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Reviews For: Ten-Tec Omni-VII

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

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Review Summary For : Ten-Tec Omni-VII
Reviews: 110MSRP: 2850
Ten-Tec Omni-VII Model 588AT (with Autotuner) 160 thru 6 meter Transceiver
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4GPL Rating: 2008-01-26
Couldn't be more pleased... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I'm still green when it comes to HF operation, my first and only HF transceiver (prior to the Omni VII) was a Kenwood TS-480SAT, so that's my only comparison.. but...

I LOVE IT! I admit the online/remote operation isn't what it could be, but I didn't buy the rig for that purpose, so it's hard to be disappointed about something I'll rarely play with.

I was concerned before purchasing it that it may be 'too much' radio for a newbie, but it's really not. It's easy to use, yet has complexities that allow you to do remarkable things (especially with the rx). I'm a big SWLer, listen far more than I talk -- so having great RX is very important to me. In fact, the 588AT has become my preferred general receiver in the shack..

I had one problem with the sound card interface cable, it had a short. I reported that to TenTec and within 3 days I had a new cable with no additional problems -- so my one brief experience with support has also been excellent.

Being hobbyists we're always looking for the next best thing or feature. So it's easy to become jealous of some of the features on other radios in its class -- though I take solace knowing that they feel the same way about my rig. :) Would I like dual RX? Yup. Would I like a constant band sweep? Yup. But I bought the rig knowing these features were not included, so who am I to complain about it?

I'm a very satisfied customer. Thanks TenTec!
W9DJ Rating: 2008-01-17
Best radio I have ever owned Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
The Omni VII receiver performance is far superior to my Omni VI Option 3. The numbers don't look very different, but the "sound" of the VII is much better. The DSP filtering is effective and unobtrusive. I get uniformly excellent transmit audio reports, too. I have not been able to operate it through my Hughes Net satellite internet access system (Ten Tec told me in advance it would probably not work), so I cannot comment on the internet operation mode. I have run the rig through my wireless LAN and made numerous contacts. Though I often run it with an amp, the built-in tuner is wide range and pretty fast, though a tad noisy. The only minor gripe I have is that on rare occasions the radio will lock up and need to be turned off and then back on. This seems to happen only when I have maxed out every DSP function at the same time. Ten Tec support told me this would happen from time to time. Great job, Ten Tec! If it disappeared tomorrow I would have to buy another one. Anybody want an Omni VI Option 3?
W4RAR Rating: 2008-01-16
I had a choice i made the right one Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just received my Omni VII today. Only a day and a half went by before the UPS man was here thats fast! but I am only about 4 Hrs from the plant. I was trying to decide if I should buy a Icom Pro 3 or the Omni VII I know I made the right choice first of all I didn't want another radio that I had to refer to the manual in order to make an adjustment IE my Kenwood 2000LE Thank GOD for HRD or I would have already sold it. I've only been using the Omni for about 6 Hrs and I felt the minute I set down in front of it that I was at home with everything it was capable of doing I downloaded the video and PDF manual and just by viewing the Video I knew this was gonna be my next Radio.
Like one of the other reviewers said "if it was anymore user friendly it would Hug you" Awesome receiver smooth QSK clean Audio and easy to use.
I've owned both Orions they were great Radio's just not my cup of tea but with this rig I think
the Boys in TN HIT the Bullseye.
Guess I'll be using my Kenwood as a VHF-UHF all mode HIHI
K6LEC Rating: 2007-12-20
In a class by itself Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have been a dedicated CW op for many years, and have owned and played with a number of rigs, a list too numerous to mention here. The Kenwood TS520 was pretty cool. And one of my all-time favorites was a Ten-Tec Triton IV. Operating that radio was kind of like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers! Great sounding receiver, straight forward operation, and excellent tone and audio reports. Well, the Omni7 gives me that same feeling. The controls are easy to operate, the display is large enough to see with my 61-year old eyes, and it doesn't take a 75-page manual to learn how to operate.

