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


Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Paragon
Ten-Tec Paragon Reviews: 50 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $1,895
Description: 1987 era frequency synthesized 100 Watt Amateur HF transceiver with general coverage receive
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.tentec.com
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You can write your own review of the Ten-Tec Paragon.

Page 1 of 5 —>

K9CTB Rating: 4/5 Feb 19, 2017 07:46 Send this review to a friend
Pretty Good Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I finally got one of these rigs. I always wanted to try a Paragon II (model 586) and waited until one became available then jumped at the chance. Paragon II was the "Go-To" rig for MARS operators back in the day. Sadly, the MARS program has gone through some "changes" which enabled me to acquire the rig. My example has all the filters slots occupied, although I'm not sure the bandwidths match the front panel buttons. (I think I have a 9KHz AM filter marked "6.0" on the front panel - can't read the label). I'm not a Ten Tec expert and this is the first Ten Tec rig I've owned. I really like the Paragon's receiver. If this was just a receiver, it would probably get rave reviews. I've enjoyed listening to CW on it and AM foreign broadcast reception is great. Copying the 'digital' modes - PSK31 and others - is a lot of fun. In my opinion however, the Paragon's receiver falls a little short compared to the Kenwood TS-940S. The two transceivers are contemporaries, so the comparison is valid. My Paragon was pedigreed through a responsible MARS operator and no "golden screwdrivers" ever touched this rig. This should be important to the potential Paragon owner. They're legacy rigs - we get that.

My overall impression is partly political - partly technical. I like TT for what they've done. US manufacturing of ham gear is just about a lost art. If Ten Tec leaves the amateur market, maybe it *WILL* be a lost art. It's just not possible to compete with the 'Big Three' (Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom). Ever seen their manufacturing plants? They're very well automated. Casting panels, stamping out a PC board, and populating them like a printing press is an art these manufactures have perfected. Ten Tec simply couldn't compete with that .... not against the Big Three's price-points! The result was cheesy, double-strike plastic buttons, silk screen paint that rubs off and plain front panels made from stamped sheet metal. It's the only way TT could make their gear affordable. We get that, too. Having said that, my example Paragon II has survived remarkably, and unlike my TS-940S, I don't think I'll have to re-flow any header connections. I may be wrong but if so, I'll apologize.

My nutshell appraisal ....

Pros:
* Excellent receiver across 1.8-30MHz range. 10 meters is every bit as good as 160! Good filter bandwidth selection (see cons)

* General coverage transmitter and BPF assembly is great for MARS / SHARES or other out-of-band use.

* Many subtle improvements over the original Paragon, including built-in FM and the addition of built-in - and compatible - RS232 interface.

* Cool tone control like on olde-tymie phonographs, plus a Bandpass/fade control for QRM fighting.

Cons:
* Front panel looks a little toy-ish .. until you power up the rig ...

* Filters are only available for one IF (I think the second IF) so blow-by is a possibility if you live next door to a California Kilowatt. I haven't experienced this at my shack.

* I got some birdies on 14, 18, and 28 MHz - maybe others I missed. Not bad and most were out-of-band for amateurs. But they're there!

I am glad I bought the Paragon II. As mentioned, I always wanted to try one, and I'll probably keep this one for a while. It's a little better than a 4 on a scale of 5, but we can't do decimal points ... The rig looks good on the operating table and I wish I had the matching power supply/speaker ... but one will turn up when my ship comes in ....

73,
K9CTB
Neil
 
W4RFM Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2016 09:59 Send this review to a friend
Beats what I had!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my 1985 paragon from a silent key estate at the Jackson Miss hamfest in January of 2016. I love it. I have not had any of the problems I have read about, so apparently, the previous owner R.I.P. fixed everything. Thank You Sir.
 
K0CRX Rating: 2/5 Dec 8, 2015 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Unreliable and expensive to repair  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned only two TT transceivers - a Paragon and a Pegasus. There will NEVER be another TT radio in my shack.

