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Author Topic: New 10 Watt HF Rig from China CW/SSB KN-920  (Read 45766 times)
W4KYR
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Posts: 541




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« on: August 15, 2013, 06:41:56 PM »

New 10 Watt HF Rig from China CW/SSB KN-920

I saw this on E-Bay. I am not connected to this in any way, just passing on info. Looks like the seller is selling it used. He wants $295 and $52 shipping. I see a USB port on the back of it.  The ad says it can be boosted to 20 watts. It has handles on the sides.


http://www.ebay.com/itm/KN-920-HF-all-mode-Transceiver-/200953389562?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Transceivers&hash=item2ec9c161fa





------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The latest HF transceiver from China origin, the KN-920.

The radio is targeted to QRP operators, as the maximum output of 10 Watts (can be configured up to 20 Watts).

It come with the ICOM HM-36 microphone.


The radio is 99 % percent new, just power up for some QSOs.
RX frequency range: 30 KHz to 29.999999 MHz

TX Bands:
3.500 - 3.9999 MHz
7.000 - 7.300 MHz
10.100 - 10.150 MHz
14.000 - 14.350 MHz
18.068 - 18.168 MHz
21.000 - 21.450 MHz
24.890 - 24.990 MHz
28.000 - 29.700 MHz

Modes: SSB, CW, FM, AM (RX only).
Memories: 100
TX power: 1-10 w continuous adjustable (maximum power can be adjusted, maximum 20 Watts)
LCD screen: Frequency; Power, Mode; S-meter; SWR
Power requirements: RX: 13.8V / 0.7A; TX: 13.8V / 4A
Antenna interface: SO-239
Size: 230 x 230 x 90mm
Weight: 3.5 KG
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ZENKI
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Posts: 934




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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 04:29:45 AM »

They on the right track by  offering a option of 20 watts. These  types of radios can be very effective for emergency and  portable operation.
A HFMANPACK option would  also be a nice option. A HFMANPACK radio with a strap on wrist panel  using 20 watts would be a lot of fun.

My ideal portable radio with be this configuration.

Lithium Iron  battery operation with 20 to 30 watts of output.
Ability to operate on  90 to 260 volts AC or 10 to 50 volts DC with a DC to DC converter.
When running on DC power or AC power  and not battery power there is another  20 to 30 watt amplifier module that is combined to deliver  40 to 50 watts of output.
A long wire tuner  that can  handle a random wire on any frequency. This tuner should also have a high efficiency whip tuner that can tune something like a 9ft whip on all frequencies. You can find this type of couple design on aircraft, helicopters and many HF manpack radios.
All these options should be clipped onto the main case so you can easily customise and remove them as needed depending on the configuration.
The whole setup should fit into a nice case that  you can take on a aircraft or cruise ship and does not make you look like a street hobo.

This kind of configuration was widely used  around the world in the "jungle radio" or "jungle phone"  roles. If you travel in many places where HF radio is still used you will find this kind of radio configuration that can be thrown into a 4wd, truck, car, boat or plane was widely available or issued. You can also find these kinds of configurations as survival HF radios. While these radios were designed for inexperienced HF users, a ham radio model would require all the sophistication and convenience that hams require.
Its amazing how many radios dont have things like a build in SWR meter, RX antenna socket, amplifier key line and many other basics that hams require. Adding something like a 2 or 4 position antenna switch with BNC connectors is so easy to do but these manufacturers leave it off then they expect you to pack as many accessories that is bulky as the radio itself. It seems  that they go making portable operation as inconvenient as possible rather than making it as convenient as possible. I can grab a military man pack radio in 30 seconds and set it up for operation in 5 seconds flat. Contrast this to the mess of cables and boxes that has to pulled out of the typical hams grab bag and setup before operation. If it was a war all the hams would be shot by snipers they would be exposing themselves so many times going to and from the car to get this and that to put a station on the air.
 
While there are many QRP radios on the market none of them are universal in nature suiting all aspects of portable/mobile.emergency/holiday operation etc

The Yaesu FT897 came the closest but it was far from optimum in terms of flexibility.

Anyway I wish  this company well. Its not receiver performance that makes the ultimate portable radio. Its convenience and features that is more important to a successful portable radio.



