I thought I would share a few comments about my new radio, a Ten Tec Rebel, Model 506. I have owned this radio for about three weeks, but for two of those weeks I have been out of action (illness). However, I have listened to some CW transmissions on 40 metres and I intend to keep the radio on that band. It is capable of transmitting on both 40 metres and 20 metres, CW only at about five watts at 13.8 volts, a little less using a 12 volt supply. The radio is an open source Arduino based device for tinkerers! But is it ready to transmit on either 40m or 20m depending on the band you select by changing five sets of jumpers. There is no frequency readout but the default 40 metre frequency is 7.030. Changing frequency is achieved by setting the frequency step, turning the dial and counting the led flashes. I listened to some SOTA activations on 7.032. I already own a Ten Tec Argonaut Model 539 and the controls are very similar to the controls on the Rebel. There is a Rebel Group on Yahoo and many US operators have added additional features to their Rebels, for example, frequency readouts, band changing circuitry, additional bands and a morse keyer to name just a few. I have armed myself with the ARRL publication ‘Ham Radio for Arduino and Picaxe’ edited by Leigh L Klotz, WA5ZNU. I would rank a frequency readout as a useful add-on. Anyway it is my intention to use the radio on portable operations and try my hand at some slow morse contacts.
The radio is packed in a cardboard box after being shrink-wrapped to a piece of cardboard which is fitted to the bottom of the box. There is no foam. Indeed no additional packing at all is used. I was impressed. The radio is very small and no accessories are included in the package. You therefore need to add a speaker and make up a power cable, connect to the power source and attach a hand key and it is ready to work. The radio is very small: about the size of two cigarette packs side by side! For anyone seeking more information I thoroughly recommend the You Tube videos from NG9D. I will say more about this radio as I get to use it more.
Keen to follow your impressions with the Rebel arduino based open source radio, let us know if you use it and how it goes on SOTA activations. Its a fascinating space! 73 Paul vk3hn
Thanks for the comment on this post. The Ten Tec Rebel has a good receiver. I am very impressed and the CW sounds good as well. I have not yet used the radio in the field but do plan to soon. I have had a few health issues lately and have not been as active as I would like. But I am planning a trip to the Grampians NP in April. While I have 44 + contacts from the Park, I have only activated Mount William once and would like to try again (a new year so a few more activator points).
I have seen on the www the way some US amateurs have developed their Rebels and the modifications are impressive. There are two, perhaps three, additions I would like in order: first, a frequency readout; second, band switching between the two bands provided and a long shot third, an electronic keyer (but I will be happy to use a hand key). To really do a good job you have to be able to handle metal work to modify the case.