Posts Tagged ‘Hermes’

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.

Hermes HPSDR comes to MX0WRC

Last night was club night. Its a good chance to catch up in person with the local hams and exchange bits of useful information. Normally how to fix the things I have broken, which seems to be quite a few things at present including 3 bikes, but that’s another story.

Kevin, M0KHZ came along with the view of giving us an understanding of where the Hermes High Performance Software Defined Radio (HPSDR) is. He started with a brief history which explained for us lesser mortals how the project got started and how the project team got to where they are today.

The prototype that was on display at Dayton and Friedrichshafen was fired up and Kevin showed us how the rig could be controlled over wifi and the potential of Hermes to take SDR to the next level and then further. Even though Kevin was tight lipped I got the impression that this was not the end of development

The detail is way over my head and the likelihood of me understanding these concepts fully is fairly slim but it doesn’t stop me wanting to get my paws on one. Needless to say I have approached the local financier / XYL who was less than interested so there’s more ground work needed there. The impression I got was that although there is a fairly full ‘expression of interest’ list at HamSDR (you’ll need to log in to add your name to the list) the commit to buy list isn’t yet up and orders are not likely to be taken until September. Plenty of time to save up.

SDR doesn’t fill everyone with the same excitement as it does me but its fair to say that whatever your stance you can’t fault this small project team for their dedication and know how as well as doing this not for commercial gain.

Hermes a step closer

Southgate ARC News ran a short piece on TAPR and appointing PCB manufacturers the other day. Reading onto this could be catastrophic but I can see that Hermes is getting closer. I’ve been following this for a little while know and bump into Kevin Wheatly, M0KHZ, the project leader every once in a while. I am really looking forward to this innovative piece of kit coming to the open market. Having seen a very early prototype a few years ago I would love to get one of my greasy paws on one of these. A high performance (HF) shack in a very small box! Hold onto your hats for Dayton then!


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