The receiver is very sensitive, has an extremely low noise floor, and once I got used to using the RF gain in conjunction with the bandwidth, AGC, and Pass band tuning, stations really do seem to pop out of the air. (I also have an Elecraft K2 that does pretty much the same thing which is pretty damn impressive for a $600 radio), but I like the size and feel of the Omni7. I also plan on doing some remote operations over the internet some day, and this rig appears to be ready to go on-line (providing you feed it a basket of IP parameters).

As I mentioned earlier, I am a dedicated CW guy, and the built in keyer and smooth QSK really work well. But I recently put a Heil HM-10 with the HC-5 element on this guy, and I have gotten unsolicited great audio reports. Kinda got me interested in rag chewing again!

In relative terms, this is not an inexpensive rig, and there are any number of radios out there with 100-watts that can provide tons of fun for a lot less money. But there is a definite hominess about this radio that puts it in a class by itself. The fit and finish, though not as industrial and precise as say an Icom Pro3 or Yaesu 2K, is excellent. I added a Palstar SP30 speaker, and the optional 500hz Collins roofing filter, and the Omni7 really puts a smile on my face.

I also like the fact that this is a software defined radio, and there have been numerous firmware downloads since I bought the O7 which continues to offer valuable improvements.

Is it for everyone? Probably not! It's likely not the best contest radio. There is no seconday receiver. No memory keyer (although that would be a nice touch). But for me, it fits.

KA4ICK Rating: 2007-11-01
Ten Tec's Cutting Edge Continues! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I first laid my eyes (and hands!) on the Omni VII at last year's Ten Tec hamfest, as a pre-production demo and was impressed with what I saw. I later reviewed it again at the Charlotte hamfest and was impressed at the remote control demo. So seeing it at Ten Tec again this year as a working production demo was more than I could handle.... But would it be as impressive in my shack?? The short of the answer is Yes!!!!; and exceeds expectations!

To set the stage, I am experienced with all of the most recent Ten Tec HF rigs and with some of the more modern "other brand" radios. My favorite modes of operations are ESSB ragchewing, DXing, CW, AM, and digital modes. I even enjoy the major contests only to listen for and pounce on those rare contacts I need. And recently, I have enjoyed chasing DX on 160 meter CW.

What makes the Omni VII stand out above the rest is in the details; all the way down to how Ten Tec packs the rig in the box. I also ordered the optional filters and was expecting to open the rig up to install them, but was surprised to find they installed them for me at the factory. Very nice touch!

Precision is the rig's middle name; no guessing at any of the controls such as mike gain, PBT, etc. So no guessing games here going between settings for different operating styles or modes; i.e. Each control is represented by a number; want to do 20wpm in cw, set the control to 20.

The rig's foot print looks very similar to the Jupiter, but once you power it up, the thoughts of a Jupiter is gone as the color screen makes you start thinking about an Orion! However, it also has features that are unique only on the Omni VII !!!

You will find the radio is very easily configured. You use a simple, well laid out menu to set up things that do not change very often. This menu uses plain english that is easily understood and not some code system. The radio itself has a solid "feel".

I have heard several Omni VII's on the air and can honestly say that the transmitted audio is what caught my attention, since I love listening to great audio. The Transmit BW and low freq roll-off along with a TX EQ adjustments allows for customary tailoring of your desired transmitted audio. And of course the Monitor feature allows you to hear your adjustments through a set of headphones. The mic input is the same as a Yaesu 8 pin connection.

Working CW is so smooth. I watched the Ten Tec video on the Omni VII before buying and actually went back and forth on the QSK demo portion. Was the QSK really this smooth and click free? Yes! The transition is very smooth and the weight adjustments add to your personal preference with the built in keyer.

The receiver is so quiet and can be adjusted so that the background is reduced so that a received signal "pops" out of the noise. This is especially true with noisy band conditions, for example, on 160 cw listening for that rare DX contact.

Also, this past weekend was the CQ WW SSB Contest, so I had the opportunity to see how "bullet proof" the receiver’s front-end really is. This year, to me, seemed very crowded and had several opportunities to snuggle up to a strong station, and quickly via a front panel, reduce the bandwidth, and also the Pass Band (if needed) and hear a very weak station just a KC away; and work them very easily! This little non-scientific front-end test quickly reduced my anxiety concerns of the rig's ability to hear as well as the higher priced rigs on the market.

