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View Full Version : Base Radios TEN TEC OMNI VI with factory option 3



Peter46
Wed 16th Mar 2016, 18:45
I am a newer ham and although I have several rigs including a TS-940s and a Drake TR7, I really like Ten Tec and how the Omni 6 is set up. I purchased a nice used Omni 6 with option 3 factory installed, but I find the RX very fatiguing on the ears. The DSP is not enjoyable to use and the filters (SSB) don't really help. I've researched a bit and see there are Inrad filter upgrades and audio hiss mods but can I ever expect to get deeper audio with more fidelity from this rig. To me it's all that's missing. I would sell my other rigs if I could achieve this. If you have experience with this radio I would really appreciate your insight into what is the best I can expect and what route would be most practical. I get good reports from this rig but I'll admit
I've never had it checked for alignment. Which direction should I take, to get the great audio people have written about in the past on the unit. Thanks so much.

WA9WVX
Thu 17th Mar 2016, 00:18
Hello Peter,

I don't own a TEN-TEC Product but from reading your complaint about the OMNI VI with Option 3 receiver's audio being very fatiguing to listen too, the DSP circuitry not operating the way you think it should and the SSB Filters not being wide enough, I think that you don't realize that this transceiver was optimized for CW (Morse Code) operation. I downloaded a PDF Manual on this transceiver and read it front to back. You didn't mention having an external (Wooden Enclosure) Speaker connected to your OMNI VI which would change the recovered audio characteristics. Secondly, if you're comparing a solid state transceiver to an analogue audio amplifier they're never going to be the same. This was demonstrated to me 25 years ago when a fellow ham had a TEN-TEC HF transceiver and an older Hallicrafter's SR-400 tube transceiver sitting side by side and there was a distinct difference with the recovered audio while listening to the station he had tuned on.

As I read through the OMNI VI Manual I noticed that there's a Pass Band Tuning Control which should provide a clearer receive signal. As far as the DSP control(s) affecting the receiver signal, one is a Notch which narrows the appropriate filter's bandwidth for CW and the other function affects the receiver's noise level which makes me wonder what your overall noise level is without the use of these controls? Then I wonder what type of an antenna you are using, a dipole, a vertical or a horizontal beam? There's also an audio output on the back of your OMNI VI that could be fed into a tube audio amplifier that have a volume, a treble and a bass controls and then into a large wooden speaker for a richer recovered audio sound. These solid state communication transceivers are only capable of the technology that was present at the time of the design.

Dan
WA9WVX

Peter46
Thu 17th Mar 2016, 16:38
Dan, you are extremely generous with your time and for that I am truly grateful. Taking the time to download the manual and reading it from cover to cover really does blow my mind. If I lived closer, I'd say you'd be in for some free yard work or summer lawn mowing to show my appreciation. Again thank you! To answer all your questions quickly, antenna is a G5RV at 30ft, noise level is anything from S1 to S5, I do have the large Ten tec matching ext speaker, and yes the PBT is my only lifesaver and thank god it works really good. Your right about it being a CW focused rig, but I expected better on SSB. I'm comparing it to my TR7 and the 940S which are older by 12 and 7 years respectively. They both have nice audio, especially the Drake and so that's where the problem comes from I guess. I shouldn't be comparing rigs that have different designs. Also, I know you'll almost never get everything you want from a single rig. I will look into getting the rig checked over, and from the research, it can be moded to bypass the DSP. The audio passes through the DSP circuit regardless if it's switched on or off, removing all audio below 260hz according to N1EU who has done DSP bypass experiments....this is the link http://www.wikidot.com/ten tec Omni 6 audio mods. The info seems compelling but I wish I could find someone who's gone through the process and what the outcome was. I'll continue my quest and see where it leads. For some reason I really like this old rig, and so I'll keep looking into it.........73 and thanks for being what this hobby was built on. Peter VE9KX

