[CQ-Contest] Re: Orion-first week

Salina Physician Anesthesia spa at tri.net
Tue Aug 5 02:52:41 EDT 2003

Got back from CSVHF a weekend ago. The following Monday was on anesthesia 
call and was up all night so added doubly to the fatigue.  Received a UPS 
notice that my Orion was due to arrive Tuesday, the 29th, the same day as my 
son and 3 month old grandchild were to visit.   Spent a respectable time 
with the kids and thought I just would open the box just to check it out 
before going to bed for the first time in 30+ hours.  Normally I don't do 
anything tech wise when tired, but a did quick voltage check on the power 
supply . Remembered that the operations manual said to always turn on the 
power source before turning on the rig to protect it from surges, but that 
the specs said that it was reverse polarity and overvoltage protected. ??? 
OK.  The plastic power connectors on the back were color coded, so thought I 
could't mess that up and out came the screwdriver.  Supplied wire not quite 
as heavy as on the IC-746 or TS-940, but OK. 

Spun the knobs.  Bit of a drag just like the ones on display at Dayton.  
Especially when compared with the other rigs.  Was a bit disappointed until 
I realized that you can hold the metal plate on the back of the knob and 
adjust the slip until they are freely mobile. The lighter area where the 
finger dimple is always ends up on top at no drag.  No wonder for the 
slightly firmer settings. Great added touch. 

Pushed the button marked PWR and nothing happened.  I had read the manual 
several months ago right after ordering it, but somehow missed the rocker 
switch next to the PWR (transmit level) button.  RTFM and glad I was not 
still on call! 

Hooked up the coax and scanned 20 M SSB.  Maybe 8PM locally.  Band seemed a 
bit dead, but tuned in on an Italian stn and a N4 (UU?)in QSO about S7 and 
started playing with the other knobs.  Pushed the step button and a new 
screen came up with step sizes.  Started looking for something to move the 
cursor up and down until I realized that these were "radio" buttons like the 
high quality test equip.  Went to 100 Hz steps with one touch. Not many 
other signals on.  Then realized that before leaving for Tulsa I had 
unhooked the coax at the copper plate entering the shack.  The center 
conductor was touching the ground plate (30 ft of coax from rig to there).  
Band really opened up after that connection was made! 

I had ordered a couple of extra filters so went to 160M using the tribander 
for an antenna, picked out a CW signal and started cranking down on the BW 
filters.  Signal dropped out at about 300 Hz width.  OK, you do need to 
change the mode switch for CW!  Then remembered that there was a notice on 
the bag holding the manual stating that they had done a master reset and you 
needed to reinstall the extra roofing filters.  Did that and THEN centered 
the 500 Hz filter a bit and suddenly could start out on a CW signal at the 
widest BW and crank clear down to 100 Hz: the desired signal doesn't change 
except for very minimal rainbarrel sounds.   The background noise just goes 
away.  (Strange phenom that we have a 5KW BC radio on 1150 visible outside 
my window at about 3 miles and I swear that I can hear their audio just in 
the noise and only at the narrowest BW.  More on that another time.)More 
like Art Bell? 

On 10M when the band is dead, the base noise in the phones is a bit higher 
than on the 940.  Probably AD/DA processing noise.  And I haven't found two 
signals close enought on the bands to see how close signals hold up.  People 
just don't rag chew under those conditions. 

I called Heil on Thur to get an adaptor for my headset.  Arrived Sat.
Quick service, but not going to transmit until I've mastered the RX. 

This is the best radio I've ever listened to.  The manual is correctly 
states:  RTFM (My paraphrase!).  Someone once said that "No man should have 
a hat with more personality than he has."  Holds here.  Like fine wine and 
fine women, this radio is going to take some time to get to know, but the 
experience in the end promises to be unexcelled.  Can't wait to see how it 
handles 20M SSB in the CQWW SSB in October.  I may  have the noise features 
figured out by then and all of the 'not in your father's radio' features 
mastered.  Next, I'm going to put the 20M Wilkinson divider on and compare 
with the 940.  I haven't had a signal over S9+ a bit, and with the AGC on, 
everyone readible is really 59!  See you on the air in a week or so. 


I left the radio on all day to burn in, tuned to 20M.  Came back about 9P 
and all the weak signals sounded like some aurora signal on 2M.  Flipped 
down to 40M and listened a bit.  Went back to 20M and the weak signals all 
sounded normal. ???  More to learn. 

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