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Posted: 1/23/2022 12:25:34 AM EDT
I'm learning code. Getting on the air here and there. I really want a small and light CW transceiver for doing simple CW POTA activations. Already have K6ARK antenna kit on the way. Battery isn't a big issue.

The debate is the transceiver itself. Looking for sub $500. Not really too concerned with any other modes for this one besides CW. No one locally does this and the only QRP radio locally is a guy with a 705.

QRPLabs CWX mini is definitely within the spectrum but only one band per transceiver is a hang up for me.

Xeigu G1M seems alright, but a bit bigger. Not the biggest fan of Chinese stuff but it's kinda hard to avoid nowadays.

Found another, WA3RNC TRS-35. It's a 4 band unit. Seems pretty simply and ruggedly designed.

Pixie kits seem very cheap and small, but again stuck on one band and with xtals seems like a pain.

Any of you have any advice or use any of the above? The whole idea here is small and light. Every can fit in a small Maxpedition shoulder bag I use when hiking.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 9:31:30 AM EDT
[#1]
I have an LNR Precision Mountain Topper.. I highly recommend it. It and the other Mountain Toppers they use to sell are a respected transceiver for CW work.

The MTR4B is a 4 band transceiver that is capable of transmitting in 80M, 40M, 30M, and 20M. I currently use min with an American Morse MS2 straight key. I also have a Porta Paddle on order with the same company.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 10:03:31 AM EDT
[#2]
I will be happy to tell you what I think you should avoid - and clearly state I do not have first hand experience with most, but watch a lot of you tube:

Avoid the Xiegu G1 - have not heard good things, to the point I stopped watching videos on it.

Any of the QCX products will be good - I just ordered a QCX plus kit (3 weeks ago), no idea where it is, but hopefully on the way. But like you say, single band is limiting. I want to build the kit, and will only use it portable so not of concern to me. I also think eventually I will end up with one for 20m, and one for 40m, and be happy with those 2 bands alone.

Pixies, etc - no. Very broad receiver, limited power (sub QRP sometimes). Fun to play with, not fun to use.

Poster above me has some great suggestions.

Ham Radio Crash Course just posted a video of his favorite CQ only rigs - like in the last day, I have not watched it yet, but bet it has some good suggestions.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 10:37:45 AM EDT
[#3]
Just saw the HRCC video and watching it now.

The pixies seem fun to build not really the best. I kinda scratched those fast as any real contender. I like the QRP Labs minis. Just wish they had more than one band.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 10:39:28 AM EDT
[#4]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I have an LNR Precision Mountain Topper.. I highly recommend it. It and the other Mountain Toppers they use to sell are a respected transceiver for CW work.

The MTR4B is a 4 band transceiver that is capable of transmitting in 80M, 40M, 30M, and 20M. I currently use min with an American Morse MS2 straight key. I also have a Porta Paddle on order with the same company.
View Quote
I like that one. Similar idea to the TRS 35. Thanks for the suggestion. It seems to be more along the lines of what I'm looking for.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 11:16:25 AM EDT
[#5]
Whatever you get, don't limit the rig to outdoor work! Put it on the air in your home shack.
QRP with just a dipole can produce surprising results.
I have a ball running 5 watts for the K1USN Slow Speed Contests and SKCC Sprints.
It's a heck of a lot of fun. Try it.

ETA: Don't overlook 15 Meter capability. With Cycle 25 on the upswing it will at time surpass 20 Meters for DX activity.
Also, it you're going with a straight key, consider the Straight Key Century Club . With our twice monthly sprints, it's a good place to build up your CW skillset. And the operating frquences are a good place to find slow speed contacts.
Also, for receiving practice, try the ARRL CW Practice Files.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 11:18:11 AM EDT
[#6]
Check out the  SW-3B QRP 3 band radio You'll have to order from China but can pay with PayPal and ship DHL.
73,
Rob
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 11:47:36 AM EDT
[#7]
I have one of these You Kits HB-1A s

Bought it at a ham fest for $75.

It has some birdies on receive on some freqs, I don't know why.

Not my video.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 2:08:39 PM EDT
[#8]
I built a QCX-mini kit for 20m and hooked it to a Sidekar. It makes for some entertainment whilst grilling in the back yard. I'm an awful no-code extra, so I really just listen.
Link Posted: 1/23/2022 4:19:23 PM EDT
[#9]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
snip

Any of the QCX products will be good - I just ordered a QCX plus kit (3 weeks ago), no idea where it is, but hopefully on the way. But like you say, single band is limiting. I want to build the kit, and will only use it portable so not of concern to me. I also think eventually I will end up with one for 20m, and one for 40m, and be happy with those 2 bands alone.

View Quote


Turkey is having a bit of an implosion right now, so shipping is strange.

I ordered a couple QCX minis and WSPR beacons a couple weeks before Christmas, and the ship time was estimated at 4 days, and it took a bit over two weeks.

