Amateur Radio Kit Roundup

QRPme.com Lil' Squall Transceiver

QRPme.com Lil' Squall Transceiver

Kit building appears to be on the rise again.  With so many people talking about it on the club’s repeater lately I decided to put together a good list of sources for kits that are currently available.  Many of these are for QRP operation, but a few are full-featured professional transceivers (Elecraft, DZ).  On the beginners side there are a few sources that stand out:  Hendricks has a great assortment of kits, including some SSB QRP equipment.  QRPme offers the inexpensive, easy-to-build tuna-can products, and I would like to make special mention of the Four State QRP Group NS-40 which has the coils etched right into the PC board!  What a great idea!  I’ve covered trasmitters, transceivers, and some receivers here.  Some accessories are mentioned in the source descriptions.

Revised 4/25/2012  Added Zao.jp. and AmateurRadioKits.in

 

Enjoy, and feel free to email me any corrections, or additions.–Neil W2NDG 

-Hendricks QRP Kits http://www.qrpkits.com/

  • BitX20A/17A SSB Transceiver.  The BitX20A and BitX17A are complete SSB kits with board, all parts, digital display and custom powder coated and punched case that is based on the BitX20 that was designed by Ashlan Farhan.  Output is about 10 Watts.  $180.00 + S&H
  • PFR-3a 3-Band Portable Field Radio.  Bands : 40 meters, 30 meters and 20 meters. Tuning range: Full band coverage.  Mode: CW only.   $240.00 + S&H
  • NADC30/40 CW Transceiver.  Nearly All Discrete Component CW Transceiver for either 30m or 40m.  Tuning range ~ 60 kHz.  Power output: 3.5 watts.  Full Kit: $130.00 + S&H
  • Ft Tuthill 15 Meter CW Transceiver.   Two 60 KHz tuning ranges, ~ 21.000 – 21.060 and 21.075 – 21.135 MHz.  Power Output: 5 Watts.  Complete Kit (w/ case and digital dial) $130.00 + S&H
  • Red Hot 40 Meter Transceiver.  A high performance QRP CW transceiver kit for the 40m band. It has been designed to operate well in the presence of large out-of-band (shortwave broadcast) and in-band (contest station just down the road) unwanted signals.  Frequency range is a (nominal) 70KHz segment of the CW end of 40m.  Output power 0 to 5 Watts nominal (7 Watts typical).  Full Kit: $250.00 + S&H
  • MMR-40 CW/SSB Transceiver.  The MMR-40 features both CW and SSB operation, the first rig kit in this price class to do so.  Transmitter power out: 6 watts CW/pep typical at 13.8V supply.  Typical tuning range: SSB: 7.280 to 7.150 MHz CW: 7.100 to 6.700 MHz.  Full Kit: $225.00 + S&H
  • TwoFer Plus CW Transmitter.  The TwoFer Plus is a simple transmitter that will be offered on 40, 30, and 20 meters. The kits come with crystals in the qrp region of the band. It will put out approximately 1 Watt using a 2N3053 transistor for the final. It has a crystal based VXO that will give about 1.5kHz on 40, and 3kHz on 20. It also has a built in T-R switch on the board that mutes the receiver during transmit. We have upgraded the kit with a custom prepunched case that was designed by Ken LoCasale, WA4MNT. The kit comes complete, with all parts, connectors, case, knobs, wire, and our usual commercial quality double sided, plated through, silkscreened solder masked board.  $35.00 + S&H
  • DCxxB Board Only Trasceiver Kit.  These radios are the next generation of the popular DC40 transceiver that was also designed by Steve Weber.  The kit will come with 1 crystal for the band specified. 7.040 for DC40, 10.120 for DC30, 14.060 for DC20.  Board-Only kit with decals: $30.00 + S&H
  • Scout Regen Receiver.  A simple 2 band regenerative radio receiver that is capable of receiving signals from 3.5 to 11 MHz.  A complete kit with L shaped aluminum chassis, quality doublesided silkscreened soldermasked board, all parts, hookup wire, board mounted battery holder.  This kit is ideal for the first time builder.  $50.00 + S&H

-YouKits  http://youkits.com/.  YouKits seems to be working on several new projects.  Watch the website for new additions.

