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Author Topic: Need first QRP rig recommendation  (Read 18005 times)
K4SKA
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Posts: 43




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« on: August 17, 2012, 06:00:15 PM »

I just joined NAQCC (NR# 6195) and at this time I only have a TS-940SAT.  When I turn the power knob all the way CCW it shows 5W output, but I can't be certain. 
I operate mostly on 40M CW since it is a convenient evening / night band and I have a 40M dipole up now.

I want to have a QRP only rig and was looking for some recommendations for a QRP kit.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 916




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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2012, 09:10:35 PM »

I would recommend the Elecraft K2 with the battery Kit.

Its very easy to build and the performance is excellent.

On either mode CW or SSB its excellent.

If you dont want to build it  there are builders who will do it for you for a fee.

My view is that you dont really need a micro small radio  for QRP operation. The K2 with the internal battery is  just the right size. You dont need a pair of chopsticks to operate the radio!



I just joined NAQCC (NR# 6195) and at this time I only have a TS-940SAT.  When I turn the power knob all the way CCW it shows 5W output, but I can't be certain. 
I operate mostly on 40M CW since it is a convenient evening / night band and I have a 40M dipole up now.

I want to have a QRP only rig and was looking for some recommendations for a QRP kit.
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NU4B
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Posts: 2204




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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 03:12:39 AM »

I would agree with "Zenki". The K2 is a great kit. Great support, great company. And you can get only those options you want. In addition if you ever decide QRP is not for you, you can add the 100W amp.

If you looking for a monobander check out the NorCal 40A from Wilderness radio. This is a CW only rig. I would also get the KC1 internal keyer/ frequency counter.

A good watt meter is the OHR watt meter. Also a kit, it measures down to milliwatts.
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W9MMS
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 08:26:12 AM »

Elecraft also offer the new KX3 in a kit.
Rob Sherwood rates the Receive on the top of his list.

http://www.sherweng.com/table.html


(((73))) Milverton.
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2012, 08:50:51 AM »

Elecraft also offer the new KX3 in a kit.
Rob Sherwood rates the Receive on the top of his list.

http://www.sherweng.com/table.html


(((73))) Milverton.

Putting a few pieces together with no soldering required is hardly a "kit".

Gene
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HFHAM2
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2012, 05:36:15 PM »

I would certainly NOT recommend you go out and buy a K2. I'm sure it's got a good receiver, but they cost a small fortune; especially when you add on all the bells and whistles. Sounds like you don't even know if QRP will suit you yet. Why not buy a single band (e.g. 40m) meter rig and play with that for a while.

If you want one ready made, the MFJ 90xx series are pretty good performers from what I've heard. There are also many single-band kits from e.g. Oak Hills Research (OHR-100), Ten Tec (13xx series), Wilderness Radio, Hendricks, etc.

Later on, if you decide it's for you, then you can graduate to a K1, K2, OHR-500, FT-817, etc.
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GILGSN
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Posts: 201




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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2012, 10:39:56 PM »

Hello,

I built myself an Elecraft K1, and it is a great radio. It isn't the cheapest, but you can add the automatic tuner option, and that is great to tune random wires. The K2 would be good if you planned to add SSB later, but like HFHAM2 says, it gets expensive.. The KX1 is great too, but I opted for the K1 because of the higher power output (up to 7W), and better tuner. The KX1 however has wide SW receive.

Gil.
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WB8YYY
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Posts: 159


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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2012, 05:33:49 PM »

Very FB on your interest.  If your interest is exclusively 40m then the NC40A from Wilderness Radio would be nice.  Or a simpler rig, the SST.  I would also consider a tri-band rig such as the PFR-3 from qrpkits.com - I have one that I really enjoy.  It is a new and different experience to operate a rig that YOU built - so do consider it.  One does not need to overspend to obtain such a rig, but do carefully review any other options that you might consider.  Also watch the QRP clubs to their occasional kit offerings - 4stateqrp has a really nice keyer kit, and also a nice power meter.  But first a rig ....

73 Curt
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KD2AJN
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2012, 05:37:30 AM »

I would recommend Hendricks QRPKits. http://www.qrpkits.com/
They sell many inexpensive CW 'full solder' kits of good quality.
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NO2A
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Posts: 768




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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2012, 09:46:23 AM »

I would also vote for the Nor Cal 40. The Small Wonder Labs rigs are great too,though difficult to find. 
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N2RRA
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2012, 09:32:01 PM »

If you have the money to dive into QRP and willing to wait 8 months then the Elecraft KX3, but what you can easily obtain now and not spend as much not knowing 100% if QRP is for you then you can't go wrong with these choices.

* ICOM 703+ - The reviews don't lie. Put filters in them and it'll rival most in performance and bang for buck.

* Elecraft K1 and K2

* YAESU FT-817ND - Another best bang for buck especially with filters installed. Except the front end gets easily over loaded with strong near by signals. We're talking a 40-50 over S9 though. like someone down the block over loaded.

All the other crap out there especially from MFJ.....forget about it!!

Don't get me wrong about all the other crap. Their all fun and everything ,but I wouldn't go into building and everything ,or very limited units where it'll piss you off missing out on stuff. You can save that for later. You won't and can't go wrong with these choices.

