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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Ten Tec R4020 Help

Reviews Summary for Ten Tec R4020
Ten Tec R4020 Reviews: 30 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $249.00
Description: Model R4020 2 Band QRP Transceiver
Product is in production.
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W5BIB Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2011 21:42 Send this review to a friend
Just an amazing little xcvr.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Using a 40-20-10 windom (ocf dipole) at 25ft, 90% of the time, If I can hear 'em, I can work 'em. I use it with a straight key / bug hooked in tandem. It never ceases to amaze me with it's selectivity. Side tone could be a little louder (I'm almost deaf), but I solved the problem by using one of my R-390A's as a monitor !! Extremely happy "camper". Ya can't beat it for the money. Thanks Ten-Tec. P.S., If I need "more power" I turn on my Ten-Tec CENTURY-21 !!! 73 Steve / W5BIB ham for over 50 years.
GW6ITJ Rating: 5/5 Jun 13, 2011 08:54 Send this review to a friend
Excellent value - great rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had been toying with the idea of an Elecraft K1 or KX1 for some time but they are too expensive in my mind for NE602 mixer and detector and LM386 audio amp with some nice features.

So I decided to get the HB 1A (Ten Tec R4020)

The HB-1A is a very similar design to the K1 and KX1 but a lot cheaper! It uses a 2 line LCD display so more information can be displayed, from the comparisons I've seen the only valid concern is the build quality but I have to say the HB-1A is not bad at all, a few yen more and it would be excellent, but it is not something to be really concerned with don't think.

I had read a lot of reviews and new what to expect - or did I? Well this little rig surpasses my expectations in many ways, and after 2 days use these are my first impressions:

Small (you need to hold it to appreciate it)
Excellent Receiver sensitivity
Excellent audio (such a change from other rigs using an LM386)
Good IF filtering (400, 700, 900 Hz - I have not had any adjacent signal problems)
USB/LSB receiver as well (AM is also very good using a single side band!)
Internal/external battery operation
Memory usage is so easy (20 memories)
Easy CW memory keyer setup and use
RIT, filters and mode easy to change/use
Auto-detect of paddle or straight key

Little protection for the LCD display (Not an issue I'm sure but I will put a small perspex cut-out over the screen)
Cheap tuning and volume knobs (Not an issue but I will replace them just to make me feel better)
Overloads on strong signals (It uses NE602 mixers, the same as the K1 and KX1 so I expected it and couldn't get better for a lot more money)
RF Attenuator provides too much attenuation (a pain, at least 40dB to my untrained ear - 100 Ohm resistor across Q4 seems to be the accepted mod)
I would prefer the speed to be set with a morse announcement of the speed setting, just a preference

The pros certainly outweigh the cons and I look forward to many hours of good use with this little rig, noise floor at the home QTH is S7+ on 40m so it needs to be portable and I think it might have a permanent space in the car.

The cons should knock it to a 4/5 but if you consider the price (200 GBP delivered) then it has to be a 5 - it is better than 'Good', it is 'Great'!
VE3HG Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2011 09:49 Send this review to a friend
Amazing  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought the rig at Dayton and was delivered June 1. Comparing it to a Drake R8 the R40/20 could hear everything the Drake could hear. Plugged in my Idiom Press memory keyer (using a mono adaptor to make the rig think I was using a straight key) and that worked. Getting my SCAF-1 audio filter working and wiring up the battery holders. Bought a PAR 40/20/10 end-fed antenna and ready for Field Day. Highly recommend it in general but especially good buy at its price.
N4KJK Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2011 18:52 Send this review to a friend
Fun, easy to use radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I stopped by the Ten-Tec factory/store on a family trip and picked one of these radios up. The folks at Ten-Tec were extremely pleasant to deal with.

Using this radio and a BuddiPole, I was soon sitting in a lawn chair making a contact.

For those having problems getting the radio to recognize a straight key, my solution was an 1/8" stereo jack to 1/8" mono plug adapter. This was easier than changing the cable on key to connect the ring and sleeve.