Working split is so easy too. The split freq is pronounced by illuminating the freq. in red by simply pressing one button. This is a MUCH needed feature on other rigs to help operators figure out which freq. they are actually transmitting on in a split operation. Once in split mode, you can easily hold the reverse button to find the station he is working. Once found, you can release and wait on the QRZ. To make this even easier, you can use the optional remote POD’s funtion keys and VFO. Just hold down the POD’s REV key , turn the POD's VFO and then release when ready to pounce on that rare one... Almost like a second receiver!

Finally, I am impressed with the remote abilities of the Omni VII. I have tested the rig on my LAN at home, with a wireless laptop and made a QSO on 75 meter ssb. The receive through my computer headphones sounded just like I was in front of the radio. This is a unique feature I hope to take advantage of in my future travelings. I ended up buying the Omni VII with the internal tuner so I can change bands and adjust the tuner remotely!

The firmware releases have been subtle, but quick and well communicated along with frequent user interaction with the software developer himself. This customer service is a reflection of the great customer satisfaction and support Ten Tec is famous for. I am not aware of any other off-shore radio manufacturer exhibiting this kind of support.

I also utilize the accessory jack on the back to interface my computer with the Omni VII for recording and also for data mode communications. The input/output levels are very adequate to drive the computer applications (computer audio recorder, PSK-31 program, etc.). The levels can be controlled via the menu if needed.

In conclusion, I continue to be very impressed with the Ten Tec Omni VII. Due to the flexibility, operability, and solidness of the radio, I feel it is one of the best values on the ham radio HF market today. You have the ability to operate from the default settings straight out of the shipping box, or have a full functional software controlled rig with the aid of your computer and software or take full control of the Omni VII over the internet from the comfort of your favorite vacation spot or business traveled hotel. The Ten Tec Omni tradition continues!
G3RXO Rating: 2007-10-05
Ten-out-of-TenTec Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I was licenced nearly a half century ago. I gave up the hobby for many years in favour of business and family but promised that when I got to retirement I'd buy myself some fine equipment and get back on the bands.

So recently I checked out the competition. Yaesu were nicely built with an interesting front panel kaleidoscope. Icom had more sensitive recievers with a tried and tested formula. JRC were quality equipment but only receivers. Sadly Elecraft are not allowed into the Eu yet. So what about TenTec ?

I'd heard comments about TenTec being for those on the geeky side and observations regarding their mechanical stature.

I went to a dealer and tried an Omni Vll. It sounded suspiciously low noise. The front panel was intuitive to use. The menu was clear. I liked what I saw and heard.

We set up a comparison rig and checked out the Omni Vll against other major brands and models. The choice was easy.

The UK TenTec agents kindly fitted the extra filters for no labour cost and the external p.a. fan was included too.

I have only had the Omni Vll briefly and so cannot comment yet on reliability but I can certainly comment on practical performance.

If the qsk was any faster it would be duplex, if the receiver was any cleaner it would be sterile, and if it was any more user friendly it would hug you.

So if you're in the process of buying a new transceiver give TenTec a try. I'm sure you'll get a pleasant surprise. I did.

Thank you TenTec

73 G3RXO
K4ZNC Rating: 2007-09-12
Very Pleased Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I traded my failthful Omni 6+ thru TenTec for the Omni VII. I expected a significant upgrade and hoped that I had made the right choice. I opted for the Collns filters and ATU.

Honestly, it took me a few days to acquaint myself with the distributed roofing system, and by twaeking the PBT, BW with the NR and notch, I began to really get a senses of how well engineered the Omni VII really is for the operator. Ergonomics are superb, very quiet receive, and good transmit audio according to others on the other end.

I did purchase the Palstar SP30 and very pleased with the price and audio for a companion speaker.

The automatic tuner works its magic very quickly. This will probably be my last new radio purchase; no need to hunt for anything better!
WB0BBO Rating: 2007-09-11
Everything Promised and More !!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have owned my Omni VII for about 3 weeks now, and I simply can't believe what a fantastic radio I now own. I have been a ham now for more than 40 years, and I have owned a lot of radios, all brands, including the now legendary Collins KWM-2 transceiver, and nothing I have ever owned, I repeat, NOTHING even comes close to this radio.

