There were a few dissenting opinions. Some pointed out you could buy a used Icom or Kenwood for the same money -- but the scout's simplicity and ease of operation are among it's strongest selling points. Others objected to the frequency correction method used by the scout (a possible problem with digital modes or long winded high speed cw qsos - but NOT a problem for most of us -- see notes in reviews for details.) As you'll read below there are a lot of satisfied scout owners out there!
========== no connection to Ten Tec -- just a happy camper =============
The Tec-Tec Scout 555 is one simple, easy to use, solid rig. I
fellow Hams in many parts of the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America,
Australia and other areas. For 10 meters I use a 3 ellement yagi (about
35 feet above the ground) and for 20, and 15 meters I use a multi-band
"V" dipole about 20 feet above the ground. On 40 meters I used a home made
folded dipole inverted "V" antenna about 30 feet above the ground.
As we move into this solar cycle, 10 meters is getting better and better.
Even now 10 can be hot. I did a contact with Australia on 10 meters
several weeks back, with good signal reports both ways. I've lost count
of the number of contacts I've made in South America and "local" USA.
When the band is good, 50 watts is enough power.
I purchased the Tec-Tec Scout as a Tech Plus. It was a resonable
me to try HF without spending a lot of money. It wasn't long before I
upgraded to General and then upgraded to Advanced. No problem, for under
$100 I purchased the 40, 20, and 15 meter modules and upgraded my Scout.
I tend to work SSB, but do work CW at times. The Scout has one
in CW the sending frequency may jump a little while your sending. It's
not a major deal.
As for sending voice quality, it provides very good audio. At
end, yes, you can purchase a better receiver, but expect to spend a lot more
money. For it's price range, receive audio is very good.
I strongly suggest you purchase the Scout with the Noise Blanker.
option doesn't cost too much and when you need it, it works very well.
I also own the hand held mike for this rig. I'm happy with it.
Before I purchased my Scout, I searched the Internet using Deja-News
see what other Hams had to say. After reading lots of messages from
fellow Hams; I can safely say: Ten-Tec puts out good equipmnet.
And having used that Scout, I know first hand, Ten-Tec does make good
equipment. (Other Scout owners love their rigs too.)
I have 2 Scouts --one I use in the car and the other as a back-up to my main
rig. I think the Scout is an excellent xcvr. Has no bells and whistles,
except maybe the built-in keyer. I am primarily a CW OP. It meets my needs
just fine. The 50 watts is no problem --I can work almost everything I can
hear. It may be a little inconvenient to have separate modules for each band,
but I only use 40 and 20 and sometimes 30 meters and it doesn't cause me any
The best features of the rig is its great receiver, ease of operation,
Tuning is tough. Uses a tuning coil set-up that takes some getting
use to and
in CW, it may drift if you don't stop periodically to allow it to adjust itself
( it has a circuit that compensates for drift, but you must stop transmitting
to allow it to work. This is not a problem in SSB.
Overall, it is a very pleasant radio and I usually turn it on before
I turn on
any of my other rigs. You can probably get a used Scout for around $400-$450
with several modules.
A used IC 706, however, can cost around $650 - $750. The IC 706
offers a lot
more than the Scout, but it isn't as simple to operate and I don't like the
receiver as well as the Scout's.
Of course, this is just my own opinion. I'm sure a lot of hams
will tell you
to just get a used FT 840 or IC 707 or some rig like that for what you will pay
for a Scout. But, I prefer the Scout and you need to listen and play with a
lot of rigs before plopping down your hard-earned bucks on a rig.
Everyone I know that has one, likes it. On CW they have a noticible
small frequency jump (correction) every so often that can be annoying.
It's not noticible on SSB. However the *lack* of bells and whistles can
I have the Argo 556, almost the same as the Scout but without the 50
final. While I would hardly consider the Scout "inexpensive", if you are
planning on using several frequencies I believe it will, in the long run,
balance out over the single band (kits). Quality appears very good, not
sure if I would throw it into my backpack and take it out into the woods,
but it certainly *feels* sturdy enough. According to the Operator's
10A transmit @ 50 watts out
4.5A transmit @ 5 watts out
let me know if you need any more of the technical details, as long as
their "in the book" :-) I did have some trouble initally with the power
output. A call to Ten-Tec customer service quickly resolved the problem
and I recommend the company (or at least their support) highly. You must
be careful to FULLY insert the frequency module into the unit (flush with
the face). I did not have the module in all the way and it gave some
funny power output readings. Once the module was pushed all the way in it
worked fine. I hope to use my Argo eventually with solar power, but that
is still a little in the future. As I said, the Argo is thebut I must
admit I have not had occasion to travel with it yet. Let me know if I can
help with anyother info.
73 Alan N3ITF
I own a Scout and like its simplicity and easy operation. You buy
what you need so if working 160m is not a priority then its not part of
the total package required to get on the air.
I've worked several DX countries using dipoles and 50w output.
received several reports on its excellent sounding audio signal. CW
reports come back complimentary as well. It does drift a little bit but
only during temperature differentials. I haven't had a drifing problem
for quite some time though. The receiver is adequate. There are some
signals that I lose below the noise floor. A Radio Shack DSP audio amp
helps out for some of those weak ones.
Bottom line is this is a very affordable rig. You can get on the air
in a matter of minutes.
