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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Ten-Tec Omni-VI/Opt 1 Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Omni-VI/Opt 1
Ten-Tec Omni-VI/Opt 1 Reviews: 10 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Ten-Tec Omni-VI with Option 1 Upgrade chips
Product is in production.
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W4IDW Rating: 5/5 Nov 23, 2010 05:07 Send this review to a friend
OMNI 6 + Owner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'll make this quick.. I'm a CW guy. This rig beats every rig I've ever owned; Kenwood TS-120/130/140/180/440/520/530/820/830/930/940........ICOM 703/735/740/746/761/765.....Yaesu FT 7/FT-101/301/401/747/757GX2/840/847....Ten Tec Argo 509/Argo II/Paragon/Argosy/Corsair & Corsair II/OMNI C & D/Triton 4.... Beats it hands down.... Imagine tuning the bands, finding a very weak cw signal, just at or below the noise level, so you copy maybe 50% of the characters. They you hit the NR button, the noise is almost completely gone and the signal jumps out of nowhere!!! If you know what I'm talking about, then you have operated the Ten Tec OMNI 6+. 73 W4IDW
KC8HXO Rating: 4/5 Apr 13, 2007 03:50 Send this review to a friend
Good, maybe even great radio- even today  Time owned: more than 12 months
First off, it may appear that I did not like my Omni VI. That's not true-- I just like my TS-850s more. The Ten Tec will be off frequency when you turn it on. period. It drove me nuts. Want to be NCS? Better remember to turn on the Ten Tec 1/2 hour or more before net time. Then it was OK. I guess for about $50 TT will sell you a TCXO conversion. If I kept mine, I would have done that. It has a GREAT receiver. It is equal to my Kenwood, but I never found it superior. Not one time. I did a LOT of side-by-side listening, switching between rigs at the flip of a switch. Just my experience, folks. I guess the Inrad roofing filter, for $175, improves this great receiver even more. Another improvement I did not make. One area where it is inferior to the Kenwood is received audio. In standard form, on SSB, it SUCKS. I guess if you want to lay out another $250 or so for a couple Inrad wide IF filters, it will be much better. Again, I would have done that, too, if I kept mine. QSK is flawless. (nuff said). Well, in case you didn't guesss, I hung on to the Rice-box, and let the TT go. Sometimes I regret it, being a made in USA type of person..... then I remember how much it irritated me when I turned it on..... off frequency. It would be fun to buy one, and get it all tricked-out with the aforementioned mods.
All in all, I guess it really is a great rig..... just has a few quirks. Buy one- you may love it!!
KZ5I Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2005 21:35 Send this review to a friend
Great Bargain for a Classic Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just recently purchased an Omni VI/Opt1 and I am glad I did !

The receiver is excellent and exceptionally quiet.
The ergonomics are excellent making it easy to tune across the bands.

The ability to adjust the tuning increments on CW and SSB is icing on the cake for this great radio.

73 Emmett de KZ5I
KY6R Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2004 15:50 Send this review to a friend
NI0C is Right!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've tried just about every radio worth using for weak signal DX, and the Yaesu FT-1000D is one of the best.

The only two rigs that I have tried that I like more are the Orion - which is the best of the best, and the Omni VI Option 1 that I now have as a back up to the Orion.

I've been through just about every decent Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu rig, and for weak signal CW DX-ing, Ten Tec tops them all. Sometimes a little "funky" or "quirky", but on the air, I can work weak signals the best with the Orion and Omni VI Option 1.

A fully loaded Omni VI series radio on the used market is (currently) the best DX deal going!
NI0C Rating: 5/5 Dec 13, 2004 10:29 Send this review to a friend
Great bargain!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My mean time between transceiver purchases (about seven years) rivals my mean time between automobile purchases. However, since Ten Tec has come out with the Orion, some Omni owners are trading them in and the prices are more attractive than ever. I purchased a pre-owned Omni VI from Ten Tec several weeks ago, and have since upgraded it to the Option 1. (Thanks to Ten Tec for continuing to stock the upgrade chips).

When the radio arrived, I set it up for a quick comparison with my trusty TS-850S. A/B tests with weak signals on 80m cw showed that copy was better with the quieter Omni. Some of the features I particularly enjoy with the Omni VI/Opt. 1 are:

*Four optional filter slots, allowing me a more flexible choice of CW bandwidths.

