[TenTec] An Update from Ten Tec

denton sprague denton at oregontrail.net
Wed Nov 30 13:11:32 EST 2016

Wonder whats the feasibility of liquid cooling for these devices?

> On Nov 30, 2016, at 9:45 AM, Paul Christensen <w9ac at arrl.net> wrote:
> And make it LDMOS with an external, optional 48V supply.  LDMOS devices using "bolt-on" machine screw blocks onto the PC board -- no de-soldering when replacing.  The buyer can then select a mating TT supply or purchase one of many high-current, 48V supplies on the market for the last 50+ years.  
> Include an upgrade path for an optional,  user-installed internal or external tuner.  Full QSK using shock-mounted vacuum relays.  In the design, include a provision for optional PIN diode switching (equiv. of the Ameritron QSK-5).  The current Icom, Yaesu, SPE and Ameritron SS amps have klunky T/R systems.   The Elecraft amp uses PIN switching at the 500W level.  No reason not to consider it at 1KW.  The PIN assembly could be internal or external with 1KV+ DC bias applied to the Rx PIN diodes during a high SWR event.  Include an Ethernet remote control module as standard or as a user-upgrade.  
> The idea is to offer a cost-competitive base design with easy, reasonably priced upgrades.
> Mike Dishop already has a complete understanding of these issues as evidenced by his Prometheus "Cadillac" design.  It's not like he's got a learning curve; he's way past that.  
> Paul, W9AC
> P.S. - the Ameritron QSK-5 has had mixed reviews but when connected correctly, it's really a well-thought design that with some minor tweaks, the design could lend itself nicely for use with a TT solid-state amp.  
> -----Original Message-----
> From: TenTec [mailto:tentec-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Barry N1EU
> Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:24 AM
> To: Mike Dishop <n8wff at yahoo.com>; Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec at contesting.com>
> Subject: Re: [TenTec] An Update from Ten Tec
> IMHO, you guys should come out with a $3000 1KW small form factor solid state linear amp.  You could sell boatloads.  Evidently Elecraft's $2300 500W KPA500 sells extremely well and the SPE Expert 1KW and 1.5KW amps have long backorder wait times.  Not much else out there in terms of solid state amps.
> 73, Barry N1EU
> On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 1:27 PM, Barry N1EU <barry.n1eu at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Thanks for the update Mike and I wish you every success!
>> As far as the Eagle production, I believe it would be a tough sell at 
>> $1699.  Every indication is that transceiver architecture is moving 
>> quickly to direct digital sampling (e.g. IC-7300) and I'd suggest 
>> pointing your design resources in that direction or risk missing the 
>> hf xcvr boat entirely.  It is very possible Ten-Tec could leverage 
>> their previous development in dsp firmware (Orion, Omni7, Eagle) to 
>> accelerate the design cycle, which is apparently what Icom did with the IC-7300.
>> 73, Barry N1EU
>> On Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 1:36 PM, Mike Dishop via TenTec < 
>> tentec at contesting.com> wrote:
>>> Greetings Friends and Fellow Ten Tec Enthusiasts,
>>> Iwanted to update you on what is happening in Sevierville.  The 
>>> SmokeyMountains are literally fogged in with smoke in some places as 
>>> Tennessee hasmany wild fires burning. I was there two weeks ago and 
>>> have never experiencedanything like it. Driving down Jellico Mountain 
>>> on I75 it became literally IFRconditions with near zero visibility from the smoke.
>>> Assome of you know Ten Tec has been occupying office condominium 
>>> space behind thesite of the former factory were now a Wal-Mart 
>>> Express is sitting.  Thissite is not appropriate for our needs.  
