Many thanks to Jonathan (KN6LFB) who shares the following guest review:
A review of the EGV+ QRP Transceiver Kit
by Jonathan (KN6LFB)
The EGV+ is a QRP CW-only transceiver that covers the 40-, 30-, and 20-meter HAM bands. Designed by Javier Solans, EA3GCY, it is sold in kit form from his website, qrphamradiokits.com.
Javier designed the EGV+ in honor of his friend and co-founder of the EA-QRP Club, Miguel Montilla, EA3EGV. The first page of the instruction manual dedicates the radio to Miguel with this tribute:
This EGV+ transceiver is probably the kit that I have produced with more care and illusion in my life. It is a great honor to name this kit “EGV”, the callsign suffix of the late Miguel Montilla, EA3EGV (SK). With no doubt, this is the kind of kit he liked most. It was my privilege to establish and share with him the first years of the EA-QRP Club. He has always been a referent in my life; when I remember those wonderful years his humbleness, work capacity and generosity are the virtues which shine his image.
How lucky I was to be able to share the path with you, Miguel. Thanks!
Javier Solans, ea3gcy
Frequency Coverage: 40m, 30m, 20m
Power Requirements: 12–14VDC, 1–2A transmit, 0.14–0.25A receive.
RF Output: 5W @ 13.8V
Harmonics Output: -45dBc or better below fundamental
AGC: acts on the receive path according to the received audio.
Audio Output: 250mW, 4-8 ohms.
I purchased my EGV+ kit with the optional enclosure from qrphamradiokits.com. Javier requests that US customers email him using the contact form on his website for the current pricing in USD prior to ordering. At the time of my order (February 2022), the cost with the optional enclosure was $203.37.
The EGV+ is a single large (180x140mm) PCB, with separate modules for the OLED display, processor, and Si-5351 frequency generator. All components are through-hole and placed on the top of the PCB. The kit arrived well packaged and well organized. There were no missing or mislabeled parts in my kit, which is impressive considering the high number of components. There are 53 100nF capacitors alone!
The manual contains detailed lists of the components by value/quantity and individually. One of my favorite features of the manual, and something I wish was more common, is a grid-based layout map of the entire PCB [see above], with the grid position called out in the list of individual components. This greatly speeds assembly and diagnosis as you can find component positions more easily.
“Look at this, Tom! Only the stuff I need and nothing more,” cheerfully noted my good friend and Elmer, Mike (K8RAT). It was Field Day two decades ago, and Mike was gazing at his TEN-TEC Scout. I glanced over, and agreed. “So simple and so effective,” Mike added.
I’ve never forgotten Mike’s sage words. That Scout (Model 555) was about as simple as a then-modern HF transceiver could be: it had a total of three knobs––one for AF gain and IF bandwidth, one for RIT and Mic gain, and an encoder. It also had three mechanical switches on the front: one for power, one for TUNE and NB, and one for CW speed and RIT. It also had an analog SWR/power meter. The Scout used plug-in band modules for each HF band and featured a large segmented bright green LED frequency display that was characteristic of so many TEN-TEC rigs of the day.
And Mike was right. For those of us who appreciate radios with a simple, uncluttered, and an almost utilitarian interface, the Scout was, in vintage parlance, “the bee’s knees.” And that the Scout also performed beautifully was just icing on that cake.
When the Scout first appeared in 1994, embedded menu options and spectrum displays were not yet commonplace among amateur transceivers. Embedded menu items can open the door to near granular level control of your radio’s functionality and features. Then again, if those embedded menus aren’t well thought out, it can lead to awkward operation practices in the field, during a contest, or even during casual operation.
As a radio reviewer, I spend a great deal of time sorting out embedded menu functionality and design. Perhaps it’s for this reason that I so enjoyed reviewing a radio that bucks this trend and reminds me of a time that was simpler, not to mention, easier.
All of his transceiver kits are available at his website WA3RNC.com.
I was first drawn to the TR-35 after reading the opening paragraph of the product description:
“Compact but powerful 4-band, 5-watt CW transceiver kit that uses no tiny push buttons, and without those seemingly endless and hard-to-remember back menus. There is a knob or a switch for every function!”
