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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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W9UCR Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2015 03:12 Send this review to a friend
Lots of Bang for Your $$  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is actually my 3rd HB-1B. The first two were purchased through Ten Tec who was, at that time (about 6 months ago), the distributor for these little rigs. Both failed within a couple of days. I decided to wait for awhile and see if their QC (Quality Control) improved and when they announced a new distributor (Vibroplex) and a new model (the 'Mark 3') I decided to give it another try. I guess three times is the charm because this little rig is everything I was hoping for.

To begin, I've been a ham since 1952 so this is not my first rodeo and I truly appreciate good quality radios. My main rig is a Yaesu FT-950 with Ameritron AL-811 and I operate almost exclusively CW. We also live in a hurricane zone and the threat of extended periods without power is real, so I needed something to use when the power company is putting their infrastructure back together from a storm. This little guys is perfect for my needs.

For openers, it has all the convenience features one would expect from a more expensive rig (KX-3?) The new Mark 3 covers 5 bands (40, 30, 20, 17 and 15 meters.) It has a built-in keyer, variable bandwidth i.f. DSP, LCD readout to two kHz decimal places (e.g., 7040.00 kHz), RIT, SWR meter and lots more.

Obviously, the build quality is not nearly as good as Elecraft's but for the money it is an amazing bargain. The keying can be set for full QSK or adjusted to various time delays if that is your preference. That's important to me as I am active in CW nets.

Performance-wise I can not find any faults with the radio. The frequency is rock solid with no noticeable drifting from a cold start. As far as I can tell it is as stable as my Yaesu. The ALC is not as good as I would like and there is a noticeable pumping effect on strong signals, but there is an attenuater built in which solves that problem.

Since I've only had this rig for a short time, I can't speak to its reliability, so I'll post another report in a few months.

To summarize, read the title of this review! 73

K9NZ Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2015 05:44 Send this review to a friend
Great Fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine in the flea market at Dayton last weekend for a $100 bucks best money for fun ratio
ever. I have work 17 countries on 20 meters and a lot states on 40 meters. Works great the filters
are good and receiver is very good. I have owned a few qrp rigs this by far the best I have used.
VE1YY Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2014 16:56 Send this review to a friend
FB XCVR  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have the Mark 2 version released in Canada Spring 2014. This rig is marketed by others (such as TenTec) and elsewhere on the globe.

As a neophyte QRP operator, after decades of QRO operating, and being accustomed to good receivers, I was pleased from the outset with the HB1B Mark 2. Receiving is good: the bandpass filter actually works, the tuning is smooth, and the tuning resolution is a boon! The RF signal output reportedly is clean and looks so when I sample it on the base shack’s Icom Pro III and on an outboard 'scope. Contacts, using a wire thrown up into trees, with a radiator height of about 3 meters, were between 1000 and 1200 km away and 559 or more.
AD4XJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 27, 2014 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Afforable Fun! Super portable!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got my HB-1B in the mail today. Ordered directly from YouKits on ebay, shipped from China in about a week (express).

First impression was, "Wow! This thing is small and light!". My unit came with the Li-Ion battery pack and charger. I am also using an external LiFe 4200 mah battery which I plan on taking with me on SOTA activations.

First contact out of the box was with a station in Argentina over 5100 miles away on 30 meters!

Some hints that I figured out:

1.) Open up the case, inside there is a battery holder for AA's as well as rubber feet to put on the bottom of the case.

2.) The new units are full QSK but you have to turn on the setting--there are some older online manuals out there but youkits has the current manual in pdf form which shows you how to do this (a couple of button pushes).

3.) If you use the included Li-Ion battery, do yourself a favor and take off the metal label (it's some kind of foil so it's a conductor).

4.) If you use a straight key, it has to be plugged in before turning the radio on--also the outer and middle conductors of the plug have to be wired together (Note: My other radio only uses the inner and outer conductor, and as I didn't have another plug laying around, I figured out that I just had to jumper the middle and outer conductors when turning the unit on--afterwards I pulled the wire and the straight key continued to work fine.)

5.) You don't have to disconnect the internal battery when using an external battery or power supply. If an external battery is plugged in, the internal battery is not in the circuit. As soon as you unplug the external power connection, the internal battery immediately takes over.

I tested the unit at 13V and found it output 5W on 80, 40, and 30M and 4W on 20M (spec says 4-5W.

The DDS works great...listed to it on my other radio and didn't detect any drift. The filtering works great and the attenuator is perfect for stronger signal/noisy bands.

Is this a super expensive, commercial type rig? No.

Is it a fun, small, affordable, and well featured QRP rig? You betcha!

I can't wait to take this on the trail with me!
VU3NUF Rating: 5/5 Aug 14, 2014 04:04 Send this review to a friend
A quality purchase at a reasonable price!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had earlier ordered the TJ2B kit from YouKits, but realized in a couple of days that this is not what I was looking for. I sent it back and got the HB-1B instead. The exchange was hassle free with no questions asked. Mr. Yimin Zhao, who looks after their branch in Canada, was unbelievingly prompt and comprehensive in replying to so many of my questions which I had about the new radio.

