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Author Topic: HB-1B vs MTR-5B  (Read 11699 times)
AE5X
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« on: April 13, 2016, 09:44:08 AM »

With the MTR-5B set to go on sale soon, I thought it would be fun to compare it to its only real peer.

http://ae5x.blogspot.com/2016/04/youkits-hb-1b-vs-lnr-mtr-5b.html

I've never heard a complaint from an HB-1B owner with all of them praising the rig. It will be interesting to read reports from owners of the MTR-5B once it is offered.
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AB1LT
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 11:21:08 AM »

The comparison isn't perfect because you can get a frequency knob with the MTR-5B.
Also, the HB-1B has internal batteries which to me is a big plus over having yet another box with a cord to deal with.
I have a R4020 (2 band HB-1B) and an MTR-3B.  I find the controls on the Youkits much more user friendly.

It looks like apples to apples to me:  Macintosh vs. Granny Smith.  I think the tie breaker is the receiver.  Steve Weber's receiver designs are hard to beat.  It will be interesting to hear what others say.
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K7EXJ
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 12:39:21 PM »

The comparison isn't perfect because you can get a frequency knob with the MTR-5B.

I think that should be "can't get a frequency knob with the MTR-5B"

I have never operated either rig, but I have an EK-1A which I thought was a really great little rig (unfortunately, the one I had was modified and stopped transmitting). I loved the tuning knob with a simple push to change tuning range and the frequency display. It was light and easy to have internal batteries. Ran two bands (40/20 on mine) and had a decent receiver (but low audio). I'd get another one ($150) and convert it to 3-bands before I'd get either of those. But since I snagged a 4-band K1 with internal auto tuner......

I'm not sure I could get used to not having a tuning knob, frankly. But the light weight of the LNR (and you can buy it in kit form for just under $300!) is really attractive.

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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
AE5X
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2016, 12:45:02 PM »

You can get a rotary tuning knob for the MTR-5B - I indicated that in the chart. I agree that rotary tuning is more user friendly but the up/down switches make the MTR series easier to pack without damage due to low profile protrusions compared to the HB-1B.
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K7EXJ
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2016, 01:29:49 PM »

You can get a rotary tuning knob for the MTR-5B - I indicated that in the chart. I agree that rotary tuning is more user friendly but the up/down switches make the MTR series easier to pack without damage due to low profile protrusions compared to the HB-1B.

Jeez... I missed that part about the knob. I do worry a bit about the tuning knob on the K1 but not overmuch. The MTR would be much better as a backpack rig, I agree.

Of course, you can never have too many.....

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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
AB1LT
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2016, 01:57:52 PM »

The MTR would be much better as a backpack rig, I agree.

Of course, you can never have too many.....
Nailed it, on both points!   Grin
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W7ASA
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 04:42:59 PM »

The HB1B has a wide coverage shortwave receiver and selectable bandwidth for listening to SSB and works fine for AM SWL when you zero beat the station. The HB1B has plenty of audio drive for most applications, while the MTR is fixed volume and sometimes a little weak, but ymmv.  With good earbuds, I've never had a problem.

'Cool Factor' of the MTR is GREAT! I have an MTR2 and, it's performance it astounding, yet it can fit into a shirt pocket and leave plenty of room. As mentioned, the UP/DOWN button tuning makes it great for skeds/SOTA ( as designed ), but so-so for scanning the bands.


73/72 de Ray  ..._  ._
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KL7KN
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 04:56:50 PM »

The OP would do well to visit the Reviews section of this web site to just how happy or very unhappy many owners of the HB-1x series radios really are. 

Most complaints fall in the "infant mortality" class - radio dies soon after first use.  The You Kits have improved marked in the Quality area, but still have yet to release any kind of technical data needed for repairs.

The MTR series are fully supported for both documentation and warranty repair in the US. 

As a side note, I didn't see the MFJ-9200 on this toe-to-toe comparison.  With 6 bands (80 M to 15 M)  five watts, etc, etc and at a price point below both, I was surprised to see it omitted.

The MFJ-9296 retails for $229.00.

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AE5X
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2016, 07:20:41 PM »

The MTR series are fully supported for both documentation and warranty repair in the US.  

Good point. Since the MTR-5B started out as a kit, extensive documentation beyond just how to operate is included in the online manual. And the Yahoo group is full of knowledgeable types. As for the MFJ rig - I'm not one of MFJ's bigger fans (I'm being tactful) and would never consider one of their products except as a last resort.

I am leaning toward the MTR rig. I've had a number of Steve's prior designs and they all live up to the well-deserved hype.