  • TJ2A 2 Band SSB / CW Handheld Transceiver.  Can be set to operate on 2 bands from 160m – 10m.  Output power 3.5 – 4 Watts.  Rechargeable.  Many band combinations available.  $169.00 + S&H
  • TJ4A 4 Band Backpack HF Trasceiver.  Available in 2 TX models: 80,40,20,15, or 40,20,15,10.  New general coverage receiver capability.  20 Watts output (adjustable), SSB, CW, AM.  Full Kit: $399.00 + S&H

-MFJ http://www.mfjenterprises.com/

  • MFJ-8100K World Band SWL Receiver Kit.  Regenerative general coverage receiver covering 3.51 – 4.31 MHz, 5.95 – 7.40 MHz, 9.56 – 12.05 MHz, 13.21 – 16.4 MHz, and 17.6-22 MHz.  $79.95 + S&H
  • MFJ-93xxK QRP Cub Transceiver Kits.  QRP Transceiver available in 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, or 15.  Output 2 Watts (except 1 Watt on 17 and 15).

-Vectronics (MFJ) http://www.vectronics.com/Categories.php?sec=209.

  • Too many kits to list here.  They sell several different Transmitter, Receiver, and Transceiver kits, as well as shortwave converters for the car.  A couple of the items seem to be kit versions of MFJ products.

-Ramsey Electronics.    http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/

  • Similar assortment to Vectronics above, with several transmitter, transceiver and receiver projects.

-Genesis Radio (Australia).  http://www.genesisradio.com.au/order.html not all kits are available. Many are listed as sold out, but I assume will become available again. Prices are in Australian dollars.  This is the only one currently available:

  • G11 5 band SDR Transceiver Kit.  Power output 10 W. SMT components factory pre-assembled, buyer to assemble only large through hole components. Price in AUS$: $299.00 + S&H

-Tony Parks, KB9YIG.  http://www.kb9yig.com/  Although everytime I look at this page, the kits are listed as “Check back soon” I have been told that if you email Tony he has kits available.  These are the kits that the GSB ARC was building.  2 are currently available:

  • SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver Kit.  The SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver Kit includes the components for building the kit for LF, 180kHz through 3.0 MHz, operation or for HF, 1.8 MHz through 30 MHz.  $56.00
  • SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit.  The SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit provides a 1 watt SDR transceiver that can be built for one of the following four band groups: 160m, 80m/40m, 30m/20m/17m or 15m/12m/10m.  $74.00

-Ten-Tec.  http://www.tentec.com/categories/Products-by-Area-of-Interest/Kit-Building/  Ten-Tec has 8 Radio kits available.

  • QRP Transceiver Kits (20,30,40, or 80 meters).  3 watts power output.  covers a 50 kHz segment determined by you at the time of construction.  With pre-labeled and painted case.  $124.00 + S&H
  • 9 Band Regenerative Receiver.  1.760 – 1.990 MHz, 3.3 – 4.150 MHz, 5.5 – 6.9 MHz, 6.9 – 8.5 MHz, 8.5 – 11 MHz, 10.1 – 13.2 MHz, 12.5 – 16 MHz, 14.7 – 18.5 MHz, 18.5 – 21.5 MHz  Integrated audio amp IC for clean robust audio from internal speaker or headphones.  includes parts, circuit board, assembly manual, battery holder, speaker, complete enclosure, and knobs.  $93.00 + S&H
  • 4 Band Regenerative Receiver.  5.9 – 6.4 Mhz, 6.9 – 7.4 Mhz, 8.5 – 10.2 Mhz, 11.5 – 16.5 Mhz.  Comes with finished front panel. No knobs or case.  $41.95 + S&H
  • Digital Readout Superhet Receiver.  100 Khz to 20 Mhz coverage.  This is the radio that Jay, KC2YSK built and wrote about in the Log previously.  Several option available to improve performance from 3rd parties.  $205.00 + S&H
  • Any Band Direct Conversion Receiver Kit.  Includes all of the parts and instructions to let you build the receiver (or change it to) ANY band of your choice (160, 80, 75, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 or 10 meters).  $39.00 + S&H

