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Reviews For: Risen RS-918SSB (Quanzhou Risen Electronics Co. Ltd)

Category: QRP Radios (5 watts or less)

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Review Summary For : Risen RS-918SSB (Quanzhou Risen Electronics Co. Ltd)
Reviews: 16MSRP: 350.00
Great 5-10 watt HF all mode transceiver,,Full color touch screen,waterfall and scope full time view..Very nice reciver
and lots of fun to use..
Its the china version of the mcHF M0NKA project..
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
WD8U Rating: 2019-06-17
2 year update Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I was one of the first to review the RS918,in 2017,,(see my review) And after some trays to update the software that would not work for me,,,but the radio worked fine as it was,, I sent my rs918 (128k) to Mike K0JTA and he did a upgrade of my software!
It now has a cw decoder and is upgraded to new software.. Thank you Mike! There has been a few versions of this radio sold...I got mine from QUANZHOU RISEN ELECTRONICS CO., LTD...and Mike was able to work with it for me... It now works even better than new. No problems ...For me it was worth the cost to get a proper upgraded software. K0JTA helped me out.
KE7MU Rating: 2019-06-16
Ok radio with issues Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I had a good time with it, I didn't like that I had to update the firmware as soon as I got it, and I did, as the cw reader didn't function, after the update, the digital voice was gone. That wasn't a big deal as I didn't use that mode. Now that I had a built in cw reader like my KX3, I had a rig that was something I could use outside while hiking and camping. I didn't want to risk the KX3 in the field. The cw read spewed random character, no matter how much I tried to tune it in, bummer, then I bought a 100 watt amp, then found out that I couldn't adjust the output power, even in the pa configuration settings, no joy. Bottom line, the radio is in a drawer and while I really don't want it anymore, I can't even sell it, as my ethics will not permit me to pass on the problem to someone else. I tried to update the firmware, but the old boot loader will not function with the latest firmware, and the various firmware revision do not have a fix list, and the newest firmware is too big for the 128k Rom in my unit, again I say bummer, another expensive piece of stuff in the drawer.
KD0YTE Rating: 2019-06-16
RECENT RS-918 GREAT RADIO Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased the 918 on ebay direct from China. My radio arrived fairly quickly for being shipped from China. It has been a good radio for me. On cw it puts out about 9 watts. Mine is the newer version that has a full meg of memory vs the half meg the earlier radios came with. While the firmware isn't the latest version it is a fairly recent version and i haven't felt the need to update the firmware.
While I know earlier versions had problems Mine is still working fine and I can recommend the product
K0JTA Rating: 2019-06-01
Maximum FUN! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have experienced some of the troubles and difficulties that some have had with this fine design. Fortunately for the most part, the radios are OK, but really NEED some of the basic adjustments. But some have a show-stopper "feature" that will require the unit to be sent back to China at the buyer's expense. (And of course, be deprived of the FUN of the radio as the replacement is shipped back to the customer.)

In my opinion, the radios are GREAT! But the radios from China have virtually NO QC or quality control! It is up to the BUYER to see if the radio works, and then must read and LEARN just how to make the many possible settings. Also, it is quite important to upgrade the BOOTLOADER and the FIRMWARE that is loaded into the radio. For a first-time user, this is quite a task!

Any radio that does not pass the seventy-some step pre-shipment checklist (which includes the loading of the latest bootloader and firmware) is sent back to China. It is hard to hear of some folks that have had such issues, with the resolution being to send their new radio back to China.

In the case of this type radio, the FIRMWARE -IS- the radio!! See the other eHam review on the one that I am referring to that is named "RS-918-PLUS pocket-sized SDR package." There is a difference...

Once set up, this is a FAB little radio! It continues to amaze me, and I am still learning, of course. For the money, it is a SOLID VALUE!

