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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Hendricks PFR-3 Transceiver (40/30/20m) Help

Reviews Summary for Hendricks PFR-3 Transceiver (40/30/20m)
Hendricks PFR-3 Transceiver (40/30/20m) Reviews: 32 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $200
Description: A threeband transceiver with integral manual antenna tuner
Product is in production.
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AF4HL Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2017 15:41 Send this review to a friend
Best bang for the buck!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the kit about five years ago and I'm still thrilled to have it.

The kit was fun to build and I had no problems getting it aligned with simple tools. The output signal is very clean at 5 watts on all bands - I'm sure I could tweak the power up a bit but there's really no need.

The receiver is a real gem! The AGC leaves a little to be desired - you have to be quick to the volume knob to protect against ruptured eardrums, but the filter makes it selective enough to work contests - I've worked two Field Days with it with excellent results.

The built-in manual tuner is great! Just throw a wire in a tree and it'll match it.

Honestly, if you compare price, features, and performance I don't think you can find a better deal than this. Load it with batteries, throw it in a bag with a pice of wire and a paddle, and take it with you anywhere. I really love this little rig!
HB9FIH Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2016 00:17 Send this review to a friend
fine radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got them end 2013, build January 2014.
Used from TA3 most time. Out abt 7 Watts. Made different DX QSO. Suddently Q6 and Q5 (tx driver stage) broken. After replace all ok.
Now doing the CQWPX-CW contest with them (behind a PA for 100 Watts).
The receiver is very sensitive and the filter superior.
Soon have to replace the Tune-Down key (exessive used).
All overall very satified.
Also the Tuner - able to bring all things to transmit ;-)
- Q: option 80/40/20m possible?
W2CKL Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2014 11:08 Send this review to a friend
FB QRP TRAIL RIG  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading all the reviews here, I placed my order on October 10th, expecting a bit of a wait. Much to my surprise, the package arrived the following week. After taking inventory of the parts, I found everything in-order, even a few extras on the caps and case screws. I was extremely happy to find the case decals were screen printed.
The construction manual was easy to follow, the only area that may give first time builder a problem, is the winding of toroids and transformers. My recommendation would be, download the Elecraft K1 or K2 manual, and look over the toroid section. They are not difficult or mysterious, you just need to have an understanding of the basics (ie. winding direction, number of turns etc.)Testing each stage after the build is key to trouble shooting. The only problems I ran into occurred in the TX stage. The first was tracked down to a bad led which was easily replaced with a common Radio Shack red led that was the same size as the original white led shipped with the kit. The second was in the BLT; I had used the wrong gauge wire when winding. After that it fired up and indicated tuning FB. The final output test showed abt 4 wts on 40, 5 wts on 30, and only 2.5 on 20. After spacing the windings, 40 came up to 5 wts, but 20 would not budge. I solved this by removing one coil from the 20m low pass toroid, resulting in just a bit under 5 wts. Another tip I would pass on is the instillation of the battery pack. Mine came with two (4 AA) holders. Verify the correct voltage and polarity (before cutting the wires HI), and place tight against the side of the case. The manual calls for a 1/4 inch spacing between the battery holder and the side of the case, but I found it to come in contact with the tuning cap. Placing it flush to the side of the case solved the problem.
On air experience:
So far I have abt 50 QSO's on the rig, both contest style and rag chew and all reports are favorable, no drift or chirps. The receiver is very nice, I would say it is on par with my FT-817 with 500kc filter. The K1 may have it beat, but not by much. Strong stations will have a bit of a pop or thump, this is easily solved by tuning off the RX peak. The tuning does take a bit of practice, but after a few times it becomes second nature. It reminds me of peaking and dipping tube gear. I really like this set, its very simple to operate, the tuner handles everything I have; coax to dipoles, 44' doublets, random wires, and on the last SOTA activation I used an EFHW cut for 40m with no counterpoise and good results (28 QSO's with CU3 and CT1 DX). I'm very happy with this purchase.
Other Kits experience:
Elecraft K1 & K2
VK5JST Arial analyzer
HB Tube gear (RX&TX), plus many AM/SW tube set restorations.
73-Bob W2CKL
DF2OF Rating: 3/5 Jul 16, 2014 03:24 Send this review to a friend
Tcvr good, but service..  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In April I ordered my PFR via paypal and webinterface from Hendricks. Weeks passed and nothing happened, not even a confirmation, that the order has been received. Curious, if all went fine, I tried to get in contact with Hendricks using the different email I found on the website. No reply. In May I tried to call and reached Doug. Yes, order was received and is in process, Trvr would be shipped in a week.
Nothing arrived. 2 weeks later next call. Rig had been shipped he said and gave me his email, which is not present on the website. Doug promised to check one week later with me, if the kit did arrive in the meantime.
Result was it got lost, so a new one was sent and arrived finally in July..
The kit itself was not complete. 2 BS170 were missing, some resistors and washers. All was supplied by my junk box, no problem. Most probably Doug would have send the parts, I did not ask.
I was expecting that I had to attach the front labeling to the encloseure but was very positively surprised, that it came with silk screen front, all ready made. Very nice.
The kit itself is easy to assemble and worked immediately. 5W out on all bands.
First QSOs are made and it is a nice little portable rig!
I put a 3 because of the long delivery time and kind of poor service at the beginning.

