Ten Tec Amateur HF Transceivers
The following is an attempt at describing the lineage and characteristics of HF amateur radio transceivers as manufactured by Ten Tec.
This summary is based on discussions held on the Ten Tec e-mail reflector list (January 2001), material on the "unofficial" Ten Tec web site, and various other sources.
This summary is in three parts:
(a) order of
Last edited 27 January 2001, by
Kevin Anderson, K9IUA
Order of Development and Production
Dates indicate year of production start, if known (dates in parenthesis are QST or CQ reviews). Most of the start-production dates have question marks as we won't know for sure.
Tube Transmitter (TX-100, Solid-state receiver RX-10, and VFO-200 - 1971/1972
Argonaut 505 -- 1971
Argonaut 509 -- 1973
Triton I / II -- 1973 and 1974 ?
Triton IV 540 -- 1976
Century 21 Analog -- 1976? (12/77)
Triton IV Digital/Model 544 -- 1977 (others told me 1978) (7/79)
Century 21 Digital -- 1978? (In a 1979 AES catalog)
Argonaut 515 -- c1978/1979
Omni A -- 1979
Delta 580 -- 1979?
Omni A/D Series B -- late 1979?
Omni C -- 1980 (production late 1980 & 1981)
Argosy 525 -- 1980? (10/80)
Corsair -- 1983 (Ten*Tec never made a Corsair "One." It's just CORSAIR, okay?)
Argosy II 525D -- 1982 (10/82)
Century 22 -- 1984 (5/85)
An advertisement in QST for AES, which was selling Ten Tec back in 1984, lists the Century 22, Argosy II, and Corsair, with the original Argosy 525 on closeout at $399.95!
Corsair II -- 1987? (8/87)
(production 1987 to 1990)
Omni V -- 1990? (11/90)
Argonaut II -- "Available Oct 1990"? (1/92)
Delta II -- "Available Nov 1990"? (1/92) My Ten Tec brochure, which must have been printed sometime in late 1990, indicates the above two availability dates for the Argonaut II / Delta II, but it may have been just wishful thinking and it was early 1991.
Omni VI -- 1992 (1/93)
Paragon II 586 -- sometime before July 1993
Scout 555 -- early 1993 (12/93) I have a brochure I received in late 1993 from Ten Tec that pictures the Paragon I, Delta II, and Argonaut II, but with separate inserts for the Scout 555 and Omni VI 563. The included July 1993 price list gives the Paragon II, Omni VI, Scout 555, and the Argonaut II/Delta II
Argo Scout 556 -- late 1993 or early 1994?
Omni VI+ -- 1997? (11/97)
T-Kit Single-Band Transceivers (1320, 1330, 1340, etc.) -- 1998
Pegasus -- 1999 -- May @ Dayton (2/2000)
Jupiter -- November 2000
Lineage of Transceivers
The following "lineage" view (I would suggest it is more of an "intended audience" or market view) is from Paul Valko, W8KC (w8kc at arrl.net):
Power Mite 1, 2, 3 ==> Argonaut 505/509/515
Century 21 ==> Century 22 ==> Argosy ==> Argosy II ==> Scout
Triton I ==> Triton II ==> Triton IV ==> Omni A/B/C ==> Corsair =>...
(continued from Corsair above) ... Corsair II => Omni V => Omni VI => Omni VI+
TX-100 (matching receiver RX-10, and VFO 200)
General Coverage / PLL Attempt
Pegasus ==> Jupiter
Kevin's comments on the above lineage
From a purely "market" orientation, Paul's category of "mid-power" including the Century and Argosy series (ending in the Scout) makes sense.
But from a technology/design standpoint there is really two series:
Mid-power -- Novice / CW-only
Mid-power CW/SSB (economical
The transceivers indicated in parenthesis are, I suggest, the antecedents for the Century and Argosy series. Further, my sense, being the owner of a Century 22, Argosy II, and Scout 555, is that the Argosy, while sharing many of the same modules as the C22, is definitely a different beast in overall design. The outward appearance between a C22 and Argosy II is striking, clearly acknowledging their period of time (1980-1985), but the use of superhet (same 9 MHz as other rigs) and inclusion of SSB in the Argosy suggests parallel, not sequential, production.