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W4KYR
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Posts: 541




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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2013, 05:01:07 AM »

They on the right track by  offering a option of 20 watts. These  types of radios can be very effective for emergency and  portable operation.
A HFMANPACK option would  also be a nice option. A HFMANPACK radio with a strap on wrist panel  using 20 watts would be a lot of fun.

 I can grab a military man pack radio in 30 seconds and set it up for operation in 5 seconds flat. Contrast this to the mess of cables and boxes that has to pulled out of the typical hams grab bag and setup before operation. If it was a war all the hams would be shot by snipers they would be exposing themselves so many times going to and from the car to get this and that to put a station on the air.
 
While there are many QRP radios on the market none of them are universal in nature suiting all aspects of portable/mobile.emergency/holiday operation etc

The Yaesu FT897 came the closest but it was far from optimum in terms of flexibility.

Anyway I wish  this company well. Its not receiver performance that makes the ultimate portable radio. Its convenience and features that is more important to a successful portable radio.


I am in complete agreement and I been pushing the 'Manpack' concept for quite awhile. Right now the closest we have to a Manpack radio that you can hang on your doorknob all 20 watts ready to go with built in battery, tuner, antenna, and is still being sold is the Vertex VX 1210. But for $1500 to $2200 + new with all the accessories it is pricey.

Hams can use their own radios, tuners, batteries and antennas to assemble their own Manpacks with those 'radio carriers' that they sell on E-Bay for $159+/- or build their own Manpack 'radio carrier'.

I checked E-bay and the radio was sold. But this is a good direction and it might inspire Yaesu to build a self contained Manpack radio with everything for under $1000.  The FT 817 and the FT897 comes very close to being a self contained Manpack but just misses the mark.

The FT897 batteries are optional and expensive, the auto tuner is optional. There is no provision for a portable antenna, but is does put out 20 watts with the batteries.

The FT 817 just needs a built in tuner (and 20 watts) for it to be called a true Manpack as it already runs on batteries and does have a provision to mount an antenna.

I wonder what other new radios will come from China this year. Will we really see a true Manpack radio for under $1000? Or will we just assemble our own with what we have?

« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 05:06:05 AM by W4KYR » Logged

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KB1GMX
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Posts: 772




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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2013, 10:55:49 AM »

Compared to a real manpack the VX1210 is cheaper.

I have a PRC1099 manpack.  With lion battery its still over 20 pounds, though the whip and auto-tuner combo is
very good it's still pretty tepid at 20W and a 10FT whip at 40M without a 33ft wire trailing.  But it is a complete
and self contained station in a box.   

But the idea is right.  Enough power 5/20W, SSB either sideband available, full tuning 1.6 to 29.9999,
BNC output without tuner for resonant antennas and rugged.  The downside is 1980s tech when repairs
are needed, heavy, no speaker (uses handset) and mil style circular connectors.  They are available new but
the price makes the VXlook cheap.

Considering what the VX goes for and current mid range radios thats decent for something  in the class.

What the PRC1099 did for me is allow me to know from use what bands and items
are _must_ have for a self contained portable station.

My must have list  for a self contained portable field radio is:

-80-20M bands  (80, 40 and 20) full tuning flexibility on those bands.
-5W with 10 or 20 Watts for high power variable from 1 W up is best)
-Antenna auto-tuner and a rugged case to mount and support a large (3 M) whip (at271 or similar)
- additional connections for external resonant antenna, Audio IO for soundcard based
   digital modes.
-mic connection (kenwood 8pin is rugged enough)
-speaker not in handset.
-headset jack
- All controls and connections are the front panel.
-SSB and CW capability.
-Enough battery to run a good while on RX/TX and a many days RX only.
- battery charge or run from 12V source (auto or solar) plus AC adaptor.
-waterproof or water resistant or able to survive rain or puddles.
  (water resistant caps on every IO).

-Light, under 20 pounds complete and i'd expect the battery to be most of it!
  Complete means whip, battery and mic and radio.
 
Note variable selectivity, mic gain, passband tuning, RF gain, are not on the list
and not required and in most cases undesirable.  Receiver controls should be
band, tuning, volume, and mode (sideband select/CW) as more controls are
not needed.  Tuning control should be something not easily bumped.  TX controls
are a tune button and maybe a button to use as makeshift CW key.  A spartan panel
and minimal or no menus.  Must be usable when your in the dark, cold, wet, and
tired without a 50 page manual.

