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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Youkits HB-1B QRP CW Transceiver Help

Reviews Summary for Youkits HB-1B QRP CW Transceiver
Youkits HB-1B QRP CW Transceiver Reviews: 46 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $299
Description: Youkits HB-1B 4 Band QRP CW Transceiver
Product is in production.
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N0TES Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2017 11:47 Send this review to a friend
A fine rig for magnetic loop antennas indeed  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this from second hand from a ham at the SKC Hamfest 2 years ago. I pretty much use it exclusively with a magnetic loop antenna with outstanding DX and stateside results. I haven't ever replaced the battery, which charges fast enough overnight. Then the battery lasts for several days of off and on usage. I did go 3 months without using the rig at one time when I thought I'd lost it; upon power up the nice blue screen showed me it was ready! As for tuning the magnetic loop, I just watch the S-Meter to peak on the rig, and it accurately puts the SWR below 2:1 as verified several times with a Rig Expert analyzer.
N3II Rating: 4/5 Feb 12, 2017 01:35 Send this review to a friend
Great /p, /qrp, /sota rig with a couple weaknesses  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The HB1B (mk3) is my first QRP rig and my second portable one. I use the HB1B extensively for SOTA operations.

I think the receiver is excellent, on 17m too (despite their cautions). I might wish for more filters, but for such a small, inexpensive rig, just fine.

My rcvd reports are strong enough that I assume the tx is excellent too.

The keyer works fine. I wish there was more than one memory.

Given the size of the kit and how compact everything must be, the layout is very good. The display is clear and intuitive. The SWR meter is very helpful. The menus are also easy enough to learn with a bit of use.

The internal, rechargeable batteries work great. They recharge fast and sustain the rig for hours and hours of use.

My criticisms have to do with the sturdiness of knobs and outlets.

The knobs for the IF and the AF extend high off the top surface of the rig. This makes them easier to manipulate during use, but more fragile during transportation (since they stick out more from the surface).

I have found the VFO dial somewhat finicky in terms of how it tunes and how it shifts speed.

From the time I first opened the package the earphone plug has required a little jiggling to keep the contacts closed. At some point I will have to open up the rig and I assume resolder. Not tragic, but it's disappointing that the rig arrived with this kind of problem.

Because of how the on/off switch sits on the rig, it sometimes turns on during transport, thus running down the battery. I wish it were recessed or a different kind of switch to prevent this problem.

In sum, I'm very happy with this rig. I've logged hundreds of SOTA contacts with it. (With the above mentioned caveats in mind) it's a great rig to toss in your ruck sack and climb a mountain with.
N4MU Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2016 17:01 Send this review to a friend
Mk3 - It's 599! Two Thumbs Up!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I don't do reviews...until now. I don't believe reviews...well maybe a few. This is one you can take to the bank. I recently bought a HB1-B Mk3 from Vibroplex and couldn't be happier. The receive is very stable and sensitive...even on 17M. I have had 6 QSOs so far on all but 15 M. Received good to very good reports using a dipole (quickie made) at 10' off the ground and (most) using a Tarheel on my truck in the yard. Operation is very straight forward. Just so you don't think I'm getting payola...I have but one [minor] gripe: The sidetone volume is really loud with the AF gain set where it is best for me (maybe 60-70%). Not insurmountable but a bit annoying when I forget to turn the AF down on transmit. Otherwise it's definately a two thumbs up...very happy and looking forward to lots of portable work using the MFJ Big-Ear/mast assembly. I was planning on getting the MFJ-9296 but couldn't wait for production any longer and spent a few dollars more but I also got internal batteries and band switch without modules. CU on CW...
AD0BL Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2016 14:22 Send this review to a friend
I really like this rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I really like this rig. I have a couple of QRP radios but this is the one I'm playing with the most now.

Here are my likes.

1. Overall fit and finish of the rig I received was very good. All control were smooth and worked well. The build is very solid.

2. The included internal batteries work great. Long life on a charge and recharges quick. I've used the rig for hours at a time and the batteries never discharged enough to cut the transmit power out. And the batteries are internal - less things to forget to take with you.

3. Rotary encoder works well. The multiple tuning steps and memories makes it very easy to get around the bands and fine tune signals.

4. Variable audio filter works well. I open it up all the way and use course tuning to search for CW activity. CW notes "pop out" when set to narrowest setting.

5. Sensitive receiver.

6. Display is bright, easy to read, and informative. SWR meter reads when transmitting.

7. Plenty of audio.

8. Rig is very easy to operate.

Here are my suggestions for improvement.

1. More fully featured CW keyer with some macros available. The current CW keyer sends one macro in a fxed CQ format with your stored callsign.

2. Ability to change the frequency of CW sidetone. For some reason, the frequency of the sidetome makes it difficult for me to zerobeat. This is probably just something unique to me.

