I will have to second Rick's comments. I have owned both the analog and digital
ARGOSY radios along with a K2 and K1 (and now I have the KX-1) Elecraft rigs.
The ARGOSY is one of the best kept secrets in QRP. It has a very good receiver,
stock out of the box, although there are a laundry list of mods that showed up
in Ham Radio magazine a few years ago. The lack of an RF gain control some find
annoying, but not me. The ARGOSY works very well with the optional CW and SSB
filters installed. The main drawback is the lack of 12 and 17 meters, although
I personally seldom work those two bands, some might find this a big negative.
The CW keying is the legendary Ten-Tec QSK that we have come to expect from all
Ten-Tec radios. The ability to switch between 5 and 50 watts is great, and the
additional 3dB gained from being able to reach 100 watts output really won't
make any difference to the operator at the other end of the QSO and certainly
saves on the power budget of the radio.
Rick's comments regarding the Elecraft rigs lack of ergonomics are absolutely
true. While I loved my K2 (s/n 971) I never felt fully "comfortable" operating
it and, after two years, traded it for a very nice Drake C-Line with Mr.
Sherwood's fingerprints all over it. It was a good trade, as far as I was
concerned, as these old Drakes were what I considered "real radios" and their
ergonomics were very nice. The K2's receiver is spectacular, to say the least,
and this is a documented fact based upon ARRL lab results (check it out on the
ARRL website). According to Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, who just reviewed the DSP
option for the K2, this option actually improves the K2's noise floor (which I
find amazing) and is an absolutely "must have" for any serious DXer/contester.
As far as the K1 is concerned, I used it in portable and mobile applications
for about 9 months before it was stolen from my truck. In actual fact, I miss
the palm-top computer that was stolen (along with he K1) a whole lot more than
I miss the K1! Not that the K1 is a bad radio, it was fine for what I was doing
at the time, but the lack of ergonomics, the fact that it cost almost as much
as the Alinco DX-70T that I now have in my truck and wouldn't operate SSB or 6
meters, which the DX-70T does, made the K1 a fleeting experiment for me. Would
I buy another K1? Nope! I now use the Elecfaft KX-1 in it's place and this
radio is truly a very nice portable rig, designed to do the things I need a
portable rig to do. I seldom work anything but CW when I am on business/camping
trips, so this rig fills the bill nicely, where as the ARGOSY and the K1 would
be much too large for these applications.
If I were in your shoes, there would be no hesitation: go with the ARGOSY-II.
Ten-Tec still supports these rigs and will most likely continue to do so for
the foreseeable future. When it comes time for you to step up to a new radio
(as your skills improve) keep the ARGOSY, do your homework and buy another rig
that will suit your operating needs. You'll never truly outgrow the ARGOSY.
Vy 73 es Happy Holidays.
TenTec mailing list