QRP commercial rigs

The FT817 successor may be announced at Dayton next year. If correct, this is about 3-4 years too late.

The ICOM IC703 is not being replaced by the 10W version of the IC7300 outside of Japan. Personally, I do not understand the major Japanese manufacturers. Surely there is a worldwide demand for a 5-10W SDR based, radio?

It seems the huge world-wide QRP market is not being well addressed by the Japanese. It is their loss.  I think they are all nuts!

Ten-Tec seem to be struggling with their latest Argonaut judging by recent price cuts. See http://www.rkrdesignsllc.com/products/transceivers-receivers/ten-tec-model-539-argonaut-vi-qrp-1-10-watt-transceiver/ .

No, personally I think we are seeing QRPers getting a rough deal of late.

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.

8 Responses to “QRP commercial rigs”

  • Peter GM4WCE:

    Let’s not forget the Elecraft KX3, surely the QRP operator’s best option for a commercial rig.

  • Tom SP7Q:

    I’m wonder why Argonaut did’t have 12m band ?? It’s strange for me.

  • Roger G3XBM:

    Peter, I was really thinking of the Japanese and my comment on the Ten-Tec came later. I agree that the KX3 is very good, but it is expensive in the UK. I agree with Tom on the Ten-Tec rig: no 12m and no 6m was a poor decision. Are they struggling?

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    I agree 100% with your observation. The 703 was a great radio in many ways and poorly supported by Icom. The FT-817 took the market with a capable, but IMHO a marginal radio that needed some TLC to make it better. They had the chance when they went to the 817ND…But too me the ND meant Not much Different. If he IC-7300 had a 10 watt version available I am sure it would take off and might even give the KX3 some real competition for the first time. I had a TT Argonaut for a shot period of time. The RX was outstanding. As good as the Eagle and the Eagle is very good. But I can see why it has not taken off. Lacking 12m, 6m, and other feature and a big price tag. I hope Japan wakes up a realize they are hurting themselves by not supporting the world with new QRP. Time will tell… yawn I will stick with my KX3 and some homebrew stuff.

  • Goody K3NG:

    I don’t think it’s that QRPers are getting a raw deal, it’s that the QRP market has cooled off. We had a golden age of QRP around 2003-2005, in my opinion. Everyone was rushing to build the new kit of the month. Now folks have drawers full of monoband CW rigs they haven’t touched in years. It also doesn’t help that this solar cycle has been a bit of a fizzle.

    Apparently someone at Yaesu has been running financial models and they’re selling enough of the 817 to justify continuing to offer it, and they haven’t gotten pushed into updating or replacing it because of components being discontinued. Or their product development folks are just asleep at the wheel.

    A reasonably performing Chinese clone of the 817 would probably be the death knell for the 817 and anyone besides Elecraft offering a substantial QRP rig again.

  • Eric - N7ZZT:

    “Surely there is a worldwide demand for a 5-10W SDR based, radio?”

    Actually, no there is NOT a giant demand for QRP radios, which means production volume is low and cost is therefore high. Continuing to whine about it every week does you no good.

    “It seems the huge world-wide QRP market is not being well addressed by the Japanese. It is their loss. I think they are all nuts!”

    Certainly entitled to your opinion, Roger, but since there is NO HUGE WORLD-WIDE QRP MARKET, the Japanese manufacturers are simply responding to actual market demands. You QRP guys want 100% of all options and performance in a $5,000 radio for $500 (or less) and then then wonder why the manufacturers don’t support your fantasy wish lists. Just because you run 10% (or less) of the power (vs. a normal 100 watt HF rig) doesn’t mean the cost for it (to the manufacturer) is 10% of the higher power rig.

    Want state of the art in a QRP rig? Buy an Elecraft, just don’t expect to pay a few quid for it. Don’t like the price? Then either save up for it, or buy used.

  • jerry w5kaw:

    I love my new yaesu ft-817nd and before they kill it I hope to buy a second one so i’ll have them for a long time! 🙂

  • Frank ON6UU:

    If you want value for money I would say…buy a 100W radio and turn back the power to qrp level. You’ll have all bells and knobs you want too then…. ..

    Owning an IC703+, FT817ND and KX3 I can for sure say I like the KX3 the most. The IC703+ is my second choice. I’m a Yaesu fan but the FT817nd gets almost no use. Ergo on the thing is poor too.

    If you want a qrp, save longer and buy a KX-3, it will be your best choice ever.

    sk ee

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