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

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Argonaut V
Ten-Tec Argonaut V Reviews: 96 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $895.
Description: USA-made 20 watt IF-DSP HF Transceiver
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Ten-Tec Argonaut V.

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WX4O Rating: 4/5 Sep 13, 2008 13:13 Send this review to a friend
Good QRP rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Discontinued now. The reason for the noisy receive
(IMHO) is the lack of a RF gain control. It's wide open all the time. Variable passband is good if you learn to slightly retune it to keep the desired signal within the passband as you narrow it. Overpriced new. Sold mine.
WA6MOW Rating: 4/5 Sep 13, 2008 12:30 Send this review to a friend
Compact , with good cw performance.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ham gear is interesting to use and review. I have owned numerous rigs over the last few years. My conclusion is that there is no one peice of gear that is perfect for everyone. The Argonaut is a good compact rig for someone who wants an inexpensive(used) QSK cw rig. It is a little unusual compared to the Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu gear, with its odd band stacking and high current drain. I like using this lttle rig as its simple limited menue is kind of refreshing. Try and FT-950 to see what I mean. I like the looks of the Argo and I think the performance is quite good for the cw operator. I wasn't thrilled with my K2 as I found that it was way over rated. I'm using my Argo with a Z100 tuner and a doublet and it is a lot of fun. Before you buy a used Argo, look at a used FT-450 and a used Icom IC-703. Both rigs are also a lot of fun but lack the famous Ten Tec QSK. Before you buy any radio, "spin the knobs" to see if it blends with your personality. Hams are like rigs, all a little diferent and all unique in their own way.
N7AF Rating: 3/5 Jul 17, 2008 09:08 Send this review to a friend
Less than impressive.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have owned mine five years and had approximately 100 contacts, mostly CW, before the RF PA failed.

1. Receiver is noisy and there seem to be DSP "artifacts" compounding the problem.

2. Excellent QSK, as in all Ten Tec rigs, though the noisy receiver makes it a bit unnerving until you get used to it.

3. Awkward user interface as noted by others but usable once you get used to it.

4. Variable selectivity is very nice.

5. RF PA consumes a lot of power and generates a lot of heat for the power output.

6. RF PA failed during antenna tune-up at half power about a year ago. Trying to decide whether it's worth the investment to fix.

7. Comparing reception of a given signal on the Argonaut V, an Elecraft K2, and a Yaesu FT-450, the Argonaut comes out at the bottom.

8. A lot of money for a QRP rig with a "so-so" receiver, IMHO.

WA4JM Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2008 16:51 Send this review to a friend
One Year Later...Very Happy!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this rig for FD 2007 to run PSK-32. I am listening to it now as I am typing this. I just checked in to the Georgia SSB Net running 15 watts on 3975.

It runs PSK as advertised.

If you want a cool rig for this price, you are a fool to not buy one!
K7FD Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2008 23:10 Send this review to a friend
Analog feel in a DSP world...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When my xyl asked for birthday gift ideas, it didn't take me long to jot down 'Argonaut V' for her...

I've always liked the way this radio looks; it made a first good impression when I spotted it some years back. But somehow, it eluded me...until now.

My main interest in any transceiver is the receiver; not so much how it sounds during a contest but how does it sound day in and day out. This one is easy on the ears...low noise, no hiss, no hum...

The IF DSP variable bandwidth works like a charm; I like the way you can dial it in on the fly. And the Argonaut V has a 'hot receiver'; don't be shy to turn on some attenuation on the low's got plenty of stuff to hear the weak ones!

Ease of operation and ergonomics fit my style of operating...buttons, knobs...what you see is what you get with most of them handling a couple of functions each...

Remember analog S meters? This rig's got a BIG one! It's backlit in green to match the BIG LED frequency readout. Have you looked at the picture of this rig on Ten Tec's website? It's even better in person...

On CW I get a full 20w out as measured on my digital watt meter. This is with a 1.6:1 SWR...and no built-in tuner. The QSK keying can't be any better...

