Sneak peek: Ten-Tec Model 539 Argonaut VI and Model 418 Amplifier at FDiM and Hamvention

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see the new Argonaut VI and Model 418 100 Watt amplifier up close and even operate them.

Though I’ll keep my comments short–I have a l o n g day at the Hamvention ahead of me–I thought I’d share a few first impressions.

The guys at Ten-Tec were kind enough to allow me to take a few shots of the Argonaut VI and the Model 418 Amp, both in Hara Arena and at Four Days In May yesterday.

Contest conditions

If you’re coming to the Hamvention, you will want to stop by the Ten-Tec booth. Through some sort of feat of engineering (or–as I first thought–dark magic!) they have a recorded chunk of 20M spectrum taken from a recent contest. They’re feeding most of their rigs with this spectrum IQ and you, in turn, hear exactly what each radio will sound like. Not only that, but you can operate the radio as if “live”–tuning, adjusting filters, bandwidth, notch etc. Indeed, you can use any receiver feature on the rig.

Additionally, they have one of the Argonaut VI’s hooked up to a Model 418 Amplifier. With these two linked, you can operate CW into a dummy load. Through this set-up I got a very good idea of how the Argonaut VI sounds and how well the amplifier works in conjunction.

First impressions are very positive.  A few notes about the Model 539 Argonaut VI:

  • Very low noise floor.
  • Excellent audio fidelity.
  • The knobs, buttons and all features are quite easy to operate.
  • The filters (especially as tested in CW) are simply amazing. I think they are comparable to the Ten-Tec Eagle.
  • I like the size–slightly larger than an FT-817, much smaller than the Argonaut V.
  • All of the important controls are right there on the front: AF/RF Gain, Bandwidth/PBT, Power, RIT, Memories, Split, etc.
  • Nice touch: On transmit, the red dot in the Ten Tec Logo lights up on both the Argonaut and ’418. See photos below.

Not many criticisms yet, but mind you, these are first impressions.

The Model 418 100 Watt Amp

Though the Model 418 was hooked into a dummy load, I was able to get a feel for how well the amp responded while sending CW.  I’m happy to say that the QSK is silky smooth. Ten-Tec has never disappointed me on this point–their QSK is a benchmark.

Tomorrow, I will post the price of the Model 418 Amplifier–as I mentioned before, the Argonaut VI pricing is at least a few months off, most likely.

Many of you asked about the omission of 12 and 60 Meters. I asked Ten-Tec about this and, in short, it was a balance of performance vs. features. Through their research, they found that 12 and 60 would be the least missed, while 160M would be a great addition (initially, they did not plan to add 160M).

In an effort to save time, I’m simply posting a load of photos below in a thumbnail gallery. Simply click on the thumbnail to enlarge each photo. Feel free to comment and ask questions if you can’t make it to the Hamvention.  I will do my best to answer.

 

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5 Responses to Sneak peek: Ten-Tec Model 539 Argonaut VI and Model 418 Amplifier at FDiM and Hamvention

  1. John says:

    Could you get a look at the back of the 539? Or a picture? Tnx

  2. Pingback: Ten-Tec Argonaut VI (Model 539) à Dayton | Les chroniques hertziennes par XV4Y

  3. Bertrand F6GYY says:

    Hi,

    Already own the Eagle…..Very nice….

    The features of the Argonaut VI are quite interresting… but I do miss the weight
    of that little one…. I hope not too heavy…for real portable use…. Any idea ?

    Thanks. Vy 73. Yours sincerely. Bertrand

  4. Pingback: Ten-Tec Argonaut VI: On schedule for ordering, shipping later this fall | Q R P e r

  5. willie says:

    “All of the important controls are right there on the front: AF/RF Gain, Bandwidth/PBT, Power, RIT, Memories, Split, etc.”

    you mean, just like an SGC SG-2020, but without 160 and 12m?

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