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Re: [TenTec] Orion Repaired and Back to V1.373b5

To: "'Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment'" <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Orion Repaired and Back to V1.373b5
From: "Duane Calvin" <ac5aa1@gmail.com>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 09:37:04 -0600
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
        I've been struggling with the "overdriven" audio sound ever since
installing 2.062a.  I also hope they get to this soon.  The only solution
I've found is to run both the NB and NR at between 1 and 3, which helps.  It
is clearly inferior to the earlier levels of audio.  Also, I note that the
fixed level audio at the accessory socket that I use to drive my digital
controller was reduced considerably on the later level (or two?) of FW.
Maybe it's time to go back to 1.37x version and remind myself how that

        73, Duane

Duane Calvin, AC5AA
Austin, Texas
-----Original Message-----
From: tentec-bounces@contesting.com [mailto:tentec-bounces@contesting.com]
On Behalf Of Merle Bone
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 9:07 AM
To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: [TenTec] Orion Repaired and Back to V1.373b5

I recently sent my Orion back to Ten-Tec with a problem I had been chasing
for over 6 months. I had been running V2.062a while trying to find the cause
of losing the main receiver and transmitter when the band was changed -
first thru the computer control port and then  thru the front panel buttons.
The Service Department quickly isolated the problem to the digital board and
then to the EPROM chip - I should have sent it back earlier! Ten-Tec Service
group is great! 

While the Orion was at Ten-Tec, I was using my FT1000MP. I found the
FT1000MP audio to be much less fatiguing when operating the radio for
several hours (With the rain,ice and cold weather I am spending more hours
on the radio!). When the Orion came back - with V2.062a - I noticed that the
audio sounded "overdriven and somewhat distorted." After a day of operation
I reloaded V1.373b5. To my ear, V1.373b5 audio sounds much smoother -
regardless of the RF gain or audio gain setting. Of course I much prefer the
performance of the Manual Notch Filter in the V1 code (Removes the carrier
from the IF bandpass as well as the audio tone so that nearby strong signals
do not "pump the AGC" - making it hard to copy weak signals). Additionally I
find the sidetone to be much  clearer on V1; the V1 Noise Reduction code is
much more effective - to my ear - on SSB; I much prefer the operation of the
S-Meter/RF Gain in that the S-Meter still correctly reads the signal
strength even with the RF
  gain reduced (I know that some prefer the V2 mode where the S-Meter needle
moves to the right side of the S-Meter as the RF gain is reduced). I don't
know if the audio issues I observe on the Orion are due to the changes that
were made in the V2 AGC operation/take-off-point or because of the code
changes made in an attempt to reduce the adverse effect of burst QRN, or
something else. 

I hope that Ten-Tec will soon devote some  resources to continuing work to
improve the V2.062a (May 2007) firmware. I remember early Orion discussions,
on this reflector, that discussed expectations that the Orion firmware would
be continuously upgraded to add new features and functions to the radio.
There have been very few functional improvements to the Orion/Orion II
(Letters for the stack memories; a strange "sloped AGC" function; etc.),
while numerous performance issues have emerged as artifacts of the V2
firmware re-write. Certainly those early expectations have, thus far, gone
unfulfilled. What would be most welcome would be Ten-Tec releasing a new
digital board for the Orion and Orion II with the much faster - with larger
memories - follow on processors to the current Orion SHARC (Which are code
compatible with the current Orion/Orion II DSPs). That would allow new code
to add new features to the Orion/Orion II. However, it doesn't look much
like that is in the works.
   Hopefully this isn't the end for the Orion firmware.
Merle - W0EWM
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