WA9WVX
Fri 18th Mar 2016, 19:28
Hello Peter,

After finding the correct website link http://omni6.wikidot.com for N1EU, I read what he did to his OMNI VI+, reviewed the results with the 2.8 KHz I.F. INRAD Filters, changing a few components & wiring points, the modification appears to be well worth the effort and end results. I almost sent an e-mail to Barry to inquire whether he had the same problem as you did with the fatiguing / hard to listen to the recovered audio ... I may still send an e-mail to him. Quite frankly, I have a couple of mobile transceivers with DSP and depending on how the settings are, they're very difficult to listen to the recovered audio. I think that DSP has a place to be used but I also feel DSP is over rated too in certain applications. It never seems to amaze me that I've always found a need for a couple of extra switches on the Amateur Radio transceivers & room for an additional PC Board for experimental modifications within the units. I'm not trying to say that any company's engineering staff didn't do the design correctly but like your OMNI VI was designed for the CW operator, they did the best they could with the SSB Voice operation and there's the trade-off.

I spent my entire career in the Land Mobile Two-Way Radio Industry working on Analogue FM, SSB / CW & Digital Voice technology at Motorola, Inc. and there was always some customers that wanted Special Modifications (SP) to their radio equipment that we would do Bid & Quotes for them which added more Money to the basic price and additional delivery time. A lot of the Bid & Quotes can be done in software today but not so years ago. What Barry N1EU had done would have been an electronic hardware modification to his OMNI VI+ to improve the performance of the SSB receiver audio and with the technology we have today using bilateral IC switches and other components, I believe Barry's modification could have been accomplished so the operator could press a push button to switch in or out the DSP circuitry. This is only one optional push button switch that would have been needed but on the other hand manufactures don't look at it this way as it might drive the price up another $15.00 USD to the buyer ... Woo Hoo a real price breaker!

Funny, I also have a TR-7, a great radio although mine has a minor problem in the IF / AF circuitry so it sits on the repair bench waiting for me to fix the problem. As I age, the less I wanted to spend working on radio equipment. Had the problem happened 20 years ago, I would have it repaired in a couple of hours. But hey that's life.

I still like to troubleshoot problems, make suggestions and help whomever has radio equipment issues ... I guess I'm a dying breed as everything now a days is swap out the modules but someone has to do the repairs especially if the unit is obsolete by the manufactures. Oh speaking of manufactures, TEN-TEC has been sold again and the new owner has stated for repair cost sent to the Tennessee factory will automatically have a $145 Per Hour Repair Cost ... No Free Consulting any longer either so find a repair shop up in Canada to do your work.

Peter, I checked the distance between us, 1,200 miles so don't worry about my lawn it will survive without your help as it has for the last 30 years besides I have 2/3 rds of an acre so I have a riding tractor with a 4' mowing deck ... I did cut the lawn a few times by using a push mower which took 6 hours to do and I thought I was dead after doing that. LOL

Dan
WA9WVX

Peter46
Thu 14th Apr 2016, 14:15
Dan, forgive me for the late reply. I've been distracted by certain events here and forgot to recheck the forum. QSL on the large lawn, Hihi. Honestly I couldn't help with it anyway
as a recent auto accident will probably result in me hiring lawn services this summer. Back to the OMNI 6 and everything you said about the
convenience of having that simple "switch" to by-pass or engage the DSP is so true. Your correct though in that the engineers designing these things
could in "our minds" design a rig that pretty much does it all. I think in some ways they try but we know it's a goal that will never be realized in any thing in life. I haven't done any further research into the topic of the audio mods, and frankly may be on the trail of a brand new rig. The TR7 will remain forever, and I'm
currently awaiting a EV-638 to arrive in the mail soon. I've recently acquired a mint condition Titan amplifier, and sold the TS-940sat station to a
fine gentleman in Arkansas. I have kicked around the idea of an ORION 2 as I could source one for the same dollar amount as a new rig? I'm a little concerned with repair issues the Orion could present down the road in the way of part availability, such as display unit failure etc. Wondering because of the situation to perhaps completely steer clear of Ten tec transceivers and try out a ICOM 7410 or the new, unfortunately tiny, 7300. I've heard
both radio's on air and they sound pretty good. Anyway it's all part of the hobby, this buying and selling, at least for me. One more time Dan you've proven through your words of wisdom, generosity with your time, and patience with newcomers that this hobby with all it's changes over
the years, good and bad, that some things are unchanging and that is the true spirit of ham radio. God bless and 73. Peter VE9KX