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Author Topic: First QRP rig  (Read 4239 times)
WD6GLA
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Posts: 75




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« on: July 11, 2014, 12:10:19 PM »

Is an MFJ 9340 a good way to get started with QRP ?  I've read the good and bad points about this radio and the main complaint seems to be that it may drift when warming up .  I like the price of the kit , the fact that it isnt rock bound and 40 meters is my favorite band .

Any experiance with this rig ?


Bob  N7BDY
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AK7V
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 02:16:03 PM »

I am not familiar with that rig, but I don't think drift is really a that big a deal with CW QRP communications.
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W4KYR
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 04:17:11 PM »

Is an MFJ 9340 a good way to get started with QRP ?  I've read the good and bad points about this radio and the main complaint seems to be that it may drift when warming up .  I like the price of the kit , the fact that it isnt rock bound and 40 meters is my favorite band .

Any experiance with this rig ?


Bob  N7BDY

I have it and used it a few times. It doesn't drift all that much (compared to the MFJ Cub). The Keyer is optional and the Filter is optional. If you can do without those and don't mind buying it second hand. You can pick one up from ebay used usually for around $100 +.
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WB0FDJ
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 04:27:14 PM »

Bob

IMHO the 9340 would be a nice way to get started.  The 40 was the first kit I ever built and got me started on sniffing solder.
Drift can be an issue. Mine showed some, not enough to keep me from making plenty of QSO's. My 20 is very stable.
I've run across several QRP ops that really like the Cub. Simple to operate, low power consumption. Decent receiver. Not hard to build.
YMMV.

Doc WB0FDJ
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W4KYR
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 05:23:11 PM »

A correction on my part (and my error)  I thought you were talking about the MFJ 9040.





Until I looked back at the post again and it was indeed you were talking about the Cub 9340 in the first place and not the MFJ 9040 (which has keyer and filer options and the Cub doesn't).

OK, Carry on.........

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K8AXW
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2014, 07:15:44 PM »

Bob:  Unless you're getting a special deal on the MFJ 9340 I'd back off and go about my selection for my first QRP rig .....somewhat systematically.

Write down the specs of the 9340 and then start looking around....Google QRP transceivers.... whatever, and do some comparison shopping.

Then you can throw the "build or buy" bone into the soup and let that be a factor in your first rig.

The last thing you want to do is to get in a hurry and then see what you could have for the same price or perhaps a few bucks more.

Personally, I've found it more fun to comparison shop for ham gear than the actual purchase!  I get personal satisfaction from winning the game.  Roll Eyes

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W1JKA
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 03:31:21 AM »

Re: WD6GLA

  5 plus years experience with the 9340/9320 Cub kits here. My first rigs and still my favorite. Start up drift is a minimal 5-10 minutes, I just turn on 5-10 minutes before use and have a cup of coffee. The start up drift is the result of outside temp. shorter in warm wx. and longer if outside in the winter, also minimal if using a 13.8 v constant PS compared to a slowly discharging 12v battery supply. If you experience drift after warm up its usually due to quality of your solder connections and if still persists there are several mods to reduce or eliminate it.

  I use mine all season rough use portable because they are the most rugged qrp units available along with an outboard HyperMite audio filter and 12v auto jump start battery. As I have mentioned in other post these Cubs have been dropped, bounced off trees after tripping over the coax feed line and gone for a swim in salt and fresh water dried out in front of a campfire and keep on working, I've seen what happens to a K1 when this happens and that's why mine stays in the home shack where it belongs.
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N4DSP
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 09:35:16 AM »

Is an MFJ 9340 a good way to get started with QRP ?  I've read the good and bad points about this radio and the main complaint seems to be that it may drift when warming up .  I like the price of the kit , the fact that it isnt rock bound and 40 meters is my favorite band .

Any experiance with this rig ?


Bob  N7BDY

I suggest building a very fine transceiver first for qrp. Call Marshall Emm at Morse Technology in Colorado and order an OHR 100A for 40 mtrs. Great start and you have building experience. I built the 40 mtr version and still use it for the beautiful analog quiet clear sound.

73, john
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KI5WW
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 10:15:55 AM »

Heres something i started doing when the qrp rigs started to get way more sophisticated.
Figure the cost per band.  100.00 radio/single bander= 100.00 per band. 

I bought the TT Hb1b. New 75.00/band.  4bands 300.00 bucks.  Used 250.00 bucks? 

Not the only thing to consider, but a good starting point. 
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KK4MRN
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2014, 07:41:27 AM »

Your first QRP rig depends on what you are looking for and willing to pay and if you're willing to build it?

Are you looking for a pre-built or a kit you must build?
If it is a kit, how difficult to build?  Two Tinned Tunas from QRPme.com for about $30 are easy to build compared to a MFJ Cub, the Cub costs more ($100) and and has about 1.5 to 2 watts of output.   Yet, MFJ has a Cub pre-built transceiver for $150 I think.