I considered buying and building the TR-35 kit, but I wanted my eventual review––this one!––to focus on the radio’s functionality and performance. So a factory-assembled and tested unit was right for this purpose, just so that any performance issues wouldn’t be a result of any shortcomings in my kit building skills.
Good morning Thomas, from wintry southwestern Ontario.
I thought I would send you a quick message to share my experiences, so far, with the little TR-35.
Yesterday, around 3pm, I took the above unassembled kit off the shelf and began to melt solder. The smoke test was successfully performed the next morning at 1:30am, after non-stop building (with the exception of a few hours for eating and catching up on a little tv). I measure twice and solder once hihi.
I had my calendar marked for February 15 to check the site again for the 3rd batch as I thought that was the day they planned to issue another pre-order.
My buddy Eric (WD8RIF), who is the President of the Athens County Amateur Radio Club (ACARA), contacted me yesterday asking if I knew of any QRP kits designed with phone/SSB operation in mind. One of ACARA’s members was searching for one.
The only other kit I could think of was the new (tr)uSDX. When Eric asked for a link to the product, I went to the Rowaves site and discovered that they were taking pre-orders for the third wave of kits. Like, right then and there!
Without hesitation, I added one to my shopping cart and checked out.
I thought perhaps Rowaves caught up and no longer had a waiting list. This morning, when I checked the site again however, it appears they’ve sold out of the third batch.
Without Eric’s prompting, I would have never thought to check the Rowaves site yesterday.
Side note:There are various (tr)uSDX group buys out there. I don’t completely understand how they work, but perhaps someone with more experience can comment. DL2MAN has information and links on his webpage.
If I’m being brutally honest, the (tr)uSDX kit is a bit intimidating for me. I recently referred to myself as a “gross motor skills” kit builder. I think that’s a pretty accurate description. I’m fine with through holes, simple toroids, and very clear, illustrated instructions. Truth is, I absolutely love building kits. But I’m not an electronics engineer, so when instructions are vague, I can get lost quite easily.
The (tr)uSDX toroids don’t look terribly complicated and all of the surface mount components are pre-installed. Still: it’s a wee kit and I’ve yet to check out the build instructions.
I have been a fan of QRP operating since I got licensed in 1983. The sticker in the picture is a joke a good friend who is not into CW or QRP, so I include it in my field pictures.
My interest in ham radio had reached a point I was getting away from the hobby. In 2020, I learned about Parks on the Air (POTA) and Summits on the Air (SOTA). I got hooked on activating parks and summits, and now I mostly do QRP CW, much like Thomas Witherspoon, K4SWL does.
Over the past year, I’ve been refining my antennas and radios in the field. I have different radios and antennas for different reasons, and to just mix it up a bit. Occasionally, I will take my IC-7100 or IC-7300 out into the field with my Bioenno 20aH battery, if I’m not planning to hike or go far from the parking lot, or if the bands are just not cooperating.
Back in November 2020 I had my left knee replaced so I had lots of down time and made an important purchase for field activities – an IC-705. It is fantastic and does everything I want it to do without a lot of wires. I’ve also owned and sold within the past 18 months a Yaesu FT-891 (which I sold when I got the IC-705) and had both the Xiegu G90 and X5105. I would expect one day to get another FT-891 as it has amazing filtering and pulls in weak CW signals better than any radio I’ve owned. The G90 and X5105 are okay, however I was not impressed with the G90 from the start for out in the field. There were just too many wires in order to set up and use with my portable laptop computer if I was taking that along.
The X5105, which I had high expectations for, disappointed me in the fact that storing and using CW memory keying is not user friendly. The nice thing about that radio is, no microphone, no problem, I had some success using the 5105 and got great audio reports.
I’ve been looking ahead to my projected retirement and hopes of through hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2026. Although the IC-705 is an excellent field radio, all mode, VHF/UHF/D-Star/HF/6 meters, I already know for a 7 month hike from Georgia to Maine, it will just be too bulky in my backpack. I have heard really good things about the QCX-mini, however I’m an appliance operator and not good with kit building and soldering.
