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Reviews For: Ten-Tec Delta/Delta II

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

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Review Summary For : Ten-Tec Delta/Delta II
Reviews: 12MSRP: 1400.00
100 watt HF transceiver with general coverage receive
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K3XR Rating: 2013-09-04
GREAT FUN TO OPERATE RIG Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Owned any number of TT rigs over the years and managed to overlook the Delta 580 which was my loss. Recently acquired a nice condition and operating as it should rig with the 500HZ filter. Work mostly CW and this rig is a joy to operate. The receiver is very quiet and if you are a QRP Op, I go there from time to time band conditions permitting the rig can be cranked down to less than a watt on the WM-2 QRP watt meter. They show up from time to time in the $250-300 range and well worth the investment. Don't overlook the SSB performance of this radio the received audio is pleasant to listen to.
AE6RQ Rating: 2013-01-04
Under rated Gem Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Many years ago, when I was much younger, I remember playing with the Delta II in my local ham store. Just as the reviewer wrote in QST, I managed to find a combination of settings that made the receiver appear to be dead.

After searching for a couple years on eBay, I managed to obtain one in very good condition. Today, with a lot more operating experience behind me, I can understand what is happening when I twist the PBT and IF BW and I know to listen closely so that I don't end up on the wrong sideband or otherwise shut down the receiver.

The built in filtering really makes this is a very nice rig for both CW and SSB. I can tailor the sound pretty much exactly how I want it. My ability to resolve CW and SSB signals with the Delta II exceeds my ability to resolve them on other rigs using best-in-class audio filters (e.g. Datong or SCAF).

Most certainly, do not discount this rig if you are looking at radios from the 80s.
KG9H Rating: 2012-04-19
Great "little" radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
For it's year manufactured, great little radio. I was surprised how small it actually is! Also, I just got it serviced by Ten Tec, one week turnaround time! Great audio reports love the variable bandwidth filter, active on all modes! No filters needed.
KE8SZ Rating: 2011-12-21
Fun radio to operate Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Excellent quality voice reproduction on receive for SSB/AM and FM. It is very easy on the ears. I was somewhat disappointed however, that it receives AM like a champ, but does not transmit on AM.

CW mode QSK performance, perfected by Ten Tec, is fantastic. If I can hear a signal they can hear me while running barefoot. I've received many audio compliments using the stock hand mike and internal speech processor. The Delta II is the first HF rig I reach for in the shack, when I want to check the bands for activity. I spend more time on this rig then on the other radios I own.

The Ten Tec Delta II is easy to learn and a fun radio to operate!
KK6OQ Rating: 2006-03-04
Great Bargin Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Found a Delta II up for auction with a matching power supply. Really got a super deal for a Ten-Tec rig. The QSK is amazing, so smooth that it can be difficult to tell you are transmitting at 100 watts. This is a precision CW instrument when coupled with a Schurr Profi-2 paddle and Logikit CMOS-4 keyer. If you can find one, buy it.
KI6YN Rating: 2005-05-21
AHEAD OF ITS TIME Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I remember when QST trashed the Delta II. I was amazed because I had been a ham for five years and always heard how great Ten Tec was. I reread the review and it was obvious the person that did the testing was way off base. Without going into detail, I also suspect that Ten Tec was being "encouraged" to advertise more in QST! That is only my opinion. I just obtained a Delta II in mint condition and I am having a blast with it. It is sitting between an Orion and an Omni 6 +. A/B testing shows it holds it own for most signals; I only work CW. I enjoy changing rigs every so often; the Orion will out perform my other rigs but then again, it is the latest of the state-of-the-art and is a software derived radio. You must not compare apples to oranges! Comparing a rig made in the last few years to a ten or more year old rig is ridiculous. However, for 95% of contacts, it wouldn't make any difference if I was using the Orion or the Delta II. I normally operate QRP but like the receive options on full sized rigs.
2E1SDX Rating: 2004-01-05
surprised me Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
i owned this transciever for a very short time and took it in a deal on other equipment and i must admit i was quite surprised how nice recieve audio was and great filtering,the audio reports were outstanding and several guys commented on which studio mic i was using with the ten tec delta 2 it sounded that good so i surprised them when i said it was the standard stock mic,controls are laid out well and im sure the keypad could be mastered within minutes after a quick read of the manual,ok the display is maybe a little dim but dont be put off by this.i personnally thought the display was not to bad, the delta 2 is a very underestimated radio...
HB9FBJ Rating: 2003-07-26
A rig to keep Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is a nice transceiver.
SSB sounds so nice on this radio in my opinion.
I like the large display.
The IF BW + PBT works just like a DSP.
Display backlit is not very good. Speech processor is nice. TX audio is clear and sharp.
K3TE Rating: 2003-04-27
Fantastic Time Owned: more than 12 months.
QST trash this rig in 1993. This is truly the most underrated rig Ten Tec has made (besides it's sibling - argonaut II) Bth rigs have the most quiet receive, excellent toll to manipulate signals and great tranmit audio. I own both the Delta II and the Argonaut II and I can think of no other rig I would rather be working in my shack or mobile. Great signal reports and audio reports make me confident I have great rigs.