-Elecraft.  http://www.elecraft.com/

  • K3 Modular Kit.  The K3 is Elecraft’s top of the line.  Available in 10 and 100 watt versions and with a multitude of options.  The modular kit comes with mostly pre-assembled boards that need to be plugged in.  The K3 kit starts at $1549.95 and increases depending on what options you choose.
  • KX3 Modular Kit.  The KX3 is Elecraft’s newest transceiver.  Similar to the K3 in features, but in a compact portable package.  This is a modular kit like the K3 that requires you to assemble the pre-soldered boards.  Many options available.  Starts at $899.95
  • K2 Kit.  The K2 is available only as a full kit.  This is not a modular kit like the two above, but a full kit for the advanced kit builder.  The K2 is a full-featured transceiver available in 10 and 100 watt versions, and with many options.  Basic kit starts at $739.95
  • K1 Kit.  The K1 is a small portable CW transceiver available as either a 2 or 4 band rig.  You choose which bands you want at the end of the kit build.  Adjustable output from 0 to 5 watts.  The 2 band model starts at $299.95
  • KX1 Kit.  The KX1 is an ultra-portable CW transceiver.  Available with 2 bands in the basic model, and upgradeable to 4.  ! to 4 watt output.  Starting at $299.95

-Hamtronics.  http://www.hamtronics.com/menu_products.htm

  • Hamtronics offers a variety of VHF and UHF receiver and exciter kits as well as many other interesting items.

-Emtech.  http://emtech.steadynet.com/index.shtml

  • Emtech is currently out of stock on their NW-series radios.  Check back.  In the meantime, they have the excellent ZM-2 QRP tuner kit.\

-JUMA.  http://www.jumaradio.com/juma/  All prices are in EUROS €

  • Series one kits.  Three kits available.  All DDS controlled, covering 80, and 40 meters.  RX1 Receiver, 74.80€,   TX1 Transmitter, 80.33€,  and TRX1 Transceiver, 169.00€.\
  • Series two kits.  Two kits available.  Both are high dynamic range, 10W output, SSB and CW transceiver kits, using quadrature sampling techniques for demodulation and modulation with low noise phasing. VFO is DDS controlled for a good frequency stability.  TRX2 2-band model (80 and 40) 395.00€, and TRX2A 80 thru 10 model with general coverage receiver, 499.00€
-North Country Radio.  http://www.northcountryradio.com/index.htm  NCR is a source for many amateur related kits.  Too much to list here, but they have several ATV related items.
-Radio Adventures Company.  http://www.radioadv.com/
  • R1 Code Practice Receiver.  High quality fixed frequency CW receivers designed for simple operation. Standard models are available for W1AW frequencies in the 80, 40 and 20 meter bands.  $29.95 + S&H

-Small Wonder Labs.  http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/

  • Rock Mite CW Transceiver.  The Rock-Mite is a crystal-controlled direct-conversion transceiver available for 80M, 40M, 30M or 20M.  $29 + S&H  some accessories available.
  • The Retro 75.  This is a nostalgic kit.  A crystal controlled AM Transceiver with 2 watts carrier, 8 watts peak.  $69 + S&H

-Wilderness Radio.  http://www.fix.net/~jparker/wild.html

  • Simple Superhet Receiver (SST).  The SST is an optimized, superhet rig with an extremely low parts count . This may be the easiest to build superhet ever, and it comes with a miniature custom enclosure.  2 Watts output.  $90 + S&H
  • Nor Cal 40a.  The revision B NorCal 40A is a third-generation 40-meter QRP transceiver kit, designed by Wayne Burdick, N6KR. The rig covers any 40KHz portion of the CW band, with a very stable VFO operating in the 2MHz range. The receiver is a superhet with crystal filter, AGC, and RIT.  3 Watts output.  $145 + S&H
  • Sierra.  The Sierra is the only compact, low-current, multiband transceiver kit available. Designed by N6KR and extensively field-tested by the NorCal QRP Club, the Sierra has been completely upgraded for Wilderness Radio–including a painted and silk-screened enclosure and improved performance on both transmit and receive. Uses plug-in band modules for 80, 40, 30, 20, 17 and 15 meters.  1.5 to 3 watts depending on band.  LCD display.  Starts at $245 + S&H with 1 band module.

-Four State QRP Group.  http://www.wa0itp.com/4sqrpkitindex.html

  • Ham Can Transceiver.  A crystal-controlled CW transceiver, delivering 1/2 to 1 watts.  Easy thru-hole kit.  Crystal for 7122 included.  $30 includes shipping.
  • NS-40 Transmitter.  Ideal first kit.  There are only 14 electronic components, and NO TOROIDS or COILS of any kind to wind – NONE! All inductors are incorporated directly on the PC board as etched spirals.  5 watts at 13.6 volts.  $30 includes shipping.

-Kanga US.  http://www.kangaus.com/products_by_type.htm

  • Several inexpensive kits for the radio hobbyist.

