Re: Seeking Suggestions for QRP Rig
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If funds are not an issue the KX-2 is the most functional, most integrated (internal batteries, antenna matching unit, and outstanding filtering) on the market. It is a bit larger than the shirt-pocket rigs, but if you have to add tuner and filtering you are as big or larger and have a rats nest of cables. The KX-2 covers all ham frequencies and modes from 80m to 10m.
Have you considered no-display rigs with CW only interface? I really enjoyed my DSWK for lights-out operation (I regret letting it go). These are one-band rigs. I believe they are no longer in production but pop up often on the used market. You may need to add keyer, freqMite, external tuner, and perhaps additional filtering. (See 4SQRP site for these.) None tune the complete CW portion of the band. The rigs with which I am familiar are:
Wilderness Radio SST 40 Wayne Burdick N6KR
Norcal 40a Wayne Burdick N6KR (great performer and easy to use CW user interface)
DSW II 40 (add the optional firmware and this becomes the DSWK which I miss! Very solid packaging.)
I really like the Mountain Toppers, MTR-2 and MTR-3 especially. Although the MTR-3 has an LED display, you can ignore it by turning on the CW annunciation. Filtering is adequate but you MUST use an antenna matching unit or resonant antenna. My only criticism is that you MUST limit your operating voltage to less than 12 VDC if you are not using a matching unit or resonant antenna. I use the inexpensive buck/boost regulators from eBay with 3S1P 18650 batteries (12.6 to 10.0 VDC input, 11.0 VDC output).
Between this and the KX-2 are the K-1 and KX-1 transceivers from Elecraft. Both meet my performance expectations. They have adequate filtering and optional internal antenna matching units. The K-1 will tune 80 or 150 kHz of each band while the KX-1 covers the entire bands and beyond. The KX-1 also allows for receive-only of SSB.
If you need tri-band rig with highly visible display, the PFR-3B is an excellent choice. I have owned two and they perform well except for the internal tuner. I have never been able to get it to work well with coax to end-fed antenna. I have been assured by many that it works well as a BLT. I like the push-button tuning, but if you prefer a rotary encoder is now available with the rig from Pacific Antenna.
So, what would I suggest? In order by price I would suggest the Norcal 40a, the MTR-3, the KX-1, or the KX-2. In fact, these are the rigs that I use most often. I have 4 operating locations (shack, bedroom, shop, wood shop) and frequently rotate these rigs.
Good luck! I would like to know what you decide.
73 de ken ke4rg
From: 4sqrp@... [mailto:4sqrp@...]
Sent: Saturday, July 8, 2017 7:39 PM
Subject: [4sqrp] Seeking Suggestions for QRP Rig
I am looking for suggestions on a QRP rig. I had a Mountain Topper, which I liked. Problem was these eyes had problem seeing display. I would like a rig where display is easily seen. I have a Yaesu FT-817ND which I can easily see. However, I would like a smaller rig to throw in back pack. My main bands of interest are 40, 30 and 20. I thought of the MFJs with the frequencies on the case. But those are single banders. I do not want to pack 3 different radios. Any suggestion(s) would be appreciated. I am looking at you tube videos on different radios. However, advice from actual users is nice.
Thank You Very Much.