I'll give this rig a full five stars. It's got that 'analog' kinda feel in a DSP world...

73 John K7FD

KC7YTK Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2008 13:24 Send this review to a friend
Fun & Nifty!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ok, I purchased this radio last year as I was looking for something a little more modern than my beloved Ten-Tec Scout (full featured rx, multi-mode, more filter options, ect...). I looked at all the HF+6 models from the big 3, even considered an FT2000D (oh baby!) but had to be realistic-living in an apartment complex, not able to put out a permanent antenna, no designated place for a radio shack, don't have much time to get on HF anyway-so I kept my choice to something small and practical. I do not like how the big 3 build -in my opinion- inferiority into their rigs. Many features designed to be costly add-ons ie, features designed OUT of the radio so you can pay MORE to add them back in-things like IF filters?!?!? Since Ten-Tec's rigs have everything included, and my excellent experience with their equipment in the past, I opted to give Made In The USA another go.

No Disappointment Here!

The Argo is small and solid, I like the feel of the tuning knob, solid. The receiver audio is great, even for AM on the broadcast and shortwave bands. All the controls are easy to use and the menus are simple to navigate-intuitively designed in my opinion. The memories are convenient. I programmed in the 60m channels, WWV, 10m repeaters, local broadcast channels, and more, band changing is fine just as it is-some complained about only being able to go up. I have never found it to be a problem. I guess it could be programmed in a firmware update to activate the multi-knob when you hit the band button, but then others would probably gripe about that too. On my Scout I use a D104 mic, but have found on the Argo that the stock hand mic has clear, strong audio and the D104 was reported as to sensitive/overdriving. Oh well. 20 watts seems puny, but when the bands are open, I have no problem making contacts and filling the pages of my log. Others are at times surprised when I tell them I am running 20 to a portable whip mounted on my balcony. With the massive heat sink on the back, I have not yet been able to get the rig to run at anything beyond slightly warm. Bravo Ten Tec! I also have a 50,000 watt station just a few miles down the road from me, and the Argo does a great job rejecting interference from it. Not bad for a low price rig!

This rig has been a joy to use, and I find I turn to it more than the venerable Scout. I am also glad I purchased it over the more inexpensive 100 watt rigs from the big 3. 36 filter options included vs. 2-3 filter options you have to pay for, better performance numbers, solid construction and plenty of room on the front panel (yes, I have seen and used some of the other not to be mentioned rigs in the same price class, and I was not impressed. I am not a elf, I need some space for my fingers to work).

My only suggestion to make it better would be for Ten-Tec to come out with an Argo V 2.0, with 6 and 2m added (like an Argo/526 hybrid). I would buy that!

73's! de KC7YTK
W3BUG Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2008 04:25 Send this review to a friend
It's a keeper !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my new Argo V for about a week now and it has found a permanent home in the shack. This little rig is a real gem for low power operation. Solid construction and a real pleasure to operate. The filtering is a blessing to CW ops. Clean audio and plenty of it. This is my first Ten-Tec and believe me, I'll be looking in their direction for my next full size rig without any hesitations. If you can get a chance to operate an Argo V, I think you will be very pleased. Hats off to Ten-Tec !!
N3DF Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2008 08:39 Send this review to a friend
Great for PSK31 from Apartment  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I regard my Argonaut V as an excellent rig for PSK31 use from my high-rise condo.

Hookup to my Dell desktop computer with MixW and Digipan software and to my RigExpert digital interface was fast and easy. I feed 12 watts to the Buddipole loaded dipole antenna on my condo balcony and make as many 20 and 40 meter PSK31 QSOs as I have time for. The rig never gets more than a little warm and there is absolutely no interference to the cable TV, stereo or phone systems. The MixW software can even control the rig's frequency.

I highly recommend this compact radio to those seeking to send out a digital signal from an apartment or condo.
K3EY Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2008 12:56 Send this review to a friend
Lots of Fun Packaged Small & Inexpensive Made in USA  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I wrote a review on this radio back a couple years. It must have made Ten Tec mad as I am not allowed to buy their radios any longer but can use their service department which we all know is the best in the industry.

