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Author Topic: Anybody else make a kit comparable to the KX1?  (Read 4361 times)
AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« on: March 05, 2007, 01:42:14 PM »

Hi Everybody,

I'm a longtime QRPer (been doing it since the mid 80s).  I've done Pedestrian mobile with my FT-897D, and camping portable with various QRP rigs over the years (SW-40, MFJ-7030, Index Labs QRP Plus, etc.).  Now I'm looking to do Adventure Radio type, QRP CW operating.  For this I need a more trail friendly radio.

The KX-1 fits the bill nicely (I like the internal keyer, ATU, and battery pack options, that make it self contained).  But, money is tight for me, so its price (with the 3 bands I'd like to have [40, 30, & 20m], internal ATU, and internal battery pack), sent me into sticker shock.  

I have a question, does anybody market a kit, that is comparable to the KX1?  At the least it would have to be able to hold internal batteries (and a keyer would be nice), and be reasonably compact.  I would prefer multiband operation, but single band operation would do in a pinch. It doesn't necessarily need to have digital frequency readout. I just don't want to go back to the tangle of cables & wires I had to deal with, when I went camping with my QRP rigs.  I checked into the ATS-III Srint, but the kits are once again no longer available (also, I don't have the tools for making enclosures [hey, I live in an apartment, I can't be making a mess doing that kind of thing]).

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 14360




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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2007, 02:39:17 PM »

I've never seen one that I would consider an "apples to apples" comparison. To be comparable it would have to be about the same size, have internal batteries and an internal tuner. It would have to have a frequency readout and cover three or four bands.

I expect if it fit my definition of comparable then it would cost about the same as the KX1.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
W5ESE
Member

Posts: 550


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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 07:02:21 AM »

I don't think the KX-1 is unreasonable priced,
considering the capability offered. It is
expensive, but it does have a rich set of
features.

The closest thing feature-set-wise would be the
KD1JV AT Sprint 3 (or 3A), which as you pointed
out is no longer available.

Another multiband choice would be the Wilderness
Radio Sierra. It's less self-contained than the
KX-1, though. A 3-band Sierra is $295. The nice
thing about the Sierra is that you can build band
modules for any MF/HF band. See the web site at:

http://www.fix.net/~jparker/wilderness/sierra.htm

Another option would be to build a Small Wonder
Labs SW+ into an enclosure with a battery holder,
end-fed wire antenna tuner, keyer, and SWR indicator.
Several people have done that to have a compact,
self-contained station.

Scott
W5ESE
 
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AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2007, 08:22:25 AM »

Oh don't get me wrong, I like the KX-1. it's just that at the present time, I can't afford to spend the almost $500 it would cost me to get aKX-1 the way I'd like to.  The $300 for the bare bones KX-1 is fine (I have a ZM-2 tuner I can use in a pinch), but it doesn't give me 30m (I'd have to spend at least $30 more for the 30m addtion).  The Sierra looks good, but the biggest downer for me, has always been the fact that you have to plug and unplug band modules.  Here's a thought - what do you think about the K1 (you can install a battery pack in it, and if I start with the 2-band version I could get 30m, & 40, 20, or 17m as the 2nd band)?

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 14360




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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 12:46:13 PM »

The K1 is a nice radio. A 2-band K1 plus antenna tuner and internal battery kit is $452 however. Not that much different than the KX1.

The basic 2-band KX1 is only $299, same price as the basic K1. You could always add the antenna tuner and extra band kit later to keep the initial investment down.

In my opinion, you are not making a fair evalauation comparing the cost of a fully loaded KX1 to that of a stripped down K1. If you prefer the KX1, I'd start with the basic version and add additional features later.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2007, 06:52:52 PM »

Hmmmm, yeah, I'm kind of heading in that direction decisionwise - a stripped down KX1, to get going.   Either way, it'll have to wait until I pay a few bills next month.  Thanks for the thoughts. Smiley

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 17192




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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2007, 10:13:41 PM »

A friend and I bought circuit boards for the 40-40 rig (earlier model
of the SW-40+) from FAR Circuits and stuffed them with parts from
our junkboxes.  (Though, unless you have a well-stocked junkbox,
you probably are better off buying the kit.)  You certainly can get a
larger case that would allow you to put both batteries and a keyer
inside.  That allows you to customize it to suit your needs
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AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 06:04:13 AM »

I have an SW-40 at home (I built it back in 1997, including the enclosure for it [which was still available at the time]).  It's a fun rig.  I dialed the power back to 800 mW for some milliwatting fun.  There are better rigs than the SW-40, but it sure is fun to use, and mine isn't for sale.  I keep it for sentimental reasons, since it's the first kit I ever built.

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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WA2DTW
Member

Posts: 91




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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2007, 04:49:46 PM »

How about the Wilderness Radio Norcal 40A?  It is a great little rig.  There is plenty of room in the enclosure, and there is an add-on keyer offered as well.  It is less expensive than the Sierra.  Also,one can convert it to 20M if wished.
73
Steve
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AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2007, 07:09:18 PM »

I've thought about the Wilderness radio Norcal 40, or the SST.  Maybe, but I'll leave them as a last resort. I could also do the same thing with my SW-40.  I have to do some thinking about this whole thing. I have a potential budget crunch staring me in the face, so I may have to seriously lower my expectations (hence the Rockmite thread).  

73,
Ellen - AF9J

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NI0C
Member

Posts: 2939




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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2007, 09:54:51 AM »

I built a fully loaded KX1, but then traded it for a fully loaded Wilderness Sierra.  I love the outdoors, but tend to leave ham radio behind when I go on wilderness trips.  If I were packing a radio though, I'd go back to the KX1 in a heartbeat.

The Sierra seems a more "table friendly" radio, and has better IF filtering, but it does not have an internal battery or tuner (although a T-1 tuner and/or possibly a small battery pack could be put inside the Sierra's case).  I like the variable tuning rate feature of the KX1 and the optional CW paddle.  

In summary, for the purposes and requirements you outlined, I think the KX1 would be the best choice, even if you have to wait a bit to acquire one. One other choice might be one of the (sadly discontinued) DSW-II radios by Small Wonder Labs, if you could find a used one available for the band of your choice.

72/73,

Chuck  NI0C
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AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2007, 10:53:22 AM »

Hi Chuck,

I had the 30m Version in kit form last year (It took about 6 1/2 months for the kit to arrive).  Unfortunatley, I had another money crunch, and ended up having to sell it, before I even got around to building it.  Now I'm wishing I still had it.

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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NI0C
Member

Posts: 2939




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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2007, 11:35:01 AM »

Ouch!  That little radio really looked nice on the SWL website, and it got great reviews here on eHam.  Sorry you had to part with yours.

I had considered getting one for possible field use; however I procrastinated too long.  I was about to place an order when it was discontinued.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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AE5X
Member

Posts: 1029




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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2007, 11:49:17 AM »

Hi Ellen,

I don't know how comparable to the KX1 some of these kits may be, but there are a few multibanders here that no one has mentioned:

http://www.qrpproject.de/UK/rig_index.htm

Good luck & 73,

John AE5X
http://www.ae5x.com

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AF9J
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2007, 05:00:35 PM »

Hi John,

Thanks for the info.  They have some interesting stuff.  

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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