Last week the whole family traveled down to the Smoky Mountains for a few days of vacation and fun. While we were there, my sons Andrew N9AWM, Jason and I stopped by the Ten Tec factory and showroom to look over the current models and pick up a few odds and ends. Here we are at the front door of the Ten Tec plant in Sevierville Tennessee. Ten Tec is not far from the main drag in Pigeon Forge and was really easy for us to find, especially with the help of a GPS. It was a cloudy overcast day with some drizzle so this was a great time to go visit. The first thing we noticed were all the antennas in the front lot of the property. Numerous dipoles, loops, and a single tower loaded down with several different antennas awaited us. I had called ahead and spoke with Stan Brock WD0BGS and was surprised to find out the Ten Tec shack was opened to the public M-F 8A to 5P every week.
Once there we asked to see the radio room and Stan obliged us immediately. He quickly showed us how to tune the radio, choose the antenna, and where the key was located. I took the first turn at the Argonaut 6 and the new amplifier. The Argo was putting out about 80 watts on 20m and I worked N3VXK up in Cassadaga NY, and N8BB over in Concord Michigan. The paddles were the Vibroplex Iambic Paddle. I use the Vibroplex Vibrokeyer at home and I really liked the feel of the Iambic Paddle…I may have to acquire one of those!
Andrew picked up the mic for a bit and we spun the dial around on 20m but did not find anyone to talk to. By this time the troops that were waiting in the vehicles outside were getting a bit antsy to hit the trail and explore some other sights in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg,…apparently they didn’t ride for seven hours to watch grandpa play radio…hahah. In this room, they also had a VERY complete display of Ten Tec rigs from the past. I can’t say for sure but to me it looked liked they had about one of everything they ever sold to Amateurs. Take a look yourself and tell me if you see something missing!
They also had a pretty nice assortment of QSL cards on the wall. I was really impressed with a Vatican City card from the mid 1960′s.
Anyway, if you ever find yourself in eastern Tennesee with some time on your hands, stop by Ten Tec and say hello to Stan and the gang, and jump on the air for a few QSO’s and a nice test run of all the radios. We were not rushed or hurried out in any way, and Stan offered to hookup anything we wanted to try out. The current line up was the Rebel, Argonaut 6, Eagle, and the Omni VII….we only played with the Argo and the new Amp. That amp is small, quiet, and cool. very nice. My only complaint with the Argo is it does seem to be a little heavy on the current pull, but as Stan pointed out, it is running full DSP, it is not designed for portable operation, and I would have to say the receiver in it was top notch all the way. I still like my K2 better…but I would love to have a Argo on the desk here at home as well.
73 de KB9BVN