I have had a Scout for over 2 years and think it is a fine rig. I have
subjected it to a rough life, mobile and camping, as well as fixed use in
both modes and it performs well. Great receiver, excellent filter system
(doesn't sound constrained) and adequate power for all applications, even
mobile with a good antenna.
It has a few quirks, but then every rig out there is a compromise in
or another. The best thing I can say, is yes, I would buy one again if I
had it to do over.
Good Luck & 73
I had the opportunity to put the Scout (555) through it's paces during
Field Day. It outperformed the TS-50! Nearby transmitters clobbered the
TS-50 but didn't phase the Scout. Plus, bandswitching with the Scout was
actually faster than with the TS-50.
The 555 used during field day had a modification (recent QST) to fix
high-speed cw frequency drift problems. We worked at 45 wpm on the same
frequency for over 6 hours.
I rate this transceiver very high. It's the first Ten Tec I've ever
and I fell in love with it.
Have had my 555 rig for over a year and now use it as the main station righly
recommend it for the occasional user such as myself.
I've been using one for over a year, mobile and occasionally base.
One thing I've noticed is the audio quality, whenever I go to any of
friends shacks and listen to a variety of rigs, none seem to compare
with the 555. The variable width IF filter is great, both for SSB and
CW, not as sharp as a set frequency, but more pleasant to listen to.
If you like CW, this is a great little rig with full QSK, and built
keyer. It does drift a little, but haven't had any complaints, always
get excellent reports on QSO's on the audio. The noise blanker works
well, and is required for mobile use.
I only use 2 bands, 40 and 30, so the modules aren't a problem, I have
to change resonators on the antenna anyway.
I have some complaints with the way the system is layed out. The
speaker jack is on the front panel, and the CW jack is on the back. The
speaker jack is a 1/4" phone plug, and the CW jack is miniture stereo.
It is very simple and doesn't have any extra buttons to be pushed or
cause distraction while using mobile. It is tuned with variable
inductance and has no extra receiver noise from PLL, I can often hear
stations clear when the other stations are complaining about not being
able to dig the signal out of the noise.
It is only 50 watts, but seem to be adequate. You can't jump around,
tunes like a mechanical radio (it is), so to go from one end of the dial
to another is a lot of cranking, with only 60KHz bandwith on my antenna,
not a problem.
It is simple, probably not as cheap as it appears if you want to run
on all bands, but over a 40,000 miles of vibration in 16 months, and not
It is a TEN-TEC, if that means something to you, it does to me, I've
opened it up, and it looks very solid, I was going to move the offensive
connectors, but decided I could live with them, but it could be done.
It fits perfectly where the ash tray was in my Sable Wagon.
Not for everyone, but I am pleased with it.
I have been running a scout for a few months and have put many
hours on it. I work mobile CW, and some SSB. The radio is a
pleasure to use, has great audio, is very simple, and the rx is
very selective and sensitive. It does have a few shortcomings,, but
i stress that it doesn't kill the rig, it is the reality of compact, analog
The fabled CW drift problem is real, and well documented. The
reality is that the station on the other side will hear your tone
change a bit. It does not go scurrying across the band. The QSK
is smooth and the rx muting is "moderate". The Jones filter really works
but is not "stone-wall" sided. This is to be expected with a variable,
low(er) Q bandpass filter. The other downside of the Jones is that on narrow
widths it has .... does... exhibit attenuation within the passband. this
makes it hard to hear very weak ones through the filter. Honestly, when
i'm driving along looking for potential CW contacts, i want something
copyable.... not 339.
P.S. I really like this rig!
73 es CUL Pete, N1QDQ
Like everything else about the Scout, the modules are extremely rugged. The only trouble I've ever had is that one of my modules was a bit stiff at first, but the problem went away with use. All of the modules are quite secure when installed in the rig. It may seem a bit disconcerting that the removal lever bends quite a bit before the module comes out, but the levers appear to be made of carbon fiber or something similar, and work very well. If you ever have any problems with the Scout, my experience with Ten-Tec is that their service department will bend over backwards to help out.
I found a container which works very well for the storing the eight extra Scout modules when not in use: It's a Rubbermaid "servin' saver," 1.7 L size, also designated with a letter F.
Enjoy! 72, Bruce Prior N7RR in Blaine, WA
Doug, I also have a Scout. Other then changing band modules, being
bothersome at times, if you like to jump around the bands a lot, the rig
is excellent. You can put it right beside some of the hottest digital
equipment around, and the scout is likely to here a weaker CW signal
better that the most expensive gear available. You have two or three CW
signals piled close together, reach over and tighten up the filter a
little and your only hearing one of them. If you have never copied CW by
concentrating on one tone coming out of a pile of several tones, then
you have not lived. Most of the older ham equipment was that way. The
Scout will, most of the time, allow you to here just the CW station you
are trying to work. So if it does that on CW than think how well it does
on SSB. I LOVE MY Scout. I dumped a big time digitally run Kenwood to
get it because the noise floor was so high I could not hear really weak
signals, I had heard on previous, non digital rigs.
Only New Ham Gear I'll buy is Ten Tec.
You may also want to read the Product Review in QST Dec 1993 pg 77 by David Newkirk WJ1Z. it has some points you can ponder, both pro and con. Likewise the review in the QRP Quarterly April 1995 pg 18. Also the Ten Tec Scout Review by N2QCE
In my opinion the Scout is a great little rig!