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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Ten Tec Argonaut Help

Reviews Summary for Ten Tec Argonaut
Ten Tec Argonaut Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $250 (approx.)
Description: The Classic: SSB/CW transceiver; all bands but WARC
Product is in production.
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KD5RJZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2005 14:08 Send this review to a friend
I <3 my Ten Tec Argonaut 505  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is a great radio to start you QRP obsession with. Great quality, a well written manual, and circuits so simple anyone can work on them.

I swear by my Argonaut, and I'll never part with it!
AE4TO Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2005 05:25 Send this review to a friend
The Argonauts rock!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Have a 509 and a 515 and I love these old classics.
Maybe is there pure simplicity, there low amp consumption, there excellent receivers, there excellent qsk, there analog dial.The receiver has a wide filter so you need the optional filter. The 515 is prettier but the 509 and beautiful too.
I taken them out for a sail throught the airwaves and they tack agains the wind!
Get one and feel the experience!
K3GM Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2005 08:56 Send this review to a friend
Fun rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I occasionally place my old 515 on the table and spend an evening in front of it. The best way to describe using this rig is that it's akin to taking the old MG out for a spin on a sunny weekend with the top down while the Lexus stays garaged. My 515 is just a fun, classic rig to use once in a while. Today while were all wrapped up with DSP's, roofing filters, and third order intercept figures, sometimes it just feels right to put on the Jeff cap, and take the little Argonaut out for a spin.
WA2JJH Rating: 4/5 Jan 7, 2005 00:22 Send this review to a friend
vintage ssb/cw QRP rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I still have the same one I purchased for something like $300. Back in 1978, no other qrp rig even came
close to Rx,Tx, and performance.

It looks like a full power rig. 4W cw 2w SSB.
The SSB should have been beefed up. They should have added one stage more after the balanced modulator.

IMHO, The 509 is the only SSB RIG that you should use a Turner super sidekick mic. The side kick had an audio transformer and magnetic mic element for a very
nice freq response. The side kick also had a negative feedback pot as well as gain. It was the only mic I could get a decent signal out on SSB.

One would really do the SSB SERVICE, IF THEY PUT IN
Only then would you have a good 5W SSB RIG.

HOWEVER ON CW, The 509 was simply the best QRP rig back then. Even by todays standards, with a CW FILTER IT ROCKS.

Simply the best QRP Rx back then. The operation has the big rig feel to it.
They had an excellent stock Rx filter in it.

Nice big Pc boards. Room inside that begs for any thing you want to put in.

The bad and ugly. The VFO. They used springs and a rope
on the vfo. The dial string would break with little effort. The RIT knob should be replaced with a larger
metallic knob. I found this reduced the infamous drift
when you adjusted the RIT.

Rca jacks for ant. pwr. key. everything. First must do mod is to change the ant connector to BNC. I also put in my own power cord and added a 1/4'' jack for external audio.

The receiver was best for QRP. A great receiver period. One could easily add extra xtal or op amp filters for even better rx. No Warc bands.

The 509 was LIKE THE K2 of QRP rigs back in 1978.
If you ever see one for under $200, you will be very happy with the purchase. Add a clean amp and you have
will have a 10-80m real rig.
They simply designed it to look like a 100W rig.
However it is very light. TEN-TEc used to make a solid state amp for the 509. It was either 50 or 100W.

The power was variable from 50mw-4W. You could operate on penlight cells. Ten Tec even put in a switch to turn off the meter and VFO LIGHTS for ultra low power consumption.

This rig was way a head of it's time. Except for the whimpy SSB audio, a top notch QRP rig, even by todays standards. No it as not nearly as good as a K2 or even a ft-817. However in the $200 price range, there is no rig like it.

KY6R Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2004 00:15 Send this review to a friend
Pure Fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I want to just have pure CW fun I either go to this rig or the Argonaut V. I may have met my DXCC goals with more sophisticated rigs, but the Argonauts are the most fun, and I think sound better than rigs that cost much more.
KB2HSH Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2004 19:44 Send this review to a friend
My (Novice) dream come true  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Picked one up off of eBay for $105. No, it's not perfect...and was missing the Owner's Manual and microphone. (No worries...another eBay shopping trip supplied the manual, and I was able to make an adapter to use my ceramic mic from my HW-30). My 505 needed an intense bath, the correct bandswitch knob (which I had already), and a PTO mechanism lube job. Basically, this radio is great. I didn't buy this rig to be a museum piece...and even with the poor atmosphere lately, I always have fun with it.

If there WAS a weakness in the older Argos, I feel it is the lack of filtering. If there were a way to eliminate nearby signals, the rig would be perfect...EVEN for a 1971 vintage radio.

But, nevertheless...a SSB/CW QRP rig of this quality never goes out of style.
N5IVZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2004 15:57 Send this review to a friend
Great rig that keeps on going!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought a used argonaut 515 last summer. Has been a lot of fun to use. Signal gets out quite easily with great signal reports.
Re-energized my cw and qrp work. Proud to have this fine piece of american engineering in my shack.
Its kind of weird, but i think the technicians at ten tec have devised a better sounding cw signal on the bands. my 515 will get contacts my kenwood 850 sometimes can not work.
if you manage to find one on ebay or at a hamfest buy it!
AB4QL Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2004 21:54 Send this review to a friend
What a great rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Argonaut 515 is an amazing radio. I have been involved with qrp for 25 years now and have
had the opportunity to operate many different types of qrp rigs in that time. This has been in
Field Day and contest enviroments plus every day use. It has been a superb radio ever since I took it home with me 24 years ago. Obviously it is now getting a little "long in the tooth" but it still performs flawlessly. I have had quite a few qrp rigs but this is the one I kept!
W9HC Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2003 17:34 Send this review to a friend
Model 515 = A Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Argo 515 is a classic that represents the high end of the pre-k1 QRP market. It's early 80's technology, but still offers a lot of performance on both CW and SSB. The matching Ten Tec mike is highly ineffective and should not be used. With a good mike and sensible drive levels, the audio from my 515 gets consistently good reports. The matching outboard audio filter is a collector's item, but is also highly effective in cutting QRM. Though lacking the "new" bands, the Ten Tec 515 is a sweet little radio that, in good condition, still commands a higher price now than it did when new! I must not be the only happy owner.

KG9H Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2002 13:52 Send this review to a friend
Argonaut performance still surprises me!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had about 10 of the Argonauts and the performace it has still surprises me! For a basic radio, it cannot be beat. If you are looking for QRP do look to the Argonaut, it will amaze you! Just make sure the VFO is tight or you can expect to pay 175 to make it right. I operate mine daily on 7.040, or on 20 SSB on a few nets. Other equipment in the shack includes Triton I's and II's. Frank KG9H
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