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Author Topic: The future of "kit" rigs  (Read 19986 times)
N4DSP
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Posts: 148




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« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2013, 07:43:58 AM »

True QRP is of the likes of the Wilderness Radio Sierra, Weber's transceivers, OHR 100a series, Altoid's, etc. Simple transceivers which consume very little power e.g. Sierra consumes .035mA on receive is what True QRP is. These great little rigs costing hams $100 to $250 bucks is in the spirit of True QRP like Linux is to the giant Microsoft thus when manufacturers like Elecraft coming out with the KX3 costing over $1000 plus the "accessories", KEYWORD THERE, it doesn't require much thought to see what is happening to the True QRP spirit by these companies.

You are not a social outcast. KX3 owner's are! Contact people in your area who retain the simplicity of qrp. I am sure there are many who still use these little radio's from 20-30 years ago and having more fun than those today using these High Dollar rigs. QRP is more than low power but these manufacturer's have lost all sight of that in their lust for profit and not in keeping with the the QRP Spirit.

Respectfully,

john/n4dsp


Not having a KX3, I am beginning to feel a bit of a social outcast. Someone from the wrong side of the tracks condemned to remain so. If you don't have a KX3, you are beyond contempt.

Has the mass exodus to this thousand-buck rig damaged the viability of the low-cost kit-provider folks?

Kinda wonder if the future of QRP will be the province  of the mega-buck/euro class, if the kit providers drop out.


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W1JKA
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« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2013, 10:12:15 AM »

I have to agree with N4DSP the KX3 is a great QRP rig for those who aren't full time CW operators and whose definition of "portable" is a pleasant day hike up the mountain or picnic area, the few KX3 owners in our small informal QRP group who have a different definition of portable leave them home as I do with my K1 and bring along the Cubs and Dave Benson's SW rigs. None of them are to excited about tripping on a feed line and having an $800.00+ rig dragged into the fire pit or dropped into the water. It's all about each ones definition of QRP and desired function/survivability of a particular QRP rig to meet that definition.
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AA4GA
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« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2013, 11:37:18 AM »

You are not a social outcast. KX3 owner's are!
Wow, I'm a social outcast!

But wait, I also have a couple of the KD1JV ATS series rigs that I've built up and use, as well as a Tuna Tin II I built from scratch and am currently planning more scratch-built rigs.  Does that get me back in? 

Quote
QRP is more than low power but these manufacturer's have lost all sight of that in their lust for profit and not in keeping with the the QRP Spirit.
No, QRP is solely about operating at low power.  A lot of QRP enthusiasts do like to employ "minimalist" rigs, or "simple but effective" rigs or whatever, but not all.  I do not feel like an outcast for using a KX3.  Nor do I begrudge a commercial entity from making a profit on its work, and that includes Elecraft, Doug Hendricks, KD1JV, etc.

Quote from: N4OI
I hope the future of QRP kits takes advantage of SMT technology to offer more functionality in smaller packages…
I'm sure it will, if not by choice then by necessity (a notice last week indicates that the DIP-package SA612 is being discontinued).  The three or four SMT kits I've put together I've used a standard soldering iron, not hot air techniques, and have found that as long as the parts weren't the very smallest available, it has been enjoyable.  Because I don't etch boards, I haven't found a good way to go to SMT for my scratch-built stuff, but hope to eventually move in that direction. 
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N4DSP
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« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2013, 12:34:38 PM »

Minimalist radio is the True Spirit of QRP.

One can operate QRP, meaning low power only,  with a KX3 or a Heathkit Apache or any number of the boatanchors. It IS qrp.(low power)

The True Spirit of QRP is something very different. It is detailed in Adrian Weiss's excellent book's The History of QRP and Joy of QRP which I hasten to say many of the KX3 owner's have never read and don't care to. In his book's Adrian details this spirit which a KX3 can never bring you.
 
And plugging modules in after one has spent 8 hours putting together, an Erector Set Product like Hasbro made, is not homebrewing. You will become highly proficient in putting nuts onto little screws however. It's a ploy by Elecraft to increase their profit margin giving you a 'sense' of building your radio. Reminds me in the 1960's of the Paint by Number sets allowing people to paint landscapes and ships whom otherwise would never paint.  The only advantage is when a module goes bad Elecraft will tell you which one too unplug and send it in.

The True Spirit of QRP is the "Minimalist" approach and for other's qrp simply means low power and taking your K3 or rather qrp kx3 into the woods and operating with the finest money will buy.

The KX3 is the K3 in a smaller package. So call it a qrp radio if you will. My Heathkit Apache is also qrp. She runs on 5 watts.

