Are you a gambling ham?

The Good News

TAPR have opened up the shop for Hermes SDR customers.

The Bad News

The transceiver is set to cost around $1000 with no real warranty. If you want one you’ve got until the 25th to place an order. After that its not going to happen.

Hermes is the next generation SDR developed by hams from round the world and when I originally saw one I immediately felt my jaw hit the floor. The receiver was excellent and the whole thing was very versatile. TAPR have long supported the project from what I can see but the terms and conditions leave a lot to be desired. Initial estimates have increased a touch and that’s ok with me. There are always additional costs which may not have made it into the original estimate but as unit without any form of safeguard that it would turn up working at your doorstep I find it underwhelming. In fact I’m not even sure it is legal to supply goods to the UK where the buyer takes responsibility prior to it being received. Caveat Emptor indeed.

The rig has a list of features that rival the outstanding Elecraft K3 and whilst the power output currently isn’t the same and no doubt the operating form factor does not appeal to everyone it does offer something different. The unassuming silver Hammond case I saw at the recent club meeting gave little in the way of clues as to what was going on inside and its definitely not a rig for those who like to wield a soldering iron. But, it is a rig for those who are into SDR or who want to get into the bleeding edge of technology without shelling out multiple thousands of pounds for huge desktop devices that are equally at the bleeding edge but in a different form factor.

So the choice was to gamble a grand on something I really wanted in what would need a PA of sorts to compliment it further and turn an excellent rig into a world class station. Or to save selling my existing rig ready for the upgrade and putting the money to one side and hope that TAPR can offer it with a slightly less roulette wheel approach. I’m not a gambling man, especially with so much money.

To say that I’m gutted is an understatement. I have waited quite a while since seeing prototypes in one of the key project members shacks. Seeing one just a couple of weeks ago watching one in action at the club just added fuel to that desire. Unfortunately, that desire has been stamped on by some unacceptable terms and conditions. Imagine parting with the cash only to find your rig doesn’t work and you can only partially claim compensation from a shipper if you can prove they were at fault. I suppose the IC-7000 will be on the desk for a little while longer.

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Are you a gambling ham?”

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Alex, wise choice to hold off I would say to dish out 1k and then to find out it’s a no go for you…..well that is not customer support at all. Yes Elecraft K3 is a world class rig and they do offer world class support to. Seems to me the question is…do they believe in the rig enough to give a money back policy??? It seems not from what you are saying! No Elecraft does not offer a money back policy either BUT if the rig does not work they do all they can to get it to work. SDR is the future for sure but for me the gamble on this rig is to high. There will be many more SDR’s on the horizon hold off and enjoy the IC-7000. It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

  • Alex G7KSE:

    Morning Mike,

    I was very surprised at the conditions of sale. Kevin, M0KHZ lives a couple of miles down the road and cam to the club to do a demo and it really is an excellent device, but not one for a hardware experimenter. Not least in respect of changing the design as is. The board design is registered but it is open source but making your own will be next to impossible to all but the highly gifted constructor.

    Still if you are willing or able to take a punt with that much money then the door is wide open for a really good bang per buck. Its just too risky for my pocket.

    Alex

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