I saw there are options to purchase an assembled QCX-mini, so I decided to check out a 40 meter radio. It took about 2-1/2 weeks before it arrived at my QTH on Saturday afternoon. I hooked it up to one of my HF antennas in my yard used for my IC-7300 that was resonant on 40 meters. I had to use my Heil headset in order to hear the audio, plugged into the 3.5 mm jack. I used my CWMorse paddle and tuned around the band. I called CQ several times before finally I heard WA0USA in Palm Beach, FL calling CQ. I called him and got a 579 report and he was a solid 599. We chatted for about 10 minutes, and he was running a kW while I was using 5 watts. It felt good to know that I was being heard.
Sunday morning I had time to go activate a local park (K-1418) before some afternoon commitments. I had also recently purchased a link dipole for 20/30/40 meters off eBay from N9SAB. I had tested this antenna out a couple of times last week, so I wanted to pair it with the QCX-mini. I went with little expectations about the little mini, so I also packed my IC 705 just in case I needed it to complete my 10 contacts to have a successful activation. To my surprise, I spotted myself on the POTA page, and in 45 minutes I had a total of 26 QSOs in my HAMRS log! It was amazing and I think I found the perfect combination for true lightweight, portable operations.
I was so impressed with this activation that last night I ordered the 20 meter QCX-mini! These can be ordered from qrp-labs.com and they have a lot of other kits available as well. The kit itself is $55, and I opted to have it assembled ($45) and purchased the enclosure ($20).
This little radio is very user-friendly. I was able to easily access the menus, customize it to my liking, including the paddle, preset frequencies, several stored CW memories, and was on the air calling CQ Saturday evening without seeking out the instructions.
I had mentioned previously about my disappointment with the Xiegu X5105 and not being able to easily store and recall memories. Not a problem at all with this little radio. I enabled the decoder feature just to test it out, and it decodes better than the G90 or X5105, including very weak signals. The size is a fraction of the size of the X5105 and total weight for everything, including the Bioenno 12v 3aH battery is less than 2 pounds and it all stores very nice.
These quick videos were taken this evening before storms hit; that’s why you will hear lawnmowers in the background. I wanted to first show a demo of the receive decoder and how well it decodes even weaker signals:
My biggest complaint about the X5105 was how the memory was next to impossible to use. I do a quick demo how to access a stored message and send it over the air. I also have it set to repeat every 6 seconds:
I did make a couple of changes to the radio setup. I did not like having to use the headset, so I went on Amazon and purchased a mini portable 3 watt mobile phone speaker line-in speaker with 3.5mm audio interface (affiliate link). That cost under $15 and works extremely well. It has a built in charger that plugs into a micro-USB to charge the battery when not in use. I also have a cell phone holder that fits perfectly on my Neewer stand I purchased several months ago for my IC 705, and it sits nice and firm on the table. I may not take that to the field if I’m doing a lot of hiking.
Here are some other details about the QCX-mini from their website:
The Optional enclosure is black anodized extruded aluminium, very sturdy and elegant. The enclosure size is 95 x 63 x 25mm without protrusions. The top and side panels are drilled and cut to match the QCX-mini with laser-etched lettering. The enclosure includes four self-adhesive feet.
