Add a Front Panel Tune Button to the Argonaut V

From the Ten-Tec Reflector March 21, 2004

With a few minutes work, you can make tuning up a snap by adding a tune button to the front of your Argonaut V. You can do this for a couple of dollars and without modifying or defacing the rig in any way. In addition, the tune button can always be removed in a few seconds. (This is sounding like a sales pitch, but it is not!)

Why do you need a tune button? If you work a lot of CW using the Argonaut V's internal keyer, a tune button will make tuning up quicker and more convenient than using any of the Argonaut V's three existing methods of generating a continuous carrier.

One method of generating a carrier is to not use the rig's internal keyer. Then, you can use your straight key, bug, or the tune button on your external keyer (if it has one) to generate a carrier. This method works out fine, unless you want to use the internal keyer.

Another method is to use the rig's keyer button and the multi knob to reduce the keyer speed to zero, which puts the rig in straight key mode. You can then use your paddle to generate a carrier. Of course, when you're done, you have to reset the keyer speed.

The final method is to leave a PTT microphone connected to the mic jack and press the microphone's button to generate a carrier in CW mode. Then, however, the microphone and cord will tend to get in your way while you are working CW, and in the case of a hand mic, you have to grab the microphone in order to press the button. This is less ergonomic than simply pressing a stationary button on the front of the rig. In addition, I don't like to leave a microphone plugged into the rig, because non-ham visitors are always tempted to pick it up and say "10-4, good buddy!". This irks me to no end!

All you need to add a tune button to the Argonaut V is a microphone connector compatible with the rig (a spare one comes with the rig), and a $2.69 Radio Shack push button, item # 275-1571.

Radio Shack 275-1571

This is a very small, cylindrical, SPST momentary switch that can fit inside the mic connector so that only the tiny black button (which matches the Argonaut) extends out the back of the connector. (Radio Shack also carries a red button, if you prefer.)

I'm sure you can easily take it from here, but I'll nonetheless describe the assembly process in the excruciating detail that I appreciate when I'm on the receiving end. The main thing to be careful about is avoiding shorts inside the mic connector.

  1. Solder two, three-inch, insulated, solid (not stranded), narrow gauge wires to the button's two pins. Make sure that the solder connections don't protrude much from the pins in any direction, since this may cause a short when the connector is reassembled.
  2. Remove the tiny screw on the connector's side (don't lose it!), disassemble the connector, and loosen the two screws that hold the connector's collar in place.
  3. Slip the button into the connector so that the wires stick out the other end (the end that will face the rig when the connector is plugged in). Push the switch into the connector so that the button, and about 1/4 inch of the body of the switch, protrude from the connector. Pushing the button in too far may cause a short.
  4. Tighten the two screws on the connector's collar just enough to prevent the button from moving when you press it. If you tighten these screws too much, you will crush the switch.
  5. Cut the wires to the minimum length needed to permit you to solder their free ends to the two lower pins of the connector (the PTT and ground pins). Before soldering, check how the connector mates with the rig's mic jack to be sure which pins are the two lower ones.
  6. Solder the two wires to the two lower pins of the mic connector. It does not matter which wire goes to which of these two pins.
  7. Reassemble the connector and insert and tighten the tiny screw on its side.
  8. Insert the connector into the rig's mic jack and tighten it down.

Generating a continuous carrier on CW is now a one-step process: Push the tune button. In an emergency, the button could also function as a crude straight key.

Please let me know whether or not you find this add-on useful.

Long Island, NY

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