VK2JOS Rating: 1/5 Jul 12, 2014 05:08 Send this review to a friend
What a Pain  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Well let me start with why I gave this radio only 1/5.....The PCB was damaged on arrival and some of the SMD components were missing and these needed to be repaired and replaced (NO HELP OR REPLY from Hendricks kits for the damaged and missing components ABSOLUTELY shocking customer service)

Once all this was dealt with and fixed it worked fine....and the radio is a good unit and performs well.....bummer Hendricks dont want to help or reply to emails...
ZL1KLP Rating: 5/5 Sep 18, 2013 02:44 Send this review to a friend
Great allrounder  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's great little box to take along and I enjoy it hugely. I've added a speaker and rechargeable Li-Ion batteries inside - there is plenty of room for those inside.
YS1RS Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2012 01:19 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Bought mine in December 2011 directly from Hendricks, so mine has got to be a PFR-3A version.
Has got everything you may require for portability and field use in a CW only rig:
Internal antenna tuner (BLT), 3 bands, 5 Watts in all bands, digital frequency readout, uses batteries, full featured internal Iambic keyer with 2 memories, wonderful reception with good filter, very low power consumption, light weight, small size, strong construction and the yellow color will help you find it in case dropped on the trail; opposing to standard black radios: the yellow color keeps the radio cool under the sun for continuous operation (proved fact for me).
Not a 5/5 rating but a 4/5 due to this reason: Does not work well with CW straight keys (unless you are fast enough to send CW at 20 WPM or more with a straight key). Seems to be an internal software problem. Use paddles only and you will be OK.
The 2 memories are quite difficult to program correctly. There is a speed recording issue. Once set, will work perfectly.
Does not have a good AGC. Keep the radio at low volume always. You know that on HF, you have QRN from lightning and other causes. If you are listening to a faint signal and a stronger signal suddenly appears you will feel it for sure, or if you are tuning up or down the band keep low volume too for same reason. I use a portable mini-speaker (Genius Mini Portable Speaker SP-i150) with this radio in order to protect my ears. Do the same too or keep very low volume on your headphones.
Silk screened covers should be available at extra cost: The decals are quite delicate even with recommended protective spray and makes the radio look cheap once they start peeling off.
Apart from that... all small problems were easily solved: 1 resistor missing from the parts received and poor quality banana threads (damaged). Bought replacement for these parts locally.
This radio has proven to be a keeper for me. I am located in Central America. Shipping to return damaged equipment is not an option for me. So I must be careful with what I buy.

