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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Ten-Tec 1300 series QRP kits Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec 1300 series QRP kits
Ten-Tec 1300 series QRP kits Reviews: 54 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $119
Description: Fine CW QRP transceiver; covers 60-70 KHz of band; with case
Product is in production.
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F5TXW Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2011 13:12 Send this review to a friend
VERY NICE QRP  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just build the 14MHz (1320) model and I am very happy with the result.
The reception is very good and I have even added a LF filter (max 293) which further improves the audio.
I recommend this QRP kit
W3MW Rating: 3/5 Jun 7, 2011 14:27 Send this review to a friend
Works fine, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The completed and aligned radio works as advertised...after modifications...but...

I have over 30 years experience with radio, and all of that included building my own equipment from kits or homebrew.

First, the print quality of the manual and documentation is absolutely horrible. Mine was evidently used, as it had someone's name and callsign already entered inside the front cover. Lines and part designations are blurred and often unreadable, and the schematic is likewise nearly unusable. Ten-Tec has the schematic on the website in PDF format; but the PDF is blurry! How could you post a blurry PDF? I suspect that it's quality was nerfed to reduce the download size.

Likewise, the fold-out X-ray view of the circuit board is useless, as the lack of resolution, gray-on-gray printing,and poor contrast renders most component designations unreadable. This is a problem, as the silk-screening on the top (component) side of the PC board is poorly implemented. Instead of using smaller text size and offsetting the designations, the text is right spot on the component holes in many, if not most, cases. Rarely can you find a resistor or capacitor ID that is readable, so a board x-ray view is a must. In this case, the factory downloadable X-ray view is very nice; but why should I have to download and print a vital part of the assembly process? It galls me that the downloaded PDF is likely a scan of the original manual, before Ten-Tec stopped quality control on the manual.

The assembly process itself is relatively straightfoward, with the exception of several parts that have changed designations or IDs, and are noted on a handful of "errata" slips. There is a mis-identified part on page 36; C42 is incorrectly identified as 0.01uF instead of 0.1 uF, but correctly noted as having a 104 marking. The process for tuning the VFO toroid is correct but confusing, and the process requires either a frequency counter or a calibrated transciever to set the VFO range.

The headset jack is a mono 1/4" jack, which was probably fine when this kit came out; nowadays, almost all headsets use 1/8" stereo plugs. As others have noted, using the RCA jack for a power connection is an invitation to disaster. See N5ESE's fine summary for a number of other required or suggested modifications.

Several of the electrolytic capacitors in my kit had lead spacing that did not match the board. This left a number of the 'lytics hanging in space, trying to stretch into too wide or too narrow mounting holes. I ended up replacing them with the proper parts.

There are three spots on the board where a plug/jack or quick-connect would make sense; the key or T/R point, the power feed, and the speaker connection. While I understand that, to save money, T-T has not supplied those jacks, it would make great sense to lay out the board locations and hole spacing to accomodate something like 0.1" headers. Instead, neither the speaker nor the power connection are a standard spacing, and the key connection is 0.1" but too close to other components to install a locking header. I found that the speaker connection could be added by routing out the ground connection slightly; the power connection can be accomodated by putting C81 in the location marked for power, and putting the 0.1" locking header in C81's location.

Other than that, everything was fine.

Seriously, Ten-Tec, either send this kit out with a revised and legible manual, including the parts changes in the step-by-step, or at least post a revised manual and legible schematic on your website. While the radio works fine, now that it is completed and modified per N5ESE, it is not a beginner's kit, and may well be a source of aggravation to an experienced kit builder.
K2MFW Rating: 2/5 Sep 30, 2010 17:15 Send this review to a friend
Poor Instruction Manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For the life of me, I can't understand why such a fine company like Ten-Tec provides a poorly photocopied stapled manual and scraps of paper with corrections along with it. You'd think that in this day and age that they would have provided, at a minimum, an electronic document (.pdf, word, etc) available for downloading and/or a CD. Many of the copied schematics are next to useless, along with a poorly copied image of the PC board. you want me to re-write it for you???? If they provide an electronic version, everything could be updated by Ten-Tec, no need for addendums, bad photocopies etc. It'd be perfect from the beginning! I just don't get it...
W3UT Rating: 5/5 Sep 26, 2010 21:24 Send this review to a friend
Quality Ten Tec Kit  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've built a number of the Ten Tec 1300 radios over the years. The quality is top notch and support from Ten Tec is outstanding.

I would consider the 1300 series an intermediate level kit. The small circuit board has many parts situated close together. The circuit board is high quality and the instructions are excellent. I think the key to building the kit is working slow and triple check component placement before soldering. The kit construction can be extremely rewarding or very frustrating depending on your approach. Desoldering components on the board is difficult so proper placement is critical. Personally, I skipped the step soldering temporary tack points for the VFO coil. I instead soldered in the VFO coil and then attached it to the board with super glue. VFO adjustment of the coil was easy after it was securely mounted. Just make sure you have the correct number of turns called for in the manual.

The instruction manual looks like a good photo copy stapled together. The instructions are excellent. Ten Tec includes a few inserts with changes to make to the manual and any part number changes. On several kits I built, there was an error in the instruction manual that wasn't corrected. Step 6-22 called for an installation of C42, a .01uF capacitor marked 104. It should say a .1uF capacitor marked 104. I caught this error and avoided installing the wrong component. The parts list identified C42 at the proper value of .1uF.

