Many thanks to Philip (KA4KOE) for the following guest post:
Review of the FX-4CR Mini-Transceiver: What’s Old is New Again.
by Philip (KA4KOE)
My start in Amateur Radio began in 1979 as a newly-minted, 16 year-old Novice. At the time, my resources were slim. I worked in a country store; pushing a broom, putting up stock, bagging groceries, etc. I was paid $23.46 every two weeks. At this time, Heathkit was selling kits to the ham radio community that ran the gamut from simple to elaborate. Looking over the catalog, my young eyes were drawn to the HW-8. What drew my attention was not the radio’s features, but the price.
The Heathkit HW-8 was listed for $129.95, plus shipping. I did not even notice that the power output was specified at 3.5 watts on 80 meters. The green gem was a bonafide ham radio transceiver!
In due course, the kit was acquired, assembled, tested, and put on the air with an Elmer’s aid. I made a bunch of contacts with that CW-only transceiver. The term “QRP” never entered my mind. I don’t have any photographs from my early days on the air: the only photograph of the HW-8 dates from 1981 during my freshman year of college. By that time, I had acquired an HW-100 from a fellow ham. See Photograph No. 1: note the chrome Vibroplex Lightning Bug, homebrew “T” network transmatch, and of the course the ‘8 on far right (see red arrow).
Rationale and the radio
Without getting into my entire life’s story, I will start this paragraph by stating that my ham “career” has now come full circle as I’m back to using compact, lightweight, low power gear; this time by choice.
I had the bad habit of deploying too much gear during POTA activations. I came across internet chatter with regards to a relatively new product; the FX-4CR SDR mini-transceiver. The base specifications are as follows:
- Dimensions: 107mm (4.2”) L x 65mm (2.6”) W x 43mm (1.7”) H.
Weight: 0.46 KG (1 LB).
- Bands/Power: 80 meters thru 10 meters, inclusive: 20 watts. 6 Meters: 5 watts.
- Display and Panadapter Span: 50mm (2.0”) TFT, Approximately 24 KHz +/- (48 KHz total) and waterfall. See Photograph No. 3.
- Modes: LSB, USB, CW, FM, AM, Digital.
- Receive Current Draw: 210 mA.
- Transmit Current Draw: 3.0A to 4.0A at full rated 20W output.
- Input Voltage Range: 9 VDC thru 16 VDC (do not exceed). The optimal supply voltage is 14 VDC.
- Connectivity: Bluetooth for CAT/Audio. USB Port for CAT/Audio and Firmware Updates. Integral audio soundcard input/output.
- Output Power: Continuously variable from 0.1 thru 20W. Recommended maximum wattages are SSB – 20W, CW and Digital – 10W.
- No internal battery or antenna matching unit.
The prospective buyer should realize what this radio “brings to the table”. As others have previously stated on the various internet chat groups and social media, do not expect Elecraft performance at the $550 (including shipping) price point for this radio. All radios have flaws and this one is no exception. Issues of which I am aware are as follows: Continue reading KA4KOE takes a look at the FX-4CR by BG2FX