The TEN-TEC Rebel model 506 transceiver is designed with the purpose of providing Ham Radio operators a platform for developing and writing code using the open-source Arduino programming environment. It is a factory built CW QRP radio with a Chip Kit Uno 32 Arduino compatible processing unit that holds the operating program. The radio is provided with programming for basic operating functions that allow it to be used immediately as a basic QRP transceiver. Additional operating functions can be programmed by the user, either by writing the code or copying/adapting code developed by members of a growing number of Arduino special interest groups. It is this sharing of programming routines and ideas for functionality that is the heart of the Arduino open-source concept.
Basic features include a 40 & 20 meter QRP transceiver with internal jumpers to change bands. Full band coverage on both bands. Typical power output will run 4-5 watts with 13.5 VDC. A drift free operation is achieved through DDS synthesizer technology. CW sidetone through headphones. Three filter bandwidth choices and three tuning rate adjustments included with the stock program.
http://forum.arduino.cc/ (user discusion forum)
chipKIT Uno32 (Digilent, Inc.):
http://www.digilentinc.com/ (home page)
http://www.chipkit.org/forum/ (user discussion forum)
506 Rebel Yahoo Group:
506 Rebel Source Files (Source Code Project and Eagle Board files):
Visit our Transceiver Downloads page and scroll down to the 506 specific section.
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Posted by Ron on 28th Oct 2013
Great product. I would like to see Ten-Tec develop more radios like this one. Very likely to buy a second Rebel just for the purpose of software development.The quality is what I have come to expect from Ten-Tec radios.
Posted by Dave on 24th Oct 2013
Fundamentally, the Rebel 506, is a SA612-based QRP transceiver design like many others, and its off-the-shelf performance is as you would expect with those designs too. Looking at the front panel and data sheet, you'll probably notice that the radio doesn't come with a display or even a keyer!
But neither ultimate performance, nor an array of bells-and-whistles are what this little radio is about. The Rebel, whose schematics, board layouts, and software source code are all provided under an open source license, is meant to provide a solid radio foundation integrated with a high-performance, off-the-shelf Arduino-compatible microprocessing platform. The result is a radio reference platform that can be extended through both software and/or hardware. Its obvious that Ten-Tec put a lot of thought toward ensuring that the hardware design is good for expansion. This includes things like jumpers at both the input and output end of the BPF (so you might substitute in a different BPF), easy access to audio output, use of a fast DDS, and read-access to the AGC voltage.
Already, the Rebel community (see the Yahoo Group) has been busy to modify the original Ten-Tec software and in a couple of cases, provide minor hardware enhancements. The result is that this little radio now has multiple display options (displays are $4 from eBay), a CW keyer, beacon mode, automatic band switching, and CW frequency read-out. CW-decoder software is apparently around the corner. There is some talk too of modifying it to support PSK and other modes.
With the Rebel, I get to have a decent performing radio that brings me lots of fun in so many other ways too. When I add to it, it morphs from a Ten-Tec product into MY radio which is very satisfying. Finally, its gratifying knowing that I'm part of a community, contributing where I am able, who are all working toward bigger, better and more impressive capabilities from the Rebel.
Posted by Carl Gansen on 21st Oct 2013
I got my Rebel in the mail a few weeks ago. Before doing any tinkering, I made a series of QSOs on 40 meters. I am using a PC amplified speaker for the sound. The Rebel is a very basic QRP rig but it is easy to use.
I have downloaded the code. After tinkering a bit, I decided to order an extra Chipkit Uno board (and some prototype shield) that the Rebel uses to give myself a platform to tinker external to the Rebel. The intent is to transplant what I learn into the Rebel. I have learned how to make a 4x20 display work. I have learned how to operate small relays. It has also inspired a couple non-Rebel ideas such as a band select actuator between my Orion and Hercules II now that I am seeing the capabilities offered.
If you want to learn new things and have fun on the air, my Rebel has provided both.
I also recommend this book http://www.amazon.com/Arduino-Cookbook-Michael-Margolis/dp/1449313876/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1382380480&sr=8-7&keywords=arduino
It is a great learning supplement.
Posted by Lynn Hagar on 17th Oct 2013
Thanks for creating an educational ham radio product!
By viewing the Ten-Tec Rebel 506 play list on YouTube channel NG9D, all radio amateurs can see and hear this little gem of a QRP transceiver:
I will report my learning experiences with periodic updates to that link.
Posted by Tom on 23rd Sep 2013
If you are a ham interested in learning arduino, or someone who tinkers with software and wants to learn about ham radio, you will not be disappointed with this radio. The yahoo group is a great resource, with development already underway for adding features like a built-in keyer, frequency display and band switching. Note that this is not an SDR (software-defined radio) but adds another aspect of using software to customize your radio. Also note that the chipkit board used in this radio is not exactly the same as an arduino board, but it is more powerful, and is (mostly) compatible with the arduino. This is an innovative and educational radio - thanks ten-tec!
Posted by Chas W3KC on 19th Sep 2013
I am very pleased with this little 5 watt rig.
It's pretty basic as shipped but very usable with nice filters, RIT, and QSK.
In the week I've had it, I have made plenty of contacts - and even some European DX on 40.
Keeping track of the QRG is a bit cumbersome but do-able. The red dot blinker in the TenTec logo is a really nice touch though.
My first addition will be a digital readout, and that's the exciting part - there is lots of potential for enhancments.
I've ordered the ARRL Arduino / PICAXE projects book to get some insight into the technology.
Thanks to TenTec for opening the door via open source with the modestly priced but high quality Rebel.
Posted by James T. "Jim" Rogers on 17th Sep 2013
I read too much into the "Open Source" description and thought I was ordering a small SDR. When I found it to be an analogue radio controlled by a micro-controller, that was something I have a great deal of experience with and therefore its utility, in my case, disappeared. But, for the right person, someone who wishes to explore micro-controllers in the amateur environment, and enjoys QRP, not a bad deal.
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