>>> Starting last week, weare moving out of this location into a more 
>>> industrial friendly space.Unfortunately this location is not zoned 
>>> for commercial walk in traffic, so thedays of someone showing up at 
>>> the factory door unfortunately have come toan end. After an entire 
>>> year of searching for any possible opportunity tomove, this is all we 
>>> have been able to come up with. Commercial realestate is completely 
>>> out of control in Sevierville county because of thetourist industry, 
>>> and unless we have about a half million dollars toinvest in the 
>>> factory location you can just forget about it.  Ten Tec is"too small" 
>>> to receive any incentive, tax breaks or help from the localso called 
>>> "Economic Development" office. My opinion is thatthe State and local 
>>> government of Tennessee is about as economically unfriendlyto a small 
>>> business or start up business as is possible.  For example, inother 
>>> counties in TN the standard is to create 10 new jobs to get 
>>> anyincentive. Sevier County arbitrarily requires 25 jobs.  By 
>>> mycalculations, 25 jobs would be around a million dollar pay roll if 
>>> the jobsaveraged 15 dollars an hour to the employee with a 25% more 
>>> overhead to theemployer.  Any business having that kind of payroll 
>>> better have about 10million in gross receipts which would put it at 
>>> DOUBLE the IRS definition of asmall business and QUADRUPLE the IRS 
>>> definition of a microbusiness, so it isobvious that the economic development offices do not have any mandatewhatsoever to support or help ANY small business reason the scale of
>>> anindividual person's finances.   The fact that Ten Tec must
>>> havecontributed millions of tax dollars to the local economy over the 
>>> last
>>> 50 yearsmeans nothing.  In many states, these economic development 
>>> offices arepartially funded by the local Chamber of Commerce. It is 
>>> my opinion theseoffices function as intelligence gathering units to 
>>> forewarn their members ofany possible competitor entering their area. 
>>> If small business is truly theeconomic growth engine of the United 
>>> States it is apparent to me why we havegrowth problems if we depend 
>>> on these organizations to help us as individuals.It seems ironic that 
>>> the company named TEN TEC for Tennessee Technologies can'tget any assistance at all in Tennessee considering the
>>> state's advertising oftheir "Tennessee Technology Initiative".   If you are
>>> wondering why I wrote all thisabove it is to head off the endless 
>>> string of expert recommendation that Icontact TVA and the local 
>>> economic development. I’ve done it and nobody is going to help Ten 
>>> Tec in the State of Tennessee.
>>> Toget back on track, I stated above we are moving the remainder of 
>>> this month.You all know what that means. Service will be slow this month.
>>> Robertdecided not to have you send in radios this month so we 
>>> wouldn't have to movethem.  There is no cause for alarm or 
>>> speculation.  Service willcontinue just as soon as we are moved. I 
>>> hear and read all kinds of gossip andcomplaints and this and that 
>>> about our service, and none of it even close toaccurate. We have 
>>> serviced hundreds of radios this year and have a bunch ofhappy 
>>> customers.  You will see in the reflector some guy complaining 
>>> orsaying he is worried and then five people saying everything was 
>>> fine.  I'mso sick of it.  Really it is so frustrating, especially 
>>> when some of youcall or write me up in Ohio about your twenty year 
>>> old radio.  I can'thelp you. I'm not in Tennessee. The people there 
>>> run things and do their jobessentially under Boyd's supervision. I 
>>> don't want to sound condescending oraloof or unreasonable or 
>>> unfriendly but please see this from my perspective.There are 
>>> thousands of you and one of me.  I am responsible to run thiscompany 
>>> and pay the people who work here whose families depend on me.  Iam an 
>>> electrical engineer and my time needs to be spent getting the 
>>> newproducts developed and out the door, not with a dial string for 
>>> your old thingthat I neither sold you or received any benefit of 
>>> selling to you.  Canyou directly call the president of Icom?  Does 
>>> Eric answer the telephonewhen you call Elecraft?  It is just not 
>>> possible for me to answer everyemail and every telephone call about 
>>> service issues. If you call me atDishtronix and leave a message 
>>> asking me to call you about your Ten Tec I'm notreturning your call.  
