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Reviews For: Wilderness SST

Category: QRP Radios (5 watts or less)

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Review Summary For : Wilderness SST
Reviews: 34MSRP: 85,00
2-watt, ultra-portable CW rig w/superhet RX
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
DK1WV Rating: 2019-08-01
Great little TRX Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Build 18 years ago it is still my favorite QRP TRX. A lot of nice 2x QRP QSOs around 14.060 kHz.
VE3MPQ Rating: 2015-11-27
description of my Wilderness SST 30 QRP transceiver Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I picked up a SST 30 from a ham friend of mine 2 summers ago,it sat on the shelf in my shack for a few months ,one day i decided to see how the little rig would perform i was blown out of my chair by it;s performance the receive is very tight a RIT would really be a nice modification i get consistant good signal reports from contacts another mod that would help would be a digital frequency read out i have a less than effiecient end fed dipole that i use it with and still get good signal reports Gary Trudel VE3MPQ windsor ontariodescription of my SST20
KD4LGW Rating: 2015-06-24
getting better Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I built this little gem many years ago and it still works flawlessly. I wanted to share a recent mod to other users as its brought this cool little radio to modern standards. Available for cheap on eBay are the following components. A LIPO charging module powered by a generic mini-USB cord. An adjustable voltage booster that jumps the single cell 3.7 volt LIPO battery to 12 plus volts, and of course the 4000 mAh LIPO battery. All three of these tiny components fit under the upper cover. After some brief placement testing to ensure no switching noise or birdies were preset, in it went permanently held in place with high strength 3M brand dual sided sticky tape. The results are incredible. The tiny switcher draws 90 mAh from the battery in receive. That sounds like a lot but the radio will receive for an astonishing 40 hours now, and recharges from any USB source in a couple hours. A perfect blend of modern technology into an aging trusted friend! Enjoy!

73's Bob
K5TTE Rating: 2014-05-12
A nice 30m rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got this rig from a nice fellow on eBay. It's reputation on eham reviews was impeccable.

I can't add much to the good experience others have had.
On transmit, it has a nice clean CW note. The receiver is
quite sensitive and the filtering is sharp. The absence of a RIT
doesn't seem to be a limitation on this simple rig. QSOs are easily snagged with 2 watts and a dipole.

There's bonus fun with the blinky LED S-meter; it gives QSOs
a lively visual bounce.

Although the VFO only allows but a few kHz excursion, the
chosen range ( about 10.117 to 10.123) places you nicely
above the QRO crowd .

I noted that the same seller offered a 40m version for sale
and it got snapped up pretty quickly.

This going to be great companion when I camp in Montana!

Randy K5TTE. Austin
KJ5XF Rating: 2012-09-08
Great lil' QRP xcvr Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my SST-20 for about 9 years and
it continues to work like a champ

Pro: Simple to build/align and it's stable. Also
it's small...