Then only possible bad thing is that there is some risk, as the customer is really the first to see if it works, and then to do the needed PA CONFIGURATION and so on. These are time-consuming tasks, which is almost too bad that these steps are NEEDED but missing. Good information is available, so this is far from an impossible task! -But it will take some reading and time to devote to experimenting.

73 from Mike, K0JTA
KY5Q Rating: 2019-03-20
Better Than I Expected Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought this radio directly from Quanzhou Risen Electronics Co.,Ltd , the company that I believe is the manufacturer and has the brand name "Recent". When I got the unit, I was very pleasantly surprised at the appearance of the radio. I actually bought the RS-978 version with a very nice and well integrated removable battery pack. I bought 2 battery packs so that I could readily swap batteries. The AC power supply plugs into either the radio or the battery pack. You can operate while charging, or running without a battery. The unit comes with an older, but stable, boot loader and firmware. I used it while I got used to the radio. I later upgraded to a later version by getting the software from the Open Source community. I changed out the VFO encoder to a Bourns part without detents and now it feels like a real radio. I have used it sucessfully with an indoor Buddipole on 20, 40 and 80 meters on FT8. The interface to my computer is simply a USB cable. No sound card cables to fool with. The only problem that I had was a slight mechanical indentation in the case (from shipping I presume) where the case intermittently pushed against the touch screen. I contacted Larry Yang at the factory and he offered me a credit to my credit-card if I wanted to tackle the repair myself. I am a competent engineer, so naturally I agreed. He would have let me send it back, but it just costs more money and time. He sent me a PPT that clearly showed how to open the box and take it apart. That gave me an excuse to open the rig. I opened the box and took the radio apart and was pleasantly surprised at the quality and workmanship. It looked like a "real radio". The repair consisted of putting the case on a table and simply pushing the dent into the proper position. At the cost that I paid for it, I did not expect Icom style support. These guys are off-shore and support is generally handled by phone or skype. They have been responsive to me, always getting back to me overnight, every time I sent an email --- and I had a lot of questions. If you are an appliance operator (no offense), don't buy this radio. This is not a shrink wrapped radio with all the documentation and associated cost and overhead. But if you like to play with radios, poke around looking for info (it is not hard to find), don't mind installing the latest firmware as the open community comes up with new features, and don't expect service like you'd get from a large company with a big USA footprint, then this radio may be for you. The RX works great. I have only used it on digital modes. I plan to take it with me on my weekend RV camping trips and see how well I can do on CW (the internal keyer works great). I am seriously thinking of operating QRP on Field Day with it. Despite what the earlier review said, it is easy and straight-forward to disassemble. I figure that I got more than I paid for. Color me happy. It is not a "5", but I would have given at a "4.5" if I could. It is a lot better than "average", but it is not yet perfect, but it is better than a lot of the brand-name radios that I have owned over the years.
KI5II Rating: 2018-12-02
Poor quality. No support Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I had a similar experience as G3EJS
G3EJS Rating: 2018-11-25
Poor quality Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Unfortunately, I can not share anything positive about this radio.
I bought mine from a big auction site, plugged it in and had a quick tune around, then left it for a couple of weeks until I had a week off.

It seemed fine at first, as it did when I tried it before, but after 10-15 minutes of being on receive, it stopped transmitting on 40m, and very low output on 60m

Contacted the seller, and he wanted me to take it apart and fix it. Yes, he wanted the buyer to carry out repairs onan SMD board, without knowing anything of my skills or capabilities!!!!

Eventually after many messages, he (power116)accepted he would take it back, then did nothing.
Contacted the auction site, and they said as it was over 30 days since purchase date, they could do nothing about it. Clever seller dragging out the messages, fool me for falling for it.
The auction site said I must contact their associated payment site. On the phone, they said I would not have to pay for return postage (just as the auction site had said I would not have to), that sending it Royal Mail signed for would be satisfactory to them, and they would confirm that in an email. The email said exactly the opposite, and gave the return address in Chinese, which the post office said was no good to them.

