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Author Topic: The future of "kit" rigs  (Read 20533 times)
AK7V
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Posts: 251




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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2013, 02:31:10 PM »


From what I gather, the KX3 bridges a gap in the market. It has higher power than the FT 817, is able to take an optional built in tuner, runs on batteries, has more filtering, does PSK, has a USB port, consumes less power on receive than the FT 817, it is portable (although I think it should be more rugged), has free firmware and it is made by a company with a good reputation.

But the key is that the KX3  bridges a gap in the market. The Icom IC 703 with it's 10 watts and the SGC 2020 with its 20 watts are no longer being made. Both sell for more now used than what they were selling for when they were closed out.  For an extra $350 over the price of they are selling for used now, you can a buy new portable rig with new 'features'.

Although the Yaesu FT 817 is a great innovative rig ..  (and fairly rugged) it  has been out for over 10 years, the last revision was the ND I think in 2004. It is overdue for an upgrade.  


Yeah, I see what you're saying, but the K2 does almost all of that, plus you get to enjoy putting it together. 

I haven't seen a KX3 in person, so maybe if I did, I'd "get it."  I built a K1 and loved that rig - I regret that I sold it. 
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K7RNO
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Posts: 279




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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2013, 03:08:14 PM »

...the K2 does almost all of that, plus you get to enjoy putting it together. 

I haven't seen a KX3 in person, so maybe if I did, I'd "get it."  I built a K1 and loved that rig - I regret that I sold it. 

Interesting you say that. When I was in the market and actually wanted to get a K2, Elecraft owners almost unanimously recommended I get the KX3, despite my focus on CW. While I probably would have been proud after assembling a K2, I appreciated getting on air so much sooner, to be honest. And the tools and materials I saved by not having to assemble practically paid for the price difference between the rigs. So there. But I haven't seen a K2 operate in person, so what do I know!
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73,
aRNO
NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131
W4KYR
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Posts: 567




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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2013, 05:40:01 PM »

There are a lot of interesting KX3 videos out there on Youtube, one guy built a carrying case for one, another shows how to assemble the KX3, another shows how to use an iPad with the KX3, there a KX3 vs a FT817, using the KX3 with LifePo4, KX3 and Buddipole, operating RTTY and CW, 200 mw QSO's with a 30 meter dipole, how to use Olivia with the KX3, operating on solar.
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Still using Windows XP Pro.
W7ASA
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Posts: 254




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« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2013, 08:44:54 PM »

I work 99% CW & at one time owned both the K2 and KX3. (and my favorite KX1, which I still have).  The receiver in the K2 is excellent. However,  it does not have the nearly absolute level of sideband rejection and ultimate filtering for CW that the KX3 does.  This is because - as you know - the KX3 derives it's demodulation and hence it's (virtual) filtering through software based, digital signal processing and the K2 is analog. Both are very fine rigs, but the performance & versatility as well as ease of packing and transport of the KX3 makes me give it the tip-o-the-hat.  The K3 also a fine shortwave and utility receiver! Unfortunately, the K2 is ham bands only, with a little overlap on the ends for listening.


Either of them would be a pleasure to operate. 

73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._  ._
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K1ZJH
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Posts: 1072




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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2013, 07:52:56 AM »

The new Ten Tec Rebel is only two hundred bucks, and looks like a decent entry level QRP rig. While not a kit, the owner can add a digital display, and the software is open source. I suspect more hams will be going digital, and a keyboard will replace soldering irons.

Pete
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W9LSL
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2013, 12:52:48 PM »

Not having a KX3, I am beginning to feel a bit of a social outcast. Someone from the wrong side of the tracks condemned to remain so. If you don't have a KX3, you are beyond contempt.

Has the mass exodus to this thousand-buck rig damaged the viability of the low-cost kit-provider folks?

Kinda wonder if the future of QRP will be the province  of the mega-buck/euro class, if the kit providers drop out.



Why does it have to be an either/or?  I have a new KX-3 on order replacing my IC-703, but I also really enjoy building QRP kits - I have three RockMites on the way.  The hobby is what you make of it.

