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Reviews For: Ten-Tec Argonaut V

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Ten-Tec Argonaut V
Reviews: 89MSRP: 895.
USA-made 20 watt IF-DSP HF Transceiver
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
WA5YXS Rating: 2021-12-23
Excellent value! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I had the Argo V for a couple of years and still regret selling it. It was easy to use, sounded great, and a good receiver. I carried it in my truck and operated once or twice a week from a roadside park while traveling for work. It was a fantastic portable rig, in my opinion. Sometimes the 20w made the difference. I had 100w rigs available, but it was always fun to throw a wire up in a tree and make a few contacts 1000 miles away while running on a battery pack and homebrew antenna.
DK6JK Rating: 2021-01-04
still I like this Transceiver Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Again, I got a used Argo V. I like the receiver-part so much. I like to listen to MW, after a while of listening to the stations I change to 80m or 40m , listen into the band and make some CW QSO. Than I return to mediumwave to listen to Radio Stations, which play old Rock Music.
After a while I change to ham radio again. The Argo V is the only radio I know, that is so easy to handle. and I am sure, the AM sound is fantastic (6kHz BW). It is my 5 th Argo V (I believe) during the last 18 years. i always return to this nice radio. This time I hope, I will keep it.
KE0VR Rating: 2020-11-01
Fantastic little rig! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I picked up a Model 516TCXO yesterday, and have been playing with it ever since.
This rig has an outstanding receiver, and is the simplest transceiver I have ever used. I find the memories extremely easy to program.
Best of all, this radio will sit on my dashboard, unlike my 100 watt rigs, as it is much smaller and lighter weight. In addition, since it only draws some 8 watts, I can power it from the cigarette lighter jack, which makes it simple. I have not yet tried to make contacts with it, as I have been in the learning curve. I will update my review after I have some experience with it.
All I can say is that I am very happy with it. I have several full-featured and much more expensive rigs, but this one fills a different set of needs.
So far, I highly recommend this model!
WB0FDJ Rating: 2019-12-04
Solid little radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Update: a few months ago my Jupiter developed a problem and was taken off the desk. Since then I've used my IC-703+ and FT-817ND every day to monitor the daytime 40 M SSB nets while I sit in the shack. If you work with these rigs you can get decent copy. Then I decided to put the Argo V in the main position and there it stays. It accomplishes nearly everything the Jupiter did with which is not surprising given they share the same DSP platform. The one itch that I never could scratch was caused by the lack of an RF control. Yes the ATT button helps. To deal with this I opened the top cover, tuned in MIDCARS (which I listen to regularly so I'm familiar with the signals from the regulars), activated the ATT button and then carefully adjusted the RX GAIN pot so that the backround noise was much diminished and the stations I heard were coming in nicely against said noise. It now sounds much better. The other thing I've done is replace the stock fans with Startech FAN5XTX3 models. Same specs, same 3 wire connector, much less whine.

The other earlier comments still apply. Legendary QSK, overall good receiver, enough bells and whistles, a good useful rig. I've used it a lot during SKCC events and its held up well in crowded conditions. Great for digital and I've never seen any drift when running WSPR. According to my serial number this radio is now 17 years old and is holding up well. Recommended for the QRPer who occasionally needs a little more oomph. Original review follows:

Perspective is everything here. In 1979 I bought a new 509 and used it for two years as my only rig. The 509 was traded for an Argosy. I still use it but it's riding in the same boat as the 509: it's usefulness is limited, e.g. no keyer, no real dial calibration, RIT, XIT, etc. After a decade of wanting one, I just scored a nice 516 on ePay.

For those of us who used the older TT stuff, this is something from Star Wars. This rig has everything you need to reliably do everyday hamming. With the SignaLink plugged in the Aux 1 port and a simple Serial to USB cable, I can do all the digi modes. CW works very well. No the tunable bandwidth is not as elegant as the newer rigs. But it will help when help is needed. QSK is, of course, transparent. It's got both AM and FM. I also own a Jupiter and the buttons essentially work the same with no "real" menu's. It's got enough bells and a few whistles so as to help the operator with access not getting in the way.

In short this is a fun rig. Mine has all the options: heatsink fan for heavy operating and TCXO for some stability. I plan on using this as my everyday radio. A very neat old gal.
KK4NWW Rating: 2017-11-20
Awesome Keeper Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My first expression about this Gem is Wow!! The green S Meter and green LED 8 segments digits blown me away!!! Just about to being shocked again when turned on the receiver. Again a stronger WOW!!!! Cristal clear receiver super sensitive and with the amazing filters the selectivity reaches the Top!!!
How well this radio receives with it own speaker 4 inches. Only gap I found no rf gain on it. From qrp to 20 watts. Defintelly a Keeper.
De kk4nww
K0RDS Rating: 2016-05-02
Quality Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my Argonaut V new several years ago. It has performed great for me all the time. I run it at 5 watts into a Horizontal loop antenna at 25 feet. Have only used it on cw mode and boy does it perform. I would say if you can find a good one buy it.73, K0RDS, Richard
KE6YX Rating: 2015-10-24
Sweet operating rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is my second Argonaut V. I purchased the first one used many years ago, and in a weak state of mind I sold it to fund an Elecraft KX1 to have a “trail friendly” rig. What a dumb decision that was.

Over the years I have owned a wide variety of QRP rigs, and all of them had serious compromises of one kind or another. Today it seems that almost every QRP or low power HF rig is designed to be carried in a back pack, not as a desk top rig, which is what I really wanted.

When the new Ten Tec Argonaut VI arrived on the scene I watched it for awhile, read all the reports, and decided it was just what I was looking for. During the last Dayton sale I bought one.