What you leave out is handy for smaller lighter radios.  Though complete is nice.
The idea is complete, carried,  and not required to be a contest or main radio.

For short range work HTs in the VHF/UHF range are a a good fill.  There are
many cheap and tiny 5 W HTs.

Good HF radios aren't cheap, unfortunately.  Many include things really not useful
though desirable for home or other uses. 


Allison
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VE3FAL
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 03:02:08 PM »

I purchased one from Aliexpress and it arrived quickly via FedEx in 5 days from China.
I paid $400.00 US with shipping to my door.
The radio was a bit larger than I expected but looks great with the large display and handles.
Powered radio up and was impressed with size brightness of display.
There is no English manual so some translation of the Chinese manual made things a bit easier but in all there is not much to the buttons and menus.
Buttons are marked and of course all perform a task except for the ATU button which will work with a built in ATU that I guess might be offered for this radio later.
The radio worked well on CW but did not get a chance to operate it on sideband.
The radio draws quite a bit of power and there is no way to turn off the diplay or turn it down.
It works on all ham bands including WARC bands and has a couple of filters in it.
CW speed can be controlled for keyer but cw sidetone volume cant be turned down via menu.
It puts out a full 10 watts on cw into a dummy load using IRF530 finals.

I was able to make about a dozen contacts with the radio on bands from 80-15 when in the middle of a qso on 20 meters the radio quit and my power supply tripped. One of the finals blew and burnt the trace up and it is now in need of repairs.
Dealing with the company in China has been very tedious with communication issues of course. I have been offered no compensation or adequate return or repair policy for this radio. I was told they could refund me the money if I buy replacement finals(which are very cheap as also stated by company), not one reply back from the builder on this radio as well.

The radio looks great and does have potential in the market, but testing and reviews really need to be done before any entrance into the North American markets. I feel like once my money was there that was it.

Save your money and buy an FT817, Alinco DX8SR or something a little bit more pricey but not out of this world pricey, yet you will know you have a warranty and repair service available to you.
Even the X1M is a much more nicer unit when it comes to getting assistance and returns and repairs.

Fred VE3FAL
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WX7G
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Posts: 6040




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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 03:16:09 PM »

Fred, it was good of you to buy and test this radio and report on it. Does the KN-920 really output 10 watts on 10 meters using IRF-530 MOSFETs?

It appears that dollar-for-dollar it doesn't compare to the lowest price full featured radio, the Alinco DX-SR8T, at $529 delivered.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 03:37:41 PM by WX7G » Logged
W7ASA
Member

Posts: 228




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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 08:52:23 AM »

Hello Fred,

Thank you for posting your hands-on review.  So sorry to hear that it fried and the rude 'not my problem' type response from China. Their suggestion to simply replace the blown final  is -as I am certain that you know - not wise.  First  Finals, as with fuses, blow for reasons and until the reasons are cured, the news ones will blow as well. Secondly: - 'you modified the equipment, so it's not our problem." is likely to be heard later.

>>> If THEY WANT TO SELL electronics, then they must stand behind their product, else they will never get any market share worth noting. Until they understand this, I will be very leery of buying anything from the emerging Chinese HF kit/small production market, for the reasons you have shared with us.

Chinese Manufacturers:  Do the RIGHT thing and sell only reliable equipment & be fair to your customers if there is something wrong. Otherwise we will never buy from you!



73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._




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K5TED
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Posts: 728




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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 09:58:27 AM »

Not sure why a $435 ham-band-only, QRP, Chinese rig would be considered a good deal. Look at the price ratio between the WouFeng single band handhelds and a comparably equipped Big 3 handheld. Even the cheapest Alinco dual band handheld is $130. The cheapest BaoXun dual band is $30.

Then look at this very limited KN-920, priced at roughly half the cost of a base KX3, two thirds the cost of a FT-817ND and ask yourself...

IMO, the KN-920, if it could be made to be as reliable as even a simple Chinese handheld, should come in at about $250.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2237




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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2013, 11:34:42 PM »

Not sure why a $435 ham-band-only, QRP, Chinese rig would be considered a good deal. Look at the price ratio between the WouFeng single band handhelds and a comparably equipped Big 3 handheld. Even the cheapest Alinco dual band handheld is $130. The cheapest BaoXun dual band is $30.

