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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Ten-Tec Argonaut VI 539 Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Argonaut VI 539
Ten-Tec Argonaut VI 539 Reviews: 33 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $$995.00
Description: Argonaut VI 1-10 Watt Transceiver
Product is in production.
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AE6RQ Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2014 17:57 Send this review to a friend
Easy to use, Great Performance, Awesome RX audio quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After just a few hours with this radio, it's easy to conclude that Ten-Tec has done a superlative job with the Argonaut VI.

The user interface and controls are easy and 90% intuitive. The TMB switch avoids layers of menus. All of the functions that you'll regularly use are just one switch-flip and button-push away (or just a button push if the TMB is already where you need it). The main tuning knob is then used to adjust parameters such as output power, keyer speed, noise reduction level, etc. Other, infrequently accessed configurations (such as sidetone frequency) are just a click, flip, and push away. It's a dramatic departure from rigs with layered menus often using cryptic LCD tags.

The features, all accessed through that interface are just right. IF bandwidth down to 100 Hz, PBT, some really good noise reduction levels, and an easily adjustable noise blanker too (which I haven't had the chance to use yet).

The Argonaut V, which I sold to fund the VI, is a nice radio today, and it was an exceptional radio when introduced in 2003, but the past dozen years have really enabled dramatic improvements in performance and features that have found their way into the VI. Simply put, the VI's performance is in a completely different class than any other radio that I've ever used. My VI includes the 700Hz roofing filter and combining with the IF filter, I've already enjoyed the ability to copy a signal just above the noise floor, just about 500 Hz away from a S9 signal.

And oh... that lovely RF gain control!! (If you've used a Argonaut V, you'll know what I mean). It is really easy to listen for long periods to the Argonaut VI. Just bring the RF gain control down and the background noise with it. If the noise remains challenging, just engage that NR and enjoy - though I've found thus far that NR just isn't usually necessary when I use the RF gain correctly. I've always relied on external analog audio filters to clean up my signals with all of my earlier radios. Now, on the VI, I'm quickly learning that I just need to tweek the PBT, BW, NR, RF Gain.

The ease of use, fine performance, audio sound and clarity, and features of the Argonaut VI just make for a really fun radio that I'm sure to reach for before my other radios.

I'm a CW operator so I'm not yet in a position to review the SSB performance.

KO4O Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2014 23:23 Send this review to a friend
One of the best receivers  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The receive audio, while using the internal speaker, is some of the best I’ve heard from any transceiver. Very clean and well rounded sound. The transmit audio with the internal speech processor I get “great audio” reports when using the Tentec hand mike. The DSP BW system along with the PBT system, all the way down to 100 Hz BW, makes for sharp and clean CW with no noted distortion. The Auto Notch makes hetrodynes just go away with no noted artifacts. Ten Tec has a masterpiece in this great qrp rig.
KJ4FUU Rating: 5/5 May 13, 2014 05:59 Send this review to a friend
I love the simple interface!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have two QRP radios, the Argonaut VI and the Yaesu FT817ND. The Yaesu does cover 60, 12, and 6, but the Argonaut has a much easier to use interface (not as many menus), has DSP, and a larger display, among other things.

The Yaesu does have easier access to the SWR reading, but everything else is easier on the Argonaut. The Argonaut's receiver is much nicer than the FT817ND's in a contest environment. The only options I got were the hand mike (that *really* should come standard!), and the 700hz CW filter, since all I ever used AM for was tuning up.

I usually keep the radio dialed back to 5 watts, but it is nice to be able to bump up to 10 when needed. I can also dial it back to 0 watts to have about the most expensive practice keyer available. I have operated with a variety of portable antennas, with good results.

The main selling points for me were the fact that I didn't have to navigate a ton of menus, and Ten-Tec's sterling reputation. I highly recommend this radio for anyone interested in QRP. If you aren't a QRP guy, rather than buy the 100w Amp, I would suggest getting the Ten-Tec Eagle, but the Argonaut VI does everything I want, and my LiFePo battery will run it all day.
K9TWO Rating: 5/5 Mar 29, 2014 21:43 Send this review to a friend
Exceptional  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First I would like to preface my remarks by saying that I actually own this rig and did not use it for a few minutes at a friend's house and I will base my review on how the radio works, not on which bands the radio does not have. I have no problems with it not having the 60 or 12 meter bands, I never use them anyway. Ten Tec left those bands out for a reason. 60 meters is to much like a CB channel as far as I am concerned and 12 meters will soon be as dead as 10 meters.
Not knocking 10 meters, it has always been my favorite as long as you stay above 28.500
As far as the Argonaut, it has better receive audio then any rig I own. Much better than my IC-7600 and just a little better than my FTDX-3000.
I like to be able to turn the RF gain down and still have the S-Meter working. Most rigs won't do that. I use a LDG AT-200 Pro autotuner with mine. Just plug in the mic, set the rig at 5 watts and have it in the CW mode, key the mic and it puts out a carrier to start the tuner. Only takes a few minutes to tune all the bands. I will be using my Elecraft P3 with it soon since it has a 9mhz IF output capability. Ten Tec is sending me the needed cable to install the IF out port.
May have to use a buffer, will find out soon. Ten Tec is sending the cable FREE. In summary, this is one of the finest, simple and best sounding, non tiring rigs I have ever used and I have several. My tuner tuned all bands 80 thru 10 meters with no problems. If you are planning on getting one, I don't think you will be disappointed. Go to the Ten Tec site and read the specs. I did get the mic and cw filter with mine.
Ten Tec installed the filter and set the menu functions for it. I did go into the menu and turn on AM so I could listen to AM stations and WWV. Of course you can't transmit without the optional AM filter. Enjoy .... 73 K9TWO since 1959

