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Author Topic: New - QRP CW Radio: Youkits EK1B 20/17/15 mtrs $219/$179  (Read 12435 times)
W4KYR
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Posts: 603




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« on: July 22, 2013, 08:23:57 PM »

NEW - QRP CW Radio: Youkits EK1B 20/17/15 Meters $219/$179

They are selling these on E-Bay $219 Assembled or $179 Kit. (It said there are 10 available) The styling on these are different from the YouKits HB1B (These look like those low power "CZH" FM broadcast transmitters that are sold out of China or Hong Kong on E-Bay ). I have no connection to the seller in anyway, just passing on info to those interested.


Description From The E-bay Store

DDS finished and tested, main board SMT finished.
A kit can be finished in 2 hours.


    RX:13.9-22MHz
    TX: 14.0-14.35MHz, 18.068-18.168MHz, 21.0-21.45MHz
    Size: 120mm x 51mm x 103mm
    Weight:420g
    Working voltage:9-16VDC
    RX voltage: 120-130ma TX:0.8A (on 12VDC)
    Power output: 4-5W
    Sidetone:700Hz
    Built in keyer, speed adjustable
    Kit and assembled version
    SMD parts all finished
    DDS board tested and aligned
    Kit assemble time is about 2 hours
    Can install our 18650 battery pack
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AD6KA
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 02:40:35 AM »

Quote
They are selling these on E-Bay $219 Assembled
 or $179 Kit.
From their website:
Quote
•SMD parts all finished
DDS board tested and aligned
•Kit assemble time is about 2 hours

That'a not a kit, that's winding
and mounting a few toroids.
Forget it.....
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G3SQU
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 02:09:20 AM »

Caveat Emptor!

I purchased one of these kits. It had a missing SMD part - not easy to fit once the kit is assembled and how many kits are out there where you have to fit SMD parts anyway?

The Ebay supplier expects me to send it back to China at my expense. I extract part of his response to my email to him " even we can smt all the parts correct, we still can not say there is no defeat (sic) parts there. But the soldering and tourbleshooting (sic) is the fun of kit building. If you just need a hands free not a single issue kits, you should go to semi kit or the kit that just need tight the screw."

Can't say I'm impressed with that attitude. Draw your own conclusions. My advice is to avoid kits that have SMD parts - no kit radio 'needs' SMT parts.

Fortunately for me the missing part is the mute switch transistor and so I've put in a manual mute switch - so no QSK for me!
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W4KYR
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 04:18:50 AM »

Caveat Emptor!

I purchased one of these kits. It had a missing SMD part - not easy to fit once the kit is assembled and how many kits are out there where you have to fit SMD parts anyway?

The Ebay supplier expects me to send it back to China at my expense. I extract part of his response to my email to him " even we can smt all the parts correct, we still can not say there is no defeat (sic) parts there. But the soldering and tourbleshooting (sic) is the fun of kit building. If you just need a hands free not a single issue kits, you should go to semi kit or the kit that just need tight the screw."

Can't say I'm impressed with that attitude. Draw your own conclusions. My advice is to avoid kits that have SMD parts - no kit radio 'needs' SMT parts.

Fortunately for me the missing part is the mute switch transistor and so I've put in a manual mute switch - so no QSK for me!

I suggest doing a review and putting this information the Reviews section so more people will see it. 
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G3SQU
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 07:37:48 AM »

Yes, I will be doing this. I feel I have to do a proper review on the actual radio as it seems to be a very good product - but with question marks about the way the kit is marketed and Youkits' cavalier attitude towards the kit-builder. Looking on the web-site you'd not imagine you might need SMT skills to complete this kit. Quite the opposite in fact.
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W7ASA
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 04:58:31 PM »

Thank you for your posting.

This is classic 'form over function' mentality which I found common in their realm.   'It LOOKS like a radio, so we will not accept responsibility or even acknowledge that WE did anything WRONG.'.  The customer is always wrong.

This is THE REASON why I have not done business with YouKits and regrettably, some of the other emerging Chinese ham radio companies. Some good reviews and many of the same customer service problems.   Many of their products are interesting, but the poor customer service stinks. They would be irritated if you only paid the PART of the price, yet if they send you an incomplete kit or a rig with damaged and/or missing parts, they try to tell you that troubleshooting is what makes this "fun".  THEY refuse to accept their responsibility to deliver what they promise for the price. This is called lying, petite-larceny, stealing , fraud and etc. 

May they be as successful as they are honest.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

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G3SQU
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2013, 01:55:34 PM »

I have posted my review, so you can see a fuller story. Youkits' response to me has been cavalier at best, insulting at worst. They appear to me as an immature kit manufacturer that has given insufficient thought to quality assurance, and have a poor customer care attitude.

If you are going to sell part-assembled kit, supplying items that cannot be fully tested electrically, then you need to put robust quality control into the assembly process and take full responsibility for any defects that still creep through. My email exchanges with the Ebay vendor, who appears to be part of the Youkits manufacturing setup, betrays their lack of appreciation of the quality assurance issues involved. I think they should quit selling kits, and sell completed units that they can fully test and guarantee.