Since I am almost all CW and never finished my WAS QRP CW which I started a decade ago, well I wanted a real QRP rig to finish the job. Since I am not allowed to buy Ten Tec radios from the factory, plus the fact these models are out of stock as I write thisÖwell I did the eBay thing and lucked out with a new 07 model that was truly new.

My trouble is I have owned the K2 and PROIII both great receivers so I am tough to please. No the Argonautís receiver is not as quiet as either radio mentioned, but for the money difference--duh. A fully loaded K2 is not cheap and if you have someone build it---well you can buy a PROIII new. Ask the builders on the Elecraft list for proof.

The Argonaut Vís receiver is more than acceptable. Using it on 160 with the top band qrn that is always present it works great without producing fatigue. I found by simply narrowing the band pass with the neat Jones filter the qrn/qrm is mostly gone providing a comfortable and easy listening receiver.

The other features offered on this neat little radio make CW a pleasure, actually fun. You can vary everything to do with CW to your liking.

Itís amazing what 5 watts will do plus you can take it up to 20 watts. I see on the higher bands the power output drops to about 15/16 watts, mine does anyway.

The audio is clear and volume from the stock speaker is truly outstanding. I use headphones so I donít bother others in the house the audio is so powerful.

I see some reviewers complained about the band change function only going up, which is true, regardless it doesnít bother me in the least. Going completely around in a loop is plenty fast, maybe not nano seconds fast if it had a down button. But I say--who cares? I sure am not bothered by that small matter. The receiver is what I care about and the receiver on this radio is fine for my operating style and obviously many others as per the reviews.

The feel of the VFO is nice and firm and I really appreciate the fast/slow frequency tuning feature because it was engineer, IMO, just right.

A quick SSB QSO to W4HV down near the Ten Tec plant from here near Pittsburgh netted a strong signal report and as he stated: You have fantastic audio-- thatís using the stock hand microphone at 20 watts with an inverted vee.

Nice radio priced fair to begin with plus I got a new one at a used price--how can I possibly complain like did a few years back---guess I matured :)

I thought about the FT450 because the price with discounts is close, but the Ten Tec QSK is impossible to beat and since I am almost all CW--well Ten Tec is the only logical choice if youíre a serious CW OP.

Ok Scott-- a little love for you and your company via this review---so can I order an Orion II now? No. Then how about the Jupiter? :)


WY8M Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2007 07:00 Send this review to a friend
Warming up to it...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Please read my original review below first.

Found out my Argo-V was made in 2005, and it has the TCXO & fan & v1.08 firmware.

Did not drill into the back of the radio. The old style female 1/4" stereo jacks I had in stock were too big for the existing space, and I didn't want to unsolder the 1/8" jack.
Soo... soldered up an adaptor out of junk-box scraps.

Now that I've finally made a couple QSO's, and checked into my local 15M CW net, I'm liking the Argo more.

Don't let the basic-looking front panel fool you, there's a lot lurking behind there... for instance:
> The simple looking analog meter performs MANY functions like multiple pwr scales, swr, current draw. Read the manual!
> The keyer is adjustable for side tone freq, level, and weighting. Read the manual! (seeing a pattern yet?)
> The DSP bandpass filtering works well. Yes, the skirts are broad, but now realized WHY. Remember on the Icom Pro's, the DSP filter skirts were "brick wall"? Remember how all said that, while definitely being a brick wall, it sounded awful? So on the Pro-II's, they offered a broader skirt option? That's how I run mine. Sounds better, easier on the ears.
THAT's why the filter skirts are not "brick wall" on the 516. They could've been, but they chose sound quality. Hearing is believing. My Argo "sounds better", easier on the ears, than my Pro.

So, to sum it up, it's a good lil' rig, definitely more than meets the eye.
Perfect? No. But is any rig?



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