No longer available from Wilderness Radio.
IZ4KBS Rating: 2010-02-19
Extended VXO range Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is my third review, and I apologize for taking so much bandwidth, but there have been further developments which I would really like to share with the other lucky owners of this great little rig. In my previous post I said that the only minor nuisance left was the narrow tuning range, in spite of the two-varactor mod. Well, no more! I did the parallel crystal mod and it worked, and produced a range of as much as 39KHz! Unfortunately the VXO had become unstable, and playing with the value of RFC3 didn't help. Until I found this link, describing *exactly* my problem (sudden skip of the frequency with hysteresis): . I applied the suggested fix in the form of a 27K resistor and ... it worked! No more hysteresis, no appreciable drifting, and a tuning range of 39KHz! More specifically, 14024-14053 with the 1st varactor, and 14043-14063 with the second varactor. The output RF voltage, measured across a 50 ohm dummy load, seems to remain quite stable over the whole range. This radio is amazing, and it keeps getting better!
WB7ECU Rating: 2010-01-30
5/5 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have really enjoyed using the 40m SST. I take it camping. I use an old "Band Spanner" mobile antenna tied to the back of the 5th wheel ladder with a bungy cord. I like that it is very stingey on power, and I can use a lithium 9 volt transistor radio battery for many hours.
I have made a few changes per suggestion, in the manual to include changing the ceramic disk value capacitors in the receive crystal filter section In my case to widen up the receive , as I like something closer to 700hz. It is less tedious to copy. I also replaced the regulater to 5 volts to implement the use of the 9volt transistor radio battery. I have ordered a 6 volt regulater coming soon. I believe the audio from the LM 386 sounds a little better with higher voltage.
I had shelved the radio for a while to build the "Fairly Simple Side Band Rig for 75m" that kd1jv had designed. When getting back to the SST, I was prompted to go to some of the old threads to see if there were any mods to do any catch up on that I may have missed. "Wilderness Radio Notes"etc.. I then found on another site a fellow with a "J" prefix as I recall,who had replaced his potentiometer freq. control in his SST with a polyvaricon variable capacitor, used in portable transistor radios. I dont recall the specifics about how he had it wired up. I thought Id do some experimenting as all the SST needed to make it close to perfect was more tuning range. I got a small package of 4ea polyvaricons,and tried one of them out, I removed the tuning pot and put the polyvaricon in its place. I then cut the trace on the circuit board between the variactor diode D4, and RFC3. I didnt want to change the integrity of the circuit,and if my test didnt work I could easily run a tiny jumper between D4 and RFC3 and it would be as before. Everything per schematic diagram orientation, (west) of the RFC3 was now in limbo. Now back at the polyvaricon capacitor. One of the 2 wires attached to it went down under the circuit board via a small hole I had drilled. It then was soldered to the pad of the RFC3 lead closest to the cut in the trace. The other wire of the polyvaricon went thru a little hole marked "G" and soldered in. This hole worked out perfect for my purposes. I had experimented a few years earlier trying different methods of "bending" the crystal freq. and of the different suggestions per manual. I found the best was to parallel two crystals of the same freq. I laid the second crystal on the underside of the board soldering it to the same pads the crystal on top was using. I then made sure the crystal was insulated from shorting out anything under the board. Very important! The only difference this time was breaking out of the "mental box" from using the existing variactors, to a variable capacitor. When you look at the variactor pair, they do appear to offer a reasonable overlap for wide coverage, but I thought it would be really nice to tune the whole range with the twist of the dial. I noticed that after you approach 470pf or so, the gains of adding more capacitance seem very negleable ,in their ability to bend the crystal frequency much more. The 8-350pf range of varicons fits nicely into the limitations of size and convenience.
The rest of this project surpassed my greatest expectations! I found that using around 200pf on the polyvaricon yielded a lower end freq of 20kc below the vxo crystal pairs freqency. Tuning up the scale from the parallel crystals freq to 10pf., yielded a 17 kc spread above. Thats a 37kc total spread! I tried to see how far the crystal freq. could be bent on the low end and added additonal capacitance, until I reached 1200pf, or a total spread of 45 kcs.,very close to the 4x range. That appears to be the limit to which the capacitance went before it would do no more. When this point was reached, drifting of freq. became pretty noticeable. The range of 200pf-to 8pf. works very well, and gives very adequate coverage still maintaining a good level of stability. I now have an even more useable SST!
My next project with the sst is to add a very small low voltage audio amp I can stick along side a loud speaker on the underside of the top lid. Id also like to install the "Digital Dial", or "Kc-1" freq. counter, and may put one on the top of the lid as well. I put together 3 DDs and they really work good.
I love building projects and the SST really rounds out the fun part of the hobby.
I almost forgot, the sst's most distant contact was a ZL.@ 1.75 watts and a verticle dipole.
W4HH Rating: 2010-01-20
Great rig, need more freq coverage Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I built this rig in 2006 and have used it regularly since. Recently added the KC-1 freq counter and keyer.

Rig went together without a problem. Tune-up went smoothly and I had it on the air quickly. Output is 2 watts, receiver selectivity is good.

My one complaint is the frequency coverage. I installed both varactor diodes with a switch to select one. Still, the frequency range is 7035 to 7048. Does not cover the 7030 QRP freq.
N9XHL Rating: 2009-08-06
Terrific Kit Experience Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought all of the Wilderness Radios; the SST, the Norcal 40, and the Sierra radio with all of the modules. Built the SST first to get back into soldering after a long abscence; also wanted to get some building time with a less expensive kit. I thought the SST made a terrific kit; the directions were straight forward and all of the pieces were there. I purchased the additional KC1 keyer/counter for the SST; it took a little more thought to get it installed, but it also worked as advertised first time power on. I only did a few modifications; adding the jack for the liambic paddle, adding the keyer, and adding a SPDT minature switch so I could put both varactor diodes in the radio and increase the tuning range. I wish the SST covered more of the band, but I believe I got what I paid for and enjoyed every minute building it. It's definitely a keeper. Service is also terrific; QRP BOB sent me replacement varactor diodes for only the cost of shipping after I screwed the original ones up with a bad soldering plan. Elecraft made me buy more than $5 worth of stuff to get one of their components that cost 56 cents. Good product, good service. I look forward to building the Norcal 40 and the Sierra with all nine band modules.
NP4ZB Rating: 2008-05-25
Great QRP Radio and Fun Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Well What can I say, I bought a SST 20m from a
guy in ebay. At first radio was working great. Then it stop receiving. Well a few emails to Bob of Wilderness Radio got the radio up and running again.
Let me tell you pepole, this guy Bob is great to answer my questions I had, He explain how to trouble shoot this radio. Now can enjoy QRP life again. I love this Rig. If you guys have a chance to buy one please do so. You can go wrong. Yes there are ohter great QRP radios out there, But this one can be put on the list of the best QRP radios out there, for ex: Ten Tec, Elecraft, SWL, MFJ plus many others. Well got to go.

73's and gud dx