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eHam Forums => QRP => Topic started by: F8WBD on October 06, 2013, 03:32:39 AM



Title: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: F8WBD on October 06, 2013, 03:32:39 AM
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.



Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W1JKA on October 06, 2013, 06:39:39 AM
 Not to worry, low end QRP rigs (kits)  aren't going away anytime soon anymore than low end QRO rigs are going to disappear because of the $5000.00-$10,000.00 rigs that are available. As with QRO, QRP has many sub niches in which the KX3 is way over kill i.e. some  QRPers like to home brew or true kit build and learn a little about theory and circuits by doing so, the KX3 in kit form is basically a mechanically bolt together rig. There is a big difference between casual and so called extreme portable QRP ops in which the KX3 is best suited for the casual type which still leaves a market for the small rugged single band rigs. Some QRP ops only care about one particular mode. There is no doubt that the KX3 is among the top of the heap for a do all multi band QRP rig and will fill the niche of an operator that demands such. My niche is CW only, as such my operating needs are adequately met with a K1 for the home QTH and a few small single band CW rigs that will handle the rigors of my portable type operations.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W4KYR on October 06, 2013, 10:31:29 AM
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.



I too do not own the KX3

Elecraft wasn't the first the one selling higher cost 'kits'. Heathkit sold both low cost and higher cost (and more complex) kits back in the day as well.  Low cost kits will always be available. Among the reasons include that they are low cost, easy to put together, small, lightweight and the satisfaction of putting it together yourself. QRP kits can be ridiculously simple (Pixie2), or more sophisticated. Some QRP rigs are considered classics HW 7, 8 and 9, The Wilderness, SST, Tuna Tin as well as others.


Cheaper the better?
Someone made the good point that they take the MFJ CUB with them camping, hiking and rafting. If it gets trashed they are only out $100. If it gets muddied up or water logged...just clean it, dry it and it still works. The Cub is available assembled as well as kit form as are some Youkits rigs.


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

No.
People flocked to the KX3 because of many reasons. It has newer technology, more filtering, PSK, built in ATU (optional), built in battery, puts out 10 watts, small enough to carry in a backpack and the company makes reputable products. $1000 multi high tech rig and $100 QRP rig are really two different animals.





Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: KE7TMA on October 06, 2013, 11:50:54 AM
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.



I guess the trick with sour grapes is to put them in the sun, eh?


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: F8WBD on October 06, 2013, 12:50:48 PM
It is encouraging to find the opinion that the future of small QRP rig kits remains positive.

Thanks for your input on the subject.

Oh, I drink the wine from my grapes before they sour. They do need the sun while they are still on the vine, though.



Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AD6KA on October 06, 2013, 03:24:32 PM
Quote
Has the mass exodus to this thousand-buck rig damaged the viability of the low-cost kit-provider folks?

I see no "mass exodus".
Indeed, look at the sales and the Users Groups for the low cost monoband
kit rigs such as the Rockmites, the BITX lines, the ILER's, the MKARS80,and others.
You will find that group is thriving, and there is a lot of fun and excitement there.

It's an apples and oranges thing, IMHO. I like the inexpensive monoband rigs.
It's a blast to make QSO's with 4-5 watts using a rig you built  (and modified) yourself.
(And no, I don't consider screwing together an enclosure and some pre-assembled
PC boards as "a kit")

Would I like to own a KX3? Sure! But I'd rather spend my money on other things.
Stuff that I would get more enjoyment and satisfaction out of.
73, Ken  AD6KA


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: KA0HVE on October 06, 2013, 05:23:30 PM
I bought a Ten-Tec Century 21 a while back and have been having a blast with it since June.  I crank it down to 1 watt here lately and I doubt anyone can tell it's not an Elecraft when they hear it. :)

I'm seriously considering building a QRP or QRPp rig or two to have some fun with.  (Can you say Rock-mite? :) )

If you're a social outcast then I most certainly am also.

Are you having fun?  if yes, then don't worry about it.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: WX2S on October 07, 2013, 02:38:38 AM
I now own a KX3, but it's a portable rig to me. My base station is simply more capable at QRP. Since I'm limited to an unobtrusive vert by QRXYL, I observe the following with respect to station gear::
Quote from: Oscar Wilde
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
;D

Besides which, my objective is just to have fun, not oneupmanship.

73, Steve.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: N3IG on October 07, 2013, 10:28:54 AM
     I have the KX-3 which is my at home QRP rig because of all the features. The used FT-817 I paid $450 for is still my take into less desirable environments rig. I just picked up a HW-8 at a hamfest and my next itch is to build a Rockmite. So just because I was able to save enough to buy the KX-3 (a lot of money for me) does not mean that I am not going to continue to support makers of more basic rigs/kits. They are all fun.

