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Author Topic: CW Radio  (Read 13061 times)

Posts: 605


« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2016, 05:50:27 AM »

Try a used TS 850. Great receiver, easy to use, many for sale.

73 John K3TN

John K3TN

Posts: 107

« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2016, 04:53:18 PM »

A TenTec Century 22 would be a nice rig--up to 25 watts on 80, 40, 30, 20, 15, and 10 meters.  Cw only but receives SSB and AM as well.  Around $200 to 300 if you can find one.

Posts: 813

« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2016, 07:58:03 PM »

I would build something. $10 to $25 will get you a decent hollow state rig ready to roll and the build might take a day iif you are easily distracted.  Finshed my second one this month about a week ago. F U N

Posts: 477

« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2016, 07:24:56 PM »

I have restored a bunch of rigs like the Drake 2B, Heathkit DX35, Dx60B, Yaesu FT-101EE, Drake 2NT,Ten-Tec Century 21, Kenwood TS440SAT. All these rigs can do CW but not like the Century 21. Only the C21 uses PIN diode switching from transmit to receive. QSK at 40 wpm with the matching keyer is not even breathing hard. All the other rigs use relays. Also the VFO is built-in but it is not like most VFO's which multiply up to reach the higher bands. It is even better than a Hallicrafters HA-5 which translates to about 3.5-9 MHz but then still has to be multiplied up for the higher bands. It translates up a PTO ( permeability tuned oscillator ) to the operating frequency but the PTO is also the weak spot of TenTec. The grease in the PTO becomes like glue requiring the PTO to be rebuilt. It's not that hard to do but has a lot of little parts that are easy to lose. I measured the stability of mine over 40 minutes. It drifted up and then back down to about 30 Hz from the starting frequency. The receive is not the best. It converts to an wide IF then direct converts to audio so the only real filtering is at audio. The transmitter side is where it really shines. Also no external power supply needed. It is all solid state.

Power output on mine was

80M  40 watts
40M  40 watts
20M  43 watts
15M  34 watts
10M  30 watts

It is pretty easy to fry the final if someone messes with the trip point for the maximum current to the final. When I received mine, the SCR that shuts down the rig if over-current occurs had itself gone bad so the finals were fried. I bought both output transistors on eBay for about $20 for both including shipping.

Prices are all over the map from a low of $80 ( typical price is around $150 to $250 ) but the last eBay sale was at $465 plus shipping. This unit had a re-built PTO.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 08:00:51 PM by HAMHOCK75 » Logged

Posts: 37


« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2016, 04:30:45 AM »

Unfortunately the K1 is now a 2-band transceiver. I would suggest the Weber MTR5b which is sold by LNR Precision. The Elecraft KX1 is still  very good option as well. Let's not forget the Weber Tri-Bander also.. Many QRP CW radios come as kits..


Posts: 875

« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2016, 12:25:48 PM »

Unfortunately the K1 is now a 2-band transceiver. I would suggest the Weber MTR5b which is sold by LNR Precision. The Elecraft KX1 is still  very good option as well. Let's not forget the Weber Tri-Bander also.. Many QRP CW radios come as kits..


There are still K1/4 band radios out there for sale on the various classified forums. I bought mine - with the built-in tuner - off eBay for $350 and am darn happy with it. It gets a lot of use portable.

The only thing - really ONLY THING - I wish it had is an RF gain control; but it has an attenuator so that helps. (The KX1 has an RF gain, unaccountably.) The filters are excellent (and adjustable). It's light, has a good built-in keyer, does QSK well, and is easy to operate (for a menu-driven transceiver, anyway).

If you can find one in that price range, snap it up.


73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley

Posts: 200

« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2016, 02:53:29 AM »

Regarding your Astron. That's only a 9A DC supply. For a 100 watt class radio, you're gonna need 20A.

Actually, you'll probably need something bigger than that.  I would suggest a minimum of 25 amps continuous, 30 amps peak.  The 9 amp supply really won't power anything much bigger than a 10 watt radio.

I agree that the IC-718 is a nice CW rig, especially with the CW filter installed.  I'm sorry I sold mine...

Posts: 362

« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2016, 03:58:30 PM »

I agree with prior post regarding the Tentec OMNI D.  IMHO this is one of the best values on the used market today.  I have the early series that does not have the XTAL filters and, even so, I am very happy with the selectivity.  Of course, the QSK is very nice...  (never connected a microphone)

And when the solar cycle comes back, consider a Century 21 for fun...  A bit more challenging operation than the OMNI D with the direct conversion receive and lower power, but there is no microphone connection -- a real CW radio!

BTW, I would not let absence of a keyer influence my decisions around older radios.  Just grab a PicoKeyer and build it in or external box.. done!

73   Cool

Posts: 1840


« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2016, 05:06:12 PM »

I agree with N4OI

Probably the best modestly priced CW radio for the Tech class would be a ten tec.  I would not buy a QRP radio if I was just starting.  Even if they are cheap to own, they are a big PITA to make contacts with.  I like working new comers but I don't bother with super weak QRP new comers.  I'm not interested in the struggle.  I want a contact I can converse with and not have to guess what he is sending.  You need some skills under your belt to really enjoy QRP and a 100W radio is a much better choice to gain those skills.  So save some up some money and buy a good 100W used Ten Tec with a CW filter installed, and have some radio fun.  My favorite was a 580 Delta but there are a bunch you can get for about $500

73  W9OY
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