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565orion2 [2007/05/20 20:43] (current)
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 +====== W4PA Addressing Questions About the Orion When the Orion II Was Announced ======
 +**From the Ten-Tec Reflector July 21, 2005**
  
 +OK - I've read all the commentary through the night and will address some of the various points brought up in emails I've read.  I'm sure this isn't the end of the discussion yet....
 +
 +Regarding parts obsolescense:  There is no 'checking the lifetime' of a component like the DragonBall processor.  No electronic manufacturer provides a life expectancy for any particular component.  The assumption made by all of us (rightly so) in the electronics industry is that the component manufacturing side of the business will continue to develop and offer new products - and we (companies that build equipment) use what meet our needs at present and then adjust to whatever the component suppliers offer for use when changes are made to their product lines.  That's just a fact of life:  new components are released, one ones obsoleted.   We weren't 'duped' by Freescale - the expectation is that parts come and go and we adjust to it when needed.
 +
 +For each component, 3 or 4 months before its demise, an EOL (End-Of-Life) noticed is issued, notifying manufacturers that a given part is going away - and to make a final purchase based on needs for the future.  This does NOT mean needs for production for the future, necessarily.  It is not practical for a company like Ten-Tec to stock a lifetime supply for production and repair of any part, at any time.  For production, we buy parts as needed.  When a part is obsoleted, that is an indicaton to a manufacturer than engineering time needs to be expended to identify a solution for a given product using this part, and to make provisions to buy parts for final production runs and future repair purposes.
 +
 +The DragonBall was EOLed some time ago.  When we began design work on the Orion in 2001, that was the "part du jour".  It now is discontinued and has a replacement - the DragonBall Super VZ.   We have repair parts available for the original processor.
 +
 +Skip to the next part:  What, then, are the options available?  Redesigning the logic board in the Orion to accomodate the Super VZ chip, and then raising the price of the transceiver to cover the costs, and then watching as the Orion matured was one option.  The other option was if the control processor is going to have to be changed, then this is the correct time for us to make additions or
 +changes to the transceiver at the same time.   Which is what has been done.
 +
 +DSP code non-release:  DSP code is the heart of every product that we and other companies build and to make it available to everyone, including companies that compete with us, is not practical.  There is a serious investment made in developing it - and it cannot be given away.
 +
 +The DragonBall processor in the original Orion is up to the task of accomodating all the functionality of the transceiver itself.  I got a private email yesterday that included the comment that "Ten-Tec has never admitted that the DragonBall is underpowered..." - there is nothing to admit.  The "DragonBall is underpowered" discussion started as rumor grist mill on chatter on the Internet and has continued to this day.  What I have said before - and will say again, is that perhaps we haven't used the DragonBall to its full capability...hence the v2.0 of the firmware.
 +
 +I don't think the announcement we made yesterday was completely understood, so I'll repeat it word for word again:
 +
 +New 32-bit control processor using the latest generation Freescale DragonBall Super VZ chip. Provides faster front panel control response and accelerated remote operation via RS-232. This new processor also provides the horsepower for a future planned "HIGH SPEED SWEEP" accessory. Features, price and availability of accessory to be determined.
 +
 +All-new firmware from the ground up. DSP code is refined, crafted and compacted to levels unimaginable even two years ago. Provides faster (stock) sweep with finer resolution, enhanced DSP automatic notch and DSP noise reduction.
 +
 +The Super VZ processor only buys a little bit faster response time off of the front panel and via RS-232.  Of the myriad of things that have been discussed about the Orion over the past two years, speed of response from controls on the rig and how fast the RS-232 interface runs are not something that has come up time and again to be discussed.  That's what the Super VZ buys you over the original DragonBall.  No improved receiver performance, radio performance, etc.
 +
 +The faster sweep scope and DSP enhancements are firmware.  I've been alpha testing the v2.0 of the original Orion code - the sweep scope is definitely faster than in the original version of the transceiver.
 +
 +The gist of it is this:  The color screen aside, this is an incremental upgrade in rigs from the Orion to the Orion II.  Nothing earth-shattering....no paradigm shift.  The basic performance - specs - of the transceiver are essentially unchanged.
 +
 +-------
 +
 +Next:
 +
 +There was little advance announcement of the Orion II.  This is in character with previous announcements about new products from Ten-Tec.  What was out of character for us was to have announced the coming of the original Orion nearly a year before we were shipping them.  This, frankly, was a mistake because much time was expended explaining features and functionality and possible delivery of a transceiver that didn't even exist at the time it was announced.   It taxed the resources of the customer service operation at Ten-Tec greatly and we agreed in the aftermath that we would have to go back to what we'd done previously:  no announcements of new products well in advance of an anticipated delivery date.
 +
 +--------
 +
 +Next:
 +
 +Trade-in values presently are $2200 for the 565, $2500 for the 565AT.
 +
 +--------
 +
 +Next:
 +
 +8 pin mic connector.  We have discussed off and on for years going to an 8 pin microphone connector to standardize with the other manufacturers in Amateur Radio.  We've stuck with the 4 pin mic connector for no other reason than allowing current Ten-Tec owners to be able to continue to use their current microphones. Unfortunately, there is no standardization to the wiring of 8 pin mic connectors in current ham rigs so we had to pick a configuration - the Orion II mic jack will use the same pin out as current Yaesu transceivers.  No plans to add functions like UP/DOWN through the mic jack.  Adaptors to adapt a 4 pin mic to the 8 pin jack will be available from us.
 +
 +--------
 +
 +Continuing to watch the discussion.
 +
 +Thanks
 +
 +Scott Robbins W4PA\\ 
 +Amateur Radio Product Manager, Ten-Tec, Inc.