The Pegasus cost me nearly as much in repairs as the radio cost. TT service replaced so many parts that it was evident to me that TT used substandard components in the original manufacture. TT was quite happy to stick their customer with the bill for their shortcoming.

My Paragon has been repaired three times by TT. The last repair cost me shipping both ways TWICE for the same repair. (See my review of TT factory service) It's down, again, now. Attempting to entry a frequency via the keypad causes the radio to lock up, requiring a hardware reset.

I will not repair it, again. I have, simply, reached the point of diminishing returns on unreliable TT equipment. I will sell it for parts.

There will NEVER be another TT radio in my shack.
 
K4AXF Rating: 5/5 Jul 8, 2015 15:15 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for SWL & Ham Ops  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is my second Paragon. The first one really impressed me but would go into PLL OUT OF LOCK until it was thoroughly warmed up. Although I did not understand the operation of a PLL at al, I tried fiddling around with it and made it worse. Discouraged, I sold it as a tech-special. During the next year or so, as I tried out one SWL receiver after another, I found that I was comparing them to the Paragon I had and coming up very disappointed.

Now two years later, I've acquired #2. It has the same PLL problem, but this time I'm determined to find the problem and fix it. To that end, I've got a 100 MHz scope and an 80 MHz frequency counter on the way. And have been studying the PLL section of the manual and have a pretty good picture of how it works.

Meanwhile, I have my wife turn the rig on in the morning when she gets up. By the time I roll into the shack, the Paragon is working flawlessly. Did I mention that it was a great SWL receiver? I'm blown away by it! I lengthened out the slow AGC to 4 second decay and it's a pleasure to tune in all the stations I love, BBC, VOA, R. Rumania, All India Radio and late at night, R. Australia (17,840 KHz), R. New Zealand (15,720 KHz).

I also use it on CW a lot and really love the sound of signals coming in over muted band noise in the background. Great analog audio. And folks tell me the tone and keying sound great! Who would expect less from Ten-Tec!

Flimsy buttons? Cheap build? I don't think so. After 30 years of use, everything on this rig works just like it did when new. (Except that drat PLL problem - not to worry, I'll get it this time!)

The Paragon has the look, feel and operation of a fine lab instrument. My Corsair may have better close-in performance, but I find that I enjoy using the Paragon just as much.

So If you have a Paragon, and think it's a piece of #@!*, let me know and I'll take it off your hands.

UPDATE: July 7, 2015 - I fixed the PLL problem; it was a cluster of failed solder connections on one of the PLL boards. My Paragon now operates flawlessly.
 
K4AXF Rating: 4/5 May 25, 2015 14:40 Send this review to a friend
An Excellent SWL Ham Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my second Paragon. The first one really impressed me but would go into PLL OUT OF LOCK until it was thoroughly warmed up. Although I did not understand the operation of a PLL at al, I tried fiddling around with it and made it worse. Discouraged, I sold it as a tech-special. During the next year or so, as I tried out one SWL receiver after another, I found that I was comparing them to the Paragon I had and coming up very disappointed.

Now two years later, I've acquired #2. It has the same PLL problem, but this time I'm determined to find the problem and fix it. To that end, I've got a 100 MHz scope and an 80 MHz frequency counter on the way. And have been studying the PLL section of the manual and have a pretty good picture of how it works.

Meanwhile, I have my wife turn the rig on in the morning when she gets up. By the time I roll into the shack, the Paragon is working flawlessly. Did I mention that it was a great SWL receiver? I'm blown away by it! I lengthened out the slow AGC to 4 second decay and it's a pleasure to tune in all the stations I love, BBC, VOA, R. Rumania, All India Radio and late at night, R. Australia (17,840 KHz).

I also use it on CW a lot and really love the sound of signals coming in over muted band noise in the background. Great analog audio. And folks tell me the tone and keying sound great! Who would expect less from Ten-Tec!

Flimsy buttons? Cheap build? I don't think so. After 30 years of use, everything on this rig works just like it did when new. (Except that drat PLL problem - not to worry, I'll get it this time!)

