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Author Topic: Ten Tec Paragon vs. Omni 6 (or 6+)  (Read 1662 times)

Posts: 7

« on: June 14, 2006, 03:18:38 PM »

I am in the process of rebuilding an HF station after being non active for a few years... (moving, etc)
I have purchased a used PARAGON, that has most of the accessories & upgrades. My operating will mostly be phone & DX. Can anyone tell me how the paragon compares to a Omni 6 or 6+ re: phone, noise floor & dx? With the advent of ebay, It would be fairly easy to flip the Paragon for a Omni 6+, for a few hundred more $.
(I have read the 6+ are great CW rigs, but thats not of interest to me)

as an aside, The rest of the station building attempt consists of, for those who have suggestions or comments...

UPGRADE to AE from General class (yay)
Ten Tec 705 mic, Shure 444D mic
Dentron MT-3000A Antenna tuner
Swan Mark II (2x 3-500z) amplifier
Transel & Heathkit HM-102 wattmeters
Force 12 C3 tribander / 80 foot Rohn 25G / CDE HamIV
ZEROFIVE MULTI-BAND VERTICAL (array solutions AS-200-tuner, fold over mount & a ridiculous amount of ground radials)
Uniden President HR2510 (10 meter monitoring)

Thanks & 73,

Posts: 20542

« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 04:14:30 PM »

I never owned a Paragon, but I do remember it being the center of much controversy regarding "phase noise."  The ARRL Product Review from 1988 panned the Paragon as having about the worst transmitted phase noise they'd seen; Ten Tec provided them with an updated board assembly (I think it was) and then that improved, but close-in noise got worse.  Overall, though, it was an impressive rig.

The product review is on line here if you have time:

Look up Ten-Tec Paragon.

The Omni V+ is probably better in many ways, being newer and having features not found on the Paragon.

If you haven't bought and installed the C-3 yet, I'd recommend going for a 5-band HF beam instead.  Reason is, the C-3 is really a 10-15-20m beam that behaves kinda like a rotary dipole on 12-17m, but it's not really a beam there.  17m is currently a very hot DX band, second only to 20m but with less QRM, no contests and no nets, so it's a desirable place to operate.  If I were putting up a single HF beam for the "higher bands," I'd want it to cover all five bands 14-30 MHz.  There are many on the market.

73 & good luck!

Steve WB2WIK/6

Posts: 16

« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2006, 08:26:02 AM »

You can also add a SSB roofing filter to the Omni VI which will make the front end as good as an Orion.  I've both an Orion and the VI+ with the InRad CW roofing filter and they both perform beautifully in the presence of very strong signals.  

Gary W7TEA

Posts: 7

« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2006, 02:57:40 PM »

Steve, Thanks for the input. (Note to self, join ARRL soon) I have already purchased the C3, tower & rotor on ebay, (note to self, go to florida to take it down & bring back soon) It doesnt appear they have an upgrade C3 to XR5, darnit! Though they should, both have 18' boom.

Posts: 7

« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2006, 02:59:04 PM »

Gary (& Steve) I'll keep my eyes peeled for a 6+.

Thanks & 73,

Posts: 16

« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2006, 11:32:16 AM »

As of yesterday, TT had two used VI+'s for sale.  I was told they were fairly early models--97 and 98 and had the crystal ovens rather than the TXCO.  The advantage of going thru TT used sales is that they go thru the rigs thoroughly, I'm told, and have a 10 day return policy.  OTH, the price seems the same irrespective of the age of the VI+.

Have fun, Gary W7TEA

Posts: 14

« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2006, 02:37:58 PM »

Well, you are not going to 'flip' a Paragon for an Omni-VI or VI+ for a few hundred dollars. Paragons have been selling SANS (without) filters for around $500 while Omni-VI go for around $1000 and the Plus version for $1300 or more. Even Omni-V's go for $850 or more. That having been said. Would you want to flip one to the other?

I own and use both transceivers and in my situation and operating style there is room for both, but they are NOT equal.... they have genuinely different personalities.

