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Author Topic: LNR MTR-5B Mountain Topper  (Read 1722 times)
WB4YDY
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Posts: 29




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« on: January 12, 2018, 03:30:51 PM »

I decided a while back that it would be fun to play with a battery operated CW rig for portable work. After looking at reviews and asking some questions of you guys a few months ago, I settled in on the YouKits HB1B. I wasn't aware when I placed my order with Vibroplex 7 weeks ago that the rig was out of stock. After following up myself a couple of times, I found out today that there is an updated model coming, possibly in February, but no one really knows when. I cancelled my order.

I still want a small, battery operated CW only rig, with multiple bands. I would like 40, 30, and 20, and 17 & 15 would be nice. A built in keyer, for sure. And in stock, or very short lead time.

After more research today, I am thinking seriously about the LNR MTR-5B Mountain Topper. One thing that seems odd to me for a radio with the features and price of this rig, is it doesn't appear to have a audio volume adjustment. Is that right? While acquiring some accessories for the HB1B, I purchased a rechargeable speaker that connects with either Bluetooth or an Aux cable. It does not have a volume control. If I'm right about this, I may be looking for another audio solution if I get this radio. Other than this, it seems like a very nice little rig.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this before I pull the trigger on another rig purchase.

Thanks,
Pete, WB4YDY

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KL7KN
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 06:59:41 PM »

There are major differences between the NG1B and the Mt Topper.

With the Mt Topper - you get complete technical documentation, after sales support and a real North American delivered warranty.  HB-1B - none of the above.

The Mt Topper audio filer setup is superior.  Much tighter and doesn't ring.  The HB-1B filter, when you tightened up will reduce the already marginal audio output.    As for no volume control - just purchase a set of earbuds with a volume control in line. 

The Mt Topper Keyer is superior - with message memory.   HB-1B - not so much.

The Mt Topper uses less current in RX.  

The Mt Topperr and the HB-1B do have different tune rates - and the little buttons will take some getting used to for operations.

For the price difference, the Mt Topper, (MTR5B 5 bands for $409) vs the HB-1B (at $399) is $1`00 or about 25% - but the difence in the intangibles (support, mostly made in USA etc)  would make it IMO worth the higher cost.


As with everything, you can make up your own mind - just thought I'd mention the major differences....

Good luck!
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K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 07:40:45 PM »

I am thinking seriously about the LNR MTR-5B Mountain Topper.

I have a predecessor to one of these, an ATS3 in an altoids tin.  I've had it over 10 years now and have traveled with it a lot. 

Nope - no volume control.  It's "comfortable" with typical earbuds.  On a windy mountaintop or otherwise noisy location it does come up short.

I also have a small amplified speaker I've used but what I've learned over time is the more junk you bring, the easier it is to justify taking a rig that doesn't need it.  When portable I find it easier to have one big rig than 4 small boxes and interconnect cables.  So in "travel form" I went spartan, with just the rig, band modules, earbuds, battery and Palm mini paddles.    Later I added an elecraft T1 tuner, which offers matching and power/SWR in one box (bigger than the rig).  I also have a manual EFHWA tuner which is a tad smaller and lighter, plus a bag of half wave wires which works well if I know I have a place to hang them from.

Not sure about the mountain topper version but mine has menu-selectable wide/narrow filter and by direct frequency entry, I can use the rig for monitoring SSB or a bit of SWL.  It is actually a CW contender, and connected to a logging computer I have used my ATS for Field Day numerous times.  You can't beat how thrifty it is on batteries.

The advantage of the mountain topper is not having to mess with plugging in band modules, at the cost of a bigger box.  Bigger price tag too, the ATS3 kit was around $150 I recall.  Probably one of the best fun per dollar rigs I've had.

Lately I'm just as inclined to grab my K2 and T1 tuner for portable ops, as it's self contained, has more bands, modes and power.  But it's tough to beat the fun factor and portability of a good performing rig that can fit in your shirt pocket.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


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WB4YDY
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2018, 08:16:31 AM »

Thanks very much, Mark and KN for your thoughts. I will give the MTR-5B a try. Looks like it will be fun to play with and take to the mountains or beach, or just on the backyard deck!

I already have a good set of earbuds with a volume control, I just don't enjoy using headphones/earbuds unless it's necessary. Although, I have several of them. I'm sure it won't be a problem.

Thanks again and 73,
Pete, WB4YDY
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KL7KN
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 12:13:23 PM »

Hey, Pete

How about dropping back by with a review of the rig?   Lots of stuff on line covering  the MTR3, very little on the 5 band version. 

Best of luck

Don//KL7KN
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WB4YDY
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 08:53:39 AM »

Hi Don,

I will be happy to reply here with my thoughts on the MTR-5B once I have received it and have a chance to play with it some. I hope to have it by the end of this week, but who knows? It is coming by USPS.

I have also ordered a couple of 8x AA battery holders, rechargeable 2000mAh AA batteries, and a 8 station charger. After all these years as a ham (46 yrs), this is my first effort with a battery operated portable HF rig, or QRP. I'm pretty pumped about it! I will get back to you.

Thanks & 73,
Pete, WB4YDY
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KG4NEL
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 01:11:53 PM »

I use rechargeable Eneloops for a lot of things, but give LiFePO4 cells a look. Bioenno batteries have the perfect discharge curve for portable stuff - very, very flat, and weigh next to nothing. You can get 6Ah for what 2Ah used to weigh in AGM cells.
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W4FID
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« Reply #7 on: Today at 03:42:22 AM »

Don't have experience with the mt topper. But I do have the LNR/W4OP loop to use with my IC-703. LNR and Dale (W4OP) are top notch to deal with. The loop is a great product. Picnic table portable or from the RV I have a ton of fun. If the QRP rig is as good -- likely it is since it's from the same "family" of designers and manufacturers -- it will be a lot of fun.
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N6KD
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #8 on: Today at 11:25:10 AM »

Don't waste your time with these inexpensive, simple radios.  Buy an Elecraft KX3 or KX2 and you will never regret the price.  They are fantastic radio and great technical support.
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