Also, it should be noted that in the above listing, the 555 Scout and 556 Argo Scout have a very different IF frequency as compared to its predecessors, but do represent the commonality of mid-power "economy" (or entry level) for a transceiver market.
Design Innovations and Considerations
The following, provided by Dave
Kelley, NB4J (email@example.com), was originally created by him from notes
collected from K0CQ and N4PY about a year ago. Dave was interested
in engineering issues such as what types of front-end mixer and amplifier
circuits were used. (Also included is yet again another
Here is Dave's summary as sent to me:
Here's the information I've been able to gather. (Much of it came from K0CQ and N4PY):
[Dates (mo/yr) are for QST Product Reviews]
Triton I: 50W, single conversion:
IF at 9 MHz
Omni A - analog display, 9MHz
IF. No WARC bands
Corsair: 3 IF filters, same AGC system as Omni-C, dual conversion (IFs at 9 and 6.3 MHz and then back to 9 MHz for PBT), stock 4-pole 9 MHz IF filter, PBT, diode ring mixer followed by transformer feedback amplifier stage, band pass filters instead of tunable preselector
Corsair II (8/87): same basic receiver, 3 IF filters, dual conversion, stock 9 MHz IF filter upgraded to 8 poles, PBT, audio filter, NB?, transformer feedback amplifier stages before and after first mixer (diode ring), adds 3 selectable audio filters and a notch filter within the AGC loop to Corsair I.
Omni V (11/90): uses synthesizer rather than PTO; IFs at 9 and 6.3 MHz (and then back to 9 MHz for PBT, like Corsairs) Omni VI (1/93): added RIT, sidetone that follows CW offset, internal keyer, low pass DSP filter to reduce IF hiss instead of "tone control", increased microprocessor clock speed, crystal oven for xtal osc, minor changes in firmware controlled items Omni VI+ (11/97).
Paragon I (5/88)
Pegasus (2/00): up conversion to 45 MHz, then IFs at 455 kHz and 12 kHz (the last for DSP) Jupiter: up conversion to 45 MHz, then IFs at 455 kHz and 12 kHz (the last for DSP)
Powermite Series PM1, PM2, PM3
Argonaut 505/509/515: single
conversion: IF at 9 MHz
Delta 580: dual conversion: first IF is 11-11.5 MHz, second is 6.3 MHz (to solve Omni C 17 M problem); digital readout does not sum all oscillators directly but is scaled - not always accurate
Delta II (1/92)
Argosy I (10/80 or
RX-320: up conversion to 45 MHz, then IFs at 455 kHz and 12 kHz (the last for DSP)
In addition, Carl, N4PY, recently
posted a similar shortened discussion
The Delta 1 is a double conversion receiver. The first IF is 11 to 11.5 MHz and the second IF is 6.3 MHz. It stands by itself in this scheme. The Tritons, Argonaut I, OMNI A+D, C, Corsair I and II, are essentially single conversion receivers using a 9 MHz IF. The Corsair's had an extra conversion from 9 MHz to 6.3 MHz and back to 9 MHz for passband tuning. The OMNI V and VI also use the same scheme as the Corsair's.
I do not know the scheme in the Delta II and Argonaut II.
The Paragon I and II , up converted to 72 MHz and then to 9 MHz, also with the passband tuning scheme going form 9 to 6.3 to 9.
The Pegasus, Jupiter, and
RX-320 up convert to 45 MHz, then 455 kHz,
And I (K9IUA) can add the following:
Hopefully we can correct the dates (I dream that we eventually can have both start *and* end dates for production), improve on the lineage and design changes, and otherwise learn more about the equipment we love to operate (at least I do).
go BACK to the W8KC Virtual Ten*Tec Museum