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Author Topic: Slightly-More-Than-QRP Transceivers?  (Read 1995 times)
KD6DXA
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« on: July 08, 2019, 04:59:12 PM »

I wonder why there isn't more in the way of slightly-more-than-QRP HF transceivers available. I realize that it's possible to tune down the output of most commercial rigs, but it seems to me that a simple 20-50 watt transceiver would fill some sort of niche (especially for apartment-dwelling hams), in kit form or otherwise. Thoughts?

Zachary, KD6DXA
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Zachary Fruhling, KD6DXA
https://www.zacharyfruhling.com/
KE2EH
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2019, 05:34:22 PM »

Like most things -  it's all about the money!!!.  Not commercially viable O.M
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F8WBD
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 12:08:25 AM »

The Ten Tec Scout and Argosy were good low-power transceivers. Great cw rigs. Darn shame TT abandoned them.
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AE5X
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 03:11:08 AM »

but it seems to me that a simple 20-50 watt transceiver would fill some sort of niche (especially for apartment-dwelling hams), in kit form or otherwise.

50 watts:
http://ae5x.blogspot.com/search/label/RGO%20One
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 03:16:39 AM by AE5X » Logged

W1VT
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2019, 08:39:24 AM »

Typically you need to go from cheap plastic case devices to a more expensive ceramic packages.
Motorola came out with the MRF477 that would bridge the gap and provide an inexpensive 20+ watt rig, but it uses a disk of BeO to bond the die to the metal tab.
BeO is far too hazardous to use in modern consumer devices; Someone could get rich inventing a cheap non toxic equivalent.

https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/100-and-300-watt-rf-transistors-with-simple-mounting-now-available.664292/
Perhaps this is good news?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 08:50:29 AM by W1VT » Logged
WB0FDJ
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 10:45:14 AM »

The Ten Tec Scout and Argosy were good low-power transceivers. Great cw rigs. Darn shame TT abandoned them.

My Argosy, now 38 years old, is a great radio. It fits the niche mentioned by the OP. The only problem I've encounter in all these years was the drivers going bad, and they were relatively easy to fix. I still use it. I also have the Argonaut V and although I love that radio it lacks an RF control which makes using it at my noisy location difficult.

I recall someone from Ten Tec commenting once, years ago, that it take the same time and money to design and build a QRP rig that it takes for a QRO radio. Thats why they used a lot of their in house engineering (i.e. the DSP in the Argo V) in their QRP/low power rigs.

Doc WB0FDJ
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KL7CW
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 12:53:48 PM »

I agree that something like a 20 watt rig would be useful in some situations.  Just one example, in my 65 years of operating I have noted that occasionally when running 20 or 30 watts, my success rate for QSO's may be nearly equal to my 100 watt rig.  Running QRP or even QRPP power levels usually are fine, but say 20 or 30 watts may get you over the "hump".  One other possible reason for such a rig is that in my experience a 5 watt rig will seldom cause QRM to electronic devices in a home, but 100 watts may, so perhaps an intermediate power would be useful to some folks. 
   There have been amps (kits) , perhaps 20 to 40 watts which worked mostly OK with a QRP transceiver.  I fixed a few of these kits which were not built correctly decades ago for friends.  You could use your QRP rig without the amp, but when the going got rough you could switch in the amp.  There were some issues with the TX to RX transitions, and the amps I worked on were not full QSK, so personally as a QRP operator I just stayed with my various QRP rigs.  I think, but am not sure one of the amps was named something like "the backpacker" Huh?
    I believe an Elecraft KX3 runs over 10 watts.  I am not sure doubling the power to say 20 watts would make a significant difference.  I believe in 99 % of the time if you can work a station with 20 watts, you could also work it with 10 watts.  Now if you cannot work a station with 10 watts, possibly, but not for sure, you MIGHT be able to work it with say 100 or more watts.  I have made many hundreds of QRP QSOs with about 1.5 watts, and hundreds with about 4 watts.  My not scientific, feeling is that I do about as good with the lower power, even in contests and for DX.  Thus when traveling or backpacking I seldom carry a power supply so I can run 4 watts.  Many backpackers and travelers will disagree with me and think the extra weight to run a full 4 or 5 watts of power is well worth the extra weight.         Rick  KL7CW
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OZ8AGB
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2019, 03:37:27 AM »

