Ten Tec Corsair-II

One of the last and probably the greatest analog ham rig ever made.

After running my Drake gear for a lot of years I thought I'd try something a tiny bit more modern. I'd been hearing talk about the legendary QSK with TenTec rigs so I thought I better see what I'd been missing for the past 30 years.

After keeping my ear to the ground, listening for an opportunity, I stumbled upon a nice looking Corsair-II set-up and subsequently added it to the shack.

The Corsair-II was a nice transition from the Drake -- it's an analog rig with PTO tuning and has very similar characteristics to the Drake 4-line. The external VFO allows nice split operation -- somewhat nicer than the Drake since you can listen on both your transmit and receive frequencies simultaneously. The filters, passband tuning, notch and other accoutrements are quite similar to the Drake. But, the QSK! WOW! I was immediately impressed with the QSK. Very nice!

Oh, yeah, it was also nice to not have to peak the grid and dip the plate and tweak the loading. That stuff doesn't matter for casual chewing of the rag but for contesting, it's huge.

As a sidenote, I am not a big contest kinda guy. I do like contests and participate in as many as I can but, I'm not that great of an operator and, hey, I'm running a vertical antenna on the west side of a mountain in the northern and western part of the USA. It's tough to be competitive with most of my signal heating up the earthworms.. Nonetheless, I do enjoy the operating challenge of contests. Also, I think a contest is a great place to check out new gear and antennas.

So, anyway, my Corsair-II rig consists of the transceiver, the matching power supply, the external VFO and the matching KRB1 keyer. The rig puts out a full 100 watts on all bands.

Of course, the IF filter slots are all full:

Filter Bandwidth

Here's the pics:

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Front View

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Close Up

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Left Side

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Right Side

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Left Rear

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Right Rear

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External VFO Face

The TenTec 263 Remote VFO is very cool. It allows you to transmit and receive in split mode but also allows you to listen to both frequencies simultaneously! So, if you're working a huge pile up you can listen to the DX station and listen to your transmit frequency. This means that you can tune around with the transmitter VFO, looking for the guy the DX is working and then pounce on the frequency as soon as that QSO is finished. What a great feature.

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External VFO Right Side

You can choose to work split (either way) or transceive on the main or remote VFO. It's an incredibly workable and intuitive system.

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External VFO Left Side

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External Memory Keyer Face

The TenTec KRB1 Keyer was designed specifically for use with the Corsair-II transceiver. It controls the built-in memory system in the transceiver itself. I've never used the keyer but I'm told it's fully adjustable, iambic and makes for a pretty nicely integrated package with the Corsair-II.

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External Memory Keyer Close Up

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External Memory Keyer Right Side

Ten-Tec Corsair-II External Memory Keyer Rear View

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Power Supply Left Side

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Power Supply Right Side

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Power Supply Rear View

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Power Supply Bent Fin View

Notice the bent fin on the heat sink. That's the only flaw I can find on this rig.

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Complete Documentation

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Jumpers

Those two jumpers (shown above on the manual) are put in place when you are not using the external VFO. So, for example, if you took the rig to Field Day you might not want to fool with the external VFO -- ya need these jumpers to make the rig work without it.

Ten-Tec Corsair-II Original Brochure

If you would like to view the full specs for this rig, here's a .PDF of the original brochure.

The Legendary TenTec Corsair-II. It's a great rig but it had to go. Sold it in 2010..