>>> If I answer I'm going to tell you we have put up theprocedure that 
>>> you email service at tentec.com.  Yes, I have a telephone atTen Tec and 
>>> no, you can’t have it.  We are short staffed because we do nothave 
>>> sales volume at this time to support a large overhead.  This 
>>> way,Robert can go through all of the email and respond at one time in 
>>> the morning,then spend the rest of the day shipping radios and parts 
>>> orders without beinginterrupted. He is there three days a week, so 
>>> you don't get answers onMonday or Friday. Sure, I know some of you 
>>> don't like it. There is no needto tell me about it. I don't like it 
>>> either, but until we start having alot more cash flow that is the way 
>>> it has going to have to be. For those thatcomplain about how long it 
>>> is taking, please understand this is a milliondollar endeavor and 
>>> money like that just doesn’t grow on trees, at least forme. Of course 
>>> any of you wealthy gentlemen looking for a good cause to donatesome 
>>> money too -  I would love to have the cash on hand to turn thingsaround tomorrow. Until then I’ll be working 16 hours a day seven days a weekwith no days off and scrimp and save and spend carefully and build up slowlyjust like every other hard working guy has to do.
>>> WhatI am going to try to do next is set up sort of an email hotline 
>>> for critical caseswith Bob if he will do it. I just thought of this 
>>> and have to talk to him aboutthis.
>>> OK,enough about that.  Let’s get on to some better stuff. Many of 
>>> youknow that under RFC and RKR Ten Tec quit doing their PCB assembly inhouse.
>>> Those of you who have known me over the decades at Dishtronix knowmy 
>>> shop suffered heating issues that made it tough for the machinery to 
>>> run inthe end of January to February artic blasts.  Well, I have a 
>>> new and verynice double insulated, heated and cooled free span metal 
>>> building where I'vemoved my PCB assembly operation and this is 
>>> something I'm very excitedabout.  The building has a metal skin 
>>> totally covering the inside withgood overhead fluorescent lighting 
>>> and conduit encased electrical outletsevery 12 feet around the 
>>> perimeter.  I have retired the older ContactSystems placement 
>>> machines in favor of newer MYDATA (Micronics Sweden)placement 
>>> machines. I installed the first MY9 machine this last June and 
>>> havebeen using it to build boards for the RX340 commercial orders we 
>>> have beenfulfilling.  Ten Tec did have a MY9 when they were building 
>>> boards inhouse. The MYDATA machines are the choice for high mix 
>>> medium volumeproduction, especially when equipped with the Agilis 
>>> quick change feedersystem. Feeders usually cost more than the 
>>> machines in this business, and I'vebeen growing my collection all 
>>> year.  I am about a third of the way tohaving the collection of 
>>> feeders I would like to have. Earlier this month I gotlucky and was 
>>> able to purchase the bar code software which will allow me toload and 
>>> unload components from the machine by just scanning with the 
>>> barcodereader, and it is done offline.  It will help with inventory 
>>> control andcomponent management which is a real nightmare considering 
>>> Ten Tec has
>>> over7000 different line items.
