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SW 3B v.s. QCX

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by N2RU, Dec 12, 2019.

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  1. N2RU

    N2RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Which is a better choice?
    Disregarding the obvious 3 bands vs 1
    A kit with no enclosure vs a completely assembled unit.
    $188 vs $49

    I am more concerned with performance and features.
    Any thoughts?

  2. KF9VV

    KF9VV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    47.5 Euros for the Bamatech case delivered to the USA. Nice case. That brings you a hair over $100.

    The QCX is pretty interesting from a technology standpoint; low noise local oscillator, direct conversion I and Q phasing approach for single signal reception and a class E power amp. The menu system is a breeze to use and the keyer is easy to change speeds with on the fly. Plus, it is easy on batteries and has a volume knob. No AGC.

    I have two years of service on mine with daily use when we are out in the RV, which is a solid 4 months per year. It has held up perfectly.

    The QCX is hard to beat for a single band radio. For as many as are out there, they do not come up for sale very often, which is telling.

    After a night of fighting with a very current VHF / UHF radio needing a computer to program, the elegant simplicity of a QRP radio a key and a steno pad for logging sure looks inviting! I just may well hook up the QCX and grab a steno pad for a day or two and relax.

    But, being limited to one band - 40 Meters in my case - can be limiting come the summer months. My work around has been to just wait for evening.

    Hope this helps.

    W8WEB likes this.
  3. N2RU

    N2RU Ham Member QRZ Page


    Thanks for the reply, my operation would be daytime killing some time during lunch. CW is all I do anyway, and a band choice is still up in the air.
    I love building things, but the old eyes just ain't what they used to be.
    I am hoping someone who owns both, and can give me a side by side comparison, especially with nearby signal rejection.
    Neither one is probably a bad choice though.

    Bill AA2VF
  4. AE5X

    AE5X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I own these: QCX20, QCX40 and the SW-3B.

    They are tough to compare because the QCX has some unique features such as WSPR capability and GPS input. It is menu-driven though, which can be an annoyance until you get used to it. And a new amp has just been released specifically for the QCX:

    Also in the QCX's favor, firmware updates are made as needed, there is an active forum and the designer himself is accessible. All indications from the SW-3B camp are that once a rig is designed, there it stays, flaws and all.

    The SW-3B's biggest strength is that it's a tri-bander. It operates quite well on CW - no better or worse than the QCX in terms of T/R switching. What I don't know, can't get a feel for, and would need instruments to measure is the bandwidth of each. The effective bandwidth, not the advertised. Whatever they are, they are quite adequate to CW ragchewing and even light contesting, ie in crowded QRP events. I've used my SW-3B in several CWT contests and not felt too disadvantaged with the rig's limited selectivity.

    In your shoes, I'd pick the SW-3B. The price to bands available ratio make economic sense and would provide more operating time not forfeited to bad conditions on this band or that band due to limitations of the QCX.

    73 - John
    US7IGN and VK3XPT like this.
  5. N2RU

    N2RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your reply. Did you find that either receiver was overloaded by close strong signals?
    Are there any features that you liked on one that you wished were on the other?
  6. KL7KN

    KL7KN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Two different technology types and filtering systems. The SW-3B is in the same class as the old MFJ-9200, You Kits Hx-1x (HB-1A thru the HS-2x) series. Single conversion.

    The QCX is direct conversion.
  7. N2RU

    N2RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have some of the issues with direct conversion receivers been addressed in the QCX? I am Trying to make this as simple as possible, will either work with a 9V transistor battery?
    Bill AA2VF
  8. KK0U

    KK0U Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the SW-3B is in your price range, save a few more shekels and get a μBitx.

    I just bought a μBitx to use as my field radio (haven't received it yet), and plan on building a QCX-18m (converting it to 15m) for fun this summer.
  9. AE5X

    AE5X Ham Member QRZ Page

    N6MST likes this.
  10. N2RU

    N2RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am leaning towards the SW3B, I just hope the receive performance is adequate for my needs, and as much as I love building things, 3 bands are very appealing.
    Once again, not looking for a contest rig......., just want to pound some brass during lunch and make a Q or two.

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