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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | YOUKITS - TJ2B Help


Reviews Summary for YOUKITS - TJ2B
YOUKITS - TJ2B Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $269
Description: An HT-sized 5W HF SSB transceiver - covers 5-18MHZ
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.youkits.com
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CT1EHO Rating: 4/5 Nov 13, 2014 15:05 Send this review to a friend
HF handheld DX!?  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I love handheld radios since kid, my first radio was a 27MHz walkie-talkie toy, which after some modifications on someone tips and help of an old friend made possible to contact the CB guys around my neighborhood, I was hooked!
Sadly there is a big void in the HF SSB handheld field, Iím always wondering such is the actual state of the art in electronics why there isnít palm sized evolved multi-band SSB radios? The fact there is already amazing SDR micro-chips for VHF/UHF FM handheld transceivers, Iím sure it wouldnít be so difficult to implement the right FFT algorithms to modulate and demodulate SSB signals!
In the past the amateur QRP community had some more choices in terms of SSB HTís, the great Japanese Mizuho company produced the amazing MX series, they were mono-band QRP HTís that still sell nowadays on second hand market for high prices, and boy do they work well!!
Today in that simplicity and QRP spirit Youkits have produced an interesting rig, the TJ2B. Ever since I saw it on the web, Iíve planned to get one which I did!
The radio is very small compared with a full sized mobile transceiver, however if you hold it your hand for a while doing contacts with a telescopic antenna and the built in battery your arm will ache. The case is metallic black powder coated with a small green backlight dot display in the front panel, there are four buttons just right under the display, and two knobs on the top, one is the IF audio volume and the other a multi-function encoder, the antenna BNC connector is on the top beside the knobs.
The radio provides means to connect an external power source (DC 12v), a 3.5mm stereo jack for external speaker or headphones, and an external PTT microphone also a 3.5mm stereo plug, which is also located on the top panel
What I like on the radio:
-Size, the power consumption, the frequency tuning accuracy (DDS), and received audio.
Things I donít like:
-TX power differences between bands, it produces a bit more than 5 Watts on the 60 and 40m bands, on 20m is around 5 Watts, but on 17m and 15m the needle stay between 2 to 4 Watts.
- Doubts about the durability of the multi-function encoder and the stereo jack connectors, note that I have opened the radio and saw these connectors are of good quality, but they are fragile on outdoor usage.
-Iíve noted there is a slight TX power drop if the radio is operated in hot environments, this could have to do with the design and the PA transistor configuration.

What can I say more about this little rig, well honestly it has been giving me some fun times operating on the main HF bands from hilltops and from my car with external mobile antennas, surprisingly the low power capability is not an handicap to make some interesting contacts, after all the propagation has been good, but most of all the fun part of it is when you say to your correspondent youíre transmitting with a handheld radio, the reactions are cool!
There are some extras that would enhance the TJ2B operation, two of them are an external hand microphone (I use a VHF handheld converted electret microphone), and a good earphone set.
I have other HF radios, the Yaesu FT-817 and a ILER-20 (home built), the TJ2B doesnít disappoint the regular QRP operator, but it wouldnít be a good choice for those who demand larger and more powerful radios. Iím a QRP operator and I can testify that its always possible to make good contacts and plenty of DX if one chose some proper techniques and radio etiquettes, RF power output is not so important on HF, a good receiver and a resonant efficient antenna would be enough for a nice couple of hours making DXÖ I even do lots of contacts with mobile whips on my car and from my apartment balcony using just my Youkits TJ2B!
 
KF7YDL Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2013 21:43 Send this review to a friend
nice for what it is  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was looking for a bare bones HF SSB QRP PSK31 suitable transceiver and the price here was much more attractive than the Yeasu 817.

Less features, to be sure, but OK for what I was after.

After taking it out of the box I set it up for PSK31 from the get go. Audio cables, cheap ($4) USB sound card and a breadboard fabricated microphone attenuator. 10 K resistor, by trial and error, in series on the mic line with a 1K in parallel across the mic ground.

Hooked it up to my 66 foot end fed wire, with a match box, and a vintage Kenwood antenna tuner.

The receiver is hot. Waterfalls from Korea and South Africa without tuning the antenna. Sent a CQ PSK31. Florida right off the bat. Contacts all over the US and Canada on 20 meters with 5 watts the first day. Big fun. Excellent signal reports. I'll be working DX soon.

I'm going to add a hand held PTT switch to replace the one on the radio. No CAT control here. Hit the macro and key the radio. Unkey when done. Works.

Cons, all minor:

No 10 meters

No S meter or transmit indication (my tuner has an S meter)

No battery charge indicator.

The display is very, very tiny, but it is backlit.

If you wanted to use this for phone, headphones or an amplified speaker are necessary. Very low audio output.

Together with an external microphone. The built in one is pitiful at best.

(Once I get tired of PSK31, and get the mic, I'll try SSB phone).

The internal battery and wall wart charger are sold as a "option". Mine came, extra $, in the factory sealed box. Buy them, they are necessary. Kinda a cheap marketing ploy though.

The radio comes without an antenna (makes sense, what would they supply, a 32 foot rubber duck?) and has a BNC male connector. This is not mentioned in the sales ad. Good thing that I had a BNC to coax adapter or I'd be spending a frustrating week waiting to hook up and use the radio.

Like I said, the cons are minor and nit picking.

I did four hours of TX RX two days in a row without running the battery down. For what its worth.

Nice radio. Great for PSK31. Might also be good for QRP SSB phone. We'll see

73 de W7WBB
 
WB8YQJ Rating: 4/5 Jun 27, 2013 10:57 Send this review to a friend
YouKits HF SSB Kit Transceiver 14-30Mhz  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I settled on a Youkits TJ2B after looking for a multiband HF QRP kit for under $275. The mainstream offerings in this price range are mostly missing 10 meters. I began searching for niche vendors to find something unique and fun, and came across Youkits in my internet search results.

