Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: MKARS80 80m SSB Transceiver Kit

Category: QRP Radios (5 watts or less)

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : MKARS80 80m SSB Transceiver Kit
Reviews: 5MSRP: 85 with enclosure
A simple 80m QRP SSB transceiver designed for low cost, good performance, and easy build. Comes complete with digital frequency display and undrilled enclosure. 5 watts output with user supplied inexpensive electret mic.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AD6KA Rating: 2013-09-29
addendum Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Just an addiion to my previous review in that
you can make make a TERRIFC improvement to the
tuning scheme by subtituting a Varicap and a Ten Turn Pot for the polyvaricon tuning scheme
It is a simple, NO BRAINER MOD that *anyone* can do, takes 5-10 minutes, makes tuning smoother and easier, and even extends the bad coverage of the rig. Just Google "MKARS80 Varicap Tuning Mod". There are other mods out there too tht I am going to try: A simple audio AGC mod.
AND, Radio-Kits-UK offers a kit to allow you to use the MKARS80 on BOTH SSB *AND* CW.
Way to go Steve!\73, Ken AD6KA

Earlier 5-star review posted by AD6KA on 2010-07-10

This rig is one of the best kept secrets in the QRP community. It's a really classy, inexpensive, high quality FUN BUILD with great performance. And there is a CW Adapter for it on the way!
The MKARS80 is by far the best QRP kit to come out of the UK. Despite the low price (55 GBP approx USD $85) the plated through, well silk screened PC board and all parts are first rate. Elecraft or Hendricks class. The instructions (downloadable from site) are very thorough and in the same class, with many illustrations. All that is needed for alignment is a DMM, Big Rig (and a QRP power meter is helpful). Tuning is by one-turn polyvaricon, and there is a fine tuning and RF gain controls. So a vernier dial or reduction drive is a good idea, though not critical. Power output is easily 5+ watts on peaks from the IRF510 MOSFET final. Though the specs say it covers the UK 80m Phone Band 3.8-4.0 MHz, I had NO TROUBLE adjusting the polyvaricon and C83 to cover 4.0 down to almost 3.6 Mhz. Utilizes a user supplied inexpensive (electret) computer mic. I rolled my own with an electret element, momentary push to close button switch, and a pill bottle. Suit yourself, I used the junk drawer! BEST OF ALL basic price includes a 2 line Digital Frequency Display that also reads battery voltage!! And the undrilled enclosure is only a $7 option. Unheard features, performance and value at this price range. Performance is very good.
Of course 80m QRP SSB is not a cake walk, but I have made a lot of nice QSO's, both during contests answering CQ's and even sending out a few CQ's of my own on non-contest weekends.

Rig went together smoothly. There are quite a few parts, even though it calls itself a "simple" rig. There are some very small toroids & transformers to wind using #38 enameled wire. Sounds trickier than it is, just go slow and steady. Steve, G6ALU is ready with a quick email to answer questions and there is also a Yahoo Users Group. What else could you ask for? If you are into SSB QRP, this is a nice rig to have with the conditions on the higher bands being what they are at this time.

Only had one problem, was a small one with alignment. Sent Steve an email, he shot back to check one of the transformers, and sure enough, there was a cold solder joint on that exact part he told me to check. Bingo!

These days when a lot of QRP manufacturers are forcing you to buy overpriced enclosures and things you don't want or need, it's great to have someone offer a reasonabl, priced high quality kit rig with the "Board and Parts Only" version. SWL is about the only one left who does this. $30-$50 for an enclosure is insane! $7 is not.

Can't say enough good things about this rig.
You'll just have to try it for yourself!
K6NXI Rating: 2013-03-19
Amazing little radio! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Awesome receiver, very quiet. Beautiful audio. Incredibly stable. Instructions are very very good. The ONLY downside is that you have to cut the enclosure holes and display rectangle yourself. Fortunately I knew someone who knew how to do this. Easy to align and get on the air. I have never been more thrilled with a kit.
VK4APN Rating: 2011-07-12
Excellent performance & unbeatable bang for buck kit Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This kit & design is extremely well thought thru, top quality PCB, superb manual and excellent support thru a Yahoo group.
The radio works extremely well, the TX/RX performance will not disappoint. The VFO huff & Puff works well and the frequency tuning becomes second nature in no time at all.
It really is a sensationally priced kit. It was an absolute pleasure to put together - all the parts were excellent quality AND all fitted the PCB footprints!!
N0ZYZ Rating: 2010-09-01
Great Radio, unbeatable Time Owned: more than 12 months.
What a great Kit and radio, I assembled it in one evening and it took me two hours the next night to troubleshoot and adjust, using nothing but a DMM and my Kenwood. The mic is a PC Mic that I added a PTT switch to.

Performance, wow, what else can I say, Zero drift, I have never had any drift from this radio. Recieve selectivity is great. People can't believe it is only 5 Watts when they hear me. With just a wire in a tree I have made a 1600 mile QSO. If this rig was 100W it would outperform my Kenwood Ts120S, all for $85. Get this radio. I can't wait for them to come out with a 40m version.
VK5JNL Rating: 2010-07-20
What a Great Little Rig! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
The famous Bletchley Park is the home of the MKARS and is well worth a visit for a day or two! I ordered my MKARS-80 via a phone call from the ham radio station at BP whilst on a visit to the UK. It got home before I did. A couple of hours a day for a week (my eyesight is dreadful these days) saw the creation of a very fine 80m ssb rig. I was totally gobsmacked at the audio quality. It is superior to any rig I have ever heard and has to be heard to be believed. Worked anything that I could receive with 5 watts.
My ONLY groan is that the case supplied is a VERY tight fit. I gave up and use a cast Eddystone box which is lot easier to use. Why are you just sitting there? Go and buy one!!
Kind regards Norm VK5GI