-Electronics USA.  http://electronicsusa.com/productsham.html

  • A nice collection of kits including keys, keyers, and clocks.
-Heathkit.  http://www.heathkit.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=123&Itemid=237  The legendary Heathkit has been promising NEW ham radio kits for awhile now.  Watch the link posted here for them.
-Dan’s Small Parts and Kits.  http://www.danssmallpartsandkits.net/  Mostly parts here of interest to the radio hobbyist but there are some kits about ⅔ of the way down the page.  This seems like the place to get parts for some of these QRP kits above, like crystal-socket pins, and variable capacitors.  Great assortment of stuff!  In additon to the transmitters below there is an amp kit, an RIT, ans S Meter kit, and much more.
  • Little Joe Transmitter Kit.  A small kit with board and parts from the book QRP Classics.  Available for 80, 40, 20, and 10/15.  Does not include crystals.  $19.95 + S&H
  • Cubic Incher Transmitter Kit.  A small kit available for 40 or 80 meters.  Crystals not included.  Currently on closeout for $6.50 + S&H

-DZ Kit.  http://www.dzkit.com/

  • Sienna Transceiver Kit.  This is a high end, full-featured transceiver with many options.  The Sienna can be a full-control stand-alone rig, or a computer-controlled-only rig.  Available in 10 and 100 watt version.  Kits start at $2098 + S&H for the computer-only 10 watt model.
  • HT-7 7Meter AM Walkie Talkie.  The HT-7 is a simple AM handie-talkie that operates on the 40M AM calling frequency.  $149.99 + S&H
-Fox Delta.  http://products.foxdelta.com/  A great collection of ham radio kits.  Includes computer interfaces, APRS kits, and more.
-Oak Hills Researchhttp://www.ohr.com/
  • OHR 100A single band CW transceiver kit.  Offered in 80, 40, 30, 20, and 15 Meter versions.  Each can be aligned to cover 70-80Khz.  5 Watt output.  $149.95 + S&H

-QRPme.  http://www.qrpme.com/  Several kits and accessories here.  They also have an intriguing kit of the month club”  delivering kits to you every month.

  • Micro 80D.  Small tunable 80 meter CW transceiver kit.  $35 + S&H
  • Lil Squall Transceiver.  A version of the Pixie Transceiver.  A tinkerers delight. It fits in a small tuna can. Includes a socket for the FINAL transistor for easy experimenting with output power. Likewise, the feedback caps in the oscillator circuit also have sockets making it easy to experiment with new bands. The crystal also has a socket for easily moving the operating frequency about a band. Comes will ALL the parts necessary to complete the transceiver and a 7122 crystal for operating the Lil’ Squall ][ in an area where other minimalist rigs hang out, AND the ‘officially unofficial’ TUNA NET frequency for tuna can gatherings.  $35 + S&H
  • Super Tuna II+.  A version of the Sudden Transmitter from the GQRP Club. Transmitter section is comprised of an oscillator, buffer and final driver transistor. Produces 2 watts at 12.6 volts. Frequency dependent components are mounted on an easily changed band module. The basic kit comes with a band module for 40 meter operation.  $40 + S&H
  • Tuna Tin 2 30th Anniversary Isuue.  A re-issue of the original TT2 transmitter.  Parts are laid out on the board in the exact same way the schematic is drawn.  Simple, and easy to build.  Comes with crystal for 7.030.  $25 + S&H
  • EZ Build Two-Tinned-Tuna Transmitter.  EZ build version with no toroids to wind.  Several socketed parts for experimenting and comes with 2 crystals for 40 meters.  $30 + S&H
  • Sudden Storm Receiver Kit.  Great companion to any of the tuna can transmitters.  Comes with components for 40 meters but can be operated on 80, 30, and 20 using the upgrade kit.  $35 + S&H
  • Reggie II Transceiver Kit.  A lesson in minimalist design.  The Reggie uses the Limerick construction technique.  Output is about 100mW.  $40 + S&H
-Xtal Set Society / Midnight Science.  http://www.midnightscience.com/kits.html  these folks have an nice assortment of crystal and basic am and sw kits, but also have a few kits for hams, like a dummy load and attentuators.
-Radio-Kits.com.uk.  http://www.radio-kits.co.uk/  These folks sell a couple of radio kits (listed below), and a few neat accessories including a CW kit that will work with many SSB-only radios. All prices in British Pounds.
  • MKARS80 SSB Transceiver.  This kit is based on the same design that is used in the BITX20 from Hendricks, but modified for 80 meter use. Main changes from Ashhar’s original design are the inclusion of a frequency counter and a Huff and Puff frequency stabilizer.  Covers from 3.5 to 3.8 Mhz with about 5 Watts output.  This kit is a bargain!  Ranging from a basic no-case kit for £55.00 shipped to the USA, to full kit with connectors, knobs, and an undrilled case for £68.50
  • Hunter SDR Receiver / Panadapter.  This looks like an interesting and economical SDR kit, that can also be controlled by an existing rig for use as a panadapter. £87.00 shipped to the USA