The new TJ2B "Kit B" seemed ideal, offering 14Mhz to 30Mhz SSB +(CW Receive) in a handheld case and $269 plus ship.

Also offered is "Kit A" which is a 3Mhz to 14Mhz version.

The TJ2B is a great concept. It was a faster build but every bit as much fun to assemble as the K2's I built. The final product has a quality fit and finish styled like an Elecraft. The receiver is analog and has a great natural sound but you do need a battery or a well regulated PS, no wall warts.

It is a simple radio, minimal AGC on receive, 40 memories, and no computer interface but it is easy and enjoyable to operate even in the hamshack. It has fixed station quality received audio (using external amplified speakers) and low noise. It is extremely stable using a nice DDS with an LCD display. The case has a quality powder coat with bright white labels. The inside includes high quality PCB's with all pre-soldered SMT components. The firmware in the radio works well, it is flexible for setting up the BFO values and some other customization. The internal rechargable lithium battery is 1600mah and the radio draws 250ma on receive. The TJ2B is a terrific fixed station spotting radio, I leave mine on all the time operating from the station supply, antenna, and amplified speakers. RF output (using a pulser) on mine is 20m/1w, 17m/3.5w, 15m/4.5w, 12m/3w, 10m/2w.

This radio might not be for everyone however, for a number of significant reasons:

- Youkits is not setup to ship TJ2B in any kind of volume, they make very small batches and ship when they can, you will probably wait on your order.

- TJ2B is shipped directly from China.

- The assembly instructions work for savvy builders, they boil down to just some decent notes and photos. In one section of the assembly instructions you are directed to solder a section of coax directly to two boards that were layed out for MMCX connectors. Experienced builders will immediately see that some kind of a strain relief on the interboard coax connections is an absolute MUST. There are some assembly notes in the FILES area of the Yahoo Group for YouKits Canada. Magnification, strong lighting, and a steady hand are required to solder some tiny parts and to hand wind and tin small toroids.

- The kits inventory list is not comprehensive and the step by step assembly document is missing checkboxes. The photos you see when attaching a part does not always show the board that you are working on in the same stage of assembly as your own.

- As of today there is no schematic.

- The assembly for TJ2B is simple and the engineering and materials are amazing versus dollars paid. But if something is missing from your kit or the radio does not fire up at some test stage, there is no in-country support center staffed with parts, nor is there an in-country repair center if the unit comes to the point of last resort. There is one smart and very helpful man named Yimin who will do whatever he can for you within the constraints that he lives in Canada and most everything else is in China.

- If the radio does not operate within published specs even after proper assembly you may be asked to disassemble it, desolder and replace various components (normally resistors) in a trial and error fashion until it works as designed. Mainly in the PA section, said to be due to parts tolerances.

- Shipping radios back to China for service is either cost prohibitive (Fedex $175 from Ca.) or Customs prohibited (USPS). Servicing happens in China, not Canada.

- The quickly evolving HF line at Youkits seems to leave a higher than expected number of discontinued models.

Youkits is in it's infancy and their great desire is to innovate at a break neck pace. Their profit margins are slim to non-existent. You can get a terrific product from them and I really enjoy my TJ2B. The design is innovative and unique but it is a riskier proposition than going with with the more established brands. de wb8yqj...
 
VE3EGA Rating: 5/5 Jun 27, 2013 00:08 Send this review to a friend
A QRP Radio that 'delivers'..  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this radio with the intention of using it while traveling. This review is based upon my experiences so far, as I have only just taken delivery of my TJ2B..

I was curious to find out more about the Company and its products: Talking with Yimin, he explained that while he is the driving force behind their ham products he wants to bring 'fun' back into building and using QRP radios and accessories - he certainly appears to be delivering on that promise!

I learned a little bit about his Company in China in that that the ham-radio side of the business was developed almost as an 'enthusiastic side-line to their main-stream electronics industries. It is completely family run - with radio-hams at the helm!

The small TJ2B is by toted by YOUKITS as a 4-Band SSB Transceiver - which I suppose it is, however in Canada (Ontario, specifically) 5MHz is not yet available to us and 30M is CW/Digital and the radio doesn't do CW. That leaves 40M and 20M to play with!

Personally, I only really wanted those two bands (and maybe 17M) so I settled for what I got...

The radio works as it should and on 40M I was able to work into the UK and the mid-West with 5W via an ELECRAFT T1 tuner to a (20ft high) Carolina Windom. Modulation reports were just ok, and it was hard to reach 5W PEP however, heeding the suggestion of YOUKITS, I looked around for a suitable external mic that would give me more audio punch!

Luckily, I was able to try a few mics out before I purchased one, as my local store had a mic-tester - Ideally, I wanted a small mic but was largely disappointed in those that I tried!

I settled for a (wait for it) CB mic. The brand was 'Astatic' Road Devil. Designed for overcoming noisy truck cabs, the frequency response was just what I was looking for - plus there was an adjustable pre-amplifier built in. I took it home and replaced the plug and was delighted to see the needle kick-up to where it should be on voice peaks!

On-air reports were excellent.

Overall Radio Performance:

On 40M the TX output was peaking 5-6W but on 20M it was slightly under 5W. The RX was able to hear pretty much anything my other radios could hear but an outboard DSP accessory might appeal to some?

Tests are still ongoing but so far I am not disappointed and can enthusiastically recommend adding a TJ2B to your QRP 'go-bag'.

73

Terry VE3EGA/VA3IP



 


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