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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Ten-Tec Corsair Help


Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Corsair
Ten-Tec Corsair Reviews: 25 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 160-10 Meter HF Transceiver
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.qsl.net/tentec/
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K4AXF Rating: 5/5 Jan 5, 2013 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Just plain FUN  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is the second Corsair I've owned - the first was a Corsair II, and for some reason it didn't grab me like this one has. My Corsair came from the previous owner with the 8-pole 2.4 KHz filter in the 9MHz IF, as well as the 1.8 KHz, 500 Hz, and 250 Hz filters in the 6 MHz IF. It also came with a hiss reduction mod, and an agc mod to allow turning the power down to less than 1 watt. To this I have added the K4DPK VFO (PTO actually) stabilizer.

It is hard to express just how much FUN this rig is to operate. The receiver is extremely pleasing to listen to both for SSB and CW. It's like when I was a kid ham; I'd rather get on the air with my Corsair than do just about anything else.

All of the front panel controls work very well, engineered by someone who really must have been an active operator. The filters, band pass tuning, and notch filter are really, really effective at helping one work through QRM and QRM. I get frequent, unsolicited report from folk I work that the CW note and keying are excellent.

Immunity to de-sense and overload interference from nearby strong signals is excellent - Sherwood receiver rankings notwithstanding.

Did I mention how pleasing it is to operate? It's also an extremely handsome rig. Brings to mind HT-32, SX-115, and SX-88 era Hallicrafters gear. I come into the shack and just smile at the sight of my Corsair and matching power supply sitting there at my operating position.

OK, Ten-Tec gear can be quirky - like the power on-off/push-pull switch on the RF Gain knob, while the RF Preamp on-off/push-pull switch is on the AF-Gain knob. (Ten-Tec swapped them around on the Corsair II.) RIT/XIT on Ten-Tec is called RX, TX, Offset, Continuing to use RCA connectors. And so on.

I've owned a Lot of rigs over the 50 years I've been an active ham. Gotta admit, the features and functions available are nothing short of miraculous. BUT. And it's no small thing - I DON'T LIKE LISTENING TO DSP. And I don't like the sound of the band as worked over by DSP. Granted, I am old, and I am irritated by a lot of what's called progress these days. Yes, call me a Luddite - I don't mind. Proud of it actually.

The Corsair is 30 years old and still is fun to use, still works great! And good looking? Forgedaboudit.

73, Jim

 
N3IBX Rating: 5/5 Apr 28, 2011 10:52 Send this review to a friend
Terrific solid state rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is my first experience with a Ten-Tec product, and am very impressed with my Corsair model 560. I acquired it about 3 months or so ago, along with the model 263 external VFO and the Ten-Tec speaker/power supply. The rig has both accessory CW filters (500hz, 250hz) and the narrow (1.8kc) ssb filter. For the age of the rig I'm quite impressed with it and really enjoy operating it over some of my other tranceivers that I have at my disposal.
The VFO is a little drifty, but I've learned to compensate for it. The notch filter really works and is about as good as any digital notch I've used.
The 1.8khz narrow ssb filter is especially good for net operation, when you have another qso going on a few khz away to eliminate some "monkey chatter"

The model 263 external VFO allows you to monitor both A and B frequency simultaenously like a "Signal One". I find this feature particularly handy when working split frequency in the 80M DX window. You can listen to both your transmit and receive frequencies at the same time.

If you get a chance to buy one at a good price, I'd definitely recommend it. It's c chance to use a classic American made rig that will perform as good or better than some of the Japanese rigs of the same era.

I have other rigs at my disposal, yet I keep coming back to the Corsair model 560!

 
W2RBA Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2010 20:08 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio from days of yore  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased a new Corsair in 1983 and liked it so much that I have kept all these years (although my main rig has been updated during the '00s). The problems noted by reviewers were not really problems: 1) Noise Blanker was very good on the Russian woodpecker (over the horizon radar) at the time and having been optimized for that annoyance (*what* an annoyance!), the NB was less than useful when the woodpecker ceased operation about 1990; 2) the "noisy receiver" really wasn't; as noted below, there was the option of retrieving the low level audio signal before the preamp and using alternate means to amplify it; and 3) the PTO was, well, the PTO, it was in the age of largely analog tuning and it runs solidly for 9 or 10 years at a time (daily use). True, the AGC is audio derived and that's definitely less than ideal, but this is a radio that was designed 28 years ago. The wide range of options and the flexibility of Corsair made it a truly great radio; only the passage of time and the improvements time bring us tarnish the radio.
 
