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Reviews For: Hermes Lite 2

Category: QRP Radios (5 watts or less)

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Review Summary For : Hermes Lite 2
Reviews: 11MSRP: $295
The Hermes-Lite is a network-connected direct sampling software defined radio transceiver with 5W output and a frequency range of 130 kHz to 30 MHz. Size is 40x105x150mm, 440 grams. Since the Hermes Lite 2 design is based on the HPSDR/Hermes SDR project, there is a wide choice of SDR software clients available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi’s, or iPads, each with varying feature sets. Kits are available from
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4RDM Rating: 2023-09-17
Open Source Project - A++++ Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Had been lurking in the Hermes group. Bought the kit a few months ago. Assembly was simple enough. Been playing with all the different control programs. I have nothing but good things to say. The open source allows open minded development. Looking forward to any and all enhancements
N8SDR Rating: 2023-07-19
Amazing Performance for less Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Fist off it's not an appliance operator type of radio.

That said if you understand networking- have some computer skills then this little rig can provide amazing performance at such low cost. Beating rigs costing 4X the price.

When run with the mod version for HL2 for Thetis you'll get NR2 noise reduction which is fantastic. Do the Pure signal mod for adaptive pre-distortion and you have a terrific clean TX signal.

Just add amp and you'll have a great little performance package.

See the many videos regarding this little gem.
N1IG Rating: 2023-05-16
Good product Time Owned: more than 12 months.

I had been out of the hobby for several years, and was randomly looking for something to get me interested again. When I read the reviews below, my interest was triggered. I ordered the HL2 along wit the filter board and enclosure, and it arrived pretty quickly. The kit was easy to assemble, with only minor work to help heat dissipation. I am thoroughly enjoying using the radio for both Ham and SWL. There are several SDR programs available in MacOS, Linux, and Windows that work well, and are mostly easy to set up and use. I live in an antenna restricted community, so I am limited in what I can put up. Even so, the receiver in the HL2 is sensitive enough to pull in a lot of DX. If you are a geek looking for something to get you interested again, this is a good choice. My only regret is that I didn't order it sooner!

KC8HXO Rating: 2023-02-26
BIG bang for the buck! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Really a great little rig. Cannot imagine a better step up from RX only SDR’s. I use it with SDR Console, as well as Thetis. Flawless operation with both. No complaints.
N9XCR Rating: 2022-09-27
SIMPLY AWESOME! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought the HL2 in November of 2021, hooked it up, played around with it for a little while, and set it off to the side. My primary radios were an IC-7000 and IC-7300. I had some expenses come up in the past few weeks and decided to sell some unused equipment I had sitting around, including the HL2. I hooked it up again to make sure everything was working before I listed it and decided I couldn't part with it. It's a versatile transceiver with several software options available. It's now my primary HF rig and I'm selling the 7300. I use the 7000 for VHF/UHF and will use it on HF in the event I need more power on HF until I get an amp for the HL2.

Yes, it's a QRP radio but there are many options for amplifiers out there. I intend to get one in the near future but the radio is performing very well as it stands with both voice and digital modes with my ground-mounted vertical. My vertical is a homebrew 40-meter vertical being fed by an MFJ-993B tuner.

It's not for everyone and there's something to be said for a regular radio with a nice display and lots of buttons all in one box, but I'm really enjoying operating HF with the HL2 and likely will for quite some time.
M0ITY Rating: 2022-08-30
Fantastic Networked High Perf.SDR! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I mean common, for less than 400$ Shipped (When available) this is going to be quite hard to beat! this is DUC/DDC Direct Sampling HF SDR TRX. When you look at other projects, like mcHF or other SDR, usually 160m is missing, or it uses external ADC/DAC like soundcard, which isnt bad at 24bits/192kHz but has its limitations.

