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CW Kit suggestions?

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I'm getting the itch to build a radio.

I already have a KX3 and a Rockmite.  I'm looking for something in between those two -- more frequency-agile than the Rockmite, but cheaper, simpler, and smaller than the KX3.  CW only.  Simple and rugged.  I realize I'm not going to beat the performance of the KX3, but I'm looking for a very portable backup rig that will get me on a band or two with a watt or two.

I want a kit, with a decent enclosure.  It needs to be a kit that is currently available (there are many discontinued kits, sadly).  I want to get the soldering iron hot.  I'm happy to solder through hole or SMD.  I'm an experienced kit builder, and have a suite of test gear including oscilloscope and various meters and signal generators.

I've considered the Elecraft K1 and KX1, but they seem a bit expensive once they're well equipped.  They're a little too close to my existing KX3 in price and performance.  Right now, I'm leaning toward a KX1JV Weber Tri-bander: http://www.qrpkits.com/tribander.html

I have also considered the MFJ Cub: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-9340K

The Cub is cheaper and very simple.  It has some little flaws that I would have to remedy, which might be fun in itself.  I'd build a keyer into it (I already have a spare picokeyer kit).  I've seen suggestions on the web to improve QSK, reduce key clicks, and improve linearity of tuning, and perhaps improve stability of the VFO.

The Weber tri-bander has a stable DDS VFO, a frequency display, and more frequency coverage.  The keyer is already built in.  It seems like an all-around better performing radio, and that seems to be the direction I'm leaning.

Does the group have any other suggestions for currently available radio kits in this class that I've overlooked?

If I go for the Tri-bander, I know I'll want 20m and 40m.  I'm not sure which other band to pick, maybe 30m?  Maybe 17m?  I'll probably operate it a bit during the day with portable antennas, which argues for higher bands, but I may play with it at night at my home.  It doesn't have to do everything, though.

Thanks for any advice.

Hi Rich,
you´re looking for a kit but i need the youkits HB1B .... Full 40/30/20m range in CW and SSB RX from 5-16 MHz. Very low current needed for RX (55 mA for RX if no signal at the antenna). I love this rig. Not really a "kit" but nice to use.

Nice /P rig i think .... here´s a video on youtube ... Sorry...
Only my 2 cts  ;) ;)

Hello Rich,

If you go for a tri-bander, Yes 40 and 20, and 30 meters also, this one is very productive, especially late in the evening and at night. It is also a very good band during the Grayline propagation.

Grayline is a very good way to work some rare places while QRP.

Let us know your choice, and may be we can QSO one of these day,

Yes the Weber is a real good one, but I would prefer the K1 Elecraft as you can have 4 bands.
and you can choose the ones you want.- Just my opinion, Hi!

72 Michel VE2TH

Thanks for the suggestions.  Yes, I'm aware of the HB-1B (and similar 2-band HB-1A), and it does look nice, but right now I'm more interested in building something.  And yes, the K1 is tempting.  I'm sure it's an excellent performer.  But it's just a little too much like my KX3.  Being like the KX3 isn't bad, though -- I really like my KX3, and it will probably remain my favorite general purpose HF radio for a long time to come.  If I had to sell my KX3 and buy a small CW-only QRP rig, I'd probably want a K1.  But I'll keep my KX3.  For this project right now, I want something basic with few buttons and few menus, even if that means few features. 

It's always a compromise, though, isn't it?

I think I'll be getting a Weber Tri-bander for 20m, 30m, and 40m this time. 

I'm sure it won't be my last radio, though, and I may revisit some of the other options in the future. 


--- Quote from: AG6QR on May 06, 2015, 05:46:15 UTC --- I'm leaning toward a KX1JV Weber Tri-bander
--- End quote ---
I Use this kit (30-20-17  meters) and it's great. Be careful to verify all the components when you receive the kit; never received an answer to my e-mail ... Rig: +9, assistance -2.


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