-Radi0shop (eBay store)http://stores.ebay.com/radi0shop  This eBay store is selling a couple versions of the Pixie II transceiver.  They currently have the 80 meter version in stock, and claim to also supply the 40 meter one.  Looks like a very simple build.  $39.00 free shipping.

-Zao.jp.  http://zao.jp/radio/order/  Zao has one kit currently available.  He is also the source for the pre-built Soft66 SDR radios (currently selling new version LC4) which is one of the lowest-priced pre-built SDR receivers on the market.  Getting it running is a challenge I hear, but performs well for the money once you do.

  • Soft66Lite.  Small monoband SDR that can be built for different ranges depending on the bandpass components installed.  Easily switchable by plugging in homemade bp modules setup on IC sockets.  $18 shipped to USA

-Amateur Radio Kits.inhttp://cqbitx.blogspot.com/

  • BITX Kits.  I won’t list the kits individually because the website is a bit confusing.  They seem to have several different options from a basic kit with just the board and specialty components only for $18 to a deluxe complete kit with digital readout for $85
  • AVALA SDR board only.  There are a few sites supporting this SDR.  Not sure if I’m ready to tackle something like this, but it does look interesting.  Board only:  $10
Neil Goldstein, W2NDG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New York, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

14 Responses to “Amateur Radio Kit Roundup”

  • Matt W1MST:

    Absolutely fantastic resource, Neil. Thanks for posting all this info in one place!

  • This was about a week and a half of research on the train each day. I think the main reason I did this was that when I was a kid, you could get most of what you needed between the Heathkit, Radio Shack, and Eico catalogs. TImes have changed, and I really like all of these little kit companies that are popping up. I really want to see Heathkit come back, but they better hurry, or their return will go un-noticed.

  • Matt W1MST:

    There was much fanfare awhile back about the return of Heathkit… and now only crickets it seems. Did I miss something?

  • I am asking them directly. Let’s see what happens.

  • Dave k0uxb:

    Terrific Information, Neil. Thank you.

  • Marty AG3EK:

    What I would really love is an inexpensive kit that does voice, preferably in a band that is open to Technicians. I think something like that would go a long way to getting Techs to upgrade.

    The MKARS80 SSB Transceiver you listed above is the only reasonably priced voice kit I’ve seen, and at about $90 for a single band it’s still hard to justify when a used multiband/multimode/higher powerful HF radio can be had all day long for about $200 or so.

    For emergency communications use a cheap kit would be ideal for people that don’t really want to make ham radio a hobby but would like to be able to get involved in an emergency. Little to no choice on which frequency to use and minimal controls to have to learn or fiddle with. People won’t feel like it’s too much of an expense for something that will hopefully never be needed.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. People need to practice and who knows which frequency/band you’ll need to use, etc. If you’ve got a church or civic group (Lions, Elks, Optimists, etc) that wants to have some emergency communications ability something really cheap and yet able to communicate over decent distances would be fantastic.

    Just wishing.

    Thanks for all the info!

  • Rob YS1RS:

    Awesome list. Thank you for sharing it with us!!!
    Lots of research for the best of the best. The PFR-3A is doing an excellent job with me already… but I also got interested in the Tuna series (to experiment) but their site is confusing. So many options that you have no idea which is the best… thanks for pointing out the good ones in your text.

    Rob.

  • @Marty AG3EK: I’m not sure why there aren’t more SSB kits for 10 meters. In the list here you can try the Youkits TJ2A (http://youkits.com/) and build it for 10 meters by ordering crystal option package #2. You might have luck contacting them directly and trying to order one with the correct BPF components for 10 meters with the initial kit package and save a few $$. Another suggestion is to step up to general. I started studying as soon as I got my tech, and took the test about 6 weeks later. Tech-to-general is a pretty easy jump (mush easier than general-to-extra) and will give you the ability to use some of these other kits (like the aforementioned bargain-basement MKARS80). A third option is to pick up a used Radio Shack HTX-10 or HTX-100 rig on eBay or at a hamfest. I have a Magnum-257 in the car (same rig as the HTX-10) that I picked up for $125. That rig with a modified 11 meter whip has been heard in Europe, Africa, and all over South America from here with 25 watts. In fact, my first contact on HF as a new ham was with France! I wish that good fortune on any new ham. It certainly got me interested in getting more great contacts. Let us know what you do.