So for the Original Poster you are not a social outcast! You will have more memories than a KX3 will ever bring you.
You are one of the FEW, The PROUD, the Minimalist True QRP OP'S!  Smiley
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 01:28:45 PM by N4DSP » Logged
AA4GA
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« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2013, 07:43:04 PM »

One can operate QRP, meaning low power only,  with a KX3 or a Heathkit Apache or any number of the boatanchors. It IS qrp.(low power)

Correct.

Quote
The True Spirit of QRP is something very different. It is detailed in Adrian Weiss's excellent book's The History of QRP and Joy of QRP which I hasten to say many of the KX3 owner's have never read and don't care to. In his book's Adrian details this spirit which a KX3 can never bring you.

I disagree - I have read Ade Weiss - I used to read him regularly when he wrote for CQ back in the 70s and 80s, I believe.  And I believe I have The History of QRP around here somewhere.  I seem to remember reading about a canoe trip with a TenTec PowerMite, among others.  I also have read of the backwoods exploits of W7ZOI and W6JTI and others.  All of that was part of my inspiration to become a QRPer.

Quote
And plugging modules in after one has spent 8 hours putting together, an Erector Set Product like Hasbro made, is not homebrewing.

I suppose you're trying to disparage the modular Elecraft KX3 and K3 kits.  I don't know of anyone who says they are homebrewing.  From what I remember about Erector sets, they were probably more difficult to put together and create something neat than the KX3 I assembled.  I personally don't consider the ATS-3b or MTR rigs that I built to be homebrewing either, but they involved a fair bit of soldering SMDs.  The Tuna Tin 2 I built I do consider to be homebrewing, as I did it all from scratch, using Manhattan-style construction and included a keying circuit and output filter that were not in the original design.  I think the filter may have been in the revision printed in the 90s (?), but I think I stole the keying circuit from some other transmitter...

Quote
It's a ploy by Elecraft to increase their profit margin giving you a 'sense' of building your radio.
  Again, I don't understand why you think Elecraft shouldn't be allowed to maximize their profit!  That said, I don't know that their margin is any greater on the kits than the built rigs when you consider the additional support they most likely have to provide for people who assemble their own.  In my case, I welcomed the price discount in putting my own rig together - my time for that is basically without cost, as I found it an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, playing with my new rig. 

Quote
The True Spirit of QRP is the "Minimalist" approach and for other's qrp simply means low power and taking your K3 or rather qrp kx3 into the woods and operating with the finest money will buy.
"Minimalist" to me suggests something like the Pixie, or even a more complicated, but still crystal-controlled rig like a Rockmite.  The KD1JV rigs are certainly not "minimalist" with their feature sets.

Quote
The KX3 is the K3 in a smaller package. So call it a qrp radio if you will. My Heathkit Apache is also qrp. She runs on 5 watts.

The K3 and KX3 are totally different architectures.  The K3 comes in a 20-watt version...I would like to own one some day:  it's a great rig for QRP.  The K3 isn't something I would take out to a mountain-top like I do the KX3...but it would be a super home-station rig.

A rig that runs 100 watts isn't what I would consider a QRP rig, but yes, you probably can run at 5 watts output with it. 

I feel no shame in operating any of my QRP rigs, but I do not consider myself a minimalist, nor do I consider that a requirement to be a "True QRPer".
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N4DSP
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« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2013, 08:22:34 PM »

Whenever Calvin Klein, Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, of the higher end of the design fashions, come out with a new product the people flock to it so they can have the name brand and the recognition for owning the best, latest, and most expensive. The same holds true for other products.



Not having a KX3, I am beginning to feel a bit of a social outcast. Someone from the wrong side of the tracks condemned to remain so. If you don't have a KX3, you are beyond contempt.

Has the mass exodus to this thousand-buck rig damaged the viability of the low-cost kit-provider folks?

Kinda wonder if the future of QRP will be the province  of the mega-buck/euro class, if the kit providers drop out.


« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 09:02:35 PM by N4DSP » Logged
W1JKA
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« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2013, 05:10:57 AM »

Re: N4DSP  reply #35

I can directly relate to your Calvin Klein et al analogy, it seems that whenever I return home from a red tag sale at the local Goodwill clothing store I end up on the phone ordering another MFJ Cub kit to build.
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N9AOP
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« Reply #37 on: December 30, 2013, 09:29:36 PM »

Should you take a hit because you don't have a KX3?  From different postings that I follow I find that Elecraft and Buddipole folks are almost cult like--not so much TenTec.  Is this good or bad?  Well from the point of the company, the larger and more cohesive the cult the more profitable you are.  I bought a KX3 only because I tried out one that a friend had and found out that it is a mighty fine QRP CW machine that works all bands and is small enough to pack along on road trips.  And yes, I have had it out in the woods already.

If you think I am out of line with the cult idea, look at the bruhaha that ensued when Elecraft released their 100 watt amplifier.
Art
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