*separate jacks for a key and a paddle for the internal keyer

*Liberal use of inexpensive RCA jacks for hookup (whoever came up with the idea of a 13-pin DIN connector is seriously warped)

*Receive antenna input for lowband work

*Individually selectable tuning rates by mode, i.e., CW, data, and SSB (that's nice!)

*CW offset and tracking sidetone with easily adjusted amplitude (including off for keyboard operation) and frequency variable in ten Hz steps

*superb receiver, enhanced by DSP noise reduction

*The famous Ten Tec QSK characteristics

*Frequency calibration was accurate with ten Hz (my Kenwood rig was always off by about 50 Hz)

*Transmitter tolerates 3:1 SWR with no apparent power foldback-- for me this eliminates the need for a "tuner."

It's a great radio that should be seriously considered in comparison to some of the newer radios in the $1200 - $2000 price range.
K4BXN Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2002 08:27 Send this review to a friend
WOW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have enjoyed operating my Omni V, think it is a great rig. But after much thought, I took the plunge and got an Omni VI with option 1. What a difference. This Omni VI is a definite step up. Much easier to operate. Definitely worth the extra money.
W3ULS Rating: 4/5 Oct 17, 2001 12:17 Send this review to a friend
A Bargain  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used an OMNI-VI with Option 2 installed (same electrical upgrade as Option 1 but with cosmetic improvements done at factory)that I bought used from Ten-Tec. It does not have dual receive, a built-in tuner, SSB audio monitor or general coverage receive. And it is a bit homely looking. Hence a 4 out of 5.

However, where the rubber hits the road, in receiver performance, the OMNI VI option 2, even though its basic design is almost a decade old, still finishes ahead of the pack (See receiver data comparison in July QST review sidebar on Kenwood TS-2000). Will the new Icom 756 ProII have better specs than the OMNI VI? Who knows? However, in the July QST listings, the discontinued 756 Pro and the newer Yaesu 1000 MP MK V do not match the OMNI VI in 5 kHz spacing specs. Also, the OMNI VI with option 2 is very quiet. It may be that slightly better signal-grabbing selectivity can be coaxed from the competition's receivers with their more advanced DSP circuits, but in 95% of real-world operating situations, there will be no audible difference.

On transmit, the OMNI VI cannot be beat on CW, QSK or otherwise. SSB transmit quality is at least adequate.

Bottom Line: For CW mavens, this rig is unbeatable. And the price used is now down to the IC-746 level. Why pay more?
K5AF Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2001 14:19 Send this review to a friend
Open it up!  Time owned: months
All I have to do to appreciate my Omni VI is to open it up. I bought a stock Omni VI at a bargain price a couple years back. I've always been satisfied with the performance, but power output was always at about 85W and the SWR was slightly off.

I finally had a few days free, so I decided to tweak the SWR and adjust to ALC for 100W output. The procedure was simple, and well-explained in the manual.

I've had the cases off of both of my Omnis at one time or another, but I never cease to marvel at the clean and spacious interior, the clear labelling of all internal adjustments, and the overall quality of the build.

To make a long story short, I was able to quickly find the items to be adjusted, make the adjustments, and button up the radio within 30 minutes of time. Everything is now perfect, accurate SWR and 100W output everywhere.

Before I started, I made my customary call to TT service to ensure there were no hidden "gotchas" when making these adjustments. I got the typical polite and knowledgeable response from the service team.

These are great radios, and they give a real feeling of satisfaction when users can make adjustments and fix prolems.

KD7KGX Rating: 5/5 Aug 26, 2001 04:30 Send this review to a friend
The best bargain in an HF transceiver available!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Although I've been wanting an Omni VI+, I haven't been wanting to spend the $2700 to get one. Not that I don't think they're worth it... but try justifying that to your spouse when she asks why you spent a grand (and built yourself) a K2.

I was lucky enough to run across an Omni VI/Option 1 a few weeks ago that I bought for less than half the price above, even after shipping was included. I've been running the rig for a few days and it is simply outstanding. Silky smooth QSK (now I know why Ten-Tec QSK is famous), an incredible receiver (lets me dig out and clearly decode weak DX PSK31 signals that are almost being stepped on by strong stateside operators), fairly intuitive front panel (I was able to operate without reading the manual, but it took me a few minutes to figure out everything), awesome DSP (I have the MFJ-784B that is fair-to-middlin', but pressing the NR button on the VI is like yelling SHUT UP! to the noise on the band... and having it listen)... I'm really happy with the rig. Oh, by the way, it's loafing at 30w on PSK31, only drawing 8 amps during transmit and less than an amp on receive, and the heatsink is only warm after hours of operating.

