CW only transceiver with 15-20 Watts output.

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by EW1AEI, Nov 2, 2020.

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  1. EW1AEI

    EW1AEI Ham Member QRZ Page


    I am beginner op in morse code. I alredy have a few multi mode trancievers but I want to buy CW only one duty better filtering, smaller size and power consumption and simpler scematic. I have diy "mini sw2017" which 15W ssb/cw tranciever and ready for similar cw only one. There are plenty of QRP CW rigs but I want to buy portable 15-20 Watts one. Have to mention that I am looking forward to get QCX mini in nearest future.

    Any suggestion about CW only 15W portable rig (kit) is very appreciated.

    Many thanks!

    de EW1AEI, 73

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  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Does it need to be a kit?

    15-20 watts is a lot to ask for "portable" - we're talking a pretty big battery pack.

    Not a heck of a lot of difference between 4-5 watts and 15 when you're talking CW

    Elecraft KX1 is a WONDERFUL rig - 4 watts CW only - very compact - not cheap though.

    MFJ 9200 with 20m band module and a dipole can work the world on 4 watts from a picnic table :)

    But 15-20 watts output we're talking about a pretty large battery or very short operating time.

    KI5WW, N2HUN, RA1AOM and 1 other person like this.
  3. EW1AEI

    EW1AEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you Dave for your answer and opinion.

    This can be any kind of rig.
    Taking bout Elecraft KX1 - I would like to see NG version with smaller size of smth like this.

    5 vs 15 in reality - it depends. With 5W I cannot see myself on Netherlands websdr but with 20W without any problem on not efficient attenna. Event in SSB it is much more easier make a QSO that with 5W SSB.

    To be honest, I partially agree about portability and 15-20W output. Both my 20W rigs consume about 4A on TX. That is why with constant carrier they drain 5Ah in about a hour. But experience (in my personal case) shows that I can multiply this time at least in 3 times. I have big set of batteries like: 2.8 Ah, 3Ah, 6Ah, 10Ah and reduce output power of TX if required. Also I usually spend about 3-4 hours (evening, 40m band) and very seldom drain 6Ah battery to zero. Have to mention, that taking about full day SOTA or POTA or context with only backpack, you are totally right :)

    P.S. Elecraft KX2 will cover most of my expectation but not in nearest year or two (some kind of dream) :)

    I will be totally happy with any device from youkits, ten-tec, qrplabs, LNR (this will be kind of pocket (not backpack) set)

    But I am curious about 15W cw only rig . Is there such one? )))
  4. VE7JBX

    VE7JBX Ham Member QRZ Page

    "With 5W I cannot see myself on Netherlands websdr but with 20W without any problem on not efficient attenna"

    Ok, I think maybe there's a couple of key points here.

    First, do you literally mean you visually see or don't see - on the waterfall - your signal at 5W/20W, respectively? If so, while I can readily beleive this, I suggest you try listening to the same WebSDR and I think you'll find you hear the 5W nearly as well as the 20W. Just looking at waterfalls misses stuff, and for CW, sometimes stuff which is easy copy. S/N ratio is important, absolute signal strength not so much.

    Second: not efficient antenna is your biggest hurdle. If you've got a poor antenna, yes you can go up in TX power to compensate, but you may well not be hearing signals come back at you. Still leaves you with no QSO! Effort / $ spent on any number of homebrew (cheap!) or commercial (easy!) antennas with better efficiency on your operating band are likely to help a lot more than getting a bigger TX. Especially at lower power, things like EFHW antennas become easy to make and use, and can be quite efficient.

    Yes, there are undoubtably occasions where a 20W output would make a difference, but 5W to 20W is x4, = 6 dB, = 1 S unit. Most of the time, in my humble experience.... gain or loss of one S unit really only matters on things that were marginal / hard copy at best. Most of the time the path between you and the other contact is either too poor (one more S unit won't really help) or is just fine (you won't miss the 1 S unit).

    If you have access to a QRO rig with adjustable power, it's really eye opening to initiate CW QSOs at higher power, find a station coming back that is OK for QSB etc, and then start dropping power on both ends. Most of the time, big drops in TX power don't make much difference! Or, try listening to the NCDX beacons e.g. 14100 kHz - pulses at 100W, 10W, 1W, 100 mW. Usually, if I can hear a beacon at 100W, it's still audible at 1W.

    None of this is to say you shoudn't go out and find some 20W CW only rig, should such exist - it's a hobby, do whatever you find fun! But such a radio would be rather uncommon, it's too much power draw to be good portable as W7UUU already pointed out, and it won't compete well against stations using brute TX power to get out, so it doesn't really fit either of these common use scenarios radios are designed for.
    PU2OZT, US7IGN and EW1AEI like this.
  5. AB9NZ

    AB9NZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Think about putting together a QCX, and the matching amplifier kit.
  6. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Find low cost QRO transceiver, used.
    Unplug mic.
    Stow mic in drawer.
    Adjust RF output down to QRP level or whatever you prefer...
    N2UHC, WL7PM, F8WBD and 3 others like this.
  8. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    I will echo what others have said about increasing power. The majority of portable stations' performance deficiencies result from antenna quality much more than low power. Increasing to 15W would give a 4.8 dB boost to your TX signal. I would not spend money for 4.8 dB. On-air results for the increase won't impress you. 20W is the absolute minimum I would do, but the weight penalty for the battery needed for 2oW is high. Since you want a better filter, perhaps you can add an external filter to your xcvr.

    Consider a delta-loop or phased 1/4-wave verticals (N4GG array suspended from trees). A better antenna will help both TX and RX. Most disappointing in ham radio, in my opinion with >50 years on-air, is having receiving limitations. "You can't work them if you can't hear them". Good luck with your search.
    N2HUN and US7IGN like this.
  9. EW1AEI

    EW1AEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many thanks for all, you pointing me obvious for 5W QRP CW reasons and help me with making final decision.
    I think I will go for QCX mini, MTR3B, SW-3B or similar CW QRP rig for now and as suggested build e.g. QRP Labs CW power amp if this require in future (but probably not). :)
    N2HUN likes this.
  10. KN4CQB

    KN4CQB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Xiegu G90
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