The Paragon has the look, feel and operation of a fine lab instrument. My Corsair may have better close-in performance, but I find that I enjoy using the Paragon just as much.

So If you have a Paragon, and think it's a piece of #@!*, let me know and I'll take it off your hands.
 
N9QID Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2015 07:40 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Paragon 585 that I have is a great HF rig. It was traded even up for an IC-718. I think I got the better deal. It has all the filters installed, and it is easy to isolate very close signals from each other.
Menus? Who needs them? While you are looking through the manual to see which menu you need to change a setting, I will be making contacts. This radio is more ergonomic than any other radio I have owned, tested, or spent time on. When it came out, some people knocked it for not having a separate band switch. I think direct keyboard entry of the frequency is better.
Even though it has a small speaker on top pointed up, it sounds good, and is not tiring to listen to. The sensitivity of the receive is very good, and the notch filter is sharp like it should be. The radio transmits fine, and after trying a number of microphones from cheap to expensive, I have found that the 705 mic works the best.
The memory bank is somewhat limited especially compared to current radios, and when using a non-rechargeable battery, draining it rather fast when the radio is not able to draw power . The memory battery issue became a non-issue with the installation of a good rechargeable lithium ion 9 volt. Other than that it has been trouble free.
I think this radio was better than almost all of its contemporaries, and was not surpassed on weak signal receive capabilities until the Omni VII came out.

It has been my pleasure to own this radio, and if you like a nice, large radio that was designed well, consider buying one.
 
KG8LB Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2014 06:11 Send this review to a friend
No better than the last set of fingers inside of it  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned two of the Paragons . Absolutely a fine rig . The first one came to me from a fellow visiting here from England . He had nothing good to say about it . Seems he had been inside often after performing a "much needed" modification to "correct" a factory issue . I simply un-did -his "corrections" , repaired numerous non-factory soldering issue and was rewarded with an excellent radio for my efforts . The unsolicited audio comments are a testimony to the fine people who design and built these old radios . Yes, let us not forget these are OLD radios . Anyone who expects every one of these old radios to still play perfectly has a defect or two of their own . Like any other radio , it is hard to judge a "repaired" example without considering that it can not be any better than the last person who worked on it . A poor score from them is often a poor score of their own abilies .
 
KJ4KBC Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2014 09:41 Send this review to a friend
Very good for thirty something!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I really get tickled reading the negative comments of some of the posters here! Jesus, it's a 30 year old radio. Most factory issue's should have been addressed years ago. I have a Paragon along with 9 other rigs. Most older and all working! I love my Paragon! I use it more than My FTDX-9000. Tells me something. It's a good sounding fun Radio to operate. If you do experience an occasional pll out of lock or processor freeze up, Check your power supply voltage. Mine as others have mentioned, doesn't like low voltage. Less than 12.5v and I'll have issue's so I run mine at 14V and no troubles. You know I always get more unsolicited comments about the clean sound of the Paragon Than my other rigs. Using a TenTec 705 mic. If you find one with everything working, you should be fine. If and when this one die's, I'll find another. 73's
 
K4LRX Rating: 0/5 Oct 17, 2014 18:53 Send this review to a friend
Terrible rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Piece of junk, worst rig I ever had,numerous problems with the power supply, P.L.L unlock, processor did nothing. Bad filter caps, rig would not produce 100 watts with out tripping the power supply. Control board problems, never will own another Ten Tec.

If you see one, Run do not walk away RUN.

Traded it in for Kenwood TS 950 SDX light years ahead of the disaster.
 
AB4GN Rating: 5/5 Sep 28, 2014 08:58 Send this review to a friend
Suprising Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought an old broke TT Paragon online for $100.00 dollars. Repaired it, never used it, until I decided to loan it to a new Ham. I have been using it over the past week or so and am very pleased at how well this old rig performs. It is surprisingly selective and the received audio is very easy to listen to. Very underrated rig.
 
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