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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Index Laboratories QRP Plus Transceiver Help

Reviews Summary for Index Laboratories QRP Plus Transceiver
Index Laboratories QRP Plus Transceiver Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $595.00
Description: All band CW/SSB QRP HF Transceiver
Product is not in production.
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W1FU Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2004 22:49 Send this review to a friend
GREAT UGLY LITTLE RIG  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Always wanted to try one. Found serial #1599, the latest version. It is a great little radio with a great receiver and knobs you can actually put your fingers on. 5-8 watts out on all bands. Have worked much dx on 40 cw with it, and more qso's than I would have believed possible on 40 ssb. The scaf filter is very adequate and like the built in keyer. found it every bit as good as the 817 on the hf band and more fun to use.
I sold my 817, rigs come and go, but I will keep the QRP +.
KB5OF Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2004 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Well built  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got s/n 0861 original model after reading QST review. This is a well built QRP rig, simple and fun. Best contact was from PHX to HOU 3 watts, very low lazy inverted vee and was accused of using power and beam (must've been a strange opening!). No longer in production. Hard to find. If you do, it is worth the price. Compact for backpacking. Simplicity personified. I'll take this rig to the grave with me!
EA1BP Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2003 10:22 Send this review to a friend
Magic Box !  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My QRP++ is a s/n 1332. It is a magic box and I think I wont let my QRP++ go ever (my Ft-817 too)... I own also an elecraft K1 and a SG-2020. I think is more practical than an elecraft because in a small box you have all bands (in my K1 I need to spend much more money to put all bands, and you can find one of this from about 300 $).
It can be a bit chirspy when you switch on at the first time, but its wonderful to operate. The scaf is easy to use and a nice tool for backpacking.
It has keyer, SPLIT, 7 wattts (Depending of the band) and its build like a tank.
In my opinion sometimes you spend lots of money for a monobander transceiver and you can get all in one, and testing from factory.
QRP+ is a good solution!


Always QRP!!
NI5X Rating: 5/5 Dec 8, 2002 08:47 Send this review to a friend
Index Labs QRP++ a plus  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I love this radio! Great fun and very good reciever. I can't give numbers, but I have compared it A/B with a Ten-Tec 525D and a K2.
Hears just as well as either, prefer it for just listening. The one knob adjustments are quick and easy, after one quick read of the manual, you never have to pick it up again. I have serial #1316, so it has most of the latest mods and firmware.
The only problems I have experienced are a dead eprom battery, and a flaky phono connector, both easily changed.
I only wish they were still making this rig, but then I wouldn't be one of the lucky few :).
Bill, ni5x.
K3TIN Rating: 4/5 Nov 27, 2002 02:32 Send this review to a friend
cw and psk!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just bought a QRP+ (s/n 857) from another ham about a week ago, (around the middle of November, 2002). I had built a 2 band K-1 and sold it shortly thereafter. Nothing wrong with the K-1 but I wanted to try something else. Chose the QRP+ because it sounded like it had a lot going for it. CW and SSB, also general coverage. Not much need for the gen cov and I never work SSB, BUT, with the SSB it meant I could try the soundcard modes (esp. psk31) with the little pup.

I did experience the "drift" problem which the seller told me about and others have mentioned. It appears to be a mechanical problem rather than electrical. A peice of paper stuffed betweeen the tuning knob and the face plate cures this. I will come up with a more permanent and more aesthetic fix soon. 5 to 6 watts out on CW and is a "no brainer" CW rig, lots of contacts, good reports and as someone pointed out in another post, all those contacts are the result of propagation, NOT your m e g o watts of power. Not knocking QRO, but that is probably the most abused/disregarded rule in all of ham radio. 'Nuff of that!

Anyway, I must add that I am currently living in a restricted neighborhood (for the time being) and I have a downright CRAPPY antenna. But again, due to propagation I have had many nice qso's in the short time I have had the QRP+. Keeping in mind the short operating experience I must say the little rig is just a lot of fun to play with.

For psk31 I made up a homebrew interface for use with an old laptop (486/100) and it works like a charm. My only concern is that I seem to be able to only get about ONE watt out on psk. Am open to suggestions on how to improve this. Despite that I have had good luck and good reports on psk. Someone mentioned the inability to "key" the QRP+ from the serial port of the computer. Not a problem, works fine. For more info on this go to NB6Z's website at: Lots of good info about digi modes.