73 - Ken W9LSL
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N3IG
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Posts: 39




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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2013, 05:26:30 PM »

     Went to the Small Wonders site today to order a rockmite only to find out he closed the business down. Website says he is talking to other vendors to continue selling them. They had several great radios so I hope someone buys the kit rights.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2013, 07:07:19 PM »

     Went to the Small Wonders site today to order a rockmite only to find out he closed the business down. Website says he is talking to other vendors to continue selling them.
They had several great radios so I hope someone buys the kit rights.
Let's hope so.

Dave is done with the kit business.
He worked very hard for a long time to finally build his dream
retirement house in the mountains, and doesn't want to spend
his retirement counting tiny parts into bags and answering
inumerable emails from builders.
Can you blame him?

I just feel lucky that I got to build some of his kits, the DSW-II, the White Mountain Series,
Rockmites, The PSK Series, (The 20m version of which was featured on the cover of QST
and created a LOT of interest in PSK31, especially with Digipan, which came out
at about the same time period.) Before Digipan, and "waterfall tuning", PSK31
was a headache,
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2284




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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2013, 12:24:43 PM »

     Went to the Small Wonders site today to order a rockmite only to find out he closed the business down. Website says he is talking to other vendors to continue selling them. They had several great radios so I hope someone buys the kit rights.


Wow, I hate to hear this. The Rock-Mite is one fun rig. I have had a blast with mine. I hope somebody picks it up. Thanks Dave! For all the great products and fun!

There is starting to be a list of great QRP kits now in retirement.

Rock-Mite
Sierra
OHR 500

I know others have their favorites, those are just my favorites. We have been fortunate the past 20 years to have such a variety.

And there are still kits out there to build.

But it was hard to beat hooking up a $25 20 meter Rock-mite to a HF5B, add some xtals, and work DX with 500mW.  Grin
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AA4GA
Member

Posts: 120


WWW

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« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2013, 07:13:52 PM »

The word is that W1REX will be selling the Rockmite from his qrpme.com site, although when I just checked, that info was not on his site yet.  It would be super if he could also start selling the SW series of transceivers.

FWIW, I've got a KX3, but I also like to build - In the past year or two I've built a couple KD1JV rigs, a Tuna Tin 2 from scratch, have started a Manhattan-style Rockmite, and have several other projects in mind.  At this point, I'm personally more interested in scratch-building than kits, but can see building another kit one of these days if the mood strikes.  I also really like the idea of the TenTec Rebel...and wish it was offered as a kit!
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2284




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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2013, 11:15:54 AM »

The word is that W1REX will be selling the Rockmite from his qrpme.com site, although when I just checked, that info was not on his site yet. 


You are correct Lee. But if you go to the bottom of the menu on the main page, you will find links such as:

http://qrpme.com/?p=product&id=R40

While they are not available for sale yet, it looks like he is ramping up.

This is good news!
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N2DTS
Member

Posts: 102




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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2013, 11:46:42 AM »

New QRP kit:

http://ae9rb.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=8

Its amazing, although not portable without a lap top.

Recieve quality equal to the best rigs, someplace between the flex 3000 and 5000, for $150.00.
Can be got up to 4 watts out.
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KD7TWI
Member

Posts: 21




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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2013, 08:48:18 PM »

For some of us that are color blind the "bolt together" kit KX3 is a Godsend.  Not is it only arguably the best QRP radio out there it is probably the best radio in its price range period.  People can turn up their noses all day long that I really did not "build" the kit, I still have the best bang for the buck out there and am enjoying it right now. 

There will always be a place for lower priced kits, I just can not enjoy the building process without someone else eyes and what fun would that be?   
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WA9CFK
Member

Posts: 96




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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2013, 08:08:44 PM »

Dogs, beer, wine etc. No one type fits all. My preference for QRP is, simple is better, home brew is best.  Others are far more serious about it.  Wink
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N4OI
Member

Posts: 210




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« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2013, 05:16:51 AM »

This year I added a hot air soldering station to the bench for building a Softrock Ensemble II Rx kit…   Installing SMT devices is now a breeze…  I hope the future of QRP kits takes advantage of SMT technology to offer more functionality in smaller packages…

73
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