So, I was left with a 300GBP paper weight.

I sent an email to Recent, I got an out of office reply so I know it got there, but have heard nothing from them.

Rather than just have an expensive paper weight, I decided there was nothing to lose by opening it up, it was obvious there was no help coming from China.

Assuming it was something that failed when it warmed up, I looked closely at the signal path on the output stage for 40m.
Two of the inductor wires were badly soldered, one of them looked like it would not be making contact at all. I resoldered everything, all inductors and relays.
Also put some thermal paste between the finals and the case, and between the regulators and the case. Too early to say if it is OK, but it looks promising, been over an hur now.

When I took it apart, found there were two screws missing from the case (under the heatsink piece on the top) and the screws that hold the wtwo PCBs together were loose.

It's worth pointing out that unless you are a frequent builder, you will probably find it extremely hard to get it apart and back together again.

Another point is that they provide a link to the original M0NKA manual. When you reset the radio, you have to adjust the PA bias, however it has RD15HVF1s in the final, not RD16HHF1s as in the original, so following the instructions for setting the bias is likely to fry the finals.

I really like the idea, the size and features, but it has been totally let down by poor quality and lack of customer service, so I would say buy locally, even if it costs a bit more, so that you have the knowledge that you won't be left with a faulty radio if something goes wrong, because as I have read elsewhere and experienced myself, you'll most likely get no help from China.
KS4AA Rating: 2018-09-14
Good Value, but quirks Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Had for over a year. Used occasionally. On TX at the 10w setting the case gets VERY hot using CW. I added a small fan to cool it down. Quirky menu/display. Surprised at how good the Rx is. Disassembled main boards to inspect build quality, and it is a little better than the usual poor Chinese soldering. Quality is not as good as the original, but, worth the money. It's a keeper.
W5FCX Rating: 2018-08-23
Great QRP SDR Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have had the RS-918 for several months now. Finally got it integrated with WSJT-X for FT8 use. It works surprisingly well, for an inexpensive QRP rig that costs around $400 or less. I was able to configure it with a single USB cable to Windows 10 on a Suface Pro 4 and made dozens of contacts, both in USA and DX into EU and South America with decent signal reports, using a marginal inverted vee antenna on 20m and 40m.

It’s built in CW decoder rivaled CW Skimmer in some brief tests.

I’ve had less luck with it using SSB, probably due to the QRP power levels combined with marginal antennas. However, I have made contacts and while signal reports are 56 to 57 and lower at times, audio quality reports are good.

I have compared the receiver signal quality with higher end units, including ICOM-7300 and Flex 6300, on the same antenna, where the background noise is only S1 to S2 on those other radios from a remote location. With the latest firmware, I’m still seeing significantly higher noise levels vs the other reference receivers - like 4 to 5 S-units more noise on the RS-918. This makes it much tougher to use it with SSB especially. For more noise immune modes like CW and FT8, it works like a champ.

Hopefully someday the SDR signal to noise and noise rejection processing will improve. In the meantime, it’s a great little, inexpensive, flexible QRP rig I’m glad I have available to take with me.
M0KZX Rating: 2018-03-04
Amazing value for money QRP radio. No shack should be without o Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've owned my SR-918 for about 6 week s now and have spent many happy hours using it.
It cost about £320 here in the UK via one of the global internet auction sites.

The build quality is excellent. The radio is housed in a heavy gauge steel case. All of the controls feel to be of good quality and the colour display works a treat.
It works straight out of the box, but it's worth spending some time tailoring the controls to fit your needs. The menu structure is logical and easy to work through.

My one and only negative point is the microphone. The transmit audio is very boxy. This is very easy to fix my taking the mic apart and drilling some small holes in front of the mic element. After doing this the audio reports were all excellent.

The radio puts out about 12 watts from 13v supply.

I've made SSB contacts all over Europe using this radio and reports have all been excellent.

If you have £320 burning a whole in your pocket this radio is a must have.