Then look at this very limited KN-920, priced at roughly half the cost of a base KX3, two thirds the cost of a FT-817ND and ask yourself...

IMO, the KN-920, if it could be made to be as reliable as even a simple Chinese handheld, should come in at about $250.

I agree, don't see what the fuss is about.
One can do soooo much better.
IRF-530 MOSFETS sounds like a monoband kit rig.
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VE3FAL
Member

Posts: 8




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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 04:37:01 AM »

Fred, it was good of you to buy and test this radio and report on it. Does the KN-920 really output 10 watts on 10 meters using IRF-530 MOSFETs?

It appears that dollar-for-dollar it doesn't compare to the lowest price full featured radio, the Alinco DX-SR8T, at $529 delivered.

Surprisingly enough it did a full 10 watts from 10-160 meters...
Also, on the mono-band comment, when I asked for a schematic, I got the schematic for the KNQ10A and was told same finals 99%. So I could use that to figure out my issue.

As far as other comments go, save your money, buy a full feature rig and enjoy....


Fred
VE3FAL
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VE3FAL
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2013, 06:58:51 AM »

So it is December 2013 and there was NO RESOLVE from the seller and no communication with the builder. They sent me 3 sets of MOSFETS to replace (2 of the three sets also blew and burnt the traces), then they insist I send it back (would cost me $100 to ship so that wont happen), if builders issue they would cover repairs (not shipping), if my issue I pay. The sellers concern is his little amount of money he makes on the transaction to give me even a partial refund. I told him his profit means nothing to me but that I now have a $400 door stop.
Since then because of no resolve on this issue he is not able to sell this radio. It is likely that there will be no resolve as I will not pay to have this unit sent, and then have them turn around and say the problem was caused by me and have to cover repair and shipping back.
So be aware folks, problem is we are costly beta testers for lots of this stuff. Research folks before you buy. my intention was to get the radio, use and review it and make an operating manual in case they had a decent product.
Sorry this review could not be positive for those who may have been looking at this unit..

Cheers
Fred VE3FAL
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OH6I
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2013, 08:11:45 AM »

After I have buy then new Icom 756 Pro, Kenwood 870 S, Kenwood 570, Yaesu 1000MP and everyone have faults and needed to send back I decide to wait at least one year when new radio hit the market...

Jari
OH6I
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VE3FAL
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2014, 07:24:20 PM »

Yea guys stay away from this radio and those who sell it. The seller from Aliexpress as of March 2014 still has not answered any of my messages or given me a resolve to the problems associated with this radio. It is not ready for the market for which we are used to. I continue to send messages to promotions and security at Aliexpress and so far they have prevented the seller from selling this unit.

Stay with those who offer valid warranties and support. As I stated I like to try new things and help with reviews and writing of operating manuals and that was my hope for the KN-920, but that went the opposite way in this case.

73

Fred
VE3FAL
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KB1GMX
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Posts: 772




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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2014, 11:39:38 AM »

Its unfortunate that the radio failed.

IRF530s do work at 10M, in fact I've gotten more power than that at 6M from them
as an experiment.  Not my first choice but functional part. 

However, the board design and the circuit is a mystery (no published picture or schematic)
so commenting on why or what is not possible.  The failure could have been incidental
as in infant mortality, fundamental design error, or just really bad SWR.  The board loosing
the traces is fixable though not pretty, wire is the fix.

The power needs may be the LO system(DDS), micro to do user interface, and the backlit display,
or it could have been the finals with wrong biasing.  I'll bet all.  Those little things like lights
and bright displays eat power.

With refinement it could be something. 


Allison

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VE3FAL
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2014, 03:13:56 AM »

The information given to me by way of schematics was for the KNQ10 radio and was told it was indeed the same circuit design.
Oh yea traces were fixed with wire but definitely other issues with the radio.
I know it is not an SWR issue as all antennas in the shack are tuned with a 1.2:1 swr for the bands I operate, as well I have a tuner inline just incase I do have an issue.
The second time the radio popped was in a dummy load, just as I started bring the power up to check the radio out.

Fred
VE3FAL
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