Note: bought a Clifton Labs buffer amp and have the Elecraft P3 running with the Argonaut. Works great, plug and play.
W6GF Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2014 22:27 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an easy to use radio, with great RX audio and punchy TX audio. It holds it's own against my KX3, and most like the Argo's TX audio better

Great job Ten Tec

George W6GF
KF7DS Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2013 15:21 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful RX - great rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Recently purchased a 539, which is my first Ten Tec rig...honestly, I was expecting a desk bound KX3, not a QRP rig with robust rx and excellent audio that is not fatiguing to listen to for extended periods....very impressed.....and, that is through the included speaker.

The filtering is very good....I can use the rig on 40m without an RX antenna, and the only other radio I have had that can do that with my antenna farm is my FTDX3000 (which has many more filter options).

The ergonomics are simple and the radio is a pleasure to operate...Ten Tec hit a home run on the interface....The lack of 6m or 12m is not an issue as neither are open enough to dictate whether I would purchase the radio or not.

I like the radio so much that I ordered an Eagle. Now I have portable and home station options:).
K1FPV Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2013 13:46 Send this review to a friend
Another Great Argonaut To Continue the Tradition!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It took me a lot less time to enjoy this new Argonaut than it did my previous model (Argo V) which I still have and use. I got the AM and CW roofing filters with it and I've noticed on CW, it comes close to the performance of my Orion II. No....I didn't say as good, I said comes close!

The CW filter gives it a nice touch. Last night, I decided to try 75 meter DX on SSB and wasn't disappointed. I worked an EA3 with a 4/5 report and was called afterwards by a VE3 who gave me an unsolicited compliment on the audio.

Yes, it doesn't have 60 meters or the 12 meter band, I knew that before buying it. If someone buys it and complains that it didn't cover those bands, didn't you read the specs first?

I find the 539 to be a nice, capable and fun rig to use. Ten-Tec has yet to disappoint me!
VK2JJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2013 04:59 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Considering my experiences with this rig, which could simply be described as exceptional, I wonder how somebody could describe the Argonaut VI as "mediocre".

With basic wire antennas (inverted vees) I am having fun with plenty of DX CW QSOs to USA and Europe on 30m using 10 Watts from here in Australia.

My previous rig was a Kenwood TS-590, which is a fine rig, but the receiver in the Argonaut is a step better.

The quality of the receiver and QSK in the Argonaut makes operating a joy.


VOODOO2 Rating: 2/5 Aug 25, 2013 04:18 Send this review to a friend
A mediocre QRP rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When using this xcvr at my friends QTH, it certainly takes quite a bit of time to come up the competent user curve.
The rig works well for what it is but for over $1000 there are many other full featured choices out there that will run circles around this rig.
But I am guessing there is a loyal base of TT fans who will not be dissuaded. Whatever floats your boat.
WB8DQT Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2013 08:24 Send this review to a friend
A first-rate extension of the Argonaut legacy!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This rig has a superb receiver and the learning curve for accessing functions is a small price to pay for the simplicity of the front panel! To date I have operated operated the rig on CW (faultless Ten Tec QSK), SSB, SSTV (analog and digital), PSK31, and JT65A and have received consistently good reports on signal quality.

I operate QRP exclusively (QRO reserved strictly for emergency communication) and have had a nice range of QRP rigs. I expect this one will be my favorite. My older Argo V has now been moved to the cottage for portable work and the 539 has taken center stage at the home station. The 539 is not intended as a trail radio and if that's what you want, you should look elsewhere. I have two Ten Tec R4XXX rigs for the trail and I can afford to lose either of them - a pretty basic aspect of any wilderness radio! I also have a Flex 1500 - a real technical marvel with superb performance, but you need a very capable computer and the software is nowhere as integrated as it should be. I think the 539 receiver is better than the Flex and I don't need the computer!

The rig is "missing" the 60, 12, and 6 meter bands. If that is important to you, don't buy the radio. That's pretty simple and does not have anything to do with how well it works! If you are concerned with ratings based on performance, you had best stay with reviews from those who have actually used the 539!

I am operating the digital modes with a Signalink USB interface and it works fine. Just remember to "turn on" the accessory connector by adjusting the line gain as described in the manual. Just for the record, I find that precision digital modes can only be pushed to 4-5 watts out without running afoul of excessive IMB. Less demanding modes such as CW, conventional RTTY, and analog SSTV can be pushed much closer to the rig's 10 watt maximum output.

I purchase the rig looking forward to retirement and I am pleased with the decision.
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