What IS the Option 1 upgrade? Simple... it eliminates every difference between an Omni VI and a VI+ except the extra 9Mhz IF filter position. All Omni VIs and VI+s come with two filters (one in the 6Mhz IF, one in the 9Mhz IF), and these are usually a 2.4k filter in the 9Mhz IF and a 2.4k filter in the 6Mhz IF. Both the VI and VI+ have slots for three more 6Mhz filters. The VI only has one slot for an additional 9Mhz filter (controlled by the 'NAR' button on the front panel) while the VI+ has two slots for 9Mhz filters. In other words, the VI has up to 6 filters (2 9Mhz, 4 6Mhz), while the VI can have up to 7 (3 9Mhz, 4 6Mhz).

After the VI+ was introduced, Ten-Tec offered 3 levels of upgrades for the VI for a limited time:

Option 1 - adds the VI+ DSP chips, labels for front panel keys that have changed function

Option 2 - adds the VI+ DSP chips, new keycaps for front panel keys that have changed function instead of the labels (looks nicer)

Option 3 - adds the VI+ DSP chips, adds the VI+ 9Mhz mixer/IF board with the extra filter slot, includes all wiring changes to change functionality to that identical to a VI+

The factory considers any VI/Option 3 to be physically, electrically and functionally the same as a VI+. Except for the model designation on the front panel, it is! Of course, new VI+s have a lot of SMDs, while earlier VI+s and all VIs are through-hole components.

Many hams have found that the VI+ and it's 9Mhz board are the source of birdies and other anomolies that do not exist in the VI. There has been considerable discussion on the Ten-Tec elist about tracking down and eliminating these birdies. As far as I know, the VI doesn't share these problems.

So... if you can't decide whether you want a VI/Opt1 or a VI+, ask yourself whether the ability to have one extra filter is worth $1400 (the original price difference was only a couple hundred dollars, and I _DO_ think the VI+ is a good deal because you're getting the factory warranty AND a radio that outperforms most of its competitors).
N4UW Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2001 00:21 Send this review to a friend
Most Bang for the Buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
Many reviews have been done on the Omni-VI Plus, so no need to re-hash that here....However, the original Omni-VI with the Option 1 upgrade chips has to be one of the best values currently around for superior receiver performance along with the features not found on the Omni-V. I'm on my second Omni-VI/Opt 1 rig. Sold the 1st one, bought a IC-746, and recently decided to go back.
Why? Although the 746 is an excellent radio for the money, its receiver cannot compete in the real world with the Omni-series rigs. Since so much of our hobby is now tied to computers, being able to run the rig along with the computer is becoming the norm. The IC-746 picked up tremendous amounts of hash from the computer and monitor, which made listening on some frequencies very difficult. But the Omni sounds the same whether the computer is on or not...Mine is sitting right next to the monitor, and the S-meter sits on 0-1 if there are no stations or static. Signals leap out at you as you tune. The Omni series is legendary for their receive performance, and is still not equaled by most, if not all, of the imports. The Option 1 upgrade is still available from Ten-Tec if you happen to find an un-modified Omni-VI, but I suspect there are not too many of them left. The Option 1 gives you close to 90% of the features of either Option 3 upgrade rigs or even the current production Plus model, but at a much lower cost. The street prices of the Omni-VI/Opt 1 are running in the $12-14K range, depending on extra filters, power supply, etc. This is lower than what Ten-Tec offers as the trade-in value of the radio, if you have one in excellent condition. Based on the ones I've either owned or operated, I would recommend looking for one of 1994 vintage or later, as the earlier examples had a few bugs that Ten-Tec worked out in the latter models. The 94-on versions also have a smoother-turning encoder for the main tuning dial. I feel that the Omni-VI/Opt 1 presents an unbeatble combination of cost vs performance, considering its receiver, ease of operation, and of course, the parts/service/support/help availability from the good folks at Ten-Tec.

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