>>> TheMY9 machine has a capability to hold up to 96 different components 
>>> and has asingle mounting head. As I write this, an air ride big rig 
>>> is getting closerand closer to Ohio hauling a MY19 machine in from 
>>> San Francisco which can hold anadditional 160 different components 
>>> (total 256 8 mm tapes) and has 8 mountingheads!  Hopefully this 
>>> machine will be brought online successfully and notbe damaged or in 
>>> bad shape as I've bought it sight unseen.  I've alsomoved the 8 zone, 
>>> lead free capable, pin chain conveyor equipped ElectrovertBravo 8105 
>>> oven to the new building last weekend.  This gives us thecapability 
>>> to process double sided surface mount and the ability to 
>>> reliablyprocess BGA chips.  I've also purchased this summer but not 
>>> yet installedan X ray machine to do 100% inspection of the BGA reflow 
>>> solderingprocess.  With the existing equipment (stencil printers, 
>>> board
>>> washers,etc.) this will give us what I believe is the most well 
>>> equipped and modern PCBmanufacturing of any amateur radio 
>>> manufacturer in North America.  Ibelieve the other guys outsource 
>>> their board assembly.  It may be thesmart thing to do, but I 
>>> personally prefer to buy and house my own componentsin house and to 
>>> have total control over my assembly process.  I find itrequires more 
>>> time to outsource and get constant bids for things like this thanto 
>>> just own the equipment and do it myself. I think you get a better 
>>> product atless cost. Of course the best reason in my opinion for 
>>> doing it all in house isI can do as small of a production run as I 
>>> want, IF I am willing to spend thetime to set up and do it. Hence the 
>>> decision for the quick change capability ofthe MYDATA system.  So, 
>>> all in all what this means is the Phoenix isrising. I am rebuilding Ten Tec and preparing to do some serious manufacturing,which brings me to my next point.
>>> Mostof you know we have been bogged down and overwhelmed with the 
>>> commercial sideof our business this last year since I officially 
>>> assumed the helm in January.With trying to replenish the hard to get 
>>> /  long lead time /  lasttime buy /  obsolete parts, rebuild the PCB 
>>> assembly operations, moving,and so on we just haven't had the 
>>> horsepower to build any amateurtransceivers.  Well, the good news is 
>>> we have caught up on our commercialcontracts.  Be glad we did this. 
>>> You know all the stuff I wrote aboutabove?  The commercial contracts 
>>> paid for that. Without this TEN TEC wouldnot exist right now. We are 
>>> at a very important cross roads right now. What do we do next?
>>> Someof you know we are developing new products.  Those are still off 
>>> on thehorizon.  What I need to know is how many of you would purchase 
>>> Eagles ifthey were available?  I'd like to do a run of 100 of them 
>>> next. It is agreat radio.  I like mine every bit as well as my Orion 
>>> II.  The DSPfunction is superb.
>>> Wehave to talk a little bit about price.  When the Eagle was launched 
>>> it wasa $2100 radio with no accessories.  You all know the story of 
>>> the blow outsales and the liquidation as the previous owners sold 
>>> everything that wasn'tnailed down on their way out.  Some of you got 
>>> fully loaded radios
>>> for$1299 or whatever.  You know they didn't even cover their assembly 
>>> cost onthat, right? Some of you got real bargains.  Of course only 
>>> the last 35radios or something were sold at that price but you get the point.
>>> Youwill never see a price like that again.  If I have to sell and 
>>> Eagle atthat I will close and lock the doors and be done with it.  A 
>>> strip modelneeds to sell at 1699 at least.  The more you are willing 
>>> to pay for aradio the faster the new radios can come out.  We want to 
>>> build radios andsell them so we can keep the production team in place 
>>> so we can meet the demandwhen the new radios come out. Everything we 
>>> do tomorrow depends on how much yousupport us today.
>>> I'mcertain some of you have heard that I and two partners acquired 
>>> Alpha and thatI've been officially at the Helm since August.  It is a 
>>> separate companyfrom Dishtronix / TEN TEC.  Of course I will be 
>>> building the circuitboards for those products as well.  I'm after 
>>> something business peoplecall economy of scale, essentially having 
>>> enough product flow through the doorsto totally occupy the machines 
>>> and infrastructure.  I'll be making apost on that reflector as well to update those customers also.
>>> Bythe way, we do have RX340s available to build on short notice now.
>>> Letme close by wishing you all a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving holiday, 
>>> one of myfavorites and of course the reason I see my dentist in 
>>> November for my prefeast tune up.  The Sevierville team and I 
>>> appreciate your support for TenTec, where we believe we are once 
>>> again Making America Great - One Radioat a Time.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> TenTec mailing list
>>> TenTec at contesting.com
>>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/tentec
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