Special portable-friendly features:
Small size: 95 x 63 x 25mm enclosure (plus protusions)
Low current consumption (for example 58mA receive current, with 12V supply and display backlight off)
Low weight, 202 grams
Sturdy extruded aluminium enclousre
All-metal BNC short connector, bolted to enclosure
List of features:
Easy to build, two-board design, board with main circuit and connectors, display panel board with LCD; all-controls board-mounted on a press-out sub-board. No wiring, all controls and connectors are board-mounted
Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screen printed PCBs
Choice of single band, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20 or 17m
Approximately 3-5W CW output (depending on supply voltage)
High performance receiver with at least 50dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
200Hz CW filter with no ringing
Si5351A Synthesized VFO with rotary encoder tuning
16 x 2 yellow/green LCD screen
Iambic keyer or straight key option included in the firmware
Simple Digital Signal Processing assisted CW decoder, displayed real-time on-screen
On-screen real time clock (not battery backed up)
Full or semi QSK operation using fast solid-state transmit/receive switching
Frequency presets, VFO A/B Split operation, RIT, configurable CW Offset
Configurable sidetone frequency and volume
Connectors: 2.1mm power barrel connector, 3.5mm keyer jack, 3.5mm stereo earphone jack, 3.5mm stereo jack for PTT, 3.5mm stereo jack for CAT control, BNC RF output
Built-in test signal generator and alignment tools to complete simple set-up adjustments
Built-in test equipment: voltmeter, RF power meter, frequency counter, signal generator
Beacon mode, supporting automatic CW, FSKCW or WSPR operation
GPS interface for reference frequency calibration and time-keeping (for WSPR beacon)
CAT control interface
Optional 50W PA kit
Optional aluminium extruded cut/drilled/laser-etched black anodized enclosure
Just a quick note on the link dipole. It is well made and I had a 1:1 SWR on the CW part of the band, which is perfect. I did put the IC 705 to work when I attempted to work a couple of SSB stations on POTA, and at 7.235 the SWR was only about 1.3:1, so minimal loss. Check out the N9SAB antennas on his eBay site. His shipping is very quick. I took a picture of the balun with the included choke in the package I purchased, and the second picture is the link between the 20 and 40 meters. It works great.
I mentioned my goal about hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2026. I’m sure there will be other multi band mini size radios available by then and I’m hopeful QCX will have one in 5 years for me to use. My goal is to activate summits along the way while taking breaks from the hiking, or at night before calling it an evening. Since I’ll be on the A.T. I’ll also have lots of opportunity to activate POTA as well. Most thru hikers are not hams and they are always concerned about no cell phone coverage. I won’t have that issue and I’m confident I’ll be able to be in touch with other hams throughout the journey.
Thank you once again Tom for allowing me to post on QRPer. I think I finally have a QRP radio that you have not tested or purchased yet. I hope your readers find this short article useful.
Scott – KN3A
Scott Lithgow (KN3A) is a regular contributor on QRPer.com. Click here to check out his previous posts.
Here is a compact but powerful 2-band CW transceiver kit that uses no tiny pushbuttons, and without those seemingly endless and hard-to-remember back menus. There is a knob or a switch for every function!
Size 5 ½ X 3 ¼ X 1 ½ less protrusions, weight 10.6 Oz
Full band coverage of 40 and 20 meters
About 10 watts output with a 14 volt power supply
5 Watts minimum output with a 10 volt supply
4 Watts output with an 9 volt supply
Optimized for operation from 3 series-connected 18650 Lithium cells
RIT tunes + and – 5KHz
Blue OLED display reads frequency to 10 Hz and RIT offset
Built in Iambic keyer is adjustable 5 to 35 WPM with front panel control
Separate jacks for straight key and paddles; Always ready for SKCC contacts
Operates on 9 to 14 volts, < 90ma receive, about 1 Amp Xmitt at 10 volts
Selectable tuning resolution steps of 10, 100, and 1000Hz
Low battery indicator with internal adjustment 9 to 12 volts
Front panel adjustable RF gain control
Front panel TX power control; Adjustable from 0 to 10 watts (@14V)
Rugged TO-220 FET RF amp can deliver 5 Watts key down for 5 minutes
Signal quality blue LED, RIT warning orange LED, Low battery red LED
More than enough audio to fill any room with an external speaker
Excellent receiver sensitivity with MDS of -132dBm (0.06 microvolt)
Very effective receive AGC prevents ear damage with strong signals
Transmitter harmonics and spurs -58dB, meets FCC specs
CW sidetone is the actual transmitter signal as heard by receiver
Match the received signal tone to the sidetone for perfect zero beating
Sharp IF filter; Better than 300 Hz at the -6dB point, plus 700 Hz audio filter
Over 200 machine placed SMT parts, and about 55 user installed parts
All critical circuits are factory pre-aligned and calibrated
No endless “back menus”; There is a control or switch for every function
Options include pre-wound toroid coils, precision optical tuning encoder, and complete factory assembly
Price is $250 or you can add pre-wound toroids for $18, a precision optical encoder for $30, or for $310 you can purchase this kit fully assembled and tested. Click here to check it out.
TR-45L is a 4-band 5-watt CW transceiver covering the 80-75, 40, 30, and 20 meter bands.
