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Re: [TenTec] A risky question

To: "'Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment'" <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [TenTec] A risky question
From: "Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP" <Rick@DJ0IP.de>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 16:20:04 +0100
List-post: <tentec@contesting.com">mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
Hi Curt,

I don't recall the post you referred to.
In any case I strongly disagree with the author's conclusion.
The Eagle is a great CW rig, one of the best, and mine has full output power
on all bands (though I've never tried 6m).

Indeed the RIT operation on the Eagle is "different".
It is slightly more complex to turn it on, because you have to push 2
buttons instead of just 1.
"RIT" is the secondary function of the "MOD" (mode) button.
Initially you will accidently change the mode a few times when wanting to
change the RIT status, but you quickly learn to use it right.

I rarely use RIT at all, anyway.
Most of my operations are contest QSOs which is very short.
Whenever I'm in a QSO with multiple stations, like in an SSB round table, I
always operate split, transmitting on VFO A and receiving with VFO B.  That
way I have the large VFO knob to follow the offset of the various stations.

Just prior to owning the Eagle, I had a K3.
I had them both on the bench, side by side for about 3 weeks.
As far as the ability to copy signals under any conditions, I could not find
a difference between the two radios.
My K3 had only one RX (I need to say that before some 160m buff brings up
diversity reception).

Where I did find differences:

 - 1) The Eagle has better audio on reception, no question.  To be fair I
used identical external loudspeakers, and after a couple of days I even
swapped the two speakers, just to be sure there wasn't a problem with the
speaker connected to the K3.  The Eagle always had the best audio, all the

- 2)  The Eagle is easier to use than the K3.  Both radios are easy to
operate using the front panel knobs, but there is a HUGE difference if you
need to adjust something which is within the software menu of the K3.  

Being that I do not live on my radio night and day, I was unable to become
familiar enough with the complicated software menu naming system of the K3.
I had to consult the book all the time.  In fact I had both the user manual
and the mini pocket guide always on the table.  I had to consult them often.
Sometimes it was easier to understand the pocket guide and sometimes it was
easier to understand the user manual.  I deem this to be a BIG drawback of
the K3.  It resembles the software menus of the JA radios.  Elecraft should
have oriented it on the way Ten-Tec designs software menus.

I read the Eagle manual once a couple of days before the Eagle arrived.
After the radio arrived, I consulted the book two times because I couldn't
remember how a particular feature worked.  One might even argue that the
Eagle has no software menu at all.  Well it kind of does, by using 3 or 4
similar menu items behind a couple of button (Example: in CW mode, the SP
button toggles between Keyer Speed, Sidetone Level, and Delay). However,
Sidetone Level and Delay are items which you usually set once and forget.
The MIC adjustments are similar, and so is the DSP Noise Reduction.  These
were the only things I had to read about.  After you read and understand how
it works, you never need the book again.  In contrast, the K3 had
meaningless coded names for its features, so you always need to book.

 - 3)  I prefer the S-Meter on the K3.  The S-Meter on the Eagle is both
good and crappy at the same time.  I like how it works, in fact it's kind of
unique, but the print on the screen is too tiny and difficult for my old
eyes to read.  Being that I never give an S-Unit reading by the meter anyway
unless someone asks for an antenna-A, antenna-B test, it's not a big issue,
but I sure preferred the old analog S-meters like on the Argonaut 5.

 - 4)  If you are a big fan of FM and AM and use these modes a lot, you will
find that the Eagle has insufficient filter slots for its roofing filters.
I own ALL filters, have tried them all, and settled on the combination I
like.  Mine is 2.4 kHz / 1.8 kHz / 300 Hz.  People have argued this point
endlessly but most people don't really understand it.  The DSP filters are
so good, you don't really need a narrow roofing filter, unless the band
conditions are really bad (ie big contest).  When that happens, you need the
tightest filter your operating mode will allow.  It probably would not
matter if you had the 600 Hz filter instead of the 300 Hz filter installed,
but I planned for worst case.  If I ever take my Eagle on a holiday
somewhere, then I will temporarily replace the 1.8 kHz with the 6 KHz so
that I can listen to shortwave broadcast.
This is a non-issue with the K3.  It has enough filter slots.  If you don't
intend to operate AM and FM, it's also a non-issue for the Eagle.

 - 5)  My biggest complaint about the Eagle is the switching of the VFO
tuning rate.  It toggles in just one direction. It would be a huge
improvement if you could toggle it in both directions at will.  The K3
solves this by having a second pushbutton for tuning rate ("Fine" if I
recall correctly).  A lot of times I need a higher bandspread and I have to
push the Eagle's rate button 4 times.  This is not a huge inconvenience,
because it beeps each time you push it, so you just count to 4 and you are
there, but I find this very annoying. BTW, if you run any rig control
software like the N4PY software, you can toggle it with a single mouse

Finally, the Eagle is my favorite radio that I have ever owned, and I've had
about 50 transceivers.  I can't even recall how many separate receivers and
transmitters I had in the 60's.  I haven't had an Orion 2 yet, but I have
had two Orions, a K3, several K2s, and many other excellent transceivers.
For many years I was very serious about contesting. I still choose my radios
based on their usefulness in a contest, even though I don't contest so
seriously as before.  

The nice thing about the Eagle is its simplicity.  Even though it is a
high-end radio, as far as performance goes, it is about as stressless to
operate as any radio could be.

Curt, regardless of which one of the two you choose, you won't be unhappy.
They are both top notch radios.

Rick, DJ0IP

-----Original Message-----
From: tentec-bounces@contesting.com [mailto:tentec-bounces@contesting.com]
On Behalf Of Curt
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 2:48 PM
To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
Subject: [TenTec] A risky question

I'm considering buying a new radio, either an Eagle or a K3. Hoping to avoid

a flame storm, would appreciate observations from folks who have had 
opportunity to operate both. Realizing the lab test specifications and use 
by numerous DXpeditions would favor the latter, price and simplicity draw me

toward the Eagle.

The item giving me some pause was a rather scathing critique about the poor 
capabilities for a CW op that I read in an Eagle-specific forum. That post 
indicated the Eagle was fine for an HF newbie but a waste of money for 
anyone else. One complaint was difficulty of accessing RIT and other 
controls, another was lack of output power indication.  Neither of these 
would be a show stopper for me.

73, Curt KB5JO

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