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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | LNR Precision Mountain Topper Help


Reviews Summary for LNR Precision Mountain Topper
LNR Precision Mountain Topper Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $250
Description: Fully assembled, small size, light weight QRP transceiver, 40M/30M/20M, designed by KD1JV
Product is in production.
More info: http://lnrprecision.com
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WD4ELG Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2016 20:06 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My MTR3B arrived via USPS this afternoon. In a few minutes, I had it hooked on my workbench with a new Duracell 9V battery and attached to my OCF dipole. Went over to 40 meters, and with my Bencher paddle, I quickly made a QSO with N3SY, about 440 miles away. I did not have my wattmeter hooked up, so I donít know how much power went out. But I am guessing it was less than 3 watts and more than 1 watt. MTR battery indicator said the voltage from the battery was 8.7 volts at the time. Doesnít matter, I made a QSO and it was QRP.

Thatís pretty cool! A rig the size of a pack of playing cards, with a built-in keyer with memories and three bands AND a VFO AND a battery monitor AND some other cool functions. Even the XYL, who is NOT a ham and has ZERO interest in the hobby, commented on how neat the technology is for this rig. 40 years in the hobby for me, and this is one of the neatest things I have ever seen! Thanks to LNR, and to Steve Weber. This is the beginning of an awesome QRP experience.

Some additional observations:
1. The rig came with a power plug. I missed that in the store description somehow, which is fine as I now have an extra that I ordered online.

2. I did not know that the antenna plug was RCA until I watched some YouTube videos earlier this week. Fortunately, my Amazon order of a cable of RCA male to SO-239 female also came today from USPS; if not, I would have been a frustrated ham! Maybe LNR could sell the cable as an accessory on their website, under recommended items?

3. I had ordered some 9V battery connectors in advance, which ALSO arrived via USPS today, so powering the rig up was a snap.

4. The rig audio and sidetone are perfect volume for me, no complaints.

5. The receive is outstanding; makes the FT817ND seem inferior.

6. I get the idea behind QRP, and what it takes to be successful, so I do not have unrealistic expectations. Just some end-fed half wave wires from LNR and I am good to go.

7. The user manual is easy to understand, and the functions are as close to idiot-proof as they can beÖshort of having an actual VFO knob, it does not get any better than this.

8. Maybe I should have gone with the MTR 5 bander, but I have end-fed antennas for my favorite bands of 40 and 30 already, sunspots are on the downswing for the higher bands and QRPÖso 5 bands would be a waste for me.

9. My attempts to contact LNR via email were unsuccessful regarding more information, but the rig did ship within 2 days so thatís good enough for me (and I see on the website the rigs are now out of stock).

10. I was considering a fused Z-diode protection circuit, but with my hard wiring of the power plug and my paranoia I think I will be OK.

11. Iím not sure which Palm paddle to orderÖbut I am so accustomed to my Bencher that I probably will just carry that along in the protective case.

12. I am wondering if I would have enjoyed this more if I had built it myself; but I am still a newbie at soldering small components. I have a bunch of kits already on the bench (including some other simpler QRP rigs) and not enough time to get to them. And SMD is not something I am ready for yet.

13. I donít do SSB except for QRO DX chasing, and I sure donít need SSB for QRP portable, so nothing missing for me there in the MTR3.

14. I have two FT817NDís, one for home QTH satellite and one for portable ops/digital QRP/rover VHFÖwhen I feel like taking the tablet and the SignaLink and an Elk LP VHF and a 3Ah gel cell (that FT817ND draws a LOT of current). Thatís a different category of QRP, all-mode all-band portable, pretty much like Field Day, when I am not worried as much about the weight factor or the logistics. Not going hiking with that collection! But the MTR3, just one more reason to hit the trails!

15. I was THIS close to ordering a KX2. I donít mind paying the price for good equipment, and the KX2 looks like top tier quality, but there are three things that kept me from buying it: I donít need QRP SSB, I donít need all those bands, and I donít need PSK or RTTY for QRP (see #14, I already have an option for that).

Overall I give this rig five stars out of five.

Mark Lunday, WD4ELG
Greensboro, NC FM06be
wd4elg@arrl.net
http://wd4elg.blogspot.com
 
AD0BL Rating: 5/5 Jun 9, 2016 08:45 Send this review to a friend
Its Great. Everything you need and nothing you dont.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As soon as I received the radio and hooked it up, I heard a CQ on 14060khz. I answered and got an answer from a Canadian QRP station. This was powering the rig with a 9V transistor radio battery. I now have 5 qrp to qrp QSOs in the log in the last 3 days.

Here's a list of the things I really like about the radio:

1. 20/30/40 meter freqs - best bands for the current propagation conditions.

2. Iambic A keyer - very good keyer and no need for an external unit.

3. Keyer macro memories - 4 memories and 4th slot can be used in beacon mode with a 3 second delay (for continuous calling CQ).