This though is more comparable to SunSDR2QRP - only differene is that 144MHz/50MHz isnt supported (yet!) it can do undersampling on 50MHz but using a 28MHz->VHF XVRTr is by far best options. What is fantastic is that HL2 can also provide you with a LO Output and that of pure sinewave. I have played with ADE-12 + HL2 as LO so I could use 144MHz with either 14MHz.21MHz or 28MHz IF. Gateware is fully configureable and it will hapilly run more than one RX (actually more like 3-4 slices, yeach capable of multi RX within the 384kHz part). Using the 12bit DAC/ADC is actually more than enough, I was worried that 16bits or 24bits ADCs will have much better performance but I am yet to find HL2's weak spot. It usually requires me to add ATT or reduce PGA LNA/RF Gain and even when RX Antenna is connected (K9AY) no preamp was ever needed. What I can hear on my FT950 or ICOM756PRO3 whic both are fantastic radios, I can hear on the Hermes2! Advantage of port forwarding allows me to run SDR Console (my preffered app for now) from home while HL2 sits at my super-quiet hilltop location. Yes, 5Watts is QRP and isnt much but I have worked FT4/FT8 DX and in CW it also work superb! I recorded audio and biy - it sounds fantastic, allowing even 5kHz ESSB signal to be generated - well, it's an SDR!
Given its opensource both HW and SW there are plenty MacOS,iOS,Android,Windows options or even control over WebRTC so you can work your DX from your mobile phone with no app.
Also - plenty of Additional ports - DB9 RS232 to FPGA, direct HW PTT IN/CW IN and PTT OUT for keying an AMP. Band data, LPF, and you can solder RX Antenna port, use CLK1CLK2 ports to lock to 10MHz GPSDDO, or to provide LO for your microwave/uhf XVRTs. It is such a verstile piece of kit that I can not find anything comparable so far! I would buy another one, but given chip shortage I migh go for Hermes Lite (14bit) full build of HPSDR.

KD8CGH Rating: 2022-02-13
Great QRP SDR transceiver Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
The Hermes Lite 2 packs a tremendous amount of features and performance into a tiny, relatively inexpensive package. The open source community development, led by Steve Haynal, KF7O, is active with new projects constantly being developed. It is compatible with many software programs, but IMHO the best is SDR Console by Simon Brown. Brown is able to reduce latency, the bane of SDR transceivers, to the point where I can enjoy sending CW with the HL2. There is much more to say that you can find in an article on my web site
W8ER Rating: 2021-11-05
Excellent SDR Transceiver ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The Hermes Lite 2 is an amazing little radio! I compare it's performance to many other more expensive SDR transceivers. My HL2 is driving a small SS amp to about 500 watts and with a 17 meter dipole, I worked several European countries and New Zealand with ease. All reports have been excellent!

The Hermes Lite 2 comes as a partial kit that requires assembly. It took me about 2 hours to open the package and have it ready for testing and use.

I must caution anyone who is ready to run out and buy one however that a fair amount of computer experience is required. The software that runs the HL2 is very good and there are programs that will run on Linux or Windows. However support is offered only by user groups on the internet.
OK2JRQ Rating: 2020-08-04
Great open hardware radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It is great open hardware/software/firmware (gateware) project with amazing and very supportive community. For its low price I think at the moment (year 2020) there is no similar and competitive product on the market. If you are developer/engineer there are endless possibilities how to mod and experiment with this small radio. Full Linux and alternative architectures support (like e.g. ARM), availability of the source code and full technical documentation, is sure thing here.

Regarding the RF parameters, the radio works very well and is fully competitive with much more expensive commercial radios. I did a lot of DX with it, I worked multimode, even FreeDV. With FT-8 and QRP I made nice QSOs also on very compromise antennas and when I was portable (this small radio is great for portable operation). I recommend building at least 20 W amplifier for it - it's much easier to make QSOs then. The only drawback I observed during more than 1 year operation is a bit less sensitivity when compared to commercial radios. It's SDR, so to some extent, this can be compensated by manual gain setting. Today on noisy HF bands the sensitivity is not the most important parameter, so this small drawback is negligible.
N5SKT Rating: 2020-08-04
This is a great buy and a great tinkerers product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The Hermes Lite 2 was mentioned to me by a fellow ham in Australia. He knew I had a Flexradio and suggested this to try out. I have one now and am loving it. Especially for someone with some background in software. It is not required however as the software is plug and play but to me it seems easy to write or modify the supplied code. This can be used as an excellent SDR or as an SDR Transceiver. It is VERY well supported in the community with a very active Google group. I am loving the whole experience of this radio and highly recommend it.

It is easy to assemble. Be sure to buy both boards and the case on Makerfabs site. Two boards are held together with a jumper and slide into the case. There is a small modification to the case explained on the wiki which is just some sanding, thermal paste and screw.

For tinkerers, there are many projects ongoing on the Google group. Amps being attached and other devices and a lot of software projects. You can install firmware (easily) to enhance the software to create multiple receivers or "slices".