HB-1A QRP rig versus Elecraft KX-1

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KD8FKD, Nov 18, 2009.

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  1. KD8FKD

    KD8FKD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm looking to buy a portable QRP rig and have had my eye on the Elecraft KX-1. Recently, the HB-1A rig has appeared on e-Bay. It's a Chinese-manufactured rig similar to the Elecraft KX-1 but it's factory-built and seems to have more features than the KX-1. Also, it's considerably lower in price. Both units have high ratings on e-Ham.

    Looking for comments on these, pro or con.


    Len, KD8FKD
  2. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The HB-1A looks interesting, but it isn't a KX-1. But for $200 it is interesting.

    First off, it doesn't have an internal tuner. Having to add an external tuner takes away from the purpose of a pocket micro-rig.

    Second, the KX-1 draws 34 mA. The HB-1A draws from reports, 50-75 mA. That's a pretty big difference if using AA's.

    As for price, a four band (80-40-30-20) KX-1 minus the tuner is $380. So though it does have the addition of 80M, it is a bit more money.

    But for that extra money there are a few advantages, and to me the biggest advantage, is that I can get parts and service the KX-1 if needed.

    I have no idea how performance is on the HB-1A, and I guess time will tell.

    All that said, it is an interesting little rig, but for me, the risk of parts availability would worry me. And if this is a flash in the pan, you may have a cool little radio, at least until it breaks.

    The KX-1 costs more, but you can be sure you will have a radio that will have support if needed.

    I have a K1 with all the options, and it is great. The HB-1A would be fun, but for $240 after shipping, there are too many unknowns for me to spend that much.
  3. WA6FX

    WA6FX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've had the original HB-1 and now I have the improved HB-1A. It's a fantastic little radio for the money. First off it comes assembled and ready to go. I enjoy a good build myself, but lately I have no time for projects so I'm happy I didn't have to build it. It does share some common circuitry to the KX-1, I won't go into detail here but if you google HB-1A there is now lots of info about it and comparing it to a KX-1. I personally find the receiver to be quite good and transmit to be very clean and stable. I LOVE the backlit display, It is easy to see and is able to display 5 signifiant figures (10Hz resolution) to the KX1's 1kHz resolution. It also displays supply voltage, IF filter width, etc. I use it with resonant antennas but it also works great with the various micro antenna tuners available out there. The seller is VERY reliable and offers great communication, (I've dealt with Yimin on several occaisions, and he's great) they offer a warranty and all service for the unit is provided in Canada. I've taken my HB-1A all over the place and powered it from a variety of sources and It's a blast to operate. I have no financial or other ties to this rig, I just think for the money it's a great little rig with great service from the seller.
  4. K8AG

    K8AG Subscriber QRZ Page


    Don't forget the PFR-3 from Hendricks. I have one and it too is somewhat a compromise. It has an internal manual tuner and runs 40, 30, 20 meters. The kit was not quite as simple as a KX1 might be, but its rugged as a brick in its yellow metal case.

    If you are not an experienced kit builder, then you might want the HB-1A. But the PFR-3 seems to be a blast. Too there is some room in the case for modifications.

    73, JP, K8AG
  5. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never saw that one before. It looks like a great little rig.

    It has everything you need for $200.

    I want one. :)

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