This adapter worked for me:
W6ZKH Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2011 21:33 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had mine for acouple of weeks, and using both at home with very low dipole and also in my Pedestrian Mobile backpack setup. Receiver better than my Yaesu FT847. Have had good results and reports both home and PedMobile. Built a "op table" for PM work so dont have to hand carry it. See my page for photos. I would recommend this radio to anyone wanting to get into QRP CW on a basic level.
K6EIL Rating: 4/5 Mar 20, 2011 19:33 Send this review to a friend
Good value for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you can afford an FT-817, get that. I use both the FT-817 and the R4020, so I can say that. But if money is tight, definitely don't hesitate to pick up an R4020. It provides good value for the price. For fun, I put my R4020 through its paces, 20m only, in the recent ARRL DX Contest. I worked 63 DXCC entities and had a ton of fun. I agree with other reviewers that a sharper filter, maybe down to 100 Hz BW, would help in crowded, strong signal contest conditions. In ordinary conditions I keep the filter set at 400 Hz, which seems fine. It would be nice too to have one or two real memories, for contest exchanges, rather than that one funky CQ PSE K memory. That said, it was fun using the rig in the DX Contest and I look forward especially to using it on 40 and 20 this June during FD. The rig works fine on internal batteries; best results were obtained from good old fashioned Duracell AA batteries, as opposed to more expensive batteries, for instance lithium. Save your money there. I ended up supergluing the two battery packs to the lid, rather than using doublesided tape as suggested. Do be careful not to pinch the battery wires when reassembling the case (I did). Otherwise, if you have low audio output when plugging in ear buds, try another pair. My first pair had an impedance the RX audio output didn't like, but the second pair provided more than adequate volume. Also, as others have noted, pay attention to the right kind of plug when using an external keyboard. I used a Radio Shack adapter plug, 3 conductor stereo to 2 conductor mono, and everything works fine. RIT works great; I've used it to snag DX working split. The programmable FQ memories are a nice touch. All in all, this is a very fun QRP rig to throw in a backpack or carry on, along with a wire antenna, and operate portable with. It's definitely a very good rig for casual operating, but even contesting too as I found out in the ARRL DX Contest. I'd buy another one if it were made for 160/80 or 15/10. The price is right given all the features that the R4020 has.
N9XAW Rating: 4/5 Feb 1, 2011 07:31 Send this review to a friend
problem  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The power switch is a simple slide switch. The internal battery pack makes the unit a great radio for back packing however, if the switch gets bumped and turned on in the back pack while you are hiking, you arrive at your destination to find weak batteries. Might as well carry a small external battery and plug it in to the unit when you arrive. Once it is out of warranty you could fabricate a protective shield over the switch.
W3TUA Rating: 4/5 Jan 17, 2011 18:32 Send this review to a friend
Solid Performance  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wow. I love it when someone compares apples to oranges by comparing this radio with a more expensive and capable one. You won't find that here.

This radio arrived a few days before Christmas and I hooked it up to a simple 40-meter dipole with my old Ten-Tec 247 tuner and Radio Shack SWR meter. I made one contact a few days later to verify everything was in order. After putting it through it's paces during the NAQP CW contest and Flying Pigs RFTB I've made some conclusions.

The receiver is quite good and stable.
It hardly made a dent in my external 12-volt battery's charge.
Adding the internal battery pack is a great convenience. I installed rechargeable cells and also performed the "in-situ" charger mod for the HB1A.
The portability factor is great. I can fit the radio and a wire antenna inside a portable DVD case along with a key and battery-powered speaker.

The IF bandwidth is not tight enough at 400-hz to be of much use with close-in signals.
I'm unable to zero-beat CW signals a majority of the time due to the VFO only having 10-hz resolution. The RIT has 1-hz resolution and it would make more sense for the VFO to have it instead.
The audio really is meant only to drive headphones. I solved it by using an amplified speaker.

The bottom line is that this radio is well-designed and works well given its capabilities. I had been off the air for almost a year and this radio gets me back on the band making contacts.



AA2LD Rating: 3/5 Jan 15, 2011 13:19 Send this review to a friend
OK not great compared to Elecraft  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I freely admit that my benchmark is the Elecraft KX1. That radio is very solid, very well made. Mine has the built in tuner and the 30 m option. I'm not a very experienced builder but made it through and then I sent it to Elecraft where they tweaked and calibrated it for a small charge.

Now, let's look at the Ten-tec. The fit and finish are average. The knobs wobble and the case isn't quite square. It lacks an option for 30 m (without buying a different radio) and you must have an external autotuner (like the excellent one by Elecraft).

Both radios are fun to use. Both will make contacts for you.

But. . . the Elecraft is the one I pack in special Pelikan 1060 case and admire every time I use it. Its controls are smooth and it has so many features. The Ten-tec feels like a mass produced Chinese radio.

Now, I know that the Ten-tec is less expensive, BUT by the time you add on an already built Elecraft 20 watt tuner, you're almost up to what a two band KX1 with int'l tuner would cost. True, you'd have to build it youself, but if I can do it, you can do it. Worse comes to worse, there are plenty of 'builders for hire' that are not expensive.

Bottom line: buy one of these Ten-Tec toys only if you have the Elecraft KX-1 first.
WD8CW Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2010 14:29 Send this review to a friend
Great QRP radio for the price.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I can honestly say my first transmission from the R4020 radio was an unexpected experience. My QTH is Huntington, WV and my first contact was a station in Chelan, WA. I was only using a sloper dipole at 20 feet. The radio offers four selectable bandwidth for SSB and CW. The radio only transmits on 40 and 20 meters and receives from 5-16Mhz continous. It took awhile to get use to the buttons,for they have multiple functions. Have not had the radio long, but have already logged stations from out west. Price wise, this is a very good radio. It comes with a battery case inside,yet I have mine hooked up to my power supply.
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