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[Orion] a non-owner plays with the Orion

To: orion@contesting.com
Subject: [Orion] a non-owner plays with the Orion
From: Bill Tippett <btippett@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 20:37:36 -0500
List-post: <mailto:orion@contesting.com>
Hi Roger,

W3SZ wrote:
>To me the cries of some for
a color display mean that those criers have just flunked the IQ test -
radio-appearance-preference version, that is.

        No kidding!  What a shame that cosmetics are the most important
issue to the appliance operators that call themselves hams these days.

>The receive audio of the rig for SSB [and CW to which I surrepitiously listened
during a brief lull in the middle of the night] was stunningly good. I have never
heard such superb audio on a commercial radio before.

        I agree.  It's the best since the Kenwood TS-930S which was my
previous gold standard for audio.  Walt W0CP is an audio professional
and he also loves Kenwood's audio...too bad Orion's TX audio has been
corrupted by the 1.364/1.365 firmware revisions but I'm sure TT is
working to correct that.

>The complete lack of receive problems stemming from the adjacent 3 radios all running
the legal limit, from other adjacent strong signals on 40 meters, etc was most

        The major difference I noticed with Orion when 10 meters was wide
open with strong EU signals was how easily I could copy the really weak
guys usually on the first call with few requests for repeats.  This is
the 5th year I've done the CQ WW SSB as SOSB10 so I have a good basis
for comparison.  I attribute the difference to two factors:

1.  Passband noise seemed to be much less.  I believe this is because I
was not getting SSB IMD products which I suspect raises the passband
noise floor.  I know what IMD products sound like on CW (bleeps and
bloops), but I suspect IMD products for wideband signals simply sounds
like more noise.  Whatever the reason, Orion seemed to sound much
quieter in the passband.  BTW, I used the 1800 Hz roofing filter at all
times and adjusted the DSP between 2000 and 1700 Hz depending on QRM.
I found fixing PBT at +150 and RX EQ at -10 improves the readability
even down to bandwidths as low as 1600 Hz, which I almost never needed.

2.  The digital AGC works well and seems to help bring up the really
weak signals that were fading in and out of the noise level.  It also
reduced operator fatigue since I just set RF Gain to 100% and seldom
adjusted AF Gain, simply letting the AGC do it's work for me.  Much less
tiring than continuing to ride both RF and AF Gain controls as I had
to do for the previous 4 years with my MP.

        The next test will be to see how Orion does under very crowded CW
contest conditions, and I'll soon know that after the CQWW CW weekend!

73, Bill W4ZV

P.S.  I did discover a few problems with the voice keyer which I have
forwarded to Ten-Tec, but these are minor issues compared with the
major advantages of the receiver.

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