To OP, it's really hard to beat the price for a QCX is you accept the single band limitation. I agree with 40 and 20M you have things covered, and realistically you could get away with just 40M for most of the year. 20M might be nice in the summer.
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 2:00:54 AM EDT
[#10]
Ahhh something I can intelligently discuss.
I operate 100% QRP from home and in the field.  Lots of good choices.

Don't be apprehensive about the QCX mini having only 1 band.  Just buy more.  They are super cheap.  Was using mine today on 20m.  Absolutely amazing rig.  Filtering is fantastic and there is a volume control! Worked Texas first try.

HB1B is a killer deal too.  I bought some internal batteries for mine and it's just plain fun to use.

MTR3b is tiny.  I carry it backpacking and filter is great.  Gotta be honest though..the QCX is much better on 20m.  I also have had issues with it locking up and sending dits fast and won't stop.  Have to unplug everything and wait a few minutes.  Menu doesn't always work right either.  

All are good rigs.  QRP is addictive.  I've worked Europe with 3 watts.
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 10:27:22 AM EDT
[#11]
I really like the QCX mini. But for the cost of 2-3 of them, I can get a 3/4 bander TRS or Mountain Topper. That's my hang up. I plan on using 20 and 40 for sure and likely 30 as well.
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 2:15:11 PM EDT
[#12]
Honest answer here.  If you are backpacking and need to save weight ( and I say that because I work on saving ounces when I backpack). I’d go MTR3 or 4.  If not, I’d go QCX.  To me, it is that much better.  The MTR3b has more bands and is smaller, but I hear better on my QCX and it also has a dial to change freq.  the MTR has ouch buttons and it is SLOW.  Yes there is an option to direct enter freq by code input, but on mine it can be iffy on the menu. YMMV.  Also keep in mind that the MTR can only take up to 12V input.  The QCK can take up to 14.  That’s fine with me cause I run it on a 9v battery.  It is reduced output, but saves me weight and works.  All that said, I still want a MTR4b. But I want a lot of radios.  Don’t discount the HB1B
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 3:32:15 PM EDT
[#13]
I would be backpacking but not to a point where weight is an extreme concern. Other than just not using a mobile or tabletop. No summits here or even any hills. It would just be throwing in a quick 10-15 QSO activation while hiking.
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 4:50:00 PM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I would be backpacking but not to a point where weight is an extreme concern. Other than just not using a mobile or tabletop. No summits here or even any hills. It would just be throwing in a quick 10-15 QSO activation while hiking.
View Quote



Either the Mountain Topper or TR-35 would fit that bill perfectly. At first blush that TR-35 looks great. I like the fact that it has knobs allowing you to easily change the frequency and what not. In my opinion the 17, 20, 30, and 40M bans on the TR are a more useful band range. The MTR gives you 80, 40, 30, and 20M bands; I don’t even mess around with 80M because the antenna is pretty freaking long and a pain to string up.

My only reservation about the TR-35 is that fact that it’s so new and relatively untested. Personally, I’m curiously to see how it shakes out in the next few months to a year.
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 5:22:26 PM EDT
[#15]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:



Either the Mountain Topper or TR-35 would fit that bill perfectly. At first blush that TR-35 looks great. I like the fact that it has knobs allowing you to easily change the frequency and what not. In my opinion the 17, 20, 30, and 40M bans on the TR are a more useful band range. The MTR gives you 80, 40, 30, and 20M bands; I don't even mess around with 80M because the antenna is pretty freaking long and a pain to string up.

My only reservation about the TR-35 is that fact that it's so new and relatively untested. Personally, I'm curiously to see how it shakes out in the next few months to a year.
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The antenna I'm putting together is the K6ARK, while I could make an 80m capable wire it would defeat the purpose. So I'll be at 40m on the low end.