I am ashamed to say I have never owned a Ten-Tec....well, shame on me. The people in Tennessee, have designed a tremendous product, with a great deal of thought, very intuitive controls, and all kinds of flexibility, including possible future enhancements.

After experimenting with the AGC, RF gain, bandwidth controls, and a few others, I have learned how flexible this receiver really is, and a few times it was sitting there so quiet, I actually thought it was broken !!! Then someone would pop on frequency, and sound like they were in the shack with me....amazing receiver.

I won't repeat all of the positives already presented, just suffice to say that I waited months, read reviews, and the QST review finally convinced me to go for it, then I sold a lot of gear to pay for it, and am I satisfied ??? You better believe I am, and it will only get better as this device is much more defined by firmware than hardware, so I expect to see some amazing firmware updates down the road.

If I had any complaint, it would be the somewhat milky display with the default setting, but I have found that a setting of between 15-20%, gives me a very sharp, nice contrast display.

One side benefit I hadn't even thought of is that the bandscope works on all frequencies, not just ham bands, which makes it a great tool to search for SW stations ( no more paper SWL time & freq guides !!! ), and the flexible filtering makes listening to AM a real pleasure.

If you have $3000 to spend on a radio, my advice would be to give this rig very serious consideration, as I don't believe it will disappoint very many people.
N8SKA Rating: 2007-09-07
Still excellent!!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
To me this rig is still GREAT! That is what a [5] is supposed to signify, no further issues have I encountered, works as advertised. 80 meters was in it's usual high QRN state the other morning, S7 noise level, stations difficult to copy at that noise level, but S7+ signals ok.
Switched the bandwidth to 2600, passband to around 150, noise reducer to [1], i.f. at 6k, eliminated some high freq QRM close by with the variable notch & width control, and then reduced the RF gain to around 30%. About 10 seconds to perform these adjustments. Even the S7 station was clear as a bell. NO QRN, exccept for an occasional static pop over the RF 30% level set, the QSO was noise free, almost FM quality. My previous rig, an FT920, was incapable of this kind of performance and to me this represents a major step forward in reciever design and implementation. I would rate the 920 as a [4] by the way. Just thought I would pass on the update. See my last post 8/15.
K6LE Rating: 2007-08-03
I'm sold Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The first week I had the radio I was a little worried.

The concerns I had were:

All of the encoder knobs (except Main tuning) seemed a little sloppy, not in function but on their shafts.

The Main Tuning knob had a "swishing" sound when spinning it around the band.

With the Phones and Key plugged in the front it was not real ergonomic to reach the PBT/BW and Multi knobs.

Had some trouble coming to grips with the very sensitive receiver.

Began to wonder if I wanted to sell my Omni VI (opt 3) or not.

By the second week I had stopped noticing the encoder knobs, I never notice them in actual use.

Used the included Allen wrench to loosen the Tuning knob and slightly reposition it on the shaft. "Swishing" gone.

Installed 90 degree 1/4" phone jacks on my Bencher and Headphones. Problem solved and they look great.

Learned from the Orion manual the concept of not necessarily using "Auto" for the roofing filters unless there are a lot of strong signals on the band (a rarity these days!). So, I mainly use manual and use the 6k filter unless I have to fight some bad QRM. Also, I became much more comfortable with using the Attenuator and Fast AGC. That made a big difference for me.

Now, in my fourth week I am putting my beloved Omni VI on the block and, as much as I loved it, I have a new friend!

I am able to adjust the transmitted audio to be able to use and get great reports on everything from my Heil HC-5 headset, my Heil PR-20 and PR-40 studio mic's and the Ten-Tec 709. BTW, the 709 is currently the champ on SSB, the HC-5 for DX (go figure!) and the PR-40 sounds great on FM.

Not much sense in talking about CW and the QSK waveform. You can't get a better CW waveform because, if you look at the QST review, it is perfect!

Do I love it now? You betcha!

Is it perfect? Of course not but getting closer every update.

BTW, for me the One Plug is icing on the cake and not something I will be using much, but it is a blast to play with.

I have a house in Mexico and I dream about being able to buy another Omni VII and leaving it down there. Hooking it up to DSL and being an XE when the propagation stinks here.