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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Ten-Tec Argonaut V (2002 model) Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Argonaut V (2002 model)
Ten-Tec Argonaut V (2002 model) Reviews: 19 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $795
Description: Argonaut 20W rig
Product is in production.
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K1FPV Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2009 16:41 Send this review to a friend
Great QRP Rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my Argo V for a number of years and still love it. Twenty watts PEP on 60 meters is terrific seeing you must keep the power down to 50 watts ERP and 20 watts on CW is plenty for working within the USA and often for DX. I often run mine down to 3 or 4 watts on CW.

Ten-Tec customer service is second to none. Thanks Ten-Tec for the terrific rigs and service!
W9HC Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2009 07:55 Send this review to a friend
Another Great Radio From TenTec  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought perhaps the last Argo V that Ten Tec sold before they withdrew the radio from their product line. It's tough making money on a QRP rig that costs this much. For that reason it naturally appeals to a smaller market segment than does the IC 703 (which I have also owned). Like other reviewers of this rig, I operate mostly QRP and almost entirely CW. The true QSK of the Argo is a joy. The filtering is first rate, and the ease of operation is very good. I get nothing but good reports. The receiver in this radio is excellent - typical Ten Tec. Almost every control on the Argo V serves more than one function. In the rush of a contest, it's easy to make a mistake, but charge that offense to the operator, not the radio. The throw back S-meter is neat, as is the large attractive display. This rig is a gem. It will become difficult to find a good used one in a few years, just as it was with the excellent Argo 515. I intend to keep mine for a long time. There are seven QRP rigs in the inventory here, including a much-loved K1, but if I had to choose only one - and someday I might very well have to - it would be the Argonaut V!

Steve, W9HC
W3BUG Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2008 04:27 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 !!
WA6L Rating: 5/5 Feb 28, 2008 15:57 Send this review to a friend
QRP Dream Machine  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own an Argonaut V, an Elecraft K2, and an Elecraft KX1. Each has its own strengths and is a great rig in its own right. The K2 is a contester’s dream, while the KX1 is perfect for backpacking. But in everyday use, you just cannot beat the Argonaut as an all-around QRP wonder-rig.

First of all, it is a fun rig to operate. There are no nested menus, no tap vs. hold buttons, and no multiple filter settings. Everything is clearly labeled and easy to reach. After an hour or so with the manual you can put it away.

Secondly, this little radio has a ton of features. It covers all the ham bands, throws in AM and FM modes, and has a general coverage receiver. Add a $15 cable (or make one yourself) and you have instant PSK and RTTY capabilities – no need to buy an expensive interface.

One feature that you learn to love is the bandwidth (‘BW’) control. Push a button, and you have a variable DSP bandwidth feature that can take you all the way down to 200 Hz. That makes it fast and easy to tune out noise and adjacent signals. Add the variable pass band tuning (‘PBT’) and you have complete control over the received signal.

The audio is exceptional, especially out of the built-in speaker. The analog meter gives you SWR, forward power, and reflected power as well as S-meter readings. Computer control is built in. And needless to say since it is a Ten-Tec, the Argonaut has some of the best QSK around.

By the way, if you can get hold of a Ten-Tec 1208 transverter, it makes a perfect, color-coordinated accessory to the Argonaut. I now have added 6-meter coverage as well.

The Argonaut V is not a portable or backpacking rig. And while I have used it successfully in a number of contests, it does not have the specifications to make it a “serious” contesting radio. Yet I spend 90% of my time in front of this rig: ragchewing, collecting SKCC/FISTS numbers, chasing DX, and listening to shortwave stations on the general coverage receiver. In 30 seconds I can bring up my digital software and be making PSK contacts. This radio is all about fun!

There have been a number of nits picked by other reviewers. The issues that they bring up may be important to some, but have meant nothing to me. The lack of a “band down” button is trivial, as most of the time I am either using my computer to control the frequency or using one of the 100 built-in memories. Others have complained about the 1/8” key jack. As a QRP operator, all my rigs have the 1/8” jack. I would have had heartburn if it was anything else.

The Argonaut V has proven to be not just a favorite QRP rig, but one of my favorite rigs – period.


John, WA6L
K3MD Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2008 19:58 Send this review to a friend
QRP Cadillac  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been trying NOT to write a review of this rig, since I have tried and own so MANY rigs. I had a very negative reaction to the Orion I, which proved very unreliable for me. This rig I bought used, and initally the finals died. Ten Tec determined that this was due to improper installation by a previous owner of final transisitors. The rig was promptly and courteously fixed.
Ran it in NAQP SSB, it is impossible to overload this receiver, despite the deep notch on the ARRL swept dynamic range graph. Graphs do not tell the entire story!
The transmit audio is super, cuts through QRM very well. Ten Tec put in the latest mods (1.08) for me for very little money.
I often run the rig in the 20 watt position for ragchewing.
The rig has no noise reducion DSP, but this does not seem to affect day-to-day operation. Maybe I can cop a cheap 599ZX unit on EBay. Do you like QRP? This rig will run circles around an FT-817 (which of course I also have).
I WOULD like a contest keyer inside the case, think I will put one in (have a kit on order).
KN7T Rating: 4/5 Nov 22, 2006 20:09 Send this review to a friend
Full-Featured QRP  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Argo V used - it was an earlier production model that had been recently given the "field" mod and updated firmware version. I immediately began using the radio as often as I could and I gave the radio a pretty good workout for a few days. One night, while I was transmitting on 40 meters, the power output suddenly dropped to almost zero. After doing some checking, I found out that the power output was fine on only one of the bands and nearly zero on the others. One of the switching diodes in the output filter network had failed - apparently a common nuisance problem with some of the early version radios. After talking to Ten Tec, it became obvious that the best thing to do was to send it back to them for repair. I did so and was told that the backlog on repairs was about 4 to 6 weeks. It took just about that long for the radio to be repaired and returned to me. I'm happy to say that the radio has performed just fine ever since. I do like this radio, especially the built-in filtering, QSK, and continuously variable 0 to 20 watts output power.