Still have some time to mull it over. I'm not quite there yet on doing an activation. Still only copying reliably about 10wpm unless it's really spaced out or I get lucky.
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 7:00:18 PM EDT
[#16]
Did you ever figure out why you weren’t spotting on RBN?
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 7:50:12 PM EDT
[#17]
I heard back from Hans on my QCX+ kit - supply chain issues.
He expects new board by the end of the week, and then it should be here shortly!
Link Posted: 1/24/2022 8:15:49 PM EDT
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Did you ever figure out why you weren't spotting on RBN?
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Most likely my spacing, speed and keying(paddling?) combined. I asked the CWOps instructor and he said it isn't uncommon to not be spotted and especially when new. I am definitely getting out tho. I've made some QSOs with POTA activators.
Link Posted: 1/25/2022 9:55:57 PM EDT
[#19]
I have a 705 that i really like for so many reasons. I've thought about the mtr3b many times. I have a couple hangups, 12v max, the switches are kinda tall and skinny and seem easy to break. QCX mini seems pretty interesting. I would probably pick 40m if i only had one band to pick. I also bought a couple of Adam's antennas. Looking forward to building them.
Link Posted: 1/25/2022 11:54:35 PM EDT
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I have a 705 that i really like for so many reasons. I've thought about the mtr3b many times. I have a couple hangups, 12v max, the switches are kinda tall and skinny and seem easy to break. QCX mini seems pretty interesting. I would probably pick 40m if i only had one band to pick. I also bought a couple of Adam's antennas. Looking forward to building them.
View Quote
The 705 is really nice. I've messed with one before. But its a lot more than I want to pay for this set up and it's bigger than I am looking for.
Link Posted: 1/26/2022 11:51:52 AM EDT
[#21]
I built one of the first MTR3b kits that came out and it's a solid little rig. I wouldn't be too concerned about the switches. if you were so inclined you could easily take a fine tooth file and shorten them. It's the smallest and lightest radio I've ever owned. The voltage input is perfect for a 3S LiPo or LiFePo4, or even just a 9v battery in a pinch. Output power is still pretty decent even at lower voltages. I might be mistaken but I think the MTR3b is pretty much unobtanium and has been replaced by the MTR4b and is currently sold by LNR Precision for $350.

It's a China radio, but the SW-3B looks interesting. Half the price of the MTR4b, but doesn't have 80m which may be a deal breaker for some folks.


Not my images - just linked for reference:



Link Posted: 1/26/2022 10:23:28 PM EDT
[#22]
I won't mess with 80m on this. 40m at the lowest. Just because carrying around a 133' of wire, even 26g poly-stealth, would be annoying. I really would like to avoid a Chinese radio if I can. I know most are to a degree but just me being me.
Link Posted: 1/28/2022 11:06:19 AM EDT
[#23]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I built one of the first MTR3b kits that came out and it's a solid little rig. I wouldn't be too concerned about the switches. if you were so inclined you could easily take a fine tooth file and shorten them. It's the smallest and lightest radio I've ever owned. The voltage input is perfect for a 3S LiPo or LiFePo4, or even just a 9v battery in a pinch. Output power is still pretty decent even at lower voltages. I might be mistaken but I think the MTR3b is pretty much unobtanium and has been replaced by the MTR4b and is currently sold by LNR Precision for $350.

It's a China radio, but the SW-3B looks interesting. Half the price of the MTR4b, but doesn't have 80m which may be a deal breaker for some folks.


Not my images - just linked for reference:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.ecwid.com/images/5403066/1844829043.jpg

https://www.venus-itech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SW-3B-size.jpg
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The only reason i brought up the switches is because i bought one last year used. When i opened it, the top switch was broken. Poor packing job by another ham and i sent it back to him. I do like the size. Thanks for your input.
Link Posted: 1/28/2022 6:45:59 PM EDT
[#24]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I won't mess with 80m on this. 40m at the lowest. Just because carrying around a 133' of wire, even 26g poly-stealth, would be annoying. I really would like to avoid a Chinese radio if I can. I know most are to a degree but just me being me.
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Absolutely this.
Link Posted: 2/4/2022 10:39:29 AM EDT
[#25]
Ordered a 40m QCX mini this morning.
Link Posted: 2/4/2022 11:13:44 AM EDT
[#26]
Very impressive rig.  Was just playing around with my 20m one.  You will be pleased.
Link Posted: 2/4/2022 12:05:35 PM EDT
[#27]
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Quoted:
Very impressive rig.  Was just playing around with my 20m one.  You will be pleased.
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Hoping so. If I get heavily into QRP CW I'll buy something that covers more. But my antenna is 40 only technically. And it'll do what I need anyway. Looking forward to getting it in a month or so.

Saw you on the spot page the other day by the way. I've been making some CW contacts as a hunter lately.
Link Posted: 2/4/2022 5:11:36 PM EDT
[#28]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Hoping so. If I get heavily into QRP CW I'll buy something that covers more. But my antenna is 40 only technically. And it'll do what I need anyway. Looking forward to getting it in a month or so.

Saw you on the spot page the other day by the way. I've been making some CW contacts as a hunter lately.
View Quote



Give me a call next time.  FYI if you are CW and you may already know this.  Most of the time I’m using a narrow filter.  Everyone it seems likes to zero beat me and call at once.  I can’t hear crap then.  Tune off just a little to make your signal sound different.  I can pick you out then.  The guys that do that are the ones who get answered in a pileup.
Link Posted: 2/4/2022 7:39:05 PM EDT
[#29]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:



Give me a call next time.  FYI if you are CW and you may already know this.  Most of the time I'm using a narrow filter.  Everyone it seems likes to zero beat me and call at once.  I can't hear crap then.  Tune off just a little to make your signal sound different.  I can pick you out then.  The guys that do that are the ones who get answered in a pileup.
View Quote
I'll give it a go. I'm not super fast on copy yet. Still having to space the letters. So you'll know it's me
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