Friends don't let friends operate rice boxes . . .
KU4QD Rating: 2002-11-27
Best kept secret and best value on the used market today Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The Ten Tec Delta II (model 536) was subjected to, as another reviewer stated, the worst trashing I've ever seen a rig take at the hands of a QST reviewer. I really like this rig and I have a lot of problems with the QST review. I feel they unfairly killed a really nice product. The one I have now is my third.

First, let's look at the QST complaints: if you read the "loss of sensitivity" issue closely, you'll see the complaint really is that if you narrow the bandwidth with the Jones filter and also shift the passband with PBT you can effectively shut down the receiver. If your bandwidth is 500Hz and you shift the PBT
sufficiently that your tuned signal is no longer within the passband, well... duh! This same effect can be achieved on any radio with dual PBT or the ability to shift both the bandwidth and passband by a significant amount. Simply reducing the BW, as one can on the Scout as well, doesn't cause any more loss of sensitivity than you'd expect with any narrow crystal filter. It's the combination of the two controls that can bring the bandwidth down to incredibly narrow levels without a DSP. This was a plus, not a caveat.

The synthesizer is not particularly noisy when compared to other midrange general coverage transceivers of the day, i.e.: the Kenwood TS-850 or Icom IC-751A. I have done an A/B comparison with the TS-850, which is considered to have an excellent receiver, and I could find no discernable difference between the two radios in the ability to hear weak signals with everything at default settings, and the Delta II did not have a higher noise floor. Ten Tec puts the noise floor at -129dbm, and I believe it. The Delta II is actually better at pulling out a weak signal next to a strong one becuase of the Jones filter/PBT combo.

AM receive audio was described as muffled by QST. I do use the rig for shortwave listening and the Delta II sounds very good indeed. The PBT still works in AM mode and can effectively allow you to adjust the tone of the incoming AM signal to suit your ears. Very nice. The sound was not muffled at all unless *I* made it muffled by messing with the controls. The only negative I can find (in all modes) is that the internal speaker is small and sounds it. The rig sounds much better with a nice, external speaker.

Weak SSB signals on 40 under the shadow of broadcasters can be sorted out with the PBT/Jones filter combo to eliminate the broadcast stations. The Jones filter is much better with the PBT than it is all by it's lonesome like in the Scout/Argo. By using the PBT in combination with the Jones
filter I can keep SSB intelligable and even pleasant at much narrower bandwidths than I can on my Scout, and the adjacent channel QRM just
drops away. The notch filter is also quite effective.

I have read that it just doesn't stand up under a very strong signal. I haven't found anything on 40m that could overload the front end, which is
a very good sign. Of course, this wasn't field day or a multi-station contest, so it may not hold up under those conditions, or maybe it will.
I don't know yet. I never operated a Delta II that way.

My nits to pick would be the fairly flimsy feel of the panel where the keypad is, and also the non-standard layout of the numeric keypad.
In the $400-$450 price class on the used market the Delta II has to be the best kept secret out there and the best value if you want a general
coverage receiver. I feel that the QST review was either written by someone who did not quite get how the controls operated or else had some sort of axe to grind. The Delta II isn't an Omni V/VI or even a Paragon. It's just a very, very good midrange rig from the '90s.