4. If you have an iambic paddle - hold down the dah paddle when powering up and the radio keyer goes into straight key mode. This allows you to use your iambic key as a straight key if you want to.

5. Direct frequency entry with your paddle allows you to jump around the freqs quickly.

Perhaps the best thing about the rig is that it is so small that it will be no problem to take it through TSA checkpoints for airplane travel. I've purchased an 8 AA cell battery holder for a couple of bucks and I can easily buy alkaline AA cells at the destination to power the radio for hours on end. I also have the companion LNR 20/30/40 "trail friendly" end-fed antenna.
 
KJ5XF Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2016 19:46 Send this review to a friend
MTR-5B.. Great 'lil 5-bander QRP xcvr!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had numerous QRP xcvr's over the years, but the MTR-5B from LNR Precision is by far the smallest and easiest to use. I have had it for a few days and have had QSO's on 40m/30m/20m and it runs fine with 8 AA size Ni-MH (2700 mah) batteries. By the way, it is still putting out close to 2.8 watts even after using it for 3 days on the original battery charge!!!

The MTR-5B is simple to use, stable and works great. You will need to download the MTR-5B manual from the LNR Precision website. LNR Precision also has a link for a youtube video about the MTR-5B which I found helpful.
 
K5TTE Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2016 23:32 Send this review to a friend
Nearly incomparable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It seemed laughable that tiny HF rig might be happy,and effective, plugged into a 9-volt battery from the local drug store.
But that is the very rig I received. And that battery lasted through several hours of listening and a handful of QSOs!

I can't add more to the praise that other reviewers have expressed about this astonishing little rig: 3 bands,
fine sensitivity/filtering, decent QRP power, minimalist features that are quickly mastered with the manual---- augmented by some valuable YouTube video tutorials

The other new LNR radios are tempting as well.
But this tiny radio is enthralling to a CW guy like me.
As a Novice in 1959, I could never have imagined that
a rig this small, this fine, would appear in my lifetime.
 
KG4LLQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2016 10:42 Send this review to a friend
This is THE Rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've got several QRP & QRPp radios, but this little rig is the finest. I've seen other reviews and must concur with anyone giving it a 5 rating. With a 9 volt battery you can have more fun than you should. I use an LnR EndFedZ 20 meter antenna and have almost a 1:1 swr across the CW portion of the band. On 40 meters, I use a h/b folded dipole and it matches at 1.5:1 on the lower CW section and a 1.2:1 swr on the old novice section.
I've made contacts across the country with the Mountain Topper.
What a wonderful little rig!
 
KE7AOU Rating: 4/5 Jan 9, 2016 23:06 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good   Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This little radio is pretty cool. The size of a deck of cards, three bands, 3-5 watts, memory keyer, what's not to like.

Well... I've never heard others complain of this so maybe it is unique to my rig but the buttons are problematic. They have pretty good tactile feedback when pushed but just because it feels like you pushed the button doesn't mean that the radio thinks you did. Sometimes I have to push extra hard or put some side load on the button while pushing to get it to actually do anything. The display doesn't show the frequency until you hit the frequency button. So it doesn't display anything while you are holding the change frequency button. So you have no way of knowing if the button is working and the frequency is changing or not unless you happen to hear a signal coming into or going out of tune. So when I'm tuning around looking for a signal, if I don't hear a signal after a few seconds of holding the button I stop tuning and have to hit the freq. button to see if I've been changing the frequency. I wish the display would show something, preferably the last digit of the frequency but any indication that the radio is changing frequency. The tuning rate is fixed and kind of slow but it has to be that slow so that you don't blow past weak signals without hearing them as the filter bandwidth is set at 500hz. It's a great width for CW but with a fixed tuning rate it just makes it take a long time to tune around very far.

A lot of radio was squeezed into a very small box so I know that some compromises had to be made but if the tuning indicator could be added or if I could simply count on the buttons to be doing something when I pushed them I would probably give it a five.

There is still space inside to put a touch keyer though. With the battery pack, speaker, and tuner all outside of the radio it's nice to be able to cut down on cables and such a little by putting the key in the radio and just touching a couple of copper pads attached to the sides with double sided tape.
 
KB2HSH Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2015 05:38 Send this review to a friend
Good enough to be your ONLY radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought one of the first 100 of these rigs after seeing in an online QRP group that Steve Weber had "made one for LNR". That was enough convincing for me, as I had been DYING to get a hold of one of either these or his ATS series rigs.

After waiting what seemed to be an eternity, I finally had mine in hand in late Spring 2015. As stated above, the rig is the size of a deck of playing cards, with not much in the way of weight. It is a tri-band (40/30/20) CW rig boasting 5w output, tight audio to filter out nearby offending signals, and a super Iambic A keyer. The radio also has 3 memories, one of which can be set up in a beacon mode. I don't know how much I would use the beacon mode, but having the rig able to send "CQ TEST de KB2HSH" by hitting a couple of keys is outstanding!