If you're looking for a radio to go portable with, there are better radios out there for that - the Argo really isn't designed to be used with batteries as a power source - it needs a dedicated 12 VDC supply. The rig is very compact and it is a radio that someone would likely be very happy with as a vacation rig in an RV or a remote location that has commercial power available. Obviously, it could be paired with a small amplifier to get it up to 100 watts output so it is very versatile in that regard.

My only gripe about the radio is that I don't like the layout of the connectors and output jacks in the back - it's pretty crowded to say the least. It can be a bit difficult to have the rig hooked to a computer with the on-board serial port and still use the external speaker jack at the same time. The ground stud also gets in the way from time to time but these are minor nit pickings to be fair.

I would certainly recommend this radio to anyone who is serious about operating QRP, either casually or for contesting.
W0AEW Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2006 09:23 Send this review to a friend
Terrific radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The simple front panel is what I greatly enjoy about this radio. No complicated multi-level menus to contend with. The radio is a straightforward piece of equipment to use.

I'll not repeat all of the functions mentioned in earlier reviews. However, I would like to contribute my thoughts on some of its operational characteristics.

I've recently been using the radio on a 160-meter AM net. From Longmont (about 40 miles north of Denver) my 5-watt AM signal can be heard in South Dakota and to other net stations in northern Colorado. The antenna is about 100 feet of wire, end-fed, and the counterpoise is a wire connected to a chainlink fence. The audio was weak with the suppied hand microphone but is of good quality with the 708 dynamic mic. I have the audio gain set to maximum without any distortion or over-modulation.

I have made several contacts on 20-meter SSB with good reports on the audio using either microphone.

PSK operation is easy to set up with the optional cable available from Ten-Tec that connects to the built-in interface. I've used the VOX function to control the radio, and it works quite well. I also built a simple RS-232 control interface for more "positive" control of the radio. However, operation seems to be identical with the VOX control.

I operate primarily CW. As others have already stated, the ability to adjust filtering in small steps from 200 Hz and up is very useful. The passband tuning is also very handy in reducing interference from close QRM. The adjustable noise blanker, however, can distort signals as its level is increased.

I'm very pleased with this radio.
K8SRB Rating: 3/5 Mar 2, 2006 15:13 Send this review to a friend
Not meant for me!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the radio on Wed., it arrived on Friday. I opened the box and it looked nice. After dinner I fired the radio and guess what? The S meter worked for few seconds and then it got stuck half way. The radio worked great, tx and rx, just no S meter movement. I played with the radio that weekend and called TT sales ( 800 number ) on Monday. TT sales told me to call the service dept and they will tell me how to fix the S meter. ( ? ) Service told me there is no fix for the S meter, just to send it in for the repair. Called the sales dept back and told them what service has told me. I asked what were my options and I was told I have two options: 1) send it in for repair. 2) get my money back. I chose No 2.
The reason I chose the No 2 option, was the way TT sales and service jerked me around. If I had to talk to sales and service dept., they should have transfered my call back and forth instead of leaving it up to me. I also think that the sales dept should have offered a replacement for the radio since it arrived in a broken condition. If they would have offered a replacement I would have upgraded this purchase to a Jupiter.
I have been a ham for over 46 years and had many radios from verious manufacturers. I had Century 21 and Century 22 and liked TT equipment. I also read many good comments on TT radios and their customer service. I also wanted to buy "made in USA", but it was "not meant for me".
73, Stan, K8SRB
W8JAS Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2006 05:51 Send this review to a friend
Argo V Better than a Elecraft K2  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had an Argonaut V for two years. I also had an Elecraft K2 and had that for about a year before I bought the Argonaut. For about a year I owned both rigs and did a side-by-side comparison. I really wanted to believe that the K2 was a better rig because everyone said it was supposed to be better.

While the K2 is a fine rig, I always came back to the Argonaut V as my radio of preference. The QSK on the Argo is great. The receiver is so beautifully quiet and sensitive. The variable filter is incredible especially when using the radio with digital modes. The display is easier to see, especially at night when we have taken the radio out on Field Day.

I think way so many say the K2 is better than any other radio on the market - and people do say that - is that there is a great amount of pride among owners who have built the radio. And they should be proud. But I bought mine already assembled so I don't have that same pride and therefore I think I am a bit more objective.

I was going to try and build a K2 before I bought my assembled unit, but I am just too old for that. Plus, when I looked at the cost of the K2 kit, I noticed that I could get a lot more rig, for a lot less money, with the Argonaut V.

So needless to say, a year ago I sold the K2 and now have the Argonaut V and use it 75% of the time I operate. If this radio were 100 watts, I'd use it 100% of the time, but sometimes I have to use another rig with a bit more power.

If you want an excellent radio, get an Argonaut V. You will love it.
NU4B Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2006 09:14 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned and used the Argo V since 12/2002 and the rig has been flawless. Just my experience, but excellent receive, Ten Tec QSK, and I've worked the world with it pumping out 5 watts. If I were to change anything, I would take the cw filters down to 50 or 100 hertz, and add a keyer that had a few more functions.
The firmware upgrade went well with no problems. I would recommend this rig - its been an outstanding one for me.
(As I was writing this I just worked 5H1C with 5 watts to a Carolina Windom on 17 meters) All I can say is its a great rig.
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