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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | KD1JV ATS-4 Help

Reviews Summary for KD1JV ATS-4
KD1JV ATS-4 Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $225
Description: A miniature 5 band CW rig with digital mode capabilities*
* Requires external digital mode decoder and display

* 80, 40, 30, 20 and 17 or 15 meter operation (17 or 15 meters selected at time of building)
* DDS VFO for wide tuning range with crystal stability, 50 Hz tuning steps.
* Single step or auto increment tuning
* Sensitive, 0.2 uV receiver with very low internal noise for exceptional S/N ratio.
* Selective CW filter with 4 crystal IF filter and audio band pass filter
* Side adjust volume control for low profile case
* Audio derived S Meter bar graph
* Easy to use push button operation
* LCD display with back lighting
* Last used frequency restored when changing bands
* Stores last used frequency and other operating parameters when turned off.
* Battery saving auto shut off if not used for 15 minutes (can be disabled)
* 4.5 to 5 Watt transmitter output on all bands (with 12 volt supply)
* 2.5 watts output typical with 9 volt supply
* - 43 dBc max spurious output
* Built in Iambic A or B mode keyer with three message memories
* Can convert Morse inputted via paddle to transmit as PSK31(an exclusive feature of this rig!)
* PSK31 and RTTY possible using Pocketdigi software on a PC, laptop, netbook or PDA
* 50 ma no signal receive current
* 680 ma maximum transmit current at 12 volts
* 7 to 12 volt supply required
* Custom made aluminum case, painted and silk screened
* Small size, 4.9" wide, 2.7" deep, 1" tall
* Light weight, 6.3 oz.
Product is not in production.
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W9CF Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2011 22:02 Send this review to a friend
Excellent travel radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The ATS4 is a trail/travel radio optimized for low power, battery use with small antennas. The receiver uses SA612 mixers, so it won't be like a K3 or Orion etc.

I have the second run ATS4 which is usually called the ATS4a. The main differences between it and the first run kit are the input circuits use standard inductors rather than toroids, the display has 3 lines rather than 4, and the on switch is mounted on the top with the other switches instead of the side of the case.

I put my kit together using my soldering iron and a pair of tweezers. It went together easily. There were a few typos in the assembly instructions, but these had all already been pointed out on the AT Sprint Yahoo group list. I highly recommend subscribing if you are building one of these radios. When I finished I had to track down one solder bridge and one poorly soldered pin on an integrated circuit. I chose 15m for the fifth band instead of 17m, and I get between 4.5 and 5.0 watts out on all bands with a 12 volt supply.

I have only used it running CW. I did test sending PSK31 with the paddle and it worked fine.

1. This is a truly excellent travel radio. It is small, lightweight, and fairly rugged. It uses very little current on receive and is efficient on transmit. I often pack the ATS4a, a tiny radio quiet wall wart 12 volt 1A switching power supply that works on 100V-240V, a W5JH baby blackwidow paddle, lightweight plastic headphones, and a 15/20 meter dipole. This takes up very little room in a suitcase or briefcase and weighs very little (all together less than a kilogram with the ATS4a just 165g or about 6 oz.) I can get on the air from anywhere, but of course a better antenna helps a lot.
2. Bandswitching is fast and easy with no need to carry around additional band modules -- 5 bands in one tiny box.
3. It runs on a wide range of voltages. Power output for V volts is roughly 5*(V/12)^2. A 9 volt transistor battery will power it.
4. The few menus are easy to use, and the direct frequency entry is great for quickly getting from one end of the band to the other.
5. The firmware source is distributed so if you want to change it you can.

1. There is no AGC or audio limiter, so you need to be careful that you don't deafen yourself using headphones if a strong station starts up near a station you are trying to dig out of the noise.
2. The RIT/XIT works fine, but you cannot easily switch to listening on your transmit frequency to really effectively operate split (i.e. there is no reverse switch). I have worked dx split with it, it is just a little harder.
3. The built in keyer timing makes it difficult (at least for me) to send much faster than about 25 wpm. This is using the same paddle on which I can easily send much faster using an Elecraft K2 internal keyer or an Idiom press CMOS superkeyer III. I also find the timing of the cw sent from the 3 memories sounds a little odd with larger spacing between letters than I like so I seldom use the memories. On the other hand, most of the QRP QSOs I have with this radio are at 25 wpm or less and the keyer speed maxes out at 31 wpm anyway, so it isn't a big problem. I do find that if I haven't used the rig within the last day or so, I have to plug in a dummy load and send for a few minutes before getting on the air to get used to the keyer timing.

Nearly all of the cons are due to this rig being optimized for portable use. For example, don't expect to be able to work weak stations 200Hz from 40 over S9 stations. There is no rf gain control or attenuator, etc. I would not recommend it for a home station rig. I think it is a clear 5 for a portable radio doing the job it was designed to do.

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