Elecraft Announces KX3 – a K3 KX1 Hybrid

Very excited this morning as I read this announcement on QRP-L posted by Wayne himself:

 

KX3: Ultra-compact K3/KX1 hybrid; 160-6 m, 10/100 W, all-mode, 32-bit
DSP/SDR, 1.5 lbs.

(By the way, I’d like to thank everyone on the list who’s sent us
suggestions for a next-generation portable over the years. Many great
ideas!)

73,
Wayne
N6KR

I will update this site with any information I can gather from Dayton! More to come…

Ten-Tec Adds Two New QRP Transceivers – Models R4020 and R4030

The Ten-Tec Model R4020 40/20 Meters field-portable QRP transceiver.
The Ten-Tec Model R4020 40/20 Meters field-portable QRP transceiver.

When I heard from friends that Ten-Tec had announced two new QRP transceivers at FDiM, I almost fell out of my seat. I’ve heard very little in the way of QRP coming out of Sevierville since the sad news of them dropping the popular/legendary Argonaut series.

Then, this week, when they announced the news on their (new) website, I got even more excited–these transceivers are field portable and small! They very much resemble my Elecraft KX-1.

The new rigs come in two flavors:

  • The R4030 covers the 40 and 30 Meter ham bands
  • The R4020 covers the 40 and 20 Meter ham bands

Simple enough.

The news, which started with a gasp, though ended with a sigh as many noted that these rigs closely resembled the HB-1A (Made In China) QRP Radio. Could this be? It was a little hard for me to imagine. Being a serious Ten-Tec fan, I hang my hat on the fact that my TT radios are designed and made locally–within a 2 hour drive of my QTH! I didn’t want to hear any more rumors, I needed to know from the horse’s mouth, so I emailed TT sales–they responded:

Yes, the R4020 and R4030 is based off the HB-1A transceiver with some minor modifications. We are the exclusive dealer for the R4020/4030 and will warranty and sell this item from our office in Sevierville, TN. We will offer a 1 year full replacement warranty.

So, it was true–I was not shocked. Why?  The price of the R4020/R4030 is only $249. That’s an incredibly low price for a Ten-Tec item. Too low.

I’m not sure what the “minor” modifications are that Ten-Tec made, but I imagine they had to bring it up to FCC compliance and perhaps tweak the receiver a bit. We’ll soon see.

Moving forward

I realized, this morning, that I simply need to forgive Ten-Tec for doing this. I love their equipment and hold their company and employees in the highest regard. I can’t blame them for outsourcing a radio–why?

  1. This is a tough economy.  I’ve been worried about our domestic manufacturers like Ten-Tec and Elecraft (though, surprisingly, Elecraft actually upgraded and moved their production to a larger facility). I’m surprised that they’re able to hang on. I suspect Ten-Tec has had to lean on their other markets (government, enclosures, etc.) to support the amateur radio side of their business.
  2. Ten-Tec could probably not put 2009/2010 resources into developing a radio on their own when they had low-hanging fruit, like the HB-1A, just waiting to be brought to the USA (officially). R&D is not cheap–even if it’s in-house.
  3. They are servicing this radio in Sevierville, TN. That makes me feel a lot better about about buying one of these transceivers. Ten-Tec service is top-shelf!
  4. They really needed to bring QRP back into their non-kit product line.

Bottom line?  I’ll probably get one of these and try it (well, after I invest in a nice vintage boat-anchor set up). I’m in no hurry as I have an Elecraft KX1 and it is my favorite QRP radio.

I will post reviews of the new TT radios as they become available (contact me if you have one). In the meantime, I’ve included some useful resource links below.

