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QRP CW, Any input on rig selection?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KD2RON, Nov 23, 2015.

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  1. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just to poke my nose in here; I used to do the following, all peripherally related:
    1) administer an email system;
    2) Sysop of a company Bulletin Board System (no longer online);
    3) Sysop of a Compuserve forum;
    4) Moderator of a Yahoo Groups group (still active, 4000+ subscribers.)

    With all of those experiences behind me, I think that QR and UUU are spot on. If you want to increase your traffic, you limit your forum fragmentation. The highest traffic forum is of course a single forum, but that gets WAY noisy.

    The more fora you have deployed, the harder it is to find something (unless your underlying system has a GREAT search tool) and the less perceived activity there is (because every forum only has a few messages in it.) All of this, of course, is driven also by what you want your message board to accomplish, and how long the board has been in operation and with how many subscribers. A highly technical forum, with a high number of subscribers (like the Zed) is much more suited to forum splits than a general discussion forum, but they need to be managed carefully. Cross topics like QRP are difficult because they are neither fish or fowl.

    The one fatal mistake that new operators make is to set up their board with a million fora, each of with a welcome message (and maybe one or two more.) :) Start with fewer fora and split off only when it becomes difficult to find stuff.
  2. VK2WP

    VK2WP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another KX3 user which I built as a kit. Lots of bits, follow the instructions, not impossible for the home constructor with care.
    Although I have a Kenwood TS 480SAT which is a very good radio the KX3 is now my main rig. The filters are excellent, receiver lively and controls once they are mastered give easy operating.
    I particulary like the ability to change cw speed with just the turn of a knob. Some radios require a complicated menu push button method.
    Handy for quickly slowing cw speed down for slower operators. I am involved both as a chaser and an activator with SOTA and the KX3 is the radio of choice.
    On a recent SOTA activation worked a stack of EU chasers with just a half wave dipole strung up between a couple of trees.
    Built in autotuner is a dream and has a wide range which will cover a variety of aerials.
    Internal batteries handy as well.

    Quite frankly the best thing I ever did was to invest in the KX3.

    At home use a cheap Chinese 50W PA to give a bit more steam when conditions are a bit iffy as they have been a lot lately.

    Another QRP rig I use for overnight full pack SOTA or wilderness bushwalks is a KD1JV tribander. Gives 5 watts QRP.

    No where the capabilities of the KX3 but a small, economical on batteries radio with excellent performance.

    A good number of DX stations worked with this radio and a simple dipole aerial.

    I have read Steven Weber has brought out a 5 band version of this although it is all surface mount construction which may put some people off.

    Worth investigating if surface mount components do not worry you.

    QRP can be immensely rewarding, requires patience and admit there are times when it is handy to switch in a PA of some sort.

    Afraid the band conditions have been more than ordinary at times as of late.
  3. KN3O

    KN3O Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've seen a lot of K1 and K3 recommendations but not K2... One of my fellow locals has a K2 he uses for QRP contesting and he seems to love it. You can buy the base model and add in accessories as needed.

    I also saw the Youkits HB-1B recommendation, however the Youkits TJ-5A adds a few extra watts, 4 bands, and SSB. Reviews seem positive.
  4. AI6KX

    AI6KX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been using the qrpKits KJ1DV Tribander for several months and am very pleased. I'm intrigued with chasing DX on QRP and the lower bands are noisy here, so I went for 20, 17, and 15. Construction was not particularly challenging - all the SMCs come presoldered. The VFO is stable, the receiver is razor-sharp and sensitive, and the keyer works fine. Speed is changed by pushing a panel button and keying it up or down.

    I like the instant bandchanging, which plays well with my parallel vertical groundplane or fan dipole for portable use, but it does give more power out on 20 (7w) than on 15 (5w) and 17 (3w). Doesn't make much difference when conditions are good (I worked an LU7 on 17 last weekend), and I do have a well-modded RM Italy amp for backup. Power out is relatively independent of supply voltage, and despite warnings in the manual it seems happy with SWRs up to 2:1 or so. (I have been modifying the famous, cheap Chinese "eBay antenna tuner" for best performance on the higher bands when I have to use a single wire- see the Frogchirp ATU QRP thread on eHam).

    Support is excellent from both Pacific Antenna and from Steve Weber himself. I noticed a glitch in the RIT function and Steve is sending me an updated microprocessor that will fix it.

    It's now priced at $225, which makes the MFJ9296 a stiff competitor, but it's definitely a quality rig.

    Steve JS6TMW
    Okinawa, Japan
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  5. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was in the same place you are trying to decide a few months ago and wrote about my search for a QRP rig on my blog...

    It really depends on what you plan to do and how you plan to use it.
    Here are pics of a few choices...


    Or even antique QRP(ish) non portable rigs...
  6. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Odd man out here, but many rigs can be operated at QRP levels and run well under 1,000. I'm thinking of a FT-450D, which I have, and it has a nice transceiver. I wouldn't overlook getting a transceiver with a good receiver. If you have a good transmitter with a good receiver, you can always build a cheap QRP CW transmitter. JMO

    Plus a more "sophisticated" transceiver will be compatible with digital QRP modes. BTW, most rigs today have built in keyers.
  7. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    another good rig for QRP is the ICOM-703. It is the QRP brother of the ICOM 706, and has a lot of good features like a built-in tuner, a very clean receiver, and so forth.

    I've been using one for several years, and it works very well on both CW and SSB
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like CW and my "main" rigs can all dial down to QRP.

    Just picked up an old Century/21 a few weeks ago in beautiful condition for $150. Built-in power supply so it's really a "home" rig and not so much portable, but works amazingly well. Can run about 50W output cranked up, but can also run QRP and it's cute and fairly lightweight (especially considering it has a built-in AC power supply). Super easy to use. Nothing digital, no memories, no menus, just fun.
  9. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I picked one up last month and have been having a blast with it when the band isn't too crowded.
  10. N5EIT

    N5EIT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hendricks PFR-3B.... Dale Putnam is building mine b/c I have an injury from military service and I'm unwieldy with a solder iron... HaHa (I shake HELLACIOUSLY!!) Tuner, 40M, 30M, 20M, perfect for EFHW just using wire... Internal batteries or power supply ... Sweet Rig!!!!! Customizable....

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