Tag Archives: Ten-Tec Model R4020

Cheap POTA thrills with my new-to-me TEN-TEC R4020 QRP CW transceiver!

Last year, I made an impulse purchase.

You’re shocked, right–?

Right.

You see, I did something I’d never suggest others do: in a moment of boredom, I casually cruised the classifieds listings found on QTH.com.

One of the very first listings was for a TEN-TEC R4020 CW QRP transceiver. The price, if memory serves, was $120 (+/- $10) shipped.

Ten-Tec Model R4020 (Product Photo: Ten-Tec)

Without even thinking, I sent a message to the seller:

I’ll buy it if it’s still available!

He responded noting I was the first to reply to the ad, so it was mine if I wanted it.

I did, of course.

The R4020 arrived that same week, I opened the box, applied power to confirmed it powered up, then placed it on the top shelf in my shack.

At the time, I had a mountain of review and evaluations in process along with several articles in the pipeline for TSM and one for RadCom, and simply didn’t have time to properly explore the R4020. I thought it might be fun saving it as a little reward for meeting my deadlines.

Then, frankly, I just forgot about the R4020. This spring was a very busy time for me family-wise, then I spent the summer in Canada, and most of this fall has been all about catching up after having spent the summer in Canada. Funny how that works!

Fast-forward to November 11th, 2022 when I was packing a field radio kit to take on an overnight trip and I noticed the R4020 on the top shelf! My reward, finally–!

I quickly packed the R4020 in my Spec-Ops Order Pouch along with a 3Ah Bioenno LiFePo4 battery and a power cable.

South Mountains State Park (K-2753)

On Saturday, November 12, 2022, I jumped in the car and headed to South Mountains State Park with the R4020.

This past year, I’ve mostly set up at South Mountain’s Clear Creek Access on the west side of the park, but this time I decided to make my way to the equestrian picnic area near the main entrance and ranger station.

Continue reading Cheap POTA thrills with my new-to-me TEN-TEC R4020 QRP CW transceiver!

Ten-Tec sale on R4020 and R4030 QRP transceivers

Ten-Tec Model R4020 (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Ten-Tec has just announced that they’ve placed their models R4020 and R4030 two band QRP transceivers on sale.

Both are now available for $199 US and include a QRP go-pack (which includes a shoulder bag, rig, and antenna).

Very good deal and quite tempting…

Ten-Tec Adds Two New QRP Transceivers – Models R4020 and R4030

The Ten-Tec Model R4020 40/20 Meters field-portable QRP transceiver.
The Ten-Tec Model R4020 40/20 Meters field-portable QRP transceiver.

When I heard from friends that Ten-Tec had announced two new QRP transceivers at FDiM, I almost fell out of my seat. I’ve heard very little in the way of QRP coming out of Sevierville since the sad news of them dropping the popular/legendary Argonaut series.

Then, this week, when they announced the news on their (new) website, I got even more excited–these transceivers are field portable and small! They very much resemble my Elecraft KX-1.

The new rigs come in two flavors:

  • The R4030 covers the 40 and 30 Meter ham bands
  • The R4020 covers the 40 and 20 Meter ham bands

Simple enough.

The news, which started with a gasp, though ended with a sigh as many noted that these rigs closely resembled the HB-1A (Made In China) QRP Radio. Could this be? It was a little hard for me to imagine. Being a serious Ten-Tec fan, I hang my hat on the fact that my TT radios are designed and made locally–within a 2 hour drive of my QTH! I didn’t want to hear any more rumors, I needed to know from the horse’s mouth, so I emailed TT sales–they responded:

Yes, the R4020 and R4030 is based off the HB-1A transceiver with some minor modifications. We are the exclusive dealer for the R4020/4030 and will warranty and sell this item from our office in Sevierville, TN. We will offer a 1 year full replacement warranty.

So, it was true–I was not shocked. Why?  The price of the R4020/R4030 is only $249. That’s an incredibly low price for a Ten-Tec item. Too low.

I’m not sure what the “minor” modifications are that Ten-Tec made, but I imagine they had to bring it up to FCC compliance and perhaps tweak the receiver a bit. We’ll soon see.

Moving forward

I realized, this morning, that I simply need to forgive Ten-Tec for doing this. I love their equipment and hold their company and employees in the highest regard. I can’t blame them for outsourcing a radio–why?

  1. This is a tough economy.  I’ve been worried about our domestic manufacturers like Ten-Tec and Elecraft (though, surprisingly, Elecraft actually upgraded and moved their production to a larger facility). I’m surprised that they’re able to hang on. I suspect Ten-Tec has had to lean on their other markets (government, enclosures, etc.) to support the amateur radio side of their business.
  2. Ten-Tec could probably not put 2009/2010 resources into developing a radio on their own when they had low-hanging fruit, like the HB-1A, just waiting to be brought to the USA (officially). R&D is not cheap–even if it’s in-house.
  3. They are servicing this radio in Sevierville, TN. That makes me feel a lot better about about buying one of these transceivers. Ten-Tec service is top-shelf!
  4. They really needed to bring QRP back into their non-kit product line.

Bottom line?  I’ll probably get one of these and try it (well, after I invest in a nice vintage boat-anchor set up). I’m in no hurry as I have an Elecraft KX1 and it is my favorite QRP radio.

I will post reviews of the new TT radios as they become available (contact me if you have one). In the meantime, I’ve included some useful resource links below.

Useful links:

HB-1A reviews

Tech Specs of the new R4030 and R4020