KC8HXO Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2010 15:02 Send this review to a friend
OMG, as they say....  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Back a few years, someone said it might be the best bargain in hamradiodom. I concur yet today. What a nice, smooth receiver. Audio is nice, and rejection capabilities with filters, passband tuning, and notch is sweet. Dr. Ulrich Rhode would approve. I think new hams should get simple rigs like this one when they begin. If they learn the basics on a simple rig, they'll enjoy their fancier rigs more. For instance, if you are operating below 20M, I would venture to guess you need to turn off your recieve pre-amp..... and lower the RF gain to increase the S/N ratio. A can of Caig De-Oxit and some synthetic grease will turn a "sow's ear" into YOUR silk purse!!
 
G3TAG Rating: 5/5 Oct 9, 2010 08:47 Send this review to a friend
Still going strong.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I last wrote regarding the Corsair in this column in 2006. Nothing has changed regarding my remarks at that time. I have tried a number of rigs since that time and find the Corsair still knocks spots off them. Ok, so it has not got 200 knobs, buttons, menus and flashing lights. There is no distortion producing, menu driven, audio mangling device with which you can bore the pants off your contact by fiddling with its settings. Its receiver is fantastic, amazing notch filter, superb pass band tuning and silky smooth break in for CW. Anything else is just “Go Faster” stripes, and therefore not required.
The transmitter will not fall over, reduce output or distort at the first smell of a less than ideal SWR, just make sure you have the correct PSU which will shut down if the collector current goes above 25amps.
There are problems, as with all things. The VFO can go “lumpy”. Just dismantle it and clean out the old grease. Re-lubricate ONLY with Finish Line Premium Teflon grease ( FinishLineUSA.com ). After this you should have no more trouble, mines been ok for the last 10 years anyway.
Again, this rig was designed before the advent of PSK31 and other narrow band modes, so the very slight drift in the free running vfo can be a little annoying. The cure is simple, install the huff puff x-lock stabiliser from Cumbria Designs ( www. Cumbriadesigns.co.uk ) and your frequency will remain stable until the cows come home.
 
W4AIN Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2010 20:45 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
All I can say is WOW! I recently picked up a Corsair 560 for $175.00 and was not expecting much. Boy, was I ever wrong. This is one sweet rig. Super quiet receive. No problems hearing the weak stations and great reports on transmit signal and audio. I operate the Corsair 'barefoot' into a 200 ft dipole up 25 ft.
After side-by-side comparisons, (with my Yaesu FT-920, Kenwood TS-440SAT and Yaesu FT-100), this rig is now in the primary operating position. I have boxed up the other rigs and stored them in the closet for use as backup rigs.
I love the sweet, mellow sound from the Corsair. Very pleasant to listen to and a true joy to operate. I use a generic 600 ohm hand mic and have no complaints at all. I don't operate much CW, but the 500hz filter makes for easy listening on the Corsair when I do. This one is a keeper.
 
KC2MRU Rating: 4/5 May 26, 2009 09:12 Send this review to a friend
Nice Radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'll start off by saying that I'm using an Off Center Fed Dipole that is about 20-30 feet off the ground in the Inverted V position.I'm also only using the Radio's output wattage , no amplifiers.

I've had my Ten-Tec Corsair for a few moths now , and I've enjoyed every minute that I've used it since I got it.I now use it as my primary HF rig,but that's not how I intended to use it when I first got it.The audio and signal reports that I got using it as I described above convinced me to change my mind.

I've noticed that some people have mentioned that the rig is noisy on receive,but I don't have that problem.Mine has excellent receive with very little noise.In my opinion, these are a great radio and an excellent addition to anyone's Shack ... if you get the chance to pick one up I would recommend it.

The only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 is because of the Noise Blanker ... it doesn't do much of anything , other than that , the rig is great !!
 
K9FON Rating: 4/5 May 7, 2009 20:26 Send this review to a friend
Not too bad!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Id give it a 5 but the NB pretty much is useless. I wonder if there are any mods out there for it? The receiver on the Corsair is very rich sounding and full. On SSB and CW the Corsair is a joy to run. I have it hooked to a laptop to run CW and the Corsair really shines on CW. Signals just pop out of the ether. I really like the ability to adust the receiver sensitivity by the RF knob and the RF amp on and off button. Some have noted the rig is noisy on receive but i have not noticed that. On ssb the rig works great! The processor actually works and works well. Overall I like the Corsair and I will definetly keep it.
 
N8MUS Rating: 5/5 Feb 18, 2009 21:04 Send this review to a friend
400$ of fun!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Guys, Got this Corsair in excellent visual shape. PTO is good, a couple of the pots were noisy, used deoxit and their lube product which cured all problems.

I am a Ten Tec fan. I have a 544 that I have had since new. I also tried a Pegasus which is basically a Jupiter minus the knobs. I liked the old Triton better than the Pegasus with the new computer control and dsp. I sent it back to Ten Tec during the first 30 days for a full refund. (great Company) The old rigs with filters to me just sound better.