Was fun to build it. Instructions were OK for me, but had previous experience building kits.
Not a kit for beginners but, with the help of an Elmer, you will do OK.
For its price, it gets over all this little problems so I upgrade my rating to 5/5.

Good amazing DX has been made with it.
I know, this is free propaganda for the designer (Steve Weber) and for Hendricks too, but I believe in what personally have seen and what I've done with this kit; otherwise I wouldn't recommend it.
If you are in a tight budget and want a durable, functional, full featured QRP rig that won't let you down, then stop thinking too much and just go buy one.
You will love it too.

SKCC #8404
WU0R Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2012 10:49 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Although only having the "basic" QRP bands, 40-30-20, it offers the user a really nice unit for 5 Watt QRP.

Mine was used and was put together wrong, sent it to Steve Weber, KD1JV and he straightened it out for me. Found the torroids on 30 and 20 were wound wrong. Unfortunately for me, the processor was soldered to the board, not installed as most would do, in a socket, so I cannot update in the future.

Unit is easy to use and I use resonant antennas with it so I really don't need the BLT. For functionality, it is great, portability: Great; Ease in Use: Easy!

All in all, if you see one, snatch it up. Would love to have 17 meters on mine, but no big deal. Doubt I will venture onto 160/80 meter QRP so for 40-30-20, it is about perfect.
AF2DX Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2012 16:17 Send this review to a friend
The Yeller RIG  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased this rig from Dale Putnam (WC7S).
Not sure if he built it but he was nice enough to send it to me and give it a road test.
He also gave me some good advice on the phone.
I lost count of the times I got discussed and repacked it but when that yellow rig was out of site I wanted it back.
The problems I had were not with the rig but with me.
Then Steve Weber sent a short but very specific note to the pfr3 list.
I forgot that you needed safe cracking fingers to tune the rig and it should be tuned in the tune position.
I played with the rig just listening to it then I made several contacts and my first DX was in France using the internal batteries.
I was told that the pfr3 was not 300 hz but I tried with my ears matching with CW on my FT 857-D and the PFR3.
To my ears the PFR3 sounds as tight as my FT 857-D with the 300 hz filter and I found the PFR3 to have a very quite RX.
Steve (MELT SOLDER) did an excellent job designing this rig.
Three bands,built in tuner,internal batteries and 5+ watts on all 3 bands and a price most of us can afford.
AF2Q SKCC 4570
VK7JB Rating: 4/5 Dec 31, 2011 13:48 Send this review to a friend
Great design & function, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I built my PFR-3 in late 2011. Here are my thoughts:

The Good:
Excellent design and great performance in a cute yellow box. Outstanding - thanks Steve.
Very straight-forward build using discrete components. SMD components are all pre-installed.
Outstanding selectivity and resolved audio quality for such a simple design.
Very helpful support is available through the Yahoo group for this kit. I sought their advice on more than one occasion.

The Bad:
Missing parts - several; Damaged parts - LED red filter scratched and holed, threads on banana jacks damaged; Wrong parts - several of the toroids supplied were of the wrong mix - lucky I checked before winding them!; Cheap parts - the model decals which grace the front of the rig and "finish" its appearance are not durable. The first set I received were faulty and disolved into fragments on contact with water as I was preparing them. The second set, even protected by a few coats of the recommended fixative spray, are rubbing off already and the whole appearance is sadly, well -shabby. It's a pity that the PFR-3 is let down by cheap detailing. Early models of the PFR-3 had a silk screened enclosure. I'd rather pay more for better, or at least have the option of a silk-screened enclosure.

In fairness to QRPKits, the missing and damaged parts were replaced, no questions asked, but this caused delays of some weeks. Some of the missing but easy-to-source parts, I bought locally, rather than waiting for their replacement.

I would give this kit a 5 for performance and fun factor, but only 3 if I rate the whole building experience. So overall, my rating is 4. It was worth the minor frustrations and delays to end up with such capeable little rig. Pity about the enclosure.

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