I write as a retired UK MOD QA Auditor.

73, Chris
G3SQU
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W4KYR
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2013, 03:32:26 PM »

I have posted my review, so you can see a fuller story. Youkits' response to me has been cavalier at best, insulting at worst. They appear to me as an immature kit manufacturer that has given insufficient thought to quality assurance, and have a poor customer care attitude.

 I think they should quit selling kits, and sell completed units that they can fully test and guarantee.


I think E-Bay allows reviews as well. You might want to post your eham review over on E-Bay too.
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2013, 08:37:44 PM »

Quote
They are selling these on E-Bay $219 Assembled
 or $179 Kit.
From their website:
Quote
•SMD parts all finished
DDS board tested and aligned
•Kit assemble time is about 2 hours

That'a not a kit, that's winding
and mounting a few toroids.
Forget it.....

Many people would say that not having to fuss with SMD components the size of a grain of sand is a good thing.

What would you call the unfinished version if not a kit anyway?
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G3SQU
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2013, 01:09:21 PM »

Note that the YouKits web-site states their Returns Policy to be "No return for kit products."

Now to continue my saga. After I invoked the Ebay Money Back Guarantee, the Ebay vendor of my kit has now given me $29 in compensation for supplying a defective item. This is equal to the cost of my returning the item to China for them to correct the manufacturing defect. However, under their Returns Policy they would still have shipped the repaired item back to me at my cost, so I would need $58 compensation to return the item for repair without incurring a loss because of their manufacturing defect.

So at the end of all this I have $29 compensation and a defective radio, which I hope to be able to fix myself. I have been boning up on the technique for soldering SMD components (clean and apply flux to both parts to be soldered together, put solder ON THE BIT of the iron and then apply the bit to the joint - not the normal technique of heating the two parts with the bit and applying the solder to the joint). The good news is that if I don't manage to install the missing SMD part (this is a built kit, remember, so access is hampered) then at least I have a kit with a manual mute switch!

All this to sell a radio in kit form at a discount of $40 on the price of the fully assembled and tested radio, which would have come with YouKits' 1-year factory warranty.

One of the things I look for in a kit is something which, by virtue of my having built it in the first place, is something I would hope to be able to maintain myself for at least a few years down the line. It is very likely that if this kit develops a fault I won't have a cat's chance in hell of fixing it due to the overwhelming use of SMD components. By comparison my MFJ-9020, a model which I believe was also marketed as a kit, may have been through two NE602 mixer ICs so far under my stewardship, but I was able to replace them in a jiffy because they were installed in plug-in sockets. So judged on the serviceability criterion as well as on all my trials and tribulations, this kit product got a low score in my review.

What have I learnt from all of this?

Buying from Ebay and paying by PayPal can make vendors do the right thing when they've slipped up. If I were YouKits, I'd have learnt that selling part-assembled kits when you can't QC them adequately is not very good business.
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2013, 12:29:22 PM »

The real message is much more general - don't buy a kit with "no returns" if it is made with SMD components.  This goes for any kit from anybody.  Or, how about avoiding kits with SMd completely?

I feel for ya, but in the future I bet you won't be buying SMD kits from companies that have a no returns policy.
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KK4UTO
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 09:05:34 PM »

In the not to distant future I feel that you will no longer be able to find thru hole products and SMD will be the only way to go. That is why I am learning the process of soldering and desoldering them.
Just my opinion
Steve
KK4UTO
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K8AXW
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 09:42:19 PM »

Evaluating kits before buying isn't a simple thing.  Missing SMT parts really isn't a big deal and kit manufacturers will continue to use them. It's something we're going to have to adapt to. 

The problem also extends to ICs and transistors.  If you have a missing or defective IC or transistor can you replace it without contacting the manufacturer?  Are the ICs soldered in instead of socketed?

These questions need answered as well as many more before buying.  I wouldn't buy a kit, American and especially Chinese, without first being able to view the PCB. component list and assembly instructions.  If they read like the reply that SQU received, you can pretty well bet your assembly will be very trying.

Too often we let the low price lure us into taking a chance. "Caveat Emptor!" should be in English.   Roll Eyes

Al - K8AXW
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WB8YYY
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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 06:26:58 PM »

Chris thanks for telling your story.  As for that missing transistor there is no rule that it must be smt as if a leaded part will fit it can be used.  I have an smt kit that I put a leaded part in as a replacement since that is what I had.  Is a schematic available so you could infer if it is a jfet as these are often used for qsk and the specific part may not matter.  With your small recovery in tow this might be a fine rig.  CUL Curt
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W1JKA
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2013, 09:21:44 AM »

Why even mess around with just another unproven copy of the several tested and proved QRP rigs already available? i.e any 3 bands you want (CW) Weber Tri Bander @($200.00 kit) and the only main issue is some don't like the side tone pitch which is an easy mod. The weber is a well respected rig and a nice fit between the small single band units and the K-1 which is a PITA if you want an extra 3rd or 4th band by changing the boards. Also the selectivity and CW output note is every bit as nice as any MFJ, Elecraft or SW labs QRP kits I have built.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 09:37:25 AM by W1JKA » Logged
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