I was wanting to add 160 meters as well as the WARC bands to the station. The Corsair or an Omni V seemed like logical choices. I ended up with a Nice Corsair. It was missing the optional 500hz and 250hz filters but had the 8 pole 2.4 mhz filter which in modern terms is a 2.4mhz roofing filter it also had the 1.8 6mhz filter and I have added the 500hz and 250hz 6 mhz filters. All I can say is WOW! I am running psk 31 and it is neat to see all the manipulation on the waterfall that this rig is capable of. With the notch, pass band, and narrow filters you can narrow down to almost an individual station on psk31. I am amazed.

Now understand, I am sure that a FT-1000 MK V might be a little better as well as the Orion II etc. But how about bang for your buck. I spent $400 for the rig in near perfect condition with the matching power supply. I added $100 for the additional filters. What do you have into your rig? Is it really that much better? Ham radio was popular and grew fast back in the day when a teenager could build his rig and get on the air and have a blast. Now those teens are retired, living comfortably and think nothing of spending thousands of dollars on a rig, and there are few new hams. Why? Many hams I listen to on the air are all about how much they can spend on the latest and greatest. How many of them have ever had the cover off their radio? I have had my Corsair open a dozen times since I got it, several times just to check out the design and layout of the rig. If I paid 5 grand for it I probably would not want to open it up either. I read the prior reviews about the noisy receiver. Yes if you dial in the amp and drive up the rf gain to the max the noise is there. DUH. Isn't that like cranking the volume up on any radio or tv and wondering why it is loud? Ten Tec did a nice Ten Tec TV presentation that you can watch on You Tube on how to use your rf and af gain controls, as well as proper use of the rf amp. This technique works with the jap rigs too! I purchased my old Triton Back when Ten Tec had Deallers. The Ham Dealler that I got the Triton from had a Top end Collins station set up next to the Triton so you could listen to both and do side by side comparisons. The Collins was his personal station. I believe he still has it to this day. Its his pride and joy. Side by side the Triton blew the Collins away. It is quiet it has the narrow filtering etc etc just plain great. Now I have the Triton next to the Corsair. The Corsair sounds noisy. But then I drop out the rf amp and suddenly it is the same as the Triton. I have compared weak sigs on both rigs and can hear them the same. What the Corsair adds is the amp which amplifies both the noise as well as the signal. If the signal is not above the noise level you are not going to hear it. Using the amp and then cutting back on the rf gain can make a weak signal more copyable.

Well, that is my 2 cents worth, if you buy a Corsair and don't like it you will be out less than the depreciation on a high end rig and that's if you just toss it in the trash. If you don't like it, pass it on to one of us who appreciate it for what it is, you will be out little if anything. If your a new ham and want a rig that will run with the big dogs Get A Corsair!!!!!! Run it for a few decades and then pass it on to another new ham to enjoy! I have pics on QRZ.com of the station, having a blast running an all American Station. Ten Tec rigs with Heathkit SB220 amp Dentron tuner and Waters dummy load = 2 KW station and I paid $425 for the Amp and $80 for the tuner. So with the Corsair cost I am just over a Grand for a 2 KW station! I was calling a DX station on 75 last week and had someone ask me to warn him before I keyed up! That was good for a nice laugh, but made me feel good because there where a ton a stations calling. I got the DX and had the state sides ears bleeding! Now that was a good day on the radio. I enjoy ragchewing I have been checking into the Ten Tec net on Sunday afternoon. If you want to hear some great rigs join us. Check out the Ten Tec wiki for details.

73

Jon
 
WA2SOC Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2008 06:19 Send this review to a friend
25 years and going strong  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my Corsair (original version) for 25 years; for its birthday I gave it a trip back to the Ten Tec spa, its first repair/rework in all those years. They did an excellent job and it looks and works like new.

For those who complain about noise in the receiver I'd suggest running the RF gain way lower. With the RF gain all the way up, yes it sounds noisy. With the gain set properly (as low as possible to hear the signal, usually about 10 o'clock on mine) the receiver is beautiful. Leave the RF amp off unless you really need it.

I operate primarily CW and the QSK is unbeatable. I have all three optional filters and can often copy stuff others can't even hear. When I have operated SSB the first comment from the other end is often "wow, what great audio".
(The same thing happens with my TT Scout). Don't use the standard TT desk mike in PTT mode: the spring in the switch makes an amazing amount of noise at the start of the transmission; on VOX it works fine.

One hears much about the "PTO rebuild" issue. TT did rebuild mine when I sent it back, but I can't say that once in 25 years is really a problem. Call me old-fashioned, but I like a radio with a knob that actually moves a component. The display doesn't read out to 1/10th Hz or whatever, but I can't see how that would help. Traffic nets are usually +/- a few KHz anyway, so trying to set a frequency like 3.544123 is pointless; get me within 2KHz and I'll find it.

As many others have said, dealing with Ten Tec is a good experience. Years ago my C/21 had a bias diode go bad and they sent me a whole new final assembly right away. I've owned 5 TT radios starting with a PM-3 and liked them all.



 
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