In the few months that I've owned it, I have really enjoyed using it for SKCC QSOs...CW DX (last night alone was amazing by working S57V on 30 with ONE CALL)...or even just monitoring PSK or other digital traffic on 20m. The band limits are wide enough that I have used mine to even listen to CHU on 40/41m.

I mentioned TIGHT AUDIO...I should also mention SENSITIVE audio as well. In the past, with several OTHER radios from other manufacturers and at different locations, I had never been able to monitor the NCDXF beacons on 14.100 MHz....I am able to hear them with little to know effort with the MTR. Sure, band conditions have a lot to do with this, but it is thrilling to be able to copy the beacons from all over the world with the little toy.

My MTR is my "main rig" currently, as I sold off the big rig...in anticipation of getting one of the new Yaesus, but this has not limited my radio fun in any way. It's fairly amusing to sit in the shack and turn on a transceiver that's 1/3 the size of the antique MFJ CWF-2 filter that I use.

Larry and Steve did a HELL of a job with this radio...and I'm happy to have one.

(I hear they are making a FIVE band version, called the MTR-5, soon....)

 
NA1CC Rating: 5/5 Aug 17, 2015 11:24 Send this review to a friend
4.4 oz. of QRP fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is the latest incarnation of small, feature-packed QRP transceivers that Steve, KD1JV, has designed. Bottom line, I've never had so much fun with a QRP rig, and I've been operating QRP for 40 years and built over a dozen QRP rigs, both kits and my own design. Steve's Mountain Topper comes fully assembled and tested, a bit of a downer in that it's always more pleasurable to build yourself, but on the other hand this rig has lots of surface mount components and really isn't for those with limited kit building experience, especially without the proper tools. It measures 3.8x2.7x1 inch and weighs only 4.4 oz., small and light enough to fit inside your shirt pocket. Despite its size, however, it is feature-packed, with push button menus controlling FQ change, RIT, keyer code speed, and three separate keyer memories, among other features. Band switching is accomplished by toggling three DP3T switches. Unlike some of Steve's other rigs, TX and RX bandpass filters are built in and do not have to be plugged in and out when changing bands. There is no RF gain control. Also, there is no AF gain control, with audio output limited to 420mV RMS, which still gave me plenty of audio with stereo ear buds. I ideally would have liked full QSK, especially given memories that are perfect for contesting and chasing DX. However, the rig's semi-QSK transitions over quickly to RX (speed not measured)and is "good enough." Surprisingly, despite repeated warnings in the manual not to exceed 12.0 DC voltage input, nothing is built in in the way of voltage regulation/protection, not to mention polarity protection. I always liked to idiot-proof my QRP rigs, in particular those I took into the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. Speaking of which, this is a perfect SOTA rig. Transceiver, 8 AA battery pack, miniature paddle, ear buds, and logbook and pen all fit comfortably in a small belt pack designed for miniature cameras. I didn't try but maybe could have crammed in a 20M wire antenna with RG-174 coax. The rig is designed to run on 6V-12V, including 9V miniature batteries. My TX output fell a bit short of manual claims, though I never pumped a full 12.0V into the rig. Nonetheless, output was more than adequate for solid QRP QSOs. With the 8 AA battery pack, at 11.5V key down, output was 2.8W on 40M, 3.5W on 30M, and 3.0W on 20M, into a dummy load and measured with a Bird 43. With a 9V battery, 8.1V key down, output was 1.5W on 40M, 1.8W on 30M, and 1.5W on 40M. Reportedly, some have fiddled with the TX output filters and squeezed a little more output, but any improvement would be inconsequential on the receiving end, in my opinion. And does it work? Yes. In one week of casual (non-contest)operating, in the Adirondack Mountains, in upstate NY, I worked 19 DXCC entities on 4 continents, on 20M. Conditions were poor; best conditions were in the late afternoon. My antenna was a 20M L dipole, not the best portable antenna that I've used, in hindsight. I'll use a simple dipole next time that I'm in the field. I asked for honest RSTs, by the way. DX generally gave me S5 and S6 reports. Biggest thrill was working a JA one morning, 6800 miles distant, around breakfast time. We had a 10 minute QSO, and he said that I was weak but fully readable, RST 439. This is a rig, I think, that easily could produce 50-100 DXCC entities in a DX contest, even with a simple wire antenna. DXCC would be a breeze with a gain antenna on 20M. I'll be curious what other users think about this rig, including things that I haven't measured, such as QSK and audio filtering that's also built into the circuitry. In the meanwhile, I'll continue using the rig both at home and in the field and report back if anything new, particularly good or particularly bad, turns up.
 


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