My old faithful K2 can do 15W.
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K5DH
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2019, 08:25:33 AM »

I think it comes down to economics.  Being a lifelong QRP fan myself, I understand the plight of the "I like QRP but sometimes I need a little more" crowd.  The fact is, there just isn't a big enough demand to make a profitable radio in the "mid power" range these days.  The major radio manufacturers know that they wouldn't sell enough "mid power" radios to recover their engineering and development costs.  Why would someone spend, say, $700 for a 50 Watt radio when they can buy a 100 Watt radio for $900?  Maybe some of the smaller non-US manufacturers could make a go of it, as long as they can keep the cost down, but it would still be a small market.  Elecraft offers a 10 Watt version of their K3, but what percentage of buyers go with the lower power version compared to the 100 Watt version?  It can't be much. 

Looking back in history... there was a time...
The Ten Tec Argosy truly was a great performing 50 Watt radio, especially when optioned-up with all of the filters.  They have almost a "cult following" these days, and for good reason.  TT sold a lot of Century 21s, which had a typical power output of 30 to 35 Watts (CW only, of course).  I ran a TT Scout in my car for a while, and I had no problem making plenty of contacts at 50 Watts output.  Uniden sold a gazillion HR-2510 and HR-2600 25 Watt 10m mobile radios (yeah, I know, a lot of 2510's ended up on 11m).  Radio Shack sold a gazillion HTX-100 25 Watt 10m mobile radios.  
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KB1GMX
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 07:32:02 PM »

The biggest reason the Argosy and Scout faded is the parts literally
became unobtainium.  That and at that time low cost high power
parts were not 100W parts.   They were a product of the tech at
the time.

However the Argonaut V was a 20W radio and the VI was a 10W.

The Centrury 21 and 22 were solid state replacements for the
Novice with the 70W input power limit.  Fine radios for the
CW op.

Now doing a 30-60W radio is not a reasonable thing as it takes
98% of what would net a 100W radio.  Its also about 95% of
the weight as heatsinkes for 30W are not all that much
smaller than 100W.  For a base station a 100W radio makes
sense as you can turn it down.  The only time it doesn't make
sense is when you are trying to do it portable on battery
where power consumption and weight are everything.

I have a FT817, Argo 505 and a small slew of monobanders
all under 5W.  The few time I needed more I have an amp for
about 45 or just go for max smoke and use the Triton or Eagle
at 100W.  But that just me.  In the end if 5W didn't do it then
I really needed a KW as that's what I was shouting over.

My penny is spend the dime on the antenna, you will get best
use of the power you have.

Allison
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K7AAT
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2019, 08:43:32 AM »

Elecraft KX3 will do 15W on external 14V power, per specification.
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K0UA
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2019, 09:08:51 AM »

I can tell you this much, In experiments I have run including one last night during the contest there is a HUGE difference between the 5 watt power level and the 20 to 25 watt power level. Especially in noisy band conditions and on SSB. You can scream your lungs out on 5 watts during a noisy 40 meter band session and NO ONE will answer you.  Then call the same exact stations on 25 watts and they answer right up. This is far more than the 6-7 dB would suggest.  But sometimes it makes all of the difference in the world.
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73  James K0UA
ARRL Missouri Technical Specialist
WB4M
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Posts: 327




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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2019, 09:16:44 PM »

I wonder why there isn't more in the way of slightly-more-than-QRP HF transceivers available. I realize that it's possible to tune down the output of most commercial rigs, but it seems to me that a simple 20-50 watt transceiver would fill some sort of niche (especially for apartment-dwelling hams), in kit form or otherwise. Thoughts?

Zachary, KD6DXA

The new Xiegu G90 is a 20-watt SDR and selling like hotcakes right now.  $450 from MFJ.  Check out the YouTube reviews of it.
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KX4OM
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2019, 06:36:39 AM »

The SGC-2020 may be available used, if one is lucky. 20w PEP SSB and CW. Production ceased in 2005.

Ted, KX4OM
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2019, 08:48:35 PM »

The BiTX rigs can (IIRC) be run at higher output power with higher voltage on the final.  For battery operation,
you can use two 12V batteries in series for the final stage, with the rest of the rig run off just one of them.
(In some applications it might work better to use 3 batteries:  two in series for the final and one for the rest
of the radio, depending on your circumstances.)
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