Lewis Fischer WY9X@postoffice.worldnet.att.net
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 15:30:11 +0000

Received my new 6 plus a week ago and thought I would share a few thoughts
with the group.  I ordered it the day the ad appeared in QST, and it took
about 4 long weeks to get here.  The first thing I noticed was that the rig
is very attractive to look at.  I know most of you out there could care less
what a radio looks like, as long as it performs, but bear with me here: even
my wife said it looks good, first nice thing she has ever said about any of
my radios.  (she hates the old Motorola Micors that clutter my shack and
vehicles)  After admiring it for a while, I hooked it up, which was easy. It
came with a power cable, and a spare connector to make another, and a
connector for each of the connections on the radio, there are a lot of them
so there is a whole bag of connectors.  It looks even prettier with the
power on.  OK, OK, I will quit on that.

Now, understand that, unlike many of this audience, I am not an engineer or
technician by trade, so this is not meant to be a technical review, just my
own untrained observations.  The rig is very easy to operate, didn't find
myself looking at the manual much.  The manual, by the way, is very good,
nice and fat, not only has operating instructions but circuit descriptions,
diagrams, pictures, etc.  And it is in plain good old English, a nice change
after reading those little HT manuals from over the ocean.  The transmitter
makes 100 or more watts on every band.  There is no fan, and the heat sink
doesn't seem to get very warm on key down or during cw qsos, although I
really didn't want to push it.  Well, my old radio could make 100 watts, no
big deal there.  The receiver, however, is a real joy.  I got all the
filters with it, and it is fun playing with them.  I was surprised to find I
don't really need them that much, the 1.8 filter is about as usable as the
narrow cw filters on my other rigs.  It is fun, though, to tune into the 40
meter novice band at night and pick out signals between the foreign
broadcast stations.  The strong signal rejection is nothing short of amazing
with two 250 Hz filters switched on.  By the way, the setting of the
bandpass control (I think this is what Kenwood calls an IF shift) is fairly
critical when the narrow filters are switched in.  The book does make this
clear, but it is against ham radio tradition to read the book before
attempting to use a new radio.  On the higher bands, the receiver is very
quiet, like everyone says.  The readout is very accurate, near perfect zero
beat to WWV.  The most pleasant surprise to me was the digital noise
reduction button.  Every radio I own has an NR button, and they don't do
anything at all, so I didn't expect much.  If you tune in a fairly noisy
signal in, say, the 80 meter cw band, say about RST 449, then press the NR
switch, the signal becomes loud, crisp and clear, and the noise seems to
evaporate.  Signal is now 599.  I hardly believe it myself, but I wouldn't
lie to you guys.  I like that NR button better than anything else on the
radio.  The keyer works great, and has a nice sidetone, with  frequency and
volume easliy adjustable from the front panel.  On SSB, the auto notch
filter works perfectly to zap all the heterodynes.  The receive audio is
excellent with either the 2.4 or 1.8 filter, although you obviously lose
some audio frequency response with the narrow filter.  There is a digital
low pass filter that seems to work fine, but there is nothing much to filter
if you use a narrow filters, so don't know if it will be of any great use.  

Now the bad news.  I have identified a problem with the radio, and I don't
know if it is unique to my particular radio, or a design problem.  If I turn
off the announce function, so it doesn't tell me in cw every time I punch a
button, then set the two VFO's for frequencies in two different bands, then
when I hit the A/B button to change bands the receiver mutes and will not
come back on by itself.  It will come back on if I touch any of several
buttons on the radio.  When I change the announce button back to CW or beep,
then it works fine.  I faxed a letter to TENTEC about this yesterday, and
await a reply.  I don't think this is any big deal, I suspect it is some
sort of software glitch.  I love the radio, and can certainly live with it,
I just set it to beep, and the beep isn't too obnoxious.   

Bottom line, I give this radio my personal 5 star rating, it is the best
radio I have ever had my hands on.  


Lewis Fischer, M.D.
Waterloo, IL

p.s. all responses are appreciated, but please no comments on my spelling or
grammer, my mother gave up on that years ago.

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