I'm N2RRA and I approve this message!  Grin

73!





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AD6KA
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Posts: 2237




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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 09:56:32 PM »

Quote
I want to have a QRP only rig and was looking for some recommendations for a QRP kit.

Welcome to the QRP fold!
Some excellent advice posted here, OM.

But a couple more important things you have to
consider before you make a purchase are:
1) Budget
2) Band(s) and Mode(s) you will be operating on.
3) Are you planning on backpacking with it?
(Size of rig and power consumption then become issues,
as well as what type pf portable antenna(s) you will be using.)
4) Past kit building experience and troubleshooting skills.
More and more surface mount kits are coming onto the market).

Good luck and have fun.
Oh, and I think your TS-940 dialed back
to 5 watts is an excellent way to experience QRP.
73, Ken  AD6KA
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ZENKI
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Posts: 916




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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2012, 03:07:59 AM »

The FT817 has a terrible transmitter, lots of keying sidebands or keyclicks and its SSB IMD is terrible. Its a QRP splatter box. The K2 is way ahead of it  in terms of performance.

Any manufacturer that cant get the transmitter  right on a QRP radio needs to fire their  design engineer. Theres no need nor place for crappy transmitters.

Whats makes things worst is when people feed a crap transmitter into some cheap equally crap amplifier and cause a lot of interference. Its better to start off with a good radio like the K2 thats designer properly.

I will try a KX3 one day when its in version 2, there many bugs and features that still missing from the early release version.

You know the saying, build the first run  for your enemy, the second run for your friends and the third run of the radio you should get for yourself. That was the history on the K3 and I get the feeling that Elecraft has  been very busy
lately and firmware updates have been delivered rather slowly. Thats why I will wait.




* YAESU FT-817ND - Another best bang for buck especially with filters installed. Except the front end gets easily over loaded with strong near by signals. We're talking a 40-50 over S9 though. like someone down the block over loaded.

All the other crap out there especially from MFJ.....forget about it!!

Don't get me wrong about all the other crap. Their all fun and everything ,but I wouldn't go into building and everything ,or very limited units where it'll piss you off missing out on stuff. You can save that for later. You won't and can't go wrong with these choices.

I'm N2RRA and I approve this message!  Grin

73!






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N2RRA
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 07:50:35 AM »

The FT817 has a terrible transmitter, lots of keying sidebands or keyclicks and its SSB IMD is terrible. Its a QRP splatter box. The K2 is way ahead of it  in terms of performance.

Any manufacturer that cant get the transmitter  right on a QRP radio needs to fire their  design engineer. Theres no need nor place for crappy transmitters.

Whats makes things worst is when people feed a crap transmitter into some cheap equally crap amplifier and cause a lot of interference. Its better to start off with a good radio like the K2 thats designer properly.

I will try a KX3 one day when its in version 2, there many bugs and features that still missing from the early release version.

You know the saying, build the first run  for your enemy, the second run for your friends and the third run of the radio you should get for yourself. That was the history on the K3 and I get the feeling that Elecraft has  been very busy
lately and firmware updates have been delivered rather slowly. Thats why I will wait.




* YAESU FT-817ND - Another best bang for buck especially with filters installed. Except the front end gets easily over loaded with strong near by signals. We're talking a 40-50 over S9 though. like someone down the block over loaded.

All the other crap out there especially from MFJ.....forget about it!!

Don't get me wrong about all the other crap. Their all fun and everything ,but I wouldn't go into building and everything ,or very limited units where it'll piss you off missing out on stuff. You can save that for later. You won't and can't go wrong with these choices.

I'm N2RRA and I approve this message!  Grin

73!







The author wants a mono band radio then I guess the K2 would be the choice being it's only a CW radio and is probably a better CW radio than most. SSB optional!

As for the FT-817ND being a terrible transmitter....not according to actual all around operating prospectives. As I also did mention it does not have as good a receiver than some others ,but still not the worst. Thought I was clear and fair about that assessment.

I still approve my messages!  Grin
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 07:55:14 AM by N2RRA » Logged
KB2FCV
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2012, 10:31:34 AM »

Personally I would go with a K1 or KX1. Both are a great build and perform very well. I've had the K2 and while it was fun to build along with all it's options, I found I didn't get it out in the field as much as I liked. It was just too big a radio to do anything more than drive somewhere to a park or a campsite and setup. I have used a friend's K1 several times at field day and I finally got around to building a KX1 and I use that a lot. I love to just take it outside and sit on the deck and operate with just a long wire tossed in the trees. I think for portability the K1/KX1 does it best with everything in one box with the exception of the antenna. They pay attention to minimizing current draw so that you can get many hours of operating off the internal batteries. Having the tuner also built in is fantastic. I think to a degree elecraft picked up where heathkit left off. They offer great performing full featured rigs that are fun to build.

Of course there are less expensive options. Something like a NorCal 40 I've heard great things about. I have a Rockmite that I put together but you're kind of limited with that rig. Still it was a lot of fun to put together and it works very well for what it is. There are a lot of other mono-band kits out there that I don't know much about but people enjoy them. I think they range in the $150-$250 range if I'm not mistaken.
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