Tag Archives: Dayton

John answers a few questions about the Ten-Tec Model 539 Argonaut VI

The Ten-Tec Model 539 Argonaut VI, on display at the Dayton Hamvention

John Henry, Software Engineer for Ten-Tec, wrote the following message in response to Argonaut VI comments and questions on the Model 539 group:

To help answer a few questions.

The electronics ARE based on the 599, [Ten-Tec Eagle] not exactly the same, but VERY similar.

Filters…. The 539 will have three filter slots for hardware receive filters. They will not be the same ones used in the 599, height limitation, but they will be designed in house and will match the characteristics / performance traits of the 599 closely. One will be filled with the default SSB filter, and the two others are for either CW or for AM if you so desire. Or two CW filters, up to you as a ham to see what you need and to fill them, or not. The filter slot module is based on the TX/RX board from the 599, it is not an option as some competitors are selling now. One less option to have to buy over the stock price. Then, of course, the same DSP bandwidth options controllable from 100Hz to the size of the largest hardware filter installed.

The CPU is the same CPU we use in the 599, so we are using almost the same code set as the 599, meaning we aren’t re-inventing the wheel, just massaging it to handle the different buttons/encoders/pot/voltage levels/10w vs 100w/etc. This also means that the command protocol interface is already done, same as the Eagle, well, almost. We have added a few things to the 539 so that you can define certain buttons to do what you want them to do. On the four buttons, their function is selected by the “tumbler” as I call it. the “tumbler” is a three position switch on front of the 539, that by it’s position identifies what the four buttons do. It is currently denoted with “T” for top, “M” for mid, and “B” for bottom. This may change, as we get closer to production though. So, don’t bank on it being TMB.

The DSP board is the same as we use in the 599, with “slightly” modified software due to the differences in gains and other “realities of hardware” differences.

Since it is the same CPU and the same DSP board/code base, you will have almost all of the features / functions that the Eagle already has. And, since it is based on the Eagle, the maturity is already proven. And, as a benefit, as items are resolved in either the 599 or 539, it is a quick fix for the other rig. Reuse, something we are trying to stress highly on this and future rigs. Why re-invent wheels when they run so smoothly. Of course, improve them over time as technologies get better, as we have time, as we find new parts/better parts, etc.

Why no 60 and 12?
Performance.
That’s basically it. We had a certain size in mind, and yes, we could have fit 160 through 6, however, you would have had receiver performance of a much inferior rig. One that we felt would not live up to TenTec standards. When queried, about 160, 60, and 12, MANY inputs went into the current state of the 539. 160 was added because of the amount of customer inputs, and unfortunately, 60 and 12 cannot be added due to size restrictions. Adding 60 and 12 would have meant redesigning the pre-selector with smaller parts that would have made the rig equal to most other QRP rigs in receiver performance.
If that was the wrong decision, then the market will definitely tell us via sales, but from the comments on “when it is ready, I’m ordering a 539 and a 418” “I never use 60 in QRP” “etc.” at Dayton and via hundreds of emails and conversations, etc., we feel we do have a winner on our hand with the feature set it will be built with. The market will tell of course.

There are a lot of rigs out there to choose from, and we do hope you give the 539 a chance to see if it meets your needs.

Hamvention Photos: Hendricks QRP Kits

Doug Hendricks holding a Ft. Tuthill transceiver

Another very active table at the Dayton Hamvention and Four Days in May is that of Hendricks QRP Kits.

Doug Hendricks (pictured right) and his team produce some amazing, affordable QRP kits that fill many a niche in the shack. Below, I have photos of a small selection of their offerings at the Hamvention.  Note that all of these kits are available on the Hendricks QRP Kits website.

Many of Hendrick’s kits are suitable for beginners. If you’re in doubt about your kit building skills, simply contact the folks at Hendricks and they’ll help guide you to the right kit.

The Kenwood TS-990S: Some preliminary specs and features

The TS-990s under glass at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention

At Dayton, I had a chance to ask Kenwood reps about the TS-990S.  They did have a few details, but many (such as price) are still rather vague. I made notes on these:

  • This rig will weigh in at 57 or so pounds. This is probably due to the fact that it has an internal power supply.
  • The main receiver is completely down-conversion.
  • The sub receiver is the TS-590’s receiver. They even told me that if you read the TS-590S spec, it will be identical to that of the TS-990S sub receiver. As with the TS-590, the TS-990S sub receiver is mainly down-conversion.
  • It has three, 32Bit DSP processors
  • It has five roofing filters at: 300Hz, 500Hz, 2.7 6kHz and 15kHz which  run at 8MHz. The sub-receiver runs at 11MHz.
  • Connections include:
    • Optical In/Out
    • DVI
    • and “Multiple” USB connections
  • The TS-990S will be 200 Watts
  • Shipping: They expect to ship in November 2012
  • Price: Between $5-10K US, but will not exceed $10K US. Two different Kenwood reps told me that Kenwood understands that there aren’t many hams in this economy who could spend in excess of $10K.

These specs were rattled off as if they’d been said a thousand times (and I bet they had by the time I got around to the booth).

Not a lot to go one, but I can vouch that these features and specifications came directly from Kenwood.

Video: Tuning the Ten-Tec Argonaut VI

As Ten-Tec was setting up at the Dayton Hamvention last Thursday, I was able to meet with their engineer (John Henry) briefly and had a little time to play with the new Model 539 Argonaut VI. As I tuned around the CW side of the 20 meter band, I recorded a short video. I’m sharing this with you here, but must ask your forgiveness for its quality and glitches; I want to make it clear that this material was recorded on my Android phone in some haste.

Moreover, this video does not do justice to the Argo VI’s audio, which is exceptional.  In fact, I can’t tell a difference between its audio and that of the Ten-Tec Eagle, both of which have very low noise floors and simply gorgeous audio fidelity.

Now, just a small taste of what this receiver can do…

Kenwood’s booth the day before

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Taken at the Kenwood booth the day before the Hamvention 2012.

I just walked past the Kenwood booth where they’ve prepared a place for the TS-990S. I have a feeling it’s going to be very busy here tomorrow morning.

I will fight my way through the crowds and grab a few photos of the real thing. Check back here tomorrow!

Tagged: TS-990s

Going to Dayton? Visit Ears to Our World’s booth–and meet us!

For the second year in a row at the Dayton Hamvention, fellow volunteers and I will be representing the charity Ears To Our World (ETOW). We will be in booth 601 in the East Hall. Stop by and introduce yourself! Here’s a map of how to find us.

If you’re not familiar with Ears To Our World and our mission to empower children and teachers in the third word through radio, check out our website and this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Look forward to meeting you there!