The Paragon was designed around 1987 and includes 'general coverage' capabilities. It was the best they could do at the time. But it turned out significantly more noisy that any other other prior Ten-Tec and users complained. The Omni-V was released a couple years later to address this noise issue. It was a ham bands only transceiver that avoided most of the synthesizer evils of the Paragon type transceiver. The Omni-V is still considered a very capable contesting and DXing transceiver (and has a lot going for it... if it only had a read RIT control). The Omni VI evolved over the following years and remained ham bands only. As an RF Engineer let me say that you simply can not get the performance out of a transceiver designed for general coverage. Someday the Japanese manufacturers will acknowledge this. Anyway, give me a few pages and I'd explain why you really don't want a general coverage front end. As I stated, Ten-Tec got the message and came out with the Omni-V for those wanting 'quieter', more robust receivers... Then a few years later, Ten-Tec took owner feedback regarding certain Omni-V shortcomings and rolled out the Omni-VI. Meanwhile one last version of the Paragon came out... the Paragon II. That was a much better version of a 'general coverage' transceiver but still no match under week signal conditions... or DX pileups when compared to either the Omni-V or the Omni-VI series. It simply had its maximum usable sensitivity reduced by its increased Phase Noise and a compromise front end followed by an upconversion!

The Orion actually has two receivers in it. A ham bands only and a general coverage one. All the 'raves' regarding Orion receive performance comes from the ham bands only receiver. The second receiver is basically equivalent to a Jupiter. Enough said on that.

What I do like about my Paragon is the concentric FADE/PB filter controls. I wished the Omni-VI+ had this. Instead the Omni-VI+ has a DSP tail end. Not a fancy one, but a capable one. When the NR function is activated you get both a drop of background noise as well as a peaking of the CW signal. Not bad. My JPS NRD-7 does it a bit better, but the Omni's is nice... just not adjustable.

What I like about the Omni-VI+ is its ability to change the CW offset. I like to listed to a CW note around 450-500 Hz. The Paragon is fixed to 750 Hz.

The Paragon begins to go deaf as you go above 20 meters. Not all at once but there is definitely a sensitivity drop off. If you like 15, 12, and 10 meters you should consider this carefully. Not an issue on 20 -meters or below.

The Paragon has one filter in the 9 MHz IF with its remaining filters in the final 6.3 MHz IF. The Omni-VI + provides two optional 9 MHz filters. A fully equipped Omni-VI+ can pull out more. Some add yet an 'earlier in the IF chain' filter from INRAD and claim even better performance for contesting and DXing. I can not speak t o that other than theoretically it might make a great radio slightly better. And for some that is a lot.

The Paragon has a 6 MHz receive bandwidth (BP tuning doesn't work) which can make rag chewing a nicer experience. Full audio! Most will agree that a standard Omni-VI+ has a fairly constrained audio. That is why I only use mine for contesting (Otherwise, I use a Corsair II... or even my Triton IV!!).

The Omni-V, VI, and VI+ have a computer interface that is really essential for casual contesting and DX Spot assisted DXing. If you haven't had a rig connected to your computer before you wouldn't be able to judge this one. I have a habbit of turning 'dis-believers' into life long believers by setting them up and watching their operating style change to the point where they simply couldn't see themselves without it. The Paragon II has the same computer interface. The Paragon has an optional interface but it uses a very non-standard control language that only one logging program (that I am aware of) understands.... so it is not very useful in general.

I have a pretty good relationship with Ten-Tec engineers (should after using their equipment for over 30 years). They have no quams stating that the Paragon and the Omni-VI are simply not in the same category.

Saturday is FieldDay. With the choice of just about every Ten-Tec (other than the Jupiter/Pegasus... had one. Dumped it), I am taking the Omni-VI+. Had I not had it I am sure I would take the Corsair II before the Paragon. FieldDay is a 'casual' contest and the stations are mostly 100 watts with marginal antennas... still it is a mess. Lot like DXing.

BUT what do you want? Really. Why not have fun with your Paragon till you get to the point where you KNOW it is holding you back? And then move forward.

Jerry, KG6TT
Fairfield, CA

Posts: 7

« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2006, 06:47:08 PM »


Thank you for the most informative reply. Without dismissing anything else you said...

"Saturday is FieldDay. ... I am taking the Omni-VI+. Had I not had it I am sure I would take the Corsair II before the Paragon. ..."

I sold my Corsair II in 1999, when I needed additional $ for purchasing a home. (darnit)

"BUT what do you want? Really. Why not have fun with your Paragon till you get to the point where you KNOW it is holding you back? And then move forward."

Darn good advice.

73 & good dx,
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