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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: "Dick Green WC1M" <wc1m@msn.com>
Reply-to: wc1m@msn.com,Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 13:41:59 -0500
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
I'm not disagreeing with Barry, but I think the choice between V1 and V2 
depends on what you do with the radio. I use it almost exclusively for 
contesting. For me, the most important features are IMD rejection, selectivity 
and perhaps sensitivity, in that order. I think V1 and V2 are almost 
indistinguishable in those areas. 

I should note that I rarely operate SSB and use the sub-receiver only when 
chasing DX, which I don't do much these days (got 'em all.) I don't use 
diversity reception.

There are secondary, and sometimes subtle, differences in other areas that may 
or may not come into play for me in contests. I've used 1.373b5 more than any 
other version, so I'm more familiar with how it works. It's done a good job for 
me, enough to win CQ WPX CW USA SOAB HP from KT1V in 2006. My chief complaint 
about this version is that it sounds "noisier" than V2 and some of the early V1 
releases. By noisier, I mean the level of background noise when no signals are 
in the passband appears to my ears to be somewhat loud, grating, fatiguing and 
annoying, especially when operating with full break-in (no delay.) I generally 
have to lower the RF Gain for the audio to be acceptable. But at the same time, 
when signals are in the passband, the S/N is great and I don't have any problem 
with noise.

I've tried V2 several times in contests, and until recently I almost 
immediately stopped using it and downloaded 1.373b5. While V2 audio seems less 
noisy to me, I had severe problems with the AGC when running large pileups. 
When there were a lot of signals in the passband, they all sounded same and I 
had difficulty picking out a single call or even part of a call. I had the same 
problem with the FT-1000MP, which apparently was the result of the AGC being 
too fast, even in the slow setting (INRAD had a mod to add an RC delay to the 
AGC, but it only helped a little.) After running into this problem in V2 again 
in a couple of contest this summer, I finally realized that I might be able to 
deal with it by adjusting the V2 AGC settings. The reason this didn't occur to 
me before is that during a big pileup I don't have time to think about tweaking 
the radio -- it's all I can do to keep the rate up -- and there's almost no 
time to actually do the tweaking. But in CQ WW CW I made a c
 onscious effort to try different AGC settings when I had trouble picking out 
calls. That seemed to do the trick -- I had some of the biggest, longest runs 
on 20m I've ever had, with the rate meter pushing 200/hr a lot of the time. I 
wish I could tell you the exact settings, but I wasn't paying a lot of 
attention to where I ended up. It was either at the stock fast setting, or 
actually at a prog setting with a little more decay than med. I didn't play 
around much with threshold or hang time. Perhaps in the next contest.

One thing I like about V2 is the ability to change various front panel settings 
while in the menus. That can be very helpful during a contest.

Ever since I got the Orion-I back in 2003, I've used QSK while running. Before 
that, I never, ever used QSK. The thumping in other brand radios was just too 
awful. But the Orion's QSK quality has varied substantially over the years, 
with different firmware releases, and there was a hardware anomaly that 
produced a click in the left headphone (we called it the "WC1M lament" on the 
beta test reflector.) I fixed that with help from Ten-Tec. Still, in V2 and the 
late V1 releases, the QSK response time is just too slow, and there are too 
many audio artifacts for it to be as smooth as it was back in the early (and 
buggy) V1 releases (at least, those releases *appeared* better to my ears -- 
could be bad audio memory.) Anyway, in this year's CQ WW CW I finally threw in 
the towel and set the CW delay to mimic VOX. That was a lot more pleasant and 
didn't seem to affect my QSO rates at all.

So, I've moved on to V2, at least for the time being. I'm interested to learn 
what AGC adjustments others are making to improve the audio.

73, Dick WC1M

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Barry N1EU [mailto:barry.n1eu@gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 7:52 PM
> To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
> Subject: Re: [TenTec] Orion Repaired and Back to V1.373b5
> 4 years milking the Orion I for everything it's worth and
> 1.372/1.373b5 is the way to go.  Besides the cleaner rx audio (AGC?),
> v1 doesn't suffer from subrx dsp filter blowby that v2 is plagued
> with.
> 73,
> Barry N1EU
> On 12/13/07, Rob Santello <K6DQ@drumon.com> wrote:
> >
> > Dave Heil  wrote:
> >  > I've adjusted my AGC settings so that I
> >  > have no distorted, harsh audio.
> >
> > I don't have many issues with my Orion 1 but I am by no means a
> power
> > user and I really like this radio except for the receive audio
> > quality. I too experience harsh distorted SSB. When I switch over to
> > my Kenwood TS-2000, it just reminds me of how bad the Orion sounds.
> > I've tried adjusting everything and just can't get it to sound
> smooth
> > and pleasant like the Kenwood. Some have offered suggestions and the
> > like but none seem to work for me. Has anyone actually been able to
> > find exactly what settings need to be adjusted so they can hear the
> > audio actually change from distorted to clean and back? If so, could
> > you please share those exact settings?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > --rob-- K6DQ
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > TenTec mailing list
> > TenTec@contesting.com
> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/tentec
> >

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