Updates: Ten Tec, Elecraft, 73 Magazine

73Just before Christmas of 2011, Wayne Greene of 73 Magazine released the entire collection of that magazine to the public domain. I posted a convenient way to download those 518 issues and that posting ranks as my all-time highest hit count so I know many hams around the world now have those 17GB of great reading on their hard drives.

Since then though, 73 Magazine has been uploaded to the Internet Archive database here. Although the Internet Archive has its own search engine, I’ve found this one to be more helpful in finding what I’m looking for.

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By now everyone knows about Ten Tec’s sale for the month of July. During breaks from myUntitled-1 KD1JV MTRv2 build last night, I read QST reviews of the Ten Tec Argonaut. You know – the one without 12 meters – and I gotta say that I’m mighty tempted to get one. I also looked at the QST reviews for Elecraft’s KX3 to compare¬†– the specs are all top-notch but the form factor turns me off to that rig.

My log for the past few months shows some good DX worked on 12 meters – DX that wouldn’t be available on a new Argo. But still, they’re good-looking and excellent-performing rigs. And then there’s the nostalgia thing of Ten Tec providing me entry into this hobby with a Century 21 back in the day.

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k1Speaking of Elecraft – if you’ve ever wanted a 4-band K1, it’s too late. No mas. According to Wayne N6KR:

The 4-band module requires extremely low-temperature-coefficient trimmer capacitors because of its narrow-band pre-mix and RF band-pass filters. The last source for these exotic trimmers dried up recently. A redesign using higher-TC trimmers might be possible, but the filters would end up being triple-tuned, which would force the use of SMD components throughout, and tuning the filters would then be very difficult without a spectrum analyzer.

Sales volume for the K1 has decreased in recent years due to the KX1 (which is smaller and has a DDS VFO), and the KX3 (which covers all bands, all modes, with up to 12 W output and has a much more capable auto tuner, nicer user interface, etc.). So the cost of a redesign wouldn’t be recovered.

That said, for the time being we’re continuing to offer the two-band version and the other options (KAT1 ATU, KBT1 battery pack, etc.).

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And back to Ten Tec…

Fred AA7BQ recently toured Ten Tec’s factory and posted a lot of photos. Though TT will be moving soon as a result of their merger with Alpha Amplifiers it’s interesting to see the birthplace of so many great radios.

Check out the photos by clicking on the photo below:

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May I brag a bit?! The postman delivereth:

ft5zm

ft5zm_reverse

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  3 comments for “Updates: Ten Tec, Elecraft, 73 Magazine

  1. Ed
    July 18, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Hi John,

    That’s a darn good price on the Argonaut. I’d seen their special for the Eagle – which looks like a heck of a deal too – but missed the Argonaut, maybe it wasn’t showing last month? I grew up close to the Ten-Tec factory and remember that it sat next to the high school in Sevier County. I think I read where they’ve moved or are in the process of moving to another location.

    I have thought about getting rid of the plethora of radios that I have accumulated and use the funds to buy a KX3. I’ve gotten into SOTA pretty heavily, but always as a chaser and never an activator. I’d like to try that and the KX3 would be perfect.

    In comparing the two, the KX3 and the Argonaut, I wonder if you have given consideration to the KX3 having dual watch capability, at least on the same band, and the ease with hooking it up to a panadapter? I don’t know how important either of those points are for you? I think I read where the Argonaut has an optional cable that can give an IF out (seems like I saw that in an eHam review). Looks like that would at least permit a panadapter possibility. That’s something I’m interested in myself.

    I have a couple of friends who have some of the larger Ten-Tec gear, Orion II and Omni VII. Very high quality stuff.

    If you get one, I sure hope you give us a full run down! By the way, thanks back in ’11 for the link, I was one of those who downloaded the batch of 73 magazines after seeing it on your site.

    73,
    Ed

    • July 18, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Good to hear from you, Ed,

      I agree with you that the KX3 offers a lot for the price and read about dual watch in detail just last night after reading all I could find on the Argonaut. QST has reviews of both rigs online. I really was set to pull the trigger on the Argo until I read about the KX3 in more detail…but as I mentioned, I don’t like the form factor of that rig – just doesn’t fit into the way I’d operate it which is as a QRP equivalent to my K3. I know that seems nit-picky but ergonomics are as much a factor over time as any performance spec, at least to me.

      If I do get an Argo, I will definitely A/B the receiver with that of my K3 and post it to YouTube. I remember when I first got my K3 how unpleasant the receiver was to listen to compared to my previous rig. I don’t notice it anymore without a comparative available but I’m thinking I’m going to notice it anew if I get an Argo.

      I don’t have a panadapter for my K3 so no real interest in that aspect of the KX3/Argo.

      73 and hope you’re enjoying your Kenwood.

    • Don
      September 6, 2014 at 12:56 am

      I have a Elecraft P3 hooked to my Argonaut 9 meg output with a buffer amp. Works fantastic and Ten Tec supplied the cable and RCA jack for free, even shipping. Try to get ANY company to give you something and ship it free. There is a spare hope in the rear for the IF out. The current production already have it.

      Don Ferrill K9TWO Since 1959

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