Full band coverage is provided, with the transmitter optimized for the CW band portions.
The receiver is provided with both narrow and wide band IF filters, and CW and SSB detectors.
An illuminated front panel meter shows “S” units on receive, and power output (forward or reverse) while transmitting. The meter also will display the battery state of charge.
A “High SWR” warning indicator will illuminate if the antenna SWR exceeds about 2:1.
The transmitter power output is adjustable from less than ½ watt to 5 watts with a front panel control.
RIT is provided to adjust the receive frequency up to + or – 5 KHz from the transmit frequency.
Two VFOs for each band are provided with recallable memories.
A built-in keyer is adjustable from about 5 wpm to 35 wpm with a front panel speed control.
Separate straight key and keyer paddle inputs are provided on the front panel.
A front panel adjustable sharp notch filter is provided to null out interference.
A front panel receiver RF gain control is provided.
Operates from a 12 volt nominal power source requiring up to 1.3 amperes on transmit, and about 130 ma on receive. A front panel power on – off switch is provided.
Tuning speed is easily settable from 1 Hz to 1 KHz per step.
A selectable dial lock is available to prevent inadvertent frequency changes.
There is a knob or switch for every function – no confusing back menus!
Size 8-1/2” wide, 5” high, 3” deep Weight about 2.8 lb with Internal Batteries
Beta testing is continuing…73 de WA3RNC
No pricing or availability has been noted yet.
I life the look of both of these kits. I love the fact that you can buy pre-wound toroids as this is often one of the more complicated parts when building radios. Also, I’m pleased to see that all SMD components are pre-installed and that all critical circuits are factory pre-aligned and calibrated. That will make this kit accessible to a much larger kit building audience.
Many thanks to Frank Lagaet (ON6UU) for sharing the following guest post:
The EGV+ Three Band Transceiver Kit
by Frank Lagaet (ON6UU)
Another EA3GCY kit has seen daylight. The EGV+ is ready for you all.
It was beginning 2021 I got word a new kit from EA3GCY was ready and distribution could start. After a successful build of the DB4020 I did not need much time to decide to buy this kit, a week later the kit arrived at my QTH. As weather was good I did not start immediately building but then winter kicked in, with snowfall and frost, perfect time for some quality time and building the kit.
What do you get ?
The kit has a general coverage receiver from 6 to 16MHz, it has a keyer built in, has RIT without limit, requires only 0.25A on RX and smaller than 2A on TX. Dimensions are 18x14cm and weight is 0.3Kg. It is CW only, able to produce 8W on 40 and some 5-6 on 30 and 20. The kit has an AB class amplifier. Spurious is below -50DBc. The receiver is a heterodyne type balanced mixer, sensitivity is 0.2µV minimum and the CW filter is some 700Hz wide, the AGC is on audio. Furthermore the transceiver is equipped with both output for loudspeaker as for a headset or earbuds.
The kit arrived in a brown envelope and in that envelope I found a well-packed packet of plastic bags and the printed board well packed in bubble wrap. Around that another layer of bubblewrap. Safe!!
All plastic bags were checked, all needed stuff was there, super, well done Javier.
All components were installed in about 10 hours “relax max style”, if you have built some kits already you can easily do this one, all elements are far enough out of each other, the board is not overcrowded at all. Some attention is needed when soldering the IC’s and display but even that is a piece of cake. Be careful when installing the SI5351 module.
Winding the toroids, just follow what is in the manual, it is not that hard to do, I don’t understand what many find so difficult. Just take your time and don’t rush into it.
I got the transceiver up and running quite quick. I didn’t install a speaker in the cabinet but decided to go for a transceiver where no speaker is in. If I want to use it on SOTA or GMA I don’t need the extra weight and can take earbuds with me. So I installed the speaker connector on the board.
I made connections towards the CW key and CMD push button with jumper cables which fit exactly on the headers Javier supplies, a little glue to keep them in place is also added afterward. For easy operation I mounted the CW key connector and CMD pushbutton on the front of the transceiver.
Do to be able to withstand high power nearby stations, I mounted the EGV+ in a homemade box which is made of printboard. The box should be a Faraday cage to keep all QRM out. If you buy a box, buy one in metal. I added a laminated front and back which make the transceiver look kinda cool. Now you can also buy a box from qrphamradiokits.