Some radios like Two Tinned Tunas and Rock Mite ][ are considered QRPp (notice the little p) for radios that have RF output less than a watt.  And they are around the $30 to $50 range.  They are "rock-bound" though.
So, how much RF power output are you looking for?

As another poster suggested: read the specifications on the radios.  Compare the specifications.

As an example: I am building the MFJ Cub QRP CW 40-meter Transceiver Kit.   I am done soldering unless I discover a problem.  I even wound my own toroid coils for the first time.  Now, I have to align the radio.  I do not have all the tools, but there are Elmers willing to help and provide tools that I do not have.  They tell me "I have this o-scope just waiting to be used by another ham"...  So, I am going to take them up on it...   (you should have seen the smile on my face when the Elmer said that!) The alignment is part of the fun and challenge for me to build nicer radios later.

How much are you willing to pay?  $40, $100, $200, $300, $600, $1000?
You Kits HB1B looks like a fantastic radio pre-built for $300, but I personally I have not used it.  I am just basing this on the specs. If you're in the USA, you can buy it from Ten Tec.

Ten Tec has very nice QRP radios, but they are like over $800.  There is a moving special where you can get them at a huge discount.  The $800 is the discounted price.

Hendricks QRPKITS.COM has some nice kits like the PFR3 for $260 I think, but the guy is on vacation until August 15th.

Yaesu makes nice pre-built FT-817ND all band all mode 5 watt transceiver.  I have heard good things about this radio.

Elecraft makes some really nice QRP radios like the KX1 for $300.  Then there is the KX3 for $1000.  But they ding you with the options.

What modes are you interested in? QRP is not just CW, it can be other modes like SSB and digital modes too. 

Big HF appliances (as some hams like to call commercial rigs that are pre-built) usually have the ability to turn the RF Output to 5 watts so you can do QRP like ICOM 7410, Yaesu FT-857D, etc.

There is the 40 meter Cyclone from the 4 state QRP club for around $100.  Looks like a good deal. 

Some radios include an antenna tuner like the Hendricks PFR3.  Some have an option for an internal antenna tuner like the Elecraft KX1 and KX3.

Radio Kits UK has the MKARS80 which looks like a great SSB QRP rig for 80 meters.  76 British Pounds Sterling is about 130 US Dollars.

Some radios are a single band.  While others have multiple bands.  Some radios have options to add additional bands.

If you get a single band, you have to decide what bands you want?  40 meters is good for CW day and night.  20 meter is good during the day.  17 meter is good for DX.   

And of course, the most important part of a QRP radio on HF is your antenna.
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N8FNR
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 08:09:03 AM »

If anyone is looking for an Argonaut VI Ten-Tec has them on sale now for $799.00. That is $270.95 of the regular price.

http://www.tentec.com/argonaut-vi-qrp-1-10-watt-transceiver-summer-package-special/

Zack
N8FNR
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WD6GLA
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Posts: 75




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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2014, 08:17:18 AM »

Sorry for not responding sooner but been super busy this week . I really appreciate all the comments and advice .

 Anyway , I ordered out the 40 meter Cub after much thought . I know there are better QRP rigs but all more expensive . Every rig you look at temps you with  " if I spend just another 30 or 40 bucks look at how much more I get " and it never ends .  I have other rigs I tune back to QRP levels with all the extra bells and whistles , I just want something to #1 build in kit form and #2 something to take with me camping , on trips and that I can modify and experiment with and give reasonable performance . And not have to worry about an expensive rig getting beat up or stolen either . The Cub fits the bill .

 My only concern was I have read of some warmup drift in some units , but I saw several cheap fixes for it online if you get one that is a drifter .  Anyway for 85 bucks including shipping I dont see how I can go wrong  .

 Unfortunately there were some other good inexpensive kits out there I liked but they have been dropped by by the manufacturers , its a shame .  I'm a big TenTec fan but their rig is up near $130 bucks now . Some interesting Chinese rigs on the market now too .  Anyway , the choice has been made , I'll let you know how it all works out .  Thanks everyone  !

N7BDY  
Bob  ( going on 50 years in this hobby Smiley    
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 08:22:50 AM by WD6GLA » Logged
N1DVJ
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Posts: 383




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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2014, 09:30:31 AM »

I like the Elecraft K2.  Incredible bang for the buck.  But not for the beginner or faint of heart.

I will set you back more than an FT-817.  And only do HF.  But once you add SSB, Noise Blanker, ATU, and some other options, you have a world class rig.  And while cheap compared to factory radios that it specs against, it's a big chunk of change.

But only if you LIKE building, and are good at it.

It's not THAT difficult.  Just like programming in assembly language being like digging a fence post hole with a spoon.  It takes a long time but you have absolute control over the dirt.  It's all thru-hole construction, but there's a LOT of it.  And winding all though torroid coils...  (Although you can now by them as a pre-wound kit)

I enjoyed building my K2.  But be prepared for a MAJOR undertaking.  However, when you're done you'll have an incredible radio.
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WA9UAA
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2014, 09:13:17 AM »

There are mods out there for the Cub that improve it's stability and perhaps some of the operating. GL 73 72, Rob
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