About the radio – It has a heavy gauge metal construction with a good black finish. It is amazingly compact in size relative to the features it offers. Haven’t used it on 80 and 30 meters as yet, but on 40 and 20 meters I have found the receiver to be pretty sensitive (with obvious credit going to my finely built fan dipole as well). The output in CW mode is 4W at 12.5V, just as described on their website. The screen is big and bright which displays an assortment of information. SSB receiving is crisp and clear (I use headphones), but one can also use an amplified external speaker.

Getting a hang of the tuning rate/steps does take a little time, but it is absolutely worth the effort.

The kit comes with a 3 cell li-ion battery pack and an appropriate charger. The battery pack needs to be stuck on the PCB with included DST in the battery placeholder, which can be accessed by unscrewing just two screws at the back of the rig.

The kit does not come with an owner’s manual, but that’s not an issue since it is available online on their website.

So, in my opinion, the HB-1B radio has been a quality purchase at a reasonable price, and I am enjoying using it so much that it has instantly become my primary home and portable QRP CW rig, alike.

73 de Yatharth
WA6MOW Rating: 5/5 Aug 7, 2014 07:28 Send this review to a friend
Awsome little rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wow! This is one tiny usable rig full of cool features. The design is well thought out is really fun. I am using it as my main rig to really put it through the ringer. The receiver is amazing for its size. I have owned most of the newer QRP rigs and this puppy goes to the top of my list. If you are looking for a tiny rig this is it. Ideal for back packing and travel.
VA3YG Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2014 10:30 Send this review to a friend
Fun factor - A++++  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased this little beauty brand new from TenTec, where I rec'd professional service from Stan (WD0BGS).

I had researched this radio purchase even more than my more expensive amateur equipment. I think I have watched every YouTube video and read every review! I was hooked and had to have one..... I'm a long time amateur operator, who, in the past couple months have been brushing up on my CW skills...... and having a lot of fun doing so.

The radio arrived to Ontario in 5 business days with a note from Stan saying he had checked the rx and tx functions prior to shipping.

The radio is very intuitive and I was up and running in no time. Using an 80/40 double bazooka with the apex at 53', I was receiving 599 reports consistently on 40 meters and stations were impressed with the signal. Wow, what a beautiful display..... so bright and clear.

This radio will join my Elecraft KX3 and Yaesu FT-817 (non ND) along with various wire antennas and the Buddipole for some much anticipated Spring time portable expedition fun in and around Ontario.

Is the radio perfect? No...... Is it fun? You betcha!! I'm very impressed with the bright LCD display, the clear receive, the size, the signal output and the intuitive operation. Will be looking for a mini speaker to replace the headphones.

Good job YouKits and good job TenTec.

Hope to work you on CW some day.

73 de VA3YG Brent
OZ1LQO Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2013 02:13 Send this review to a friend
Does exactly what it's supposed to  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got this little beauty on a vacation trip to Canada this summer - brought my FT817 as well, but ended up using this all the time instead..!
I read the reviews up front and was aware of potential quality issues, so I got the dealer to open it up for me before buying it. No problems, everything looked just fine.
This small rig performs just well. Output at 12V is around 4watts, not much, but enough with a dipole and I made several contacts in Europe while over there. Sound is good, although at high volumes it tends to distort a bit. The built in adjustable IF filter works just amazing once you get used to it - it's so nice to be able to adjust the width seamlessly by tuning a knob - a functionality I'm now missing in my much more expensive IC-7000...
Sensitivity is as expected, not as good as the bigger rigs, but I'll say this: If they can hear your 4W, then you can hear them too for sure!

Low weight and size really counts when you're on the trails, and this is exactly what I'll be using it for: SOTA, ILLW, QTTF and anything backpack worthy. Forget about building in the 3 lithium cells, the fit inside the box is too tight, the battery pack will put pressure on the PCB. Instead, use an external 8x1.5V AA pack, those batteries can be bought anywhere and you don't have to worry about bringing a charger, finding an outlet, etc.

Some people described problems with the finals burning when you're at bad SWR, I never saw this and basically when operating QRP on the trails, you want as little gear to log anyway, ie. make a couple perfect tuned antennas so you don't have to carry a tuner!

I'd recommend this little Chinese anytime, it's a perfect, cheap, companion for my mountain/outdoor trips. I fact, I recently brought it with me on a canoe trip in Sweden, worked like a charm, really fun.
W7JCK Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2013 11:27 Send this review to a friend
Nice little radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been out of HF for awhile, and thought I'd try my hand at QRP with the HB1B. Overall, I am very pleased. The receiver is quite decent and you can hear a lot more stations than can hear your 5 watts. All the functions work as advertised, it's a very well thought out device. I haven't tried mine portable yet, but I think it would do fine with a small external lead-acid battery pack.
K5JYD Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2013 11:17 Send this review to a friend
good rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got this rig a week ago and also the internal battery pack. Easy to use. Took abt 15 min to set it up and get on the air. Everything works, made a few contacts with it.This is going to be my back pack to the park rig and its a good one.I really like the digital fre read out .The plan is to us the elecraft T1 auto tuner and a long wire at the park and it should do just fine.This is a real user friendly little rig.
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