldn't recommend the
> > Orion
> > to perfectionists.
> >
> > 6. Post-Script: Despite an incredibly frustrating experience beta testing
> > firmware and waiting for a version that finally operates to the full
> > potential of the design, I love my Orion and wouldn't use anything else
> > for
> > my main contest radio. In fact, I recently ripped my station apart so I
> > could take the Orion and all my SO2R switching gear to KT1V for this
> > year's
> > CQ WPX CW contest -- despite the fact that Ted has two fine 1000Ds and a
> > good switching system there. No, I had to have my Orion. FWIW, I posted
> > the
> > highest claimed score in the USA for the SOAB HP category (i.e., I won --
> > I
> > think.) WPX being a "run contest", I used the Orion for 88% of my
> > contacts.
> > All that said, I hope Ten Tec gets back on track with Orion development.
> > The
> > current situation is not good for the customers, not good for the radio,
> > and
> > not good for the brand.
> >
> > One more thing... I'm not a TT groupie. My Orion is the only Ten Tec radio
> > I've ever owned or used.
> >
> > 73, Dick WC1M
> > _______________________________________________
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> > TenTec@contesting.com
> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/tentec
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