After 2 weeks of constant problems, and working with Ten Tec service trying to resolve them, I gave up on it, and returned it for a refund.

I started thinking again about the older Argonaut V, and decided to give it another try, found a nice one on, and have fallen in love with it. The Argo V gets great reports on both CW, and SSB, and all the audio reports are positive using either a Ten Tec 701 hand microphone, or the Ten Tec 705 desk microphone.

In the past I have avoided QSK keying, especially on 40 meters, because I hated the harsh noise blasting in my ears between CW characters, but for some reason on the Argonaut V the noise seems softer, and now I am happy using QSK. I have no idea what they did, and it could just be my imagination, but it sure seems better than most of the other rigs I have used including other Ten Tec models.

While I would have liked a real RF gain control, like others have stated, I found the RF attenuator to do a reasonable job in place of it. The band width adjustment is clean all the way down to the minimum 200 Hz setting without distortion or ringing. I have stored most of the QRP and SOTA calling frequencies into memory making band switching a breeze.

The display is large, easy to read, and the analog meter is beautiful.

If I were to pick one nit, as the rig came to me, the tuning knob would scrape against the plastic encoder shaft bushing in the front panel, making tuning both rough, and noisy. I fixed it by cutting a thin disk of self adhering felt with a hole in it for the encoder shaft, and stuck it to the back of the tuning knob. Now it is smooth, quiet, and the felt adds just a touch of dampening which is a plus. I also noticed the tuning knob is solid aluminum not plastic.

Unlike the new Argonaut VI, which has the headphone jack at the rear, the Argonaut V has the headphone jack where it belongs, on the front panel duh! I like listening to the rig which has a nice internal speaker when possible, and only plug in the headphones when the going gets rough. Having to leave the headphones plugged in all the time, or fumble around in the back of the rig using the Braille system in the middle of a QSO is a dumb setup.

Rather than coming up with a whole new Argonaut VI, I think they should have refined the Argo V by dumping the FM mode adding an RF gain function to the squelch knob, a notch function, and memories to the keyer. Maybe add a DSP noise reduction too. It would have saved a lot of development and tooling cost, and they could have called it an Argonaut V MKII.

My Argonaut V is running in the background as I write the review, and it sounds sweet.
WA4JM Rating: 2015-03-31
After 8 Years... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I still pull it out and power it up. I am amazed at how well it sounds and and how well it hears. A great rig and as the say, "It's a keeper." I will not part with it.

Earlier 5-star review posted by WA4JM on 2008-06-20

I bought this rig for FD 2007 to run PSK-32. I am listening to it now as I am typing this. I just checked in to the Georgia SSB Net running 15 watts on 3975.

It runs PSK as advertised.

If you want a cool rig for this price, you are a fool to not buy one!
Earlier 5-star review posted by WA4JM on 2007-11-07

I bought this gem for Field Day 2007 to operate PSK and CW. After about a day the power mysteriously dropped on almost all bands. An email or two between Ten-Tec and me resulted in shipping the rig back to Tennessee. With-in 7 days, yes 7 days, the rig was returned in full operation! I've since had no problems.

It has a great receiver like the Jupiter, great QSK and with legendary service, this rig is a winner. I talk about service because no matter what product you buy, it's only as good as its service.
WI6T Rating: 2014-04-01
Twenty watts of pleasure Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Purchased new at the TT factory with the crystal stable oscillator in 2006. No problems in eight years. Used with all modes (yes, even AM at five watts). CW QSK is wonderful. I installed an of/off switch on the bottom of the case for fan operation. AM receive is a joy at six kHz. I got the TT Model 712 USB interface for digital modes and it could not be easier. Been a ham over forty years and have a number of rigs; the TT Argonaut is one of my keepers. If you find a decent one for sale, go for it. Mine will never leave my operating desk.
K7FD Rating: 2014-02-04
Coming up on 6 years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Got my Argonaut V in 2008, still one of my daily drivers. Sitting next to a TS-990S you might be surprised that AM reception on Argonaut V sounds better than on the Kenwood. Listening to AM on this rig rivals any rig I've ever used. I use this rig for 2 things: 1) listening to AM group on 3.885MHz every morning and 2) on CW. In these two categories, it is an amazing radio. The receiver is excellent. I have never had a mic plugged into it, so can't comment on that part. I love this little rig and hope it keeps ticking...

73 John K7FD

Earlier 5-star review posted by K7FD on 2008-04-16

When my xyl asked for birthday gift ideas, it didn't take me long to jot down 'Argonaut V' for her...

I've always liked the way this radio looks; it made a first good impression when I spotted it some years back. But somehow, it eluded me...until now.

My main interest in any transceiver is the receiver; not so much how it sounds during a contest but how does it sound day in and day out. This one is easy on the ears...low noise, no hiss, no hum...

The IF DSP variable bandwidth works like a charm; I like the way you can dial it in on the fly. And the Argonaut V has a 'hot receiver'; don't be shy to turn on some attenuation on the low's got plenty of stuff to hear the weak ones!

Ease of operation and ergonomics fit my style of operating...buttons, knobs...what you see is what you get with most of them handling a couple of functions each...

Remember analog S meters? This rig's got a BIG one! It's backlit in green to match the BIG LED frequency readout. Have you looked at the picture of this rig on Ten Tec's website? It's even better in person...

On CW I get a full 20w out as measured on my digital watt meter. This is with a 1.6:1 SWR...and no built-in tuner. The QSK keying can't be any better...

I'll give this rig a full five stars. It's got that 'analog' kinda feel in a DSP world...

73 John K7FD