The NoGa Ten-Tec Rebel Transceiver

The North Georgia QRP Club has a variety of interests related to QRP operation and construction.

One of the latest areas of interest among several of the members is the TenTec Rebel Model 506.

Within NoGAQRP, a Special Interest Group has formed to explore the capabilities of this new radio.



The Tec-Tec Rebel(tm) is an Open Source QRP CW transceiver that operates on the 40 and 20 meter amateur bands, and is delivered as a basic "black box" with a minimum number of controls and readouts.  As the rig comes, it is extremely basic - even band changes are done internally using jumpers.  The exciting thing about the Rebel is that it is powered by a chipKIT Uno32, a loosely Arduino-compatible micro controller.

The "Open Source" aspect of this rig is in the software programming that is used to control the radio.  Many hams are working independently, as well as in groups, just to see how the basic TenTec-provided software can be changed to make the radio behave in different ways.  There is a Yahoo Group devoted to this rig, and several members have collaborated on firmware to control the rig to include functionality not provided by TenTec, including iambic keying, straight key detection, Beacon generator, bandswitching, memories, Morse code frequency annuncation, a variety of display options, and CW decoding.

Other features are in the works.  NM4T, a NoGA member from Huntsville, AL along with a small group of hams has been working on a version of a Rebel sketch that allows the Rebel to use JT65, a digital protocol originally developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT.  JT65 is an ideal QRP mode for weak-signal work.

If CW and JT65 aren't your bag - you'd rather simply operate phone, don't fret!  TenTec recently announced its second Open Source QRP transceiver, the Patriot Model 507.

The Patriot is cut out of the same cloth as the Rebel, but will operate SSB and Digital modes in addition to CW.  The Patriot should be available for delivery later in the summer of 2014.

You are invited to join the NoGAQRP Rebel SIG - like NoGA itself, we are loosely organized, and use the NoGA Yahoo Group for communications about what we're up to with the rig.  To join in the fun, just join NoGA, subscribe to the Yahoo group, and look for / join in conversation on the Rebel.  

Even better, come join us in a meeting.....!!!!!

Lee, AA4GA


........................ 09/07/2014

Hi all,

This is for the benefit of the others in the NoGA Rebel SIG, as well as for the club as a whole, in case anyone may be interested.

I finally got a little time to play with my Rebel today, and have modified the software so that the operation of the rig suits me better.

At the Huntsville Hamfest, I installed the QRP Skunk Werx Universal Shield, along with a Nokia 5110 display.  That gave me front panel band changing, as well as frequency display.  The display actually showed TX frequency, RX frequency, Bandwith, VFO step, and band.

The first thing I did was to change the default bandwidth to Narrow - the Wide and Medium settings are just too wide for me on there is a lot of hiss at the wider bandwidths.

Next, decided I wanted my frequency displayed in larger characters, so I deleted the RX frequency display, VFO Step, Bandwidth, and band displays - they are all redundant anyway, either from the LED annunciators on the front panel or, in the case of band, the frequency readout.  That gave me enough room to use the largest font available in the 5110 library that the Skunkwerx uses.

The RIT doesn't have a center off, and the main use I got out of having both the TX and RX frequencies displayed was to see how much off frequency my RIT was I added a line in the smaller font to show RIT offset.

Finally, I added an S-meter.  For the time being, I'm using a bar-graph made up of asterisks, but later will possibly go for something a little neater.

This is all relatively simple stuff, and there are a couple more tweaks I'll probably try on down the road, but for now, my head hurts! Oh, speaking of my head hurting...I found out that connecting an external speaker sounded *much* better than listening to the rig through ear buds.  It's still not a great sounding receiver, but much better than before!

I'll probably bring the rig for show & tell to the next NoGA meeting.

What are you doing with your Rebel?

For more information and pictures go to:

73 de Lee

This page last updated 10/01/2014