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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Ramsey HRxx QRP Receiver Kits Help

Reviews Summary for Ramsey HRxx QRP Receiver Kits
Ramsey HRxx QRP Receiver Kits Reviews: 9 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $29.95
Description: These little receivers are based upon the hot Signetics
NE-602 that we read about almost every month in all of the
ham magazines and handbooks. The receivers are true
superheterodyne direct conversion - a simple design that
does not require the use of fancy IFs, RF filters, or exotic
mixers, in short, the ideal design for easy hobby building.
Only recently have high performance ICs become available
that enable such circuitry to be constructed. Beginners can
easily build these receivers. And, experienced amateurs and
QRP enthusiasts can use them as a reliable, economical,
basic foundation for modifications. Our single PC board has
plenty of room for lots of modifications and hook-ups,
tinker to your hearts content. Suggestions and technical
info are included in every receiver manual. Isn?t this what
ham radio is all about? Operates on 9 V battery (not
included). Optional case size: 5?w x 5 1/4?d x 1 1/2?h.
Product is in production.
More info:
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W7MBR Rating: 0/5 May 11, 2014 12:38 Send this review to a friend
ZERO-ZERO-ZERO  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If I Could Have Rated The Ramsey HR20 Any Lower I Would Have. The only Reason I Am Keeping This Receiver In My Collection Is To Have An Example Of The Worst Receiver On The Market. Here Is A List Of The ZERO'S: Stability, Drift, Horrible Microphonics, RX Freq Pulls When Adjusting Volume And RF Gain Controls, Even With Mods And A Larger Tuning Knob Stations Are Hard To Tune, Nearly Impossible To Zero Beat The Matching Ramsey QRP20 Transmitter To The HR20, No Frequency Readout, No Receiver Mute Just Overloads Loudly In Your Ears When Transmitting, Lacks Good Audio Gain, Poor Selectivity, Sub Par Components Except For The PC Board. The Super Cheap 10K Pot Used In The Critical Tuning System Has A loose Shaft Causing Warble When Tuning. I Have Several Other Direct Conversion Receivers That Can Run Circles Around The HR20. Do Not Buy This Receiver For Communications Use. Even With Several Modifications That Can Be Made To It, The Fact remains You Still Have A Poorly Designed Basic Circuit. Ramsey You Should Be Ashamed.
WB3T Rating: 0/5 Apr 17, 2012 19:53 Send this review to a friend
A Joke  Time owned: more than 12 months
First, if you can get it to tune at all, it drifts much faster than is usable in a QSO. The slug-tuned inductor in the oscillator circuit drifts even when it's turned off, overnight, by more than 1 MHz. That's "mechanical drift," meaning the value of the inductor drifts just sitting there unpowered as the coil creeps inside the can.

Also, if you put your hand anywhere near the unit, it will detune from proximity effect. Ramsey has once again used the cheapest parts they can find and it shows up in lack of performance. This is an awful kit (which I would not call a radio but a toy at best), and I have built three of them over the years for different bands. You can replace the inductor with one of suitable quality and stability, and shield the top, bottom, and front panel of the housing with aluminum foil to minimize proximity effect, but you won't cure it altogether.

I have since tried the Ten Tec Direct Conversion any-band receiver kit and it is way more stable.
NG9D Rating: 5/5 Feb 26, 2011 15:16 Send this review to a friend
Second Look  Time owned: more than 12 months
Update. Since I wrote the first review I reduced the tuning range to match the limited range of the matching RAMSEY transmitter. This makes it easier to find stations at or near the QRP calling frequency of 14.060 MHz. As a bonus, the radio became easier to tune and perhaps even more stable. I did an "A-B" test, comparing the mini-receiver to an Icom 746 Pro. I realize the Ramsey in no way matches the Icom as a communications receiver (in many ways) but for this particular test you can hear that the mini-receiver does produce surprisingly equivalent results! You can hear the test at the 3:00 minute mark in the video at:
73 de NG9D . .
KC2VDM Rating: 4/5 Feb 24, 2011 18:57 Send this review to a friend
not bad, but not an award winner.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
after recently coming into some money, i decided to buy this, figuring it'd be a fun project, and possibly a good receiver too. the company has a decent reputation, though i noticed repairs are costly! anyway, i put it together and replaced the 2 mm jack and rca jack with standard connectors. it worked first time, after finding one or two bad solders. i havent aligned it properly yet for the 20meter band, but did hear a shortwave station near 14.355, so that is something. alignment is VERY difficult, but possible. receiver is not bad. the only left out part was a 9 volt battery clip, but i have millions lying around. there is 1 or 2 typo's in the manual.

overall, if you have a free night, and some money to impulsively spend, i'd recommend this radio.
VK4JAZ Rating: 4/5 Jan 6, 2008 17:31 Send this review to a friend
Great starter kit  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I built this receiver and its matching 20m transmitter and have really started having fun with the pair. You do need to isolate the receiver from the transmitter with a switch, which you flick over when transmitting/receiving. This, together with the slight frequency drift that the receiver is prone to, makes for interesting and challenging qso's. That said, it is a great little rig. But the frequency dials are rudemantary and difficult to home in on a frequency. I find it all but impossible to answer cq's as I can't accurately swing the transitter to the received frequency. I have had much more success setting up a sked and letting the other station zero in on my. I love this little rig.

