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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: 42 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $299
Description: Youkits HB-1B 4 Band QRP CW Transceiver
Product is in production.
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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.
VK2DMH Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2013 01:16 Send this review to a friend
Chinese 4-Band QRP Rig is a Little Beauty  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my HB-1B QRP CW Transceiver from, and paid for the optional Li-Po battery and wall-wart charger.

It arrived promptly, but I had trouble getting a straight morse key to work with it. At first I thought it was me making a mistake with my wiring, which is what tells the rig whether you are using a straight key or a paddle. Eventually I diagnosed an intermittent fault with the rig, so I arranged to send it back for repair.

Yimin, who lives in Canada, was very helpful, and had a replacement sent to me from China. He delayed sending it for a couple of weeks so I could receive the Mark 2 model, which has full QSK break-in.

Once the new rig arrived, I was able to plug in either a straight key or a paddle, and everything worked FB. This HB1B has excellent sensitivity and a beautifully efficient variable width IF filter, which does a wonderful job of selecting the station you want while blocking out nearby QRM.

You can program your callsign into a memory on the rig, and it can call CQ for you, and you can change the sending speed of the built-in keyer to whatever CW speed you are comfortable receiving. You can also program your favorite frequencies into 30 different MEM channels and can listen to SSB voice conversations or AM news and music broadcasts (by zero-beating the receiver's SSB side tone).

I see this rig as just about perfect for QRP CW portable ops, such as SOTA (Summits On The Air) or hiking and camping. Just take a good, lightweight wire aerial for maximum signal power out.

I could not be happier with this radio. I have avoided CW for more than 20 years and stuck to voice, with a little PSK and other digital modes. But when fiddling with the HB1B while sitting on my porch the other day, I heard a CQ coming in strongly on 40 meters. I nervously answered the call, and had my first proper QSO in CW mode for more than 25 years. You can read the full story on my website, The article is called How I Learned To Love Morse Code.
AA1BW Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2013 11:07 Send this review to a friend
Awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered one directly from China, it was here in 3 days with TNT. Excellent service. Upon opening the rig, I found one 220u/5V cap to be loose, so I replaced it with one. Also I installed the internal battery pack also from Youkits. I had to use some foam cut for size, to hold the battery in place, otherwise it was moving around, risking to make some damage to the PCB. After all these "maintenance" procedure, I switched it on.
The receiver is fantastic, very selective, very hot. The variable BW is great. Also the Memory / VFO operation is quite logical. SO I programmed all CW Freq into MEM -s. It is easy to change bands in MEM mode. Pressing the V/M/SAV button once switches over to VFO on the very same Freq, so tuning is simple. Pressing the button again, the freq returns to MEM value. Very logical, and smart way to move across the bands. The attenuator is great and helps on 40m a little.
The TX is solid. It is very easy to change the speed of the internal el-key.
I am using it for 3 days, made several contacts, and have still 12.3 V in the battery, so with the internal battery it is a very nice hiking rig.
I have the FT-817, ICOM-703P, HW-9, OHR100, and several QRP rigs. This one is the smallest, most compact of all. For hikes, where I dont need all band, all mode, and size-weight matters this will be my choice, so I may take an extra lens for my camera kit instead.
It is a very good value for money investment.
W8AQ Rating: 4/5 Mar 15, 2013 13:57 Send this review to a friend
Good Purchase  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the HB1B from TenTec a few weeks ago. I'd been reading the reviews and checking out the videos on YouTube. I've been using my FT-817ND for quite awhile and have grown quite fond of QRP.

The little HB1B arrived after a few days. My first impression was how small it was. It really makes my 817 look a bit large.

Unfortunately, it had been shipped without the battery holder. Also the optional battery I'd ordered with it arrived with a broken connector. I obviously wasn't happy but plugged it into the optional AC power supply I also ordered, connected it to a 40 meter dipole, a tuner and started listening.

I was quite impressed with the receiver and especially with the variable IF filter. Very cool and even better than I had anticipated. Since I also do a fair amount of SWL still I also checked it out on the SWBC frequencies. Once I got used to tuning the SSB to get the best sound, I was again impressed.

Unfortunately, on XMIT things fell apart quickly. It appears to have had a blown final and registered no output.

I contacted TenTec that night and heard back from them first thing the next morning. In a couple days, a replacement HB1B, a new battery for the broken original and a battery holder for the missing one were shipped out to me.

(Sidebar here...Ten Tec service is phenomenal!!! I'll be back to them in the future for sure.)

Upon arrival of the replacement rig, I got it on the air in short order and have now had a number of solid QSOs in the first couple of nights. I've gotten only positive reports from everyone I QSOd including a ham using 800 watts (I was at 5 watts) and hearing me as well as I heard him. Another station almost refused to believe I was QRP. And that was with a depleted battery getting me down to about 2 watts. He kept repeating "WOW" after giving me a 599 and asking twice if I was REALLY QRP!

In short, I'm a happy HB1B owner. The rig that worked is a solid 5+ (Great!) but I have to rate the radio a 4 (Good) to be realistic having received one that wasn't working.

I'd recommend it and would certainly buy another if in the market. Though it doesn't replace the FT-817, for a ham using only CW on QRP like me, it really could. Good rig.
W5RST Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2013 15:37 Send this review to a friend
Great value in a portable rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
At the time of writing, I've had the HB-1B for less than a month, but it's really gone through its paces in that time. I bought my HB-1B with the optional Li-ion battery from Ten Tec, and basically, the performance of this little radio has greatly exceeded my expectations. I've used it at home to work DX (TX5K on 80M, 30M, and 20M) as well as portable for a SOTA summit activation. Some of the things I really like about the HB-1B include the receiver (excellent variable filter), the display (highly visible in direct sunlight), and the low current drain when operating portable. For shortwave listening, the sound is quite acceptable with the ability to change sidebands very helpful in avoiding adjacent channel interference. The inclusion of an attenuator to prevent receiver de-sensing, memories and RIT make this rig very versatile indeed.

The fit and finish are very good to excellent. The stenciling on the case is not exactly razor sharp but the case itself is rugged and should stand up to many trips on the trail. The battery is a bit of a tight fit, so you might do some test positioning of it before attaching permanently with the included double-sided tape. The battery charger that came with my HB-1B turned out to be defective, but a call to Ten Tec had a replacement one show up on my doorstep within days (typical Ten Tec service).

So, overall, I would say that the HB-1B may be one of the best bargains in ham radio today. Not only is this a great field radio but it could also serve well for the budget minded ham who wanted a versatile home QRP CW rig without spending a lot of money. If I could give fractional ratings, I would give this little guy a 4.8. Highly recommended.
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