So, just a few suggestions for improvement but no faults to detract from my enjoyment. Therefore, I'm giving it a 5 since it is working as designed for me and I'm having fun using it.
WA6MOW Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2016 09:47 Send this review to a friend
Fun. Fun. Fun!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I own the HB-1B and the newer version that covers 15 meters. I've owned many QRP rigs like the KX3, K1, K2, FT-817. This little rig is an amazing value for the money. I cleared my desk of my QRO rig and used one of these for a week as my only rig. I made numerous contacts including DX using a crummy low doublet. I can't say enough about this rig. Super low power consumption, good keying and a very usable receiver. This little guy is a keeper and a blast to use. You won't be disappointed.
WA5ZKP Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2016 12:57 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I own both the HB-1B Mk II and the HB-1b Mk III QRP xcvrs. Unbelievable amount of fun in these radios and so much smaller than my HW-8, has a better receiver (IMHO) than my Ten Tec Rebel 506, and doesn't drift as much and is easier to tune than my MFJ9015. I am a QRP fan and could go on and on about why I like these radios but will just mention what I think are key pros and cons:

DDS frequency entry and backlit digital display

Frequency is stable from the moment the radio is powered up

Continuously adjustable bandwidth filter that works well


Internal keyer - although I use a straight key in the field

The newer Msrk III has a SWR indicator and does 15 meters

Internal batteries eliminate extra stuff to carry.

Solidly built

The audio section is weak when the filter is cranked down.

The manual leaves much to be desired but there is plenty of good info available on line

If you wish to switch from the internal keyer to paddles or vice vers you must power cycle the radio (like Ten Tec )

This is a great little radio for the QRP nut and I highly recommend it!

Terry, WA5ZKP

N6PG Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2016 21:26 Send this review to a friend
An amazing little QRP rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the HB1B when Ten-Tec was the distributor. I got bit by the QRP bug and I've built a few and I've also bought the KX3. I thought I'd never use the HB1B, so I sold it.

I was wrong! I missed the radio. It's a nice little rig when you don't want to travel with a $1,500 radio. I like the multi band setup and there have been some improvements to the new radio.

It's now sold by Vibroplex. The radio has also incorporated an SWR meter. This is great as I don't want to also pack a tuner and analyzer

I'm traveling a lot, and this with the palm paddle, the Alexloop or Buddistick is a great way to travel.
N5LON Rating: 0/5 Feb 19, 2016 23:44 Send this review to a friend
Piece of junk  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, Got my HB-1B today and I gotta send it back. It’s an HB-1B MK2 and I ordered (and wanted) and HB-1B MK3 (which is all Vibroplex shows on their website). They sent me a used/broken/returned model. It’s stone deaf, no sound out of the headphone jack, the memories were all already set (another indication that it was a return) and when I called and ordered it, they said “you’ll have to take the back off and connect the lithium battery pack because they ship disconnected” but mine came with it already hooked up (another indication it was a “return”). That really makes me mad. Spend $300 and get ripped off by a big company like Vibroplex. I sent them an email and told them I need instructions for returning it for a refund or a new MK3. Now I wish I’d bought the MFJ-9200.
N2WZP Rating: 5/5 Sep 23, 2015 08:09 Send this review to a friend
Just a whole lot of fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Thought I'd chime in on this. I've done a lot of home brewing and really deiced that I wanted something with a VFO and several band capability in a compact package for SOTA and other portable ops. Having a limited budget (Or let's face it I'd have a KX3 already) I read every single review on the Youkits and other Chinese made xcvrs I could find. I finally found a used HB1B that was too good of a price to pass on. The first thing I noticed when I unboxed was it was even smaller than I thought it was. Right out of the box, I hooked it up tuned around a little bit and called CQ. Later that day with a mildly annoyed wife and a logbook full of QSO's I can share a few of my takeaways...

1. Get the optional internal battery....It is AWESOME. With a full charge this thing will run until I am sick of operating and then some. Charges back up quickly as well.

2. Internal keyer...not the best but definitely useable. no external speed control and only a recordable CQ with the lame PSE at the end. I use an external anyway but again...for a cheap rig not HAVING to lug an external into the field is helpful no matter how limited it's features.

3. Output power...My test equipment is admittedly poor, but from all of my readings on several meters/methods with a full charge I get closer to 8w output. I know it's a no no for true QRP purists, but what the heck.

4. Receiver...I have to say, this thing is pretty amazing. Sensitivity is as good or better than a lot of full power hf rigs I've used and the IF filter with really narrow things down to the 400hz range. Just a really great sounding receiver for CW.

All in all I really think you'd be hard pressed to do better for the money. It is fun as anything to work guys on this little rig and I find myself noodling with this rather than my main rig most nights now. QRP is a blast and even more fun when the rig fits easily in a pack for portable operation.
K5JYD Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2015 06:46 Send this review to a friend
fine qrp rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had several qrp rigs and this is the best so far. With an enclosed battery and my palm pilot miniature paddle attached to it with magnets its the most compact radio I've ever used. I use an end fed par electronic 20m wire and don't need a tuner. If I want to just play around I use a random length home brew end fed with the miniature ten tec auto tuner and can work 20/30/40 etc. Its just a fun rig.
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