     I don't really consider bolting the boards to the chassis as a real kit. The K-1 I had was much more fun to assemble and worked great.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W7ASA on October 07, 2013, 10:55:53 AM
Happily, these days in QRP we are seeing MANY kits in addition to the superb KX3.  The QRP ham can be contented with options from the most 'minimalist' FET regen receiver + crystal transmitter where your BRAIN is the filter system    ;D   , all the way UP through the various QRP kits to the KX3 with all of it's high selectivity, amazing sensitivity and very,very low internally generated noise.  Also, in terms of real income, even in a depressed economy these rigs are historically more affordable as a percentage of house hold income than ever. It's a great time to be a ham.

I had a KX3 for a short while but sold it. (long story -  :'( :'( :'(  bring tissues...  :'( :'( :'( ) and without a doubt the filters and noise figure is what grabbed me about that rig. OTOH, the older generation of rigs from NORCAL& Elecraft and many others are very good - nothing to look down on. My KX1 still amazes me and yes - I can take it anywhere.

I enjoyed your little satire about 'social outcast'.   ;D   I still enjoy my KX1 and two decade old (almost) Wilderness Sierra - both heavily modified.



73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: N4OI on October 09, 2013, 05:31:55 AM
I bought a Ten-Tec Century 21 a while back and have been having a blast with it since June.  I crank it down to 1 watt here lately and I doubt anyone can tell it's not an Elecraft when they hear it. :)

I'm seriously considering building a QRP or QRPp rig or two to have some fun with.  (Can you say Rock-mite? :) )

If you're a social outcast then I most certainly am also.

Are you having fun?  if yes, then don't worry about it.

Yes, I agree that the Century 21 fun proposition is second to none.  That said, I really enjoy building low-cost QRP kits.  My last was a breakthrough -- the Softrock Ensemble Rx that required soldering a LOT of SMT devices.  I bought an imported hot air solder station and a syringe of solder paste -- a real learning experience!  Now I would look forward to more really cool CW kits with SMT devices....   I hope kit builders are not trying to keep one foot in the past by limiting their offerings to through-hole technology....

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI   ;D


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AK7V on October 09, 2013, 09:48:41 AM
I think the simpler kits are here to stay.  The KX3 is overkill for the type of QRP operating I do (CW only, outside, antenna wire thrown in a tree).

If I want to do SSB or digi, I use my 100w rig at home.  If I go outside, I use a simple home-brew rig or maybe my IC-703 if I'm feeling extravagant. 

I don't really understand what the market is for the KX3, personally.  I understand all the other Elecraft rigs.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W4KYR on October 09, 2013, 10:23:05 AM
I think the simpler kits are here to stay.  The KX3 is overkill for the type of QRP operating I do (CW only, outside, antenna wire thrown in a tree).

If I want to do SSB or digi, I use my 100w rig at home.  If I go outside, I use a simple home-brew rig or maybe my IC-703 if I'm feeling extravagant.  

I don't really understand what the market is for the KX3, personally.  I understand all the other Elecraft rigs.

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.  



Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: KK6GNP on October 09, 2013, 11:08:31 AM
F8WBD,

I've been having a lot of discussions about the cost of the hobby lately, because I feel like technology being what it is today, that things seem to be artificially inflated on some levels (not all rigs).  That's just my opinion though.

The replies from other hams range from people agreeing with me, to people saying things like "maybe this hobby is't for you".  Though I did buy a KX3, I did so because I do not plan to spend multiple thousands of dollars on multiple HF rigs, and wanted one I can use for home and field.  I am very much interested in kits and SDR platforms for the future.  I'm planning to get a YouKits multiband SSB kit to compare experiences with the KX3 in what I would call 'satisfactory real world use'.  While the KX3 is no doubt 'superior' in many ways to cheaper kits, I wonder how many of those differences really matter when I'm actually out in the field just enjoying nature and a little radio fun.

Like any hobby, there is expensive gear and the people who don't mind spending the coin.  I'm more of a bang-for-the-buck spender, myself.  I imagine I'm going to find that I will have as much fun using a YouKits (or similar) kit, as I will the KX3 for my casual application.  It is very subjective, but for me, radio is something I will bring along to the field to do in addition to other things, so I may not need the KX3's capability to enjoy myself.

Don't let the seeming cost of all this stuff get you down.  It doesn't have to be that way, but you will have to have some expectation of narrowing your capability some, maybe to a few bands.  I'm mostly interested in SSB right now (and plan to learn CW), so there are even fewer low-cost alternatives out there.  There are lots of QRP CW kits and small devices being built by various people.

I feel like SDR is a big deal, and it's really just starting to take off now.  I think in the future we will see the cost of getting into HF in general come down, because it will have to.  The number of people willing to spend $3000+ dollars for a transceiver is going to fall off quite a bit in the coming decade.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: K7RNO on October 09, 2013, 02:00:09 PM
The KX3 is overkill for the type of QRP operating I do (CW only, outside, antenna wire thrown in a tree).