  • @Rob YS1RS: Rob, yes I agree that the QRP.me site is a bit difficult to follow. I need to say this, but will probably regret it. I find MANY amateur radio related websites to be poorly presented. Not sure why, but it is a disturbing trend. Maybe we need some pre-made templates to show up in a conspicuous place, and convince people to get rid of the background images, animated GIFs, and other 90′s designs.

  • Chris kQ2RP:

    Great job on the list Neal!

  • Marty AG3EK:

    @Neil W2NDG:

    I’d forgotten about the HTX-10/100 radios. Thanks for the reminder. The TJ-2A is a nice little radio, but it costs over $200. I got my fully functional and good looking IC-730 radio for something like $225. It’s bigger than the TJ-2A, but does oh so much more. There are plenty of good used HF rigs from the last 30 years that can be found in the $200 range.

    I work with a church group that is trying to get more people involved in emergency communications over a large area. We’ve got a lot of Techs and just a few Generals and Extras. A bunch of them, mostly Techs, got their licenses SOLELY for the purpose of being able to help out in an emergency. They are willing to participate in regular nets and do some training, but really don’t have an interest in ham radio as a hobby.

    A really inexpensive radio that lets them talk (as opposed to a digital mode that would involve hooking things up to a computer, and especially not requiring them to learn Morse Code) without having to deal with confusing knobs and switches and buttons would be ideal. We have people that would gladly build kits so that we can get them to as many interested people as possible.

    A radio/kit that has:

    1. Low cost
    2. Simple controls
    3. Voice mode
    4. Can be used by General class licensees (and preferably by Technicians)

    would be ideal. My experience is that the radios that offer items 2-4 are few and far between and rarely, if ever, qualify for #1. Well, unless you count all the cheap VHF/UHF HT radios out there now and they just don’t have the range required.

    I’d even go with converting CB radios to 10m, but would really prefer to buy all the same model for consistency and simplicity and that doesn’t seem practical. From what I’ve seen, you can’t just go out and buy a current production model radio and mod it for 10m. You have to go looking for used ones and getting a batch of a dozen or more of the same model isn’t very realistic.

    Our hope is that if people would try HF they would get more interested, but we’re more than happy to have them only help when the need arises.

  • I wrote this entirely as a kit piece, so it doesn’t exactly fit what you are looking for. Kits are an economical way to acquire equipment, as long as you enjoy building them and have the expertise required. The TJ2A in kit form is actually $169.99, and I have emailed the YouKits folks to ask about the option of swapping the default bands. Let’s see what they say.

    Having said that, many of these kits, are also for someone who wants something that can be thrown in a backpack and deployed on a mountaintop, with a portable antenna, and a portable power source. I might be able to pick up a used boat-anchor rig (I saw a Yaesu 301D today for $200) on the cheap, but it’s not going to suit the needs of most people looking at these types of radios. Something like the TJ2A, or the MKARS80 would fit in a bag with everything needed to get on the air.

    Emergency communications in Amateur Radio is a combination of HF, and VHF/UHF. Most ARES/RACES organizations are tied to one or more local repeaters, which makes the little imported HT’s a very attractive proposition. If you want to get your group interested in HF, maybe a group station would be a good idea. If you have the space, you should propose setting up an emergency operations center, and equip it with rigs that can also be used during non-emergencies. One of the local clubs here has a really nice station set up, and opens it to the public every Saturday. They also have a kit-building group that sits and builds the Tony Parks SDR kits and other things.

    I agree the cost of entry into this hobby can seem steep, and I intend to cover that in some future posts. Maybe the Asian companies that have done so well in the handheld arena, and are now about to tackle the mobile VHF/UHF market will eventually look to HF equipment too. If anything it might push the big-3 to release some more basic, entry level rigs.

    One more possibility that is out there, by the way, is the Magnum 1012 handheld. They can sometimes be had for much less than $200 at hamfests, or on eBay. Nice little 10/12 meter rig. 73s!

    –Neil W2NDG

  • Sebastien:

    I was searching for Amateur radio kits and found your blog. Really nice article though. Please keep posting about these things. Thanks, Sebastien.

  • Thanks Sebastien! I intend to post updates to the list as I find them, so keep an eye on the site.

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