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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Belcom Kappa-15 Help

Reviews Summary for Belcom Kappa-15
Belcom Kappa-15 Reviews: 1 Average rating: 2.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Early 1970s 15 meter SSB-only QRP mobile
Product is in production.
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KU4QD Rating: 2/5 Jul 11, 2001 17:54 Send this review to a friend
Interesting but quirky 1970's dinosaur  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'll freely admit I like to play with unusual, esoteric radios. This is probably one of the strangest, or at least rarest, rigs I've come across. The Belcom Kappa-15 was apparently the predecessor of the Belcom Liner 15, which still shows up on old radio web sites, particularly those in Japan.

The Kappa-15 is a 15 meter USB only QRP rig, rated 10 watts out PEP, I believe. It's analog, and it's VXO controlled. Basically, it's channelized, going in 10KHz steps from 21.230 to 21.440MHz, with a VXO providing "fine tuning" of plus or minus 5KHz, effectively covering the entire SSB portion of the 15 meter band. This is similar to the later, digital, NCG 15SB, which I have also reviewed (and hated). Simply put, you are not going to tune across the band with this rig easily. When you do find a station you are going to need the fingers of a safecracker to tune him or her in with the tiny little VXO knob. If this doesn't sound like fun, you're right, it's not. Want to work CW with this rig? Forget it, you can't. It's not only monoband, it's mono mode.

Performance is really not bad at all for a rig this old. Fully solid state ham rigs were pretty novel still when this one came out, and considering the time we're talking about, Belcom really did a good job. The rig is stable, for one thing. The sensitivity seems to be about as good as any of my more modern toys. Selectivity... well, let's just say this rig is from a kinder, gentler era. Think of a Yaesu FT-7 or a TenTec Argonaut 505, and you sort of have the idea. Tools to get rid of some of that adjacent channel QRM? Nope, none. Receive audio is quite good, even through the built in speaker, and transmitted audio is acceptable, even with the ancient stock hand mic.

The radio was pretty much intended as a mobile, and in both appearance and size reminds me of the KLM Echo 70, if you remember those. (I think that may actually have been a Belcom.) In other words, by today's standards, it's quite large. Don't plan on taking this one backpacking. On a more positive note, it doesn't seem to consume much power. I don't have a manual or the specs, but I'd bet it's really stingy in terms of receive current drawn.

Overall, this isn't a radio I want to operate much. It's a conversation piece in my shack, and I will put it on the air now and again just to play with it. The rig is exceptionally rare, and I can find no references to it anywhere on the web. For that reason alone, if you find one in good condition inexpensively, as I did, you just might want to play with it. If you are looking for something practical, this is one to skip.

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