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

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Omni C
Ten-Tec Omni C Reviews: 32 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1289 (when new)
Description: HF radio
Product is in production.
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KT8DX Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2010 17:41 Send this review to a friend
Bliss!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Every few years I get away from Ten-Tec and suffer through noisy receivers, obtuse menus, AGCs that don't, clicking relays (in 2010!) and the usual that one gets from current crop of rigs. The joy of CW just leaves the building.

Then I see a good deal somewhere and pick up another Ten-Tec and realize what I've been missing. The "C" is just so quiet, sensitive, and selective with a full filter complement and the audio filters to kick in if needed. The signals on a noisy 80 meter band just pop through with the filters, attenuation, and RF gain controls set properly.

Of course, the QSK just goes without saying.

I know with time, I'll drift back towards Yaesu's seductive orange letters, menus, paramilitary styling, and promises of a ham radio experience superior to what I currently have. I'll buy one, and have a fling for a while. It'll be exciting while it lasts. Eventually the thrill will be gone as always.

But I know in the end, I'll come home to my easy chair, pipe and slippers, and the love of my life - a Ten-Tec of some variety. Perhaps it'll be older, frumpier, more time-worn, and perhaps even a little hard of hearing. But it'll be faithful, loyal, and will bring back the joy I had when I first started out in Amateur Radio.
N7INO Rating: 5/5 Jun 6, 2009 21:36 Send this review to a friend
Ten Tec Omni D  Time owned: more than 12 months
The omni D is my base rig I got rid of my 2 late modle Yeasus, NOT USER FRIENDLY. I sent my Omei D And My Triton back to Ten Tec, Both work VERY WELL and user friendly using LDG Turners both base and mobile.I have owned both for over 20 years and sent both back to Ten Tec for alignment and new mics.I enjoy HF again, don't have to check with manual to do a procedure. I give the Ten Tecs a 5 Plus. Jim n7in0
W8IDL Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2009 19:43 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio - Excellent Value  Time owned: more than 12 months
The "Omni C" (actually an Omni D Series C) is a superb radio that performs extremely well. Yes, from the factory, it has a "pop" on the agc in the presence of a very strong signal. So did the Collins KWM-2 (remember service bulletin 8?). The agc pop is easily cured by a simple mod on the Omni as it is on the KWM-2. As for audio hiss, i surely do not hear it on my radio. I do remember another early 1980s radio, the Collins KWM-380, that cost THREE TIMES the price and didn't have QSK. The KWM-380 had so much hiss from synthesizer noise that they had an audio filter board limiting the upper end audio to 2400 Hz. And let's see: the KWM-380 had over twenty service bulletins? In retrospect, the Omni D Series C looks great in comparison with these contemporary radios. I have all three radios, and love all three radios, but the Omni is the radio of choice, especially on CW. I always get GREAT audio reports on SSB. The receiver has a VERY low noise floor. The SSB received audio is pleasant for ragchewing over extended periods. The QSK on CW is second to none. This radio is just plain fun to operate! The most remarkable thing is the Ten-Tec factory that made it will still service this transceiver, though I have never needed it. I rate the Omni D Series C an solid 5 based on my experiences with it over the long term.
KK8WV Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2009 15:21 Send this review to a friend
I Love This Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I started my Ten-Tec adventure with an Omni V, it was a nice radio and only sold it for need of cash. Then found a Kenwood 940 and liked it but I had the Ten-Tec bug. I then found this Omni C in pristine condition with pwr supply spkr, VFO and fell in love. One of the most fun HF rigs I have ever operated. I would love to keep this rig just for the fun and memories it brings.
FORMER_K0PD Rating: 4/5 Aug 10, 2008 07:17 Send this review to a friend
Still a Good Radio//  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Would love to be able to give my old Omni C a 5/5 but would have gladly gave it a 4.8 if the option were available. Bought mine used and can only say i'm very happy to have found one used that performed as well as the seller stated.I have newer DSP radios and i'm in total agreement with the previous writer as far as performance goes. Will only ad that i think at least every Ham should have one of these because it does in so many way's stand up to the newer radios....
N7IC Rating: 4/5 Aug 10, 2008 03:29 Send this review to a friend
Good rig with small issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
There are a few people on here who are hammering this radio badly due to a couple of issues. Yes, on CW you do get AGC popping. It is an annoyance. Hopefully I will get to remedy it in mine one of these days.

But in definite contrary to others about RX, it is a very quiet receiver and pleasant to listen too. You hear signals, you dont hear background noises (ok, you do, but not nearly as loud in JA rigs). That is the most important thing to aim for with any radio and Ten Tec did it right. It's all about S/N, not how many microvolts your RX is sensitive too. It is even quieter than my TS-570D and IC-706 MKIIG which both have DSP!!!

Of course as just about everyone in here has mention, QSK is great. Typical for Ten Tec though. Why JA companies can't implement pin diodes in their rigs is beyond me. Technology that has been around for over 2 decades, and they still use mechanical relays in most of their rigs.

This radio is a good bargain now days. A very good rig for the beginner or good CW operators.