The ONLY beef I have with the radio is the "mechanical" drift problem, but as I say, a "bumper" between the tuning knob and faceplate will fix this just fine. Otherwise it is a neat little rig, albeit, quite a bit larger than a K-1! Happy to answer any questions if I can.
DJ1YFK Rating: 2/5 Oct 17, 2002 10:00 Send this review to a friend
I wouldn't buy one...  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I had to use a (borrowed) QRP+ as my main-radio for about 2 month since my FT-890 was broken...
The receiver of the QRP+ was a bit disappointing. The AGC makes loud noise when strong signals appear, the audio-filter can't cope well with strong signals within the passband, the cw-sidetone is very ugly and the CW-break in feature only works well up to ca. 30 wpm...
Also the VFO-Knob was not 'stable', it turned very slowly in some positions (resulting in QRH ;), however the frequency can be fixed by switchung to SPLIT (then the freq. dial is not activated as long as the SPLIT button is not pressed)..
I wouldn't recommend any serious CW OP to buy the QRP+ ...

KI6YN Rating: 4/5 Oct 1, 2001 13:49 Send this review to a friend
Great value for the buck.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an outstanding little rig. Built like a tank and easy to operate. Puts out up to 8 watts on all bands, guaranteed up to 5 watts. Has built in tuner. The original radios had some problems with keying above 25 wpm and AGC pumping but this can be cured by purchasing revision 3A EPROM. I bought mine on eBay for $300 and then found out that new ones are still available for $280 or $330 with LCD display back lighting. I've had a lot of fun with it. Sure, it doesn't match anything close to my Omni 6 +, but then again the Omni was over $3K loaded and is a lot bigger! For its size and price, you are buying a lot of fun. I think this is about as great a radio you can get that is already manufactured. I don't do kits so this was a natural for me.
AA4PB Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2001 19:55 Send this review to a friend
QRP Plus and PTT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just a comment on John's problem with the interface PTT line not being pulled low enough to reliably key the PTT line on the QRP Plus. I believe his interface has an optical isolator in it. Optical isolators can often have difficulty pulling the PTT line close enough to zero. A simple keying transistor with the base connected thru a resistor to the RTS line can pull the PTT line much lower (at least 0.4 volts). A transistor with an hfe of 100 can sink 100 mA of collector current with only 1 mA of base current.
KG7RS Rating: 3/5 Mar 23, 2001 13:53 Send this review to a friend
More QRP Plus Observations  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have noticed similar problems during a recent attempt at putting my Index Labs on PSK-31. It does drift enough to be cumbersome, but do-able. One thing to consider is the heavy tuning knob on these rigs doesn't have alot of tension (and not adjustable that I can find) and the main tuning knob will creep ever so slightly if there is any vibration of the operating table. There has been many observations of this problems noted on the web.

A bigger problem that I experienced with regard to PSK-31 operation was that the PTT circuit in the Index Labs needs nearly a dead-short to activate transmit mode. I use the standard method of controlling PTT on my PSK setup, ie: using the serial port of the PC through a simple transistor interface. This method will not provide a low-resistance short, and the PTT circuit in the QRP-plus is sensitive to this condition. In particular, I'm using the Digipan Interface Unit, available already assembled from Digipan. When the serial ports activates the PTT, I can hear the small PTT relay in the QRP-plus click off and on rapidly, resulting in a pulsed transmission! It seems to be right at the threshold, as it will key correctly very infrequently.

I was able to succesfully use the QRP-plus on PSK-31 after allowing a 30 minute warm-up time, and keying the PTT manually. Made several good contacts, but was a bit disappointed as I had planned on using this transceiver as my dedicated PSK setup. My Elecraft K2 performs flawlessly on PSK-31, and I use this rig for all modes now.

Incidentally, I have owned 2 QRP-Plus transceivers, both non++ models (mine were earlier serial numbers). Both were completely unmodified. This rig is full of operational shortcomings, none the least of which is low SSB transmit power due to lack of speech compression, so necessary to make the best of very low power levels on phone. To it's credit, it is a SUPER CW rig and the SCAF filters are quite effective and easy to activate on the fly. Despite it's quirks, I really like this has a certain undefinable appeal!

For those of you considering the SGC-2020, which shares a very close lineage to the QRP-plus:
This rig performs very well on about drift...holy smokes! Let this one warm up for at least 30 minutes before going QRV on PSK or your waterfall will look like it's in high winds! The traces will literally run sideways until this critter gets warmed up. After that, it performs well. The user's manual makes a point of mentioning this pre warm-up drift, but it's dramatic on PSK!

72/73, John, KG7RS
AH6EZ Rating: 2/5 Mar 23, 2001 10:38 Send this review to a friend
Unstable for PSK31  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have serial number 1352. I really like the radio for SSB and CW except for low audio output (inefficient speaker?). I have interfaced the rig to a laptop for PSK31 and other digital modes. I have found that there at 30-50 Hz offsets (band dependent) between transmit and receive. If this was the only problem it might be ok. There is also a long term (during a typical several minute PSK QSO) drift in tx frequency of about 150Hz. I have tried better heat sinking of the final transistor and some thermal insulation of the 4 MHz reference oscillator that is 1/4" above the final transistor. No help. I am now trying a frequency counter and freon spray to see where the drift is occuring.
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