K5III Rating: 5/5 Feb 15, 2005 00:11 Send this review to a friend
Good within its limitations  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I went ahead and gave them a 5. Actually a 4.5 would be more appropriate. This is a great working kit. I had the 40 meter version. Receive and TX worked OK. I didn't like the fact that the TX worked on 12 v external and the receiver worked on a 9V battery. Again something that can be easily modified. After building both kits and having them about a year, I sold them when I was short on cash. Sorry I did that. I might build new ones. Excellent beginners kit.
ALEX_NS6Y Rating: 2/5 Feb 7, 2005 05:41 Send this review to a friend
Eh - get an SST instead  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this, put it together, and and got CW on 40, ok, then I put it aside with plans to do some "mods" like a 10-turn pot for tuning (as it is, if you even think about it, you go a kHz up or down the band. I put an SMA connector on in place of the RCA connector, would have used a BNC if I'd had one the right configuration. That worked OK. Replaced the rediculous 2mm or whatever it is, headphone jack with a somewhat more normal 1/8 inch one. Then I installed a 10-turn pot, and it was time to go through the alignment again. First, I could not get this to tune above about 6.5 MHz. I finally removed the slug from the inductor, SNAP! trimmed a couple mm off of it with my "less than precision" cutters, and screwed it back in. It now tunes up into the 7MHz range. So, I get it into the range and find that the 10-turn pot doesn't tune it! This circuit apparently does not like wirewound 10-turn pots. I finally just put the original one back in, which tunes about 700kHz, and is probably good training if you want to become a safecracker someday. I'm not sure if I'm going to find a 10-turn pot that's nonreactive, I may just put a bigger knob on the original like the manual suggests. If you have a good frequency counter, you can attach a scope probe to it and by probing pin 7 on the SA602, you can read off the frequency it's working at. That can be a big help! I don't think my aluminum windowpane qualifies as a "resonant antenna" so it's hard to tell if this really pulls in the signals, I think there was a contest on when I first built it and heard all that CW and a lot of what I heard was local. Like shooting fish in a barrel. The 9V battery connector is like 99% of them, weak. I substituted one with a "solid" top from Radio Shack, and if I use this radio a lot I might install a Philmore #BH910 battery holder/connector.

This does get some "points" because if I touch the top of C9 when it's on, I get Mexican music! Whoohoo! Yes, folks, the LM386 is a pretty good AM reciever all on it's lonesome!

All in all to sum up, this is about $40 with the case kit, and for the price of 2 of these you can get an SST kit from Wilderness, which I have a feeling is more than 2X the rig.
N8AUC Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2002 10:31 Send this review to a friend
Pleasant Surprise  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got the HR20 and the companion transmitter as a Christmas gift from the XYL. She knows I like to melt solder, so this was a nice gift. The basic circuit used closely resembles a circuit I saw in QST a few years ago called, "the neophyte receiver". Never got around to building one then, so this looks like my chance. And, if it turned out to be a bust then we weren't out much.

The performance of this little receiver isn't going to cause Ken-Ya-Com to lose much sleep. But this little sucker really works. I was playing with it last night and was hearing signals from all over Europe and the Middle East on 20m. Surprisingly solid copy from such a simple little device.

The circuit board is well made, and the directions are very clear and concise. It took one evening to build the kit and there were no surprises. There is lots of space to modify and tinker with the unit. I'm already planning mods and enhancements for it. Like a little more audio gain to drive a speaker, and an active audio filter for a little selectivity. But the unit works as advertised. For $29.95, you get the fun of building it, and you get a working receiver in the bargain.

Now to build the transmitter for a complete portable 20m CW rig.....

NV0U Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2001 10:32 Send this review to a friend
The best use of $30 ever  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up one of the HR40 kits a week ago and had it together in just a few hours. Anyone can build one of these kits - there are only a handful of parts and lots of room on the board, so even if you are as blind as a bat you can construct this thing with little problem - though you might need a magnifying glass to double check some of the part numbers.

My kit had problems however - no matter what I did to it I could not get the thing to tune below 9 MHz. I replaced caps, checked voltages - everything seemed fine - until about the 30th time of trying to replace a cap. It was at this time that the NE602 Mixer IC bit it. As soon as I replaced it with another NE602, everything was as it should be - tunes 40 M without a hitch! I should note here too that at this time I had put all the caps back to their original values, so the kit does work fine.

I am very impressed with the circuit board in this thing. It was more than capable of handling my soldering/desoldering parts over and over again. Two of the caps honestly did get soldered 30 times as I experimented with different value caps. The circuit board is still in perfect shape. The traces are still stuck to the board and are intact. This tells me this little circuit board is all ready to get modified if you want, and is going to be able to stand up to repeated modification "abuse".

One thing that bothered me at first was the receiver performance on 40. I could hear utility stations and international broadcasters with no problem into a random length of wire, but as soon as I hit the 40 meter band, it was like someone unplugged the antenna. Since I also bought the QRP transmitter kit that Ramsey sells, and I needed to really build a 40m dipole, I went ahead and built one. That made all the difference in the world. The receiver works just fine once you hook it up to a resonant antenna.

My only real gripe with the reciever is how sensitive it is to moving it around. Putting you hand anywhere near the VFO circuitry, even when it is in it's plastic case, causes the thing to move at least 5 kHz one way or another. It would really be nice to have a metal case, or perhaps some of that spray paint used for shielding on the inside of the case.

But hey, I spent $30 on this thing and it performs a lot better than I ever expected it to. I am very very impressed!

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