- It has to fit in the box I'm using
- Per voting, we're focusing on HF
- Per voting, the radio should NOT be software defined
- Per my veto power as the sole financial contributor, some options were eliminated due to cost
- It needs to be able to run off the battery that was already in the box
If you don't already know about this little radio, you've got some catching up to do, and a good place to start is here. This little radio fits all of the criteria for this project, and has the benefit of being very "hack-able" to changes in the future. Another benefit of this one, is that the HamRadio360 Workbench crew is currently talking through builds of these little radio's, so this would fit that theme for anyone like me who is a fan of their podcast. This is a very simple kit, and it would be a pretty quick build.
Mode: SSB, others with simple modifications
TX power: 7 watts
Rough Price: $60
This kit comes from Pacific Antenna. It should work well, but may require a different battery mounting method then what is already in the box (simple enough to change!)
TX power: 5 watts
Rough Price: $275
This is a small radio from LNR Precision that comes as either a kit or prebuilt. With it's small size, fit would be no concern!
TX power: 2.5 watts
Rough Price: $260 / 270 (Kit / Prebuilt)
This radio meets all the criteria, and was suggested by a couple of different folks. The only catch is that it is discontinued, and finding a used one may be a bit hit or miss. Luckily, the details about this radio are still available on Elecraft's site.
TX power: 4 watts
Rough Price: $300
This is actually not so much a radio, as it is plans and a parts list to source and build it on your own. The ARRL has a copy of the build information available here for reference.
TX power: 1.5 watts
Rough Price: depends on sourcing, but probably very inexpensive.
Does this sound familiar? It should! Ashhar Farhan designed this, the multi-band successor to the BITX40. It isn't available yet as a kit, but plans and parts lists are available on Ashhar's site. This would take longer to build, but would probably be a rewarding project!
Mode: SSB, CW
TX power: 5 - 10 watts depending on band
Rough Price: $50 and a well stocked junk box
This is an interesting little crystal controlled qrp rig. The receiver is a regenerative design, making this radio more "old school" which can have a certain charm to it. The only bad part of this is that being crystal controlled means you're restricted to whatever frequencies you have crystals for.
TX power: 5watts
Rough Price: $80
This a rig from a new company, that is trying to break into the portable rig market. They are surprisingly full featured for the price, and they seem to be starting to get a loyal following. It's at the top end of what I had in mind for this project cost-wise, but if this is what everyone votes for, I'll set aside some pennies for a little bit!
Mode: SSB, AM, CW
TX power: 20 watts
Rough Price: $400
We'll pause here for the official vote, but if you happen to be curious about a rig you suggested and why it isn't on the list, I'll give some "bonus material" after the vote for those who want to stick around.
Voting is Now Closed - Stay Tuned for Results!
Yeasu FT-891: Fit, Cost, and if it is similar to my 857d, even on low power the surge during startup will trip the safety circuit in the battery, rendering it out of scope
Yeasu FT-817(ND): Borderline Fit, Cost (for new, might find used within range), out of scope bands (project was voted to be HF focused)
Elecraft KX2: Scope (this is an SDR), Cost
There are quite a few other radios that might have made the list, but these were the options that were suggested most often, that I felt warranted an explanation as to why they weren't being considered.
Thanks for your input!