Ten Tec discontinues the Argonaut V
Video produced by Drew, AF2Z
Ten Tec started the Argonaut line of QRP rigs in the early seventies with the Argonaut 505. Then came the 509, 515, II and most recently the Argonaut V (aka Argonaut 516) in 2002. Last week I had a nice QSO with an amateur who was using an Argonaut V. He had recently contacted Ten Tec and had learned that that the Argonaut V was being discontinued. The amateur I was talking to liked his Argo. V and was clear that he was glad he had got one before production stopped and that he would be hanging on to his. I was surprised at hearing about the ending of production of the current Argo., as this is a well regarded rig, with features like IF DSP and software upgrades via the internet. However, on checking the Ten Tec website I did see that this rig was announced as discontinued in August, 2008. This news is perhaps a little old now, but I thought I would share it as I had not heard about it until recently.
The Argonaut V (516) was considered a QRP rig, although it could output 20W. For those looking for a new commercial QRP HF rig, and not a kit, there is now a reduced choice. Indeed, on checking into current production rigs I see Icom Canada does not mention the Icom IC-703 plus, neither does Radioworld list it for sale. However, Icom America does list it. So, is the current choice of new commercial QRP rigs limited to the Yaesu FT-817ND, the Elecraft K3 and the MFJ single banders? Of course there are the kit only radios too, like the Elecraft K2 and the Sienna from DZkits, that cover the HF bands and offer CW and SSB capabilities. Then there are the CW QRP kit rigs like the K1, KX1, Sierra and Small Wonder labs SW+ series. Perhaps the QRP market is too small a subset of an already small market of amateur radio transceivers. Of that subset Yaesu has had amazing success with the FT-817. How many amateurs have you encountered who own one as a primary or secondary rig? These are such flexible radios for the price.
Returning to the Argonaut and where I started this post. Ten Tec has such a tradition of resurrecting the Argonaut I presume and hope in the future they will produce an Argonaut VI (or whatever they decide to number it). Feel free to post in the comments here what features you would like in a new Argonaut.
Finally, thanks and credit to Drew, AF2Z, for producing and posting the YouTube video which shows the performance of the Argonaut V so well.