That precisely describes me too. Except that I don't throw wires up a tree, I pull them up on an installed block.

To add a bit more color, I can also agree to the "simple taste" phrase. And because of that, I cannot afford to buy cheap. So what alternative would I have had? If I had been shown one, I'd have gladly saved some money.

I've only had it for a few months but so far cannot see where I made a mistake. Happy ham here.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AK7V 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. 


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: K7RNO 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!


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W4KYR 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.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W7ASA 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 ..._  ._


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: K1ZJH 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


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W9LSL 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


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: N3IG 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.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AD6KA 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,


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: NU4B 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.  ;D


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AA4GA 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!


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: NU4B 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!


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: N2DTS 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.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: KD7TWI 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?   


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: WA9CFK 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.  ;)


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: N4OI 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


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on December 29, 2013, 07:43:58 AM
True QRP is of the likes of the Wilderness Radio Sierra, Weber's transceivers, OHR 100a series, Altoid's, etc. Simple transceivers which consume very little power e.g. Sierra consumes .035mA on receive is what True QRP is. These great little rigs costing hams $100 to $250 bucks is in the spirit of True QRP like Linux is to the giant Microsoft thus when manufacturers like Elecraft coming out with the KX3 costing over $1000 plus the "accessories", KEYWORD THERE, it doesn't require much thought to see what is happening to the True QRP spirit by these companies.

You are not a social outcast. KX3 owner's are! Contact people in your area who retain the simplicity of qrp. I am sure there are many who still use these little radio's from 20-30 years ago and having more fun than those today using these High Dollar rigs. QRP is more than low power but these manufacturer's have lost all sight of that in their lust for profit and not in keeping with the the QRP Spirit.

Respectfully,

john/n4dsp


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.




Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W1JKA on December 29, 2013, 10:12:15 AM
I have to agree with N4DSP the KX3 is a great QRP rig for those who aren't full time CW operators and whose definition of "portable" is a pleasant day hike up the mountain or picnic area, the few KX3 owners in our small informal QRP group who have a different definition of portable leave them home as I do with my K1 and bring along the Cubs and Dave Benson's SW rigs. None of them are to excited about tripping on a feed line and having an $800.00+ rig dragged into the fire pit or dropped into the water. It's all about each ones definition of QRP and desired function/survivability of a particular QRP rig to meet that definition.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AA4GA on December 29, 2013, 11:37:18 AM
You are not a social outcast. KX3 owner's are!
Wow, I'm a social outcast!

But wait, I also have a couple of the KD1JV ATS series rigs that I've built up and use, as well as a Tuna Tin II I built from scratch and am currently planning more scratch-built rigs.  Does that get me back in? 

Quote
QRP is more than low power but these manufacturer's have lost all sight of that in their lust for profit and not in keeping with the the QRP Spirit.
No, QRP is solely about operating at low power.  A lot of QRP enthusiasts do like to employ "minimalist" rigs, or "simple but effective" rigs or whatever, but not all.  I do not feel like an outcast for using a KX3.  Nor do I begrudge a commercial entity from making a profit on its work, and that includes Elecraft, Doug Hendricks, KD1JV, etc.

Quote from: N4OI
I hope the future of QRP kits takes advantage of SMT technology to offer more functionality in smaller packages…
I'm sure it will, if not by choice then by necessity (a notice last week indicates that the DIP-package SA612 is being discontinued).  The three or four SMT kits I've put together I've used a standard soldering iron, not hot air techniques, and have found that as long as the parts weren't the very smallest available, it has been enjoyable.  Because I don't etch boards, I haven't found a good way to go to SMT for my scratch-built stuff, but hope to eventually move in that direction. 


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on December 29, 2013, 12:34:38 PM
Minimalist radio is the True Spirit of QRP.

One can operate QRP, meaning low power only,  with a KX3 or a Heathkit Apache or any number of the boatanchors. It IS qrp.(low power)

The True Spirit of QRP is something very different. It is detailed in Adrian Weiss's excellent book's The History of QRP and Joy of QRP which I hasten to say many of the KX3 owner's have never read and don't care to. In his book's Adrian details this spirit which a KX3 can never bring you.
 
And plugging modules in after one has spent 8 hours putting together, an Erector Set Product like Hasbro made, is not homebrewing. You will become highly proficient in putting nuts onto little screws however. It's a ploy by Elecraft to increase their profit margin giving you a 'sense' of building your radio. Reminds me in the 1960's of the Paint by Number sets allowing people to paint landscapes and ships whom otherwise would never paint.  The only advantage is when a module goes bad Elecraft will tell you which one too unplug and send it in.

