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Author Topic: Ten Tec Rebel 506 TCVR  (Read 14562 times)
AF6WL
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Posts: 131




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« on: August 29, 2013, 10:04:25 PM »

The Tentec open source Rebel 506 is now on their site.
I just managed to place a order - expected available 9th September :-)

http://www.tentec.com/rebel-model-506-open-source-qrp-cw-transceiver/

"The TEN-TEC Rebel model 506 transceiver is designed with the purpose of providing Ham Radio operators a platform for developing and writing code using the open-source Arduino programming environment. It is a factory built CW QRP radio with a Chip Kit Uno 32 Arduino compatible processing unit that holds the operating program. The radio is provided with programming for basic operating functions that allow it to be used immediately as a basic QRP transceiver. Additional operating functions can be programmed by the user, either by writing the code or copying/adapting code developed by members of a growing  number of Arduino special interest groups. It is this sharing of programming routines and ideas for functionality that is the heart of the Arduino open-source concept.

Basic features include a 40 & 20 meter QRP transceiver with internal jumpers to change bands.  Full band coverage on both bands.  Typical power output will run 4-5 watts with 13.5 VDC.  A drift free operation is achieved through DDS synthesizer technology.  CW sidetone through headphones. Three filter bandwidth choices and three tuning rate adjustments included with the stock program."

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KU4UV
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Posts: 375




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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 04:18:29 PM »

It looks like a nice radio.  The ultimate test, at least for me, will be to see what kind of reviews it receives and what type of support Ten Tec provides for the radio.  I haven't been all that impressed with Ten Tec as of late when it comes to responding to questions via e-mail in a timely manner, if at all.

73,
KU4UV
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WA9UAA
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Posts: 313




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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 10:28:56 AM »

If those are filter widths indicated on the left hand set of LEDs then the wide and narrow settings are transposed. I wonder if the manual is on line yet.
73,
Rob WA9UAA
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KA0HVE
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 11:17:36 AM »

I hear complaints too but I've had great support on some 30+ year old gear recently when I've called Ten-Tec.  I've talked to at least 3 extremely nice and helpful people.
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AF6WL
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 11:51:35 AM »

I haven't been all that impressed with Ten Tec as of late when it comes to responding to questions via e-mail in a timely manner, if at all.


Perhaps with open source, they will expect the community to resolve most problem and software bugs : an easy out for them.
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AF6WL
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 11:58:11 AM »

I wonder if the manual is on line yet.


The information is all hidden behind an annoying Yahoo Group logins.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TenTec506Rebel/
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 12:01:06 PM by AF6WL » Logged
WB0FDJ
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Posts: 135




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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 01:37:53 PM »

FWIW

This rig was recently featured in QRP Quarterly. The review was generally positive though the reviewer remarked that he was just scratching the surface.  This really is something different for Ten Tec, heck for any radio manufacturer.

The radio you get will be an assembled, working QRP transceiver, capable of operating 20 and 40 meters. When powered up it defaults to the QRP frequency for the band, i.e. if you fire it up on 40 it will set to 7.030. You can then tune up or down from that frequency. Ten Tec is delivering a working radio that has only a few simple features with the understanding that if the owner wishes to add any functionality, he will do so by programming the radio.

In a very real sense there won't be any "bugs": if you turn on the radio and it works, thats it. Anything else you want the radio to do, you as the owner will add by programing. This is clearly not a radio intended for everyone. It won't replace their Argonaut. If you already like QRP and want to learn more about Arduino programming by working on your own stuff, this is a learning opportunity. I'm thinking about this one for that very reason: I'm an OT and don't want to get stuck in a rut. This could be a fun "classroom". Personally after several decades in the hobby I still find an awful lot of satisfaction in learning new "stuff". I think TT is betting that others feel the same way.

Doc WB0FDJ

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AF6WL
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 05:55:02 PM »

Anything else you want the radio to do, you as the owner will add by programing. This is clearly not a radio intended for everyone. It won't replace their Argonaut. If you already like QRP and want to learn more about Arduino programming by working on your own stuff

That's what attracted me to it - the ability to add peripherals and code to control them.
It's a shame it does not have spare switches, a display or DSP capabilities, but if I wanted to add a small board with those, the code to control them would only be incremental work, rather than starting from square one.
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N3IG
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 10:22:11 AM »

If those are filter widths indicated on the left hand set of LEDs then the wide and narrow settings are transposed. I wonder if the manual is on line yet.
73,
Rob WA9UAA
W. M. and N would be the filters, 100, 1k, and 10k would be tuning steps and u1, u2, and u3 would be users. Pretty easy to figure out if you look at the other three selection leds. Looks like a fun radio to try.
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WE2F
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 05:48:30 PM »

Whoo Hoo! I just ordered mine too. I've been playing with the Arduino since Dayton in preparation for this radio. There is so much opportunity to experiment here. I think it's great to see a radio manufacturer embrace the micro-controller movement. If you haven't had a chance to see all that people are doing with them, take a look here: http://learn.adafruit.com/ .
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AF6WL
Member

Posts: 131




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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 12:48:54 PM »

I have a tracking number  Smiley
They actually shipped on schedule !
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WE2F
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 05:25:57 PM »

Me too. Should be here by the weekend.
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K4JK
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Posts: 292




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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 08:40:33 AM »

I had been meaning to get into the world of Arduino and ChipKIT and this rig seemed to be a perfect way to do it since you have a platform to learn to utilize them for radio-specific stuff. I pre-ordered one when they announced it and it got here yesterday.

One thing to remember about this rig is that it's "bare bones" on purpose. It's missing a lot of stuff because it's really a development platform.

Like someone else said, the filter widths are marked W, M, N and the 100/1k/10k are the tuning steps.

To switch bands you have to take the top off (4 screws) and move 5 jumpers. Kind of a pain but you could easily build some type of switching circuit to do this, which is the point of the rig I guess- making it do what you want and learning.

Out of the box the RX is really nice so far, better than the Ten-Tec R4020 IMO. QSK is crisp and fast. Didn't take long to rustle up a contact last night on 40m.

I've ordered a HD44780 compatible LCD display to add to it, which it will support out of the box. You just have to build the circuit. Not sure how I will mount it but for now it will just sit on the breadboard I guess. Someone has also gotten the Nokia 5110 graphic display working on it as well, you just need to include a couple of libraries.

After that I may look at incorporating some of the existing open-source keyer code, but someone will likely beat me to it.

Another cool thing about this box is that Ten Tec pulled the 9mhz IF and put it on the ChipKit, so you could easily use this as the starting point of an SDR.

All in all a cool little rig. Very different approach, but I think TT is onto something.
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ex W4HFK
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