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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: 11 Average rating: 3.1/5 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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NG9D Rating: 4/5 Jul 26, 2016 07:50 Send this review to a friend
PDSA  Time owned: more than 12 months
A kit like this is good for learning to identify parts, assemble a simple radio and learning the value of a resonant antenna. I agree that for most hams this receiver kit is essentially unsuited for two-way communication and for an unguided novice it might be considered as a disappointment.

But there is a lot to learn from even simple devices like the Ramsey DC receiver when used along with continuing PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) cycle.

I posted a couple of videos that show how frequency stability can be improved by putting the cover on the radio and allowing it to warm up: Here is another example with the cover off, and air currents causing the receiver to become somewhat less stable: . The tuning range has been reduced by changing a capacitor.
KU4UV Rating: 0/5 Mar 5, 2016 11:46 Send this review to a friend
Absolute Junk!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Now that Ramsey has gone out of the kit business, I thought I would give this kit a try. I should have listened to the other reviewers when they said this thing was junk. The low parts count should have been a dead giveaway. I picked the kit up on for $15, but the kit isn't even worth that price. The kit is easy enough to build, but the performance, quite simply, is a joke! I never could get the receiver aligned anywhere close to the 40 meter band, and I was only able to pull in one or two strong shortwave stations. I would love to know how anyone that has built this kit ever got it to work. This has got to be the worst receiver kit out there. No wonder Ramsey went out of business. Stay as far away from this kit as you can!
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.....

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