TenTec Omni-D

TenTec has always had a good reputation for customer service. Their equipment has also had a good reputation for decent performance and reasonable reliability but Collins quality it is not. At least you will not find that sort of quality in the Omni-D.

Appearance wise the Omni-D looks like a serious piece of radio equipment. Inside it looks like a high end home brew job. Lots of single sided unplated circuit boards all interconnected with connectorless hookupwire. The only connectors are external at the back of the radio where most are cheap phono and molex. Only the RF out is a decent coax connector.

The cabinet looks good but on closer examination we find its good looks are a result of sticky vinyl coverup. The actual sheet metal work has the look of unfinished reynolds hobby aluminum with burrs, sharp edges and unfinished corners.

The knobs are too small, too light, and unsubstantial giving an overall impression of equipment on a budget.

These cosmetic flaws are not its only problems. Being a single conversion receiver it suffers from birdies. Most notably on 30 and 12 meters. Its AGC is audio derived and suffers from the popping syndrom on strong signals.

Loyal TenTec users claim that TenTec makes excellent CW gear because of their emphasis on QSK. TenTec QSK works and it works better than the their competitors QSK.

Perhaps that is true and it would be a serious consideration if I thought I needed QSK.

QSK is like VOX for CW. By using QSK you can hear signals on frequency between dits and dahs being transmitted. I have alwauys found such operation to be distracting and confusing. I also don’t care for VOX being more accustomed to PTT.

I have no idea why anyone would pay $1200 for an Omni-D. The one I have was obtained for $200 plus a Collins KWM-2 in trade. It must have been the digital readout that made the sale.

Today that KWM-2 is still worth around $1000. The Omni-D is lucky to get $400 and then only if it has all the optional filters and a good power supply and microphone.

So why do I have an old Omni-D? It makes a decent backup radio.

Even with all its warts and pimples it still is a decent transceiver