There are some published N5ESE fixes and upgrades that can be done when building the radio to make it better. I've added all these mods with success. The audio hiss mod improvement is dramatic. I've added IC sockets at all locations and the transceiver operates perfectly. Ten Tec advises against IC sockets believing sockets can be more trouble than they're worth. Trying to unsolder and replace a bad IC makes an IC socket a worthwhile addition to me.

The 1300 series radios are an excellent value and a lot of fun to build. The receiver has excellent sensitivity and about 4 watts out on transmit. The transceiver is stable and built like a tank. Ten Tec QSK is wonderful. This is what ham radio is all about. Assembling a bag of parts into a working radio and making contacts is a rewarding experience. Thank you Ten Tec, you get high marks for a quality product.
KC5MO Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2010 07:29 Send this review to a friend
Fun rig wih room for mods  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the 1330 ( 30 meter version ) and really enjoy it. The 1300 series are rugged and fun to operate. Another great feature about the 1300 series is that there's plenty of room for some mods. I added the Small Wonder Labs Freq-Mite and Hendricks QRP SWR indicator as well as change out the RCA jacks to a 2.1mm jack for power which I can share with my Rock Mites. Not being a fan of PL 259's or their mates I changed out the SO-239 to a BNC via a kit from Oak Hills Research. Upcomming mods will be changing to or adding a 1/8" headphone jack and changing the RCA jack for the key to a 1/8" headphone jack.
By the way, I made my first QRP contact with this rig.
NG9D Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2010 18:46 Send this review to a friend
Years Later, Still Fun  Time owned: months
Well, it has been over four years since I built my first one, a T1340. I think that there is a fairly high FUN/COST ratio with these kits! And the numerator of that equation does not seem to decay with time. One recent FUN experiment with the [T1320/30/40/80] was hooking up an Oak Hills Research DD-1 Digital Dial.

By the way, that DD-1 is a super kit (see product reviews "ham radio kits"). If you want to see a Ten-Tec T1380 connected to a DD-1, for example take a look at
The hams at Ten-Tec were very helpful to me when I was learning about building their kits, and were always quick to reply to a question or supply a part if needed. In my opinion, building any kit and learning how it works contributes to the FUN factor as much as using the completed device! 73 de NG9D . .
K1FPV Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2010 12:57 Send this review to a friend
Brings back the warm fuzzy feelings of Heathkit and Knight Kit!  Time owned: more than 12 months
It has been a couple years since I built my 1320 CW QRP rig. It gave me warm and fuzzy feelings much like I experienced when I built my first Knight Kit over 50 years ago. Yes some of the print in the instructions were not the greatest, but then that is why we have schematics to check things out. I think AG8K was a bit harsh on his comments and badmouthed the 1340 for problems that were his doing and not the kit.

I love using my little 1320 and often try to call DX stations. Occasionally, I manage to catch one and they are often surprised I'm on QRP with such a simple rig.

Unfortunately, my eyes aren't what they used to be either and the arthritis in my hands makes working on these small items a challenge as I don't have the dexterity I used to have, but none the less, I love building them.

My next project most likely will be a 1330. There is a fun band! Thanks Ten-Tec for keeping the 1300 series of transceivers around. Keep up the good work!
AG8K Rating: 0/5 Apr 4, 2010 16:39 Send this review to a friend
Buy one put together!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ended up trashing the whole 1340 kit and putting it out with the trash! I got tired of soldering hundreds of resistor leads into a poorly market PC board. Was this supposed to be fun? I never got any signal from the VFO on 7 mHZ.

The Instruction Manual is poor. Many of the schematics are too small to easily read the pin numbers. The placement of the electrolytic caps is confusing. The +- on the schematic does not match the picture. A lot of the printed info (Parts # C-35, etc) are not readable on the board as the hole has bored through the information. I full agree with the review of KB3RMX - Michael.

Perhaps being 67 years old and not seeing as well as I used to had something to do with it. However I used an laminated magnifying glass to check all parts and part placements.

I would recommend buying the MFJ or the Chinese QRP rig that is fully build and tested. It is not worth trying to save a $100 to build the T-Kit.
N9VO Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2009 19:45 Send this review to a friend
Fun little rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off I will admit cheating. I did not build my 1340. I found it at Dayton this year and decided to follow the idea to try qrp. I got the rig very reasonably priced. Especially considering that it had the Hamgadgets Picokeyer already installed. It was modded to allow using 1/8 inch jack from cw keyer so can easily use the Begali Simplex on the 1340. Funny combo! Also either builder or previous owner had modified to run power wires out thru the rca jacks and installed power poles. Works much smoother and safely for powering rig. Rig works great, has pretty wide coverage and puts out approx 2 watts on 12V. Havent tried yet on 13.8. Sensitve on receive and have made several contacts with it. A nice addition to the shack. I would like to try building a 1320 now.
IW3FZQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2009 10:37 Send this review to a friend
Great QRP Kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I speak about the 1340 model (40 meter). It is one of the best QRP rig I have ever built! The manual is very easy to read with examples and it is impossible to make wrong actions. The rig has a very good sensitivity and selectivity. Its power output is about 3,2 Watts with 12 VDC and 4 Watts with 13,8 VDC. Good sidetone (adjustable) and sweet regulation of the RIT. As many 40 meter single conversion rigs, it is unusable for some hour a day due to BC overload. This happens with good performance dipole; if you have a random short piece of wire or a loaded whip it will work fine 24/24. However, we are speaking about a 99 bucks rig... what do you expect?

73 de Enrico, IW3FZQ
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