73 - John AE5X
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 07:26:38 PM by AE5X » Logged

KU3X
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Posts: 435




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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 05:03:49 AM »

"I agree with AB1LT ."

If you want a top of the line QRP radio, you want a KX3, that we know. Sherwood Engineering also rates the Icom IC 703 pretty high. Since the two rigs you are asking about are not top of the line QRP radios, it pretty much comes down to cost and / or features.
 
“What features are you looking for?”

On the top of the MTR-5B’s web page shows their radio with a tiny display. The HB-1B MK3 has a great little display and you don’t have to keep pushing buttons to read your frequency, band, S meter, power meter and SWR. That in itself makes me choose the YouKits. By the way, I own two of the YouKits and really like them.
The MTR-5B has a much more impressive memory keyer built in. I don’t need a memory keyer so that is not a selling point.
I don’t know if the MTR-5B has provision for an internal battery? Both my YouKits have internal batteries. For extended use you need an external battery. I use my YouKits with an internal battery most of the time.
My choice is the YouKits. I like the display much better and I also like the idea of the internal battery. The VFO knob is standard, not an option.

The third picture down, on the following web page, shows why I like the internal battery.

http://www.ku3x.net/portable-qrp/ten-tec-r4020

Barry, KU3X
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 05:06:50 AM by KU3X » Logged
KL7KN
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2016, 08:50:16 AM »

The MTR series are fully supported for both documentation and warranty repair in the US.  

Good point. Since the MTR-5B started out as a kit, extensive documentation beyond just how to operate is included in the online manual. And the Yahoo group is full of knowledgeable types. As for the MFJ rig - I'm not one of MFJ's bigger fans (I'm being tactful) and would never consider one of their products except as a last resort.

I am leaning toward the MTR rig. I've had a number of Steve's prior designs and they all live up to the well-deserved hype.

73 - John AE5X

I recently picked up a PFR-3, a KD1JV design as well.  Quite the learning curve as the RX is so tight.

On my test bench, the -9200 and the PFR-3 offer the same figures for sensitivity and RF selectivity, the PFR-3 has a very tight audio filter which makes the RX seem so quiet. 

The biggest difference(s) I can point to in the -9200 vs the MTR series is the front end (MTR is much tighter) and the T/R switching (again, the MTR is 'better').

Since I use my radios in RF quiet Alaska, the ability to listen to and participate in SSB nets (yes, they do take check ins in CW) trumps the better front-end of the MTB series.  Another small plus is being able to run the rig from 12+VDC systems, like das auto battery without worry.

So - from an operators perspective, you either like or don't the encoder vs button tuning.   Power, CW tone, sensitivity and all other major technical aspects, it generally is a wash. 

I had looked at the current crop of qrp rigs and went with the -9200 based on the audio B/W, ease of use and cost.  If I had to operate in an RF noisy area, then the KD1JV rigs would be my first choice...and I will be carrying the PFR-3 when I travel to the L48.

If I had seen the ability to listen to SSB on a Mt Topper, I would have one in the bag now.  As it is, I'll be running split in the L-48 with the PFR-3 and a ATS-909 as the RX for any SSB nets.

One final thought, while the You Kits may be a fine rig, the issue set of no documentation and iffy warranty service cannot be ignored.  The -9200 is a cousin to the HB-1x series, but warranty work is handled in the US and I have been more than happy with the support I've gotten from MFJ.   Some are not as happy, YMMV.

What is not said too often is the huge set of choices now available and those choices are growing!  What a great time to be a QRP operator....
   
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K7EXJ
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2016, 07:22:58 AM »

What is not said too often is the huge set of choices now available and those choices are growing!  What a great time to be a QRP operator....

Boy is THIS ever true!!!

New designs (and rumors of new designs) every week.

Like this one: https://va2ss.com/2016/04/07/a-new-qrp-radio-from-lnr-precisions/
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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
KL7KN
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2016, 10:44:22 AM »

I was thinking more of



so new the prototype images have just been released...  So new the spelling still needs fixing..oh, wait  :  )

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K7EXJ
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2016, 12:39:46 PM »

Why I think that QRP is the most exciting and innovative part of amateur radio at the present time.
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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
AE5X
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Posts: 1031




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« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2016, 06:50:03 PM »

I was thinking more of



And check out how fast the batteries are:
"Technical features: double-conversion superheterodyne, fitted with up to 3 lithium batteries of 18,650mph each."
http://qrznow.com/new-xiegu-x5105-hf6m-transceiver/

Sounds like this rig is going to flat out haul a$$.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 05:29:43 AM by AE5X » Logged

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