Only rate it a 4 due to the AGC popping and PTO. Think Ten Tec could have gone synthesized with these radios. Maybe perhaps they didnt to keep the noise down from PLL circuits. Any rate, the drifting is a bit of an annoyance as well til your rig warms up.
AE4TO Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2007 14:39 Send this review to a friend
Fun to Operate  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you like cw this radio should be in your shack. The QSK is excellent, the 500 cw filter does a good job other wise use the audio filters.On SSB I received good audio reports.This is a very reliable radio and is easy to repair too.There is three version the A, B & C. No big diference between them. The C version came with WARC capabilities but you had to add the crystals.No menus, easy operation, 100% Cycle.A fun radio to operate.AE4TO
WA5JAW Rating: 5/5 Feb 21, 2007 13:44 Send this review to a friend
Super Transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For a rig built in 1980 this is a class action rig. CW operation is great!!! Support by Ten Tec is outstanding also and second to none.. Thanks John Ellenburg at Ten Tec..
KG6TT Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2006 03:10 Send this review to a friend
Basically an Excellent Value  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my first Omni-C in 1981 and kept it for 23 years till I traded it for a TS-940SAT. Big mistake. Fortunately I had a number of other Ten-Tec transceivers and the Kenwood was eventually dumped. Now I finally have another Omni-C in my station (along with a Triton IV, Corsair II, Orion, Argosy, Century 22, Century 21, and Scout). And for very similar reasons the Triton IV and Omni-C are the most enjoyed.

OK, if you need buttons and knobs to twirl for the thrill of it, a color TV-like display to entertain you, and all kinds of memories that you probably can't remember how to use, well then stick with the import rigs. I keep thinking I'm missing something using Ten-Tec rigs so every once and a while I buy another KenSuCom rig. Trouble is I prefer Ten-Tec's straight forward design, performance engineering, ease of use, and 'easy on the ears' sound.

The Omni-C is the final version of the earlier 1979-1983 Omni series and remain fairly plentiful in the used market. Pricing today at around $300 or so they present a superb value, especially for serious CW operators.... or for new to HF operators. And contrary to what many believe, The Omni-C is an excellent SSB performer as well.

Single-conversion, 9 MHz IF design, tuneable receive front-end, crystal controlled hetrodyne oscillators and a permability tuned oscillator rather than a noisy synthesizer scheme, a 100% duty cycle RF output circuit, and the superb Ten-Tec QSK T/R control... all add together to create an incredibly quiet receiver, very tough transmitter and a signal... CW or SSB.. that is a pleasure to listen to at the other end.

I've never been bothered by Ten-Tec's audio derived AGC design. Whatever strong signal 'pumping' issues I may encounter at times (easily resolved with a judicious reduction in the RF Gain control) are more than balanced out with having the Omni-C's excellent audio filter and notch filter inside the audio derived AGC loop. Without any optional crystal filters the Omni-C is a solid performer in all but the most demanding receive situations... add the optional 1.8 kHz, 500 Hz, or even the 250 Hz crystal filters in tandem with the stock 8-pole 2.4 kHz filter and you have a lot of additional 'up-front' selectivity for those really demanding situations.

Do I miss not having the greater stability and frequency accuracy of a 'more modern', synthesized rig? Perhaps a little, but I don't like the trade off of all the additional noise generated in those designs. Yes, the Omni-C PTO needs some time to stablize, especially if I intend to run a digital mode. My answer is to put in a couple of select crystals into the remote PTO but I rarely use them.

Do I miss not having Passband tuning? My Corsair II and Orion have it, but I find I basically 'set and forget' creating an audio that is basically equivalent to what I get from the Omni-C without Passband tuning. So the answer is no, I'd rather keep the single-conversion design for lower internal noise.

If you need more split than what the Omni-C can give with its RIT/XIT circuit then simply add the external Model 243 VFO. With Ten-Tec's dual PTO design you gain dual receive and multiple crystal controled capability too.

Lastly, Ten-Tec service is still there if you need it... even for 20, 25, and 30 year old transceivers.

Jerry, KG6TT
Fairfield, CA
KV9U Rating: 3/5 Sep 29, 2006 08:03 Send this review to a friend
OK for its time  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have to concur with VE3EFJ. This transceiver had about the worst AGC derived audio "pop" of anything on the market. While it could be tamed with modifications, one wonders why this was not done by Ten Tec early on.

I had replaced my Heathkit HW-101 with the Ten Tec Omni C, so the drift of "only" 400 Hz or so until it warmed up, seemed very minimal. And it was fairly stable once it was on for a few minutes.

One serious deficiency that is rarely talked about is the lack of sensitivity on 160 receive. This was due to an engineering design error in the receive preselector that did not fully pass 160 meter signals. While Ten Tec admitted to me that this was a design error, their solution was to recommend the owner put an FET amplifier in the receive circuit that would switch in for 160. Not easy for the average ham to do.

It is easy to work on the rig. Construction is similar to modular homebrew. I did have failure of a diode or two in the SWR circuitry and Ten Tec helped me diagnose and repair the problem myself. I doubt this would have been possible with a Japanese rig.

By the way, I actually like the look of Ten Tec Rigs and don't find them ugly as some do. The controls were mediocre (not as sturdy) compared to Japanese rigs of the same era. The PTO tuning knob was poor compared to synthesized rigs due to the backlash and the knob and tuning would often move back a few Hz from where you set it.

Since the rig does not have fold back RF output with high SWR, you need to insure you have either their power supply or the quick operating type of DC circuit breaker (e.g., Airpax) specifically sized for your rig. Otherwise, you can have catastrophic failure of the finals.

Considering the price of the Omni C, it was not the best value at the time, but I admit that it was difficult for the U.S. companies to compete with the Japanese technology and Ten Tec was one of the few who was able to garner enough of the market to stay in business.
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