The True Spirit of QRP is the "Minimalist" approach and for other's qrp simply means low power and taking your K3 or rather qrp kx3 into the woods and operating with the finest money will buy.

The KX3 is the K3 in a smaller package. So call it a qrp radio if you will. My Heathkit Apache is also qrp. She runs on 5 watts.

So for the Original Poster you are not a social outcast! You will have more memories than a KX3 will ever bring you.
You are one of the FEW, The PROUD, the Minimalist True QRP OP'S!  :)


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: AA4GA on December 29, 2013, 07:43:04 PM
One can operate QRP, meaning low power only,  with a KX3 or a Heathkit Apache or any number of the boatanchors. It IS qrp.(low power)

Correct.

Quote
The True Spirit of QRP is something very different. It is detailed in Adrian Weiss's excellent book's The History of QRP and Joy of QRP which I hasten to say many of the KX3 owner's have never read and don't care to. In his book's Adrian details this spirit which a KX3 can never bring you.

I disagree - I have read Ade Weiss - I used to read him regularly when he wrote for CQ back in the 70s and 80s, I believe.  And I believe I have The History of QRP around here somewhere.  I seem to remember reading about a canoe trip with a TenTec PowerMite, among others.  I also have read of the backwoods exploits of W7ZOI and W6JTI and others.  All of that was part of my inspiration to become a QRPer.

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And plugging modules in after one has spent 8 hours putting together, an Erector Set Product like Hasbro made, is not homebrewing.

I suppose you're trying to disparage the modular Elecraft KX3 and K3 kits.  I don't know of anyone who says they are homebrewing.  From what I remember about Erector sets, they were probably more difficult to put together and create something neat than the KX3 I assembled.  I personally don't consider the ATS-3b or MTR rigs that I built to be homebrewing either, but they involved a fair bit of soldering SMDs.  The Tuna Tin 2 I built I do consider to be homebrewing, as I did it all from scratch, using Manhattan-style construction and included a keying circuit and output filter that were not in the original design.  I think the filter may have been in the revision printed in the 90s (?), but I think I stole the keying circuit from some other transmitter...

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It's a ploy by Elecraft to increase their profit margin giving you a 'sense' of building your radio.
  Again, I don't understand why you think Elecraft shouldn't be allowed to maximize their profit!  That said, I don't know that their margin is any greater on the kits than the built rigs when you consider the additional support they most likely have to provide for people who assemble their own.  In my case, I welcomed the price discount in putting my own rig together - my time for that is basically without cost, as I found it an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, playing with my new rig. 

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The True Spirit of QRP is the "Minimalist" approach and for other's qrp simply means low power and taking your K3 or rather qrp kx3 into the woods and operating with the finest money will buy.
"Minimalist" to me suggests something like the Pixie, or even a more complicated, but still crystal-controlled rig like a Rockmite.  The KD1JV rigs are certainly not "minimalist" with their feature sets.

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The KX3 is the K3 in a smaller package. So call it a qrp radio if you will. My Heathkit Apache is also qrp. She runs on 5 watts.

The K3 and KX3 are totally different architectures.  The K3 comes in a 20-watt version...I would like to own one some day:  it's a great rig for QRP.  The K3 isn't something I would take out to a mountain-top like I do the KX3...but it would be a super home-station rig.

A rig that runs 100 watts isn't what I would consider a QRP rig, but yes, you probably can run at 5 watts output with it. 

I feel no shame in operating any of my QRP rigs, but I do not consider myself a minimalist, nor do I consider that a requirement to be a "True QRPer".


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on December 29, 2013, 08:22:34 PM
Whenever Calvin Klein, Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, of the higher end of the design fashions, come out with a new product the people flock to it so they can have the name brand and the recognition for owning the best, latest, and most expensive. The same holds true for other products.



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.




Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: W1JKA on December 30, 2013, 05:10:57 AM
Re: N4DSP  reply #35

I can directly relate to your Calvin Klein et al analogy, it seems that whenever I return home from a red tag sale at the local Goodwill clothing store I end up on the phone ordering another MFJ Cub kit to build.


Title: RE: The future of "kit" rigs
Post by: N9AOP on December 30, 2013, 09:29:36 PM
Should you take a hit because you don't have a KX3?  From different postings that I follow I find that Elecraft and Buddipole folks are almost cult like--not so much TenTec.  Is this good or bad?  Well from the point of the company, the larger and more cohesive the cult the more profitable you are.  I bought a KX3 only because I tried out one that a friend had and found out that it is a mighty fine QRP CW machine that works all bands and is small enough to pack along on road trips.  And yes, I have had it out in the woods already.

If you think I am out of line with the cult idea, look at the bruhaha that ensued when Elecraft released their 100 watt amplifier.
Art