Useful links:

HB-1A reviews

Tech Specs of the new R4030 and R4020

Humanitarian Radio Relief in Haiti

QRP Friends:

For those of you who don’t know, I’m the founder and director of a newly formed non-profit organization called Ears To Our World (ETOW). ETOW’s mission is to send self-powered shortwave radios to schools in the developing world–you may have seen us recently featured in the Dec. 2009 edition of Popular Communications. You can check us out at:

http://earstoourworld.org

Many of you have been watching and listening to the reports coming out of Haiti in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. As you can imagine, the need for information in Haiti is urgent and that means, of course, that radios are needed. In light of this crisis, ETOW has decided to temporarily broaden our mission; next week we will send a substantial number of ETOW radios (donated by Eton/Grundig) to Haiti via our partner, Operation USA. We are preparing our radios for shipment as rapidly as we can.

As QRPers and ham radio operators, you know well the power of radio. If you’d like to help, please do what you can. Even a few bucks can help with our expedited shipping costs to get our radios to Haiti. Donations can be made via PayPal on ETOW’s website http://earstoourworld.org.

Let’s all do what we can to help these folks.

Thank you & 72,
Thomas

KF4TZK

Ohio QRPers take break from Field Day to smoke some texters

In the spirit of a segment from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno which aired in 2005, Marion County, Ohio, amateurs staged a face-off between CW operators and local texters to draw public attention to their 2009 Field Day event.

And it worked.

Mind you, neither CW op [my good friend and fellow RAT, Mike Hansgen (K8RAT) and Bill Finnegan (NR8I)] knew the event was taking place and thus, did not practice beforehand.

Read the full article here.

John Kanzius, K3TUP (SK)

John Kanzius, K3TUP (SK)

There are few hams in this world that I admire more than John Kanzius, K3TUP. John took knowledge from his amateur radio hobby and applied it to the medical field. His new cancer treatment research has been called the most promising medical innovation in decades.

Read the ARRL article about him here.

We will miss you, John, but are happy that your research continues on!

73/72

de

Tom Witherspoon (KF4TZK)

The Das DereLicht QRP transmitter–A bright idea

Make Magazine’s blog recently featured the Das DereLicht–a QRP transmitter made almost entirely from the electronic components found in within a CFL Bulb. The transmitter, was designed by Michael J. Rainey (AA1TJ) who was inspired while changing a defective CFL bulb in his kitchen.

For some reason, I began to wonder if it would be possible to build a QRP CW transmitter using the electronic components salvaged from this derelict lamp.

Indeed, I’m pleased to report that a perfectly serviceable transmitter may be constructed! The only additional components required were the quartz crystal, and four of the five components needed for the output lowpass filter. The resulting transmitter produces up to 1.5 watts on 80m.

Michael, thanks for creating such a cool, simple, little QRP project. I’m ready to (carefully) tear into an old CFL bulb and give it a try!

Work a satellite–QRP style

Clint Bradford, K6LCS, recently posted a link to his website on the HF Pack group. He has a great article about working satellites AO-51 and SO-50 from low power rigs. QRP HF rigs like the Yaesu FT-817–which have VHF/UHF–are ideal for this type of satellite work. This article is well written and contains good references. I should mention that Clint is an AMSAT Area Coordinator in California and uses this document in his presentations.

Links:

Radio time station CHU is moving

After seventy years of broadcasting Canada’s official time, NRC’s shortwave station CHU will move the transmission frequency for the 7335 KHz transmitter to 7850 KHz. The change goes into effect on 01 January 2009 at 00:00 UTC.

Many QRPers use CHU to check propagation and UTC in the field. Follow this link to a full press release on The SWLing Post.

The perfect key to use when you’re in a pinch.

I think this homebrew key by Laurent Dumas (F8BBL) is simply amazing. It’s portable, easy to make from spare parts lying about the house and can serve you well if you’re in a pinch. (Sorry, I just can’t use this pun enough).

Admittedly,  I think there would be some serious operator fatigue if you tried to use this key in a contest. But for emergencies–it certainly fits the bill!

If you can’t see the embedded video below, simply click this link.

QRP radios, product announcements, reviews, news and more. Low power amateur radio fun!