The alignment is done on 40 meters: crank up the volume and start turning the 2 coils (L1 and L2)to maximum volume. Be careful to handle these with caution and don’t use metallic screwdrivers. Connect an antenna after you’ve done that and do the alignment of the coils again for maximum volume. Find a station on 40 and redo the alignment once more. You should already have good results now.
P1 Set sidetone level to your liking.
P2 Set the hangtime of the relay after you’ve been on air–fast fingers will need a quick release. Set this to your liking.
P3 Connect a power meter between a dummy load and the transceiver, set power on 40 to some 8 Watts. Measure on 30 and 20 meters, you should find some 6-7W there. Don’t set the power to full if you want a long life for the final in the transceiver. Mine is set for 6W on 20, resulting in some 7.5W on 30 and some 8.4W on 40. I think I will reduce even more.
P4 Set to max, it is the RX-attenuator.
P5 Don’t pay too much attention to the signal meter, mine is set at 6/8 of the potmeter’s range. It is only an indication. If you don’t want the S-meter then you can do a start-up sequence with the tuning knob.
These are in fact the alignments you need to do inside the transceiver. You should also check Xtal calibration and BFO, these are settings which you need to do in the set-up. Don’t forget to write all down when you have maximised these settings. If you do a reset, all these values are erased too so be carefull.
The complete CW 3 bander
Well, you get a 3 band transceiver which you build yourself, it has RIT and XIT, has 4 memories on the KB-2 keyer, speed of CW can be set between 0 and 50WPM and you can set the KB-2 as a beacon which can be handy too. The EGV+ provides you with 3 bands which are almost for certain insurance for QSOs when going on SOTA, GMA or POTA.
You may have noticed some resemblance with the DB4020. You are right as some parts are the same on the board. The designer worked on the same platform to make two completely different transceivers. The result is twice the fun for kit builders.
I made a box myself since, at the time of ordering, there were no boxes available, here’s the result.
The naked printboard transceiver.
After adding a laminated front to the trx, it looks now like this. You can see it is not made professionally but I like it.
The paper which is between the plastic was first cut out for the display before placing it in the plastics so giving an extra protection to the display.
I have also made a retractable stand for it, when folded back it is next to the bottom of the transceiver, when folded out the stand is under the front of the transceiver, the retractable stand is also made out of printboard.
It’s an easy-to-make stand–take some old printboard and solder it together. The pictures explain it all, I think.
Meanwhile, I already made a lot of QSOs with this small (16 X 20 X 6 cm) QRP transceiver. The power out is better than expected and even reduced so all bands are within QRP regulations.
Finally, I’d like to say that I’m not sponsored to make this kit, I don’t have any ties with the kit producer, nor do I gain money with building it. If people would like to have this QRP kit built for them I’m willing to help out in populating the board and aligning it. A ready made box is available with qrphamradiokits. This also stands for the DB4020 which I made earlier.
The kit comes for 125€ without shipping costs. Many European countries will have no shipping costs at all. The enclosure comes for 50€ all included. This means you have a complete 3 band radio for about 200€. In my eyes, this is a pretty good deal.
I’ve just received the following announcement from Breadboard Radio. Looks like a fun build and quite useful QRP radio for the 60 meter band!
60 METER “Woodpecker” QRPp Transceiver Kit From Breadboard Radio
Breadboard Radio has just released the “Woodpecker” a 60 meter low power CW transceiver for the 60 meter band. The Woodpecker features a crystal controlled transmitter with a 500 milliwatt output on 5332 kilohertz, sometimes referred to as channel 1. The transmitter provides sidetone, receiver muting and QSK with delay.
The Woodpecker’s direct conversion receiver has an adjustable bandpass filter, attenuator and an audio amplifier suitable for headphone level output plus a selectable low / high filter which helps with band noise and static crashes.
The designer, W4FSV has made multiple contacts using a 160 meter inverted L antenna including many from 500 to 1000 miles. The kit is complete with all parts including a cabinet and attractive front panel plastic decal. A two channel 40 meter version will be available soon.