Meetings with Remarkable QRP Transceivers
A New Crop of Radios for 2019/20
New SDR QRP Transceivers
Online reviews of any kind of radio are often remarkably preliminary, skin-deep and quickly superseded. However, there is currently a new crop of hand-portable transceivers, which have received attention in 2019/20 and which are now filtering through to more in-depth mainstream magazine reviews and club magazines.
And whilst RadioUser is not normally covering amateur radio, for many these transceivers have a general and experimental radio appeal too, and might well lead many into the radio hobby in all its aspects, which cannot be bad. With so many new field-portable QRP transceivers on the market, making a choice can be challenging. Please remember to look at a variety of sources, both printed and online, before you make any purchasing decisions
This model was reviewed in the March 2020 issue of the RSGB's Club Magazine RadComm, and the reviewer also posted on SWLing Post, stating that, "The ALT-512 is a versatile, sturdy little rig–designed and manufactured in Bulgaria. I really only had minor complaints about this transceiver. I saw a bright future for this little rig. It was well-designed and backed by a company and team of ham radio operators that had already successfully launched several other transceivers."
The Mission RGO One
Concerning this transceiver, early online reviews tended to be positive: One early tester commented, for example, “In my mind, what makes the RGO One unique is the fact that it has the price, weight, and form factor of a field-portable, front-panel QRP transceiver, but is capable of pumping out a full 50 watts of power without an external amplifier. The RGO one is lighter (about 5 lbs) and draws less current on receive than most comparable 100W general coverage transceivers. I see the RGO One becoming my choice radio for most Parks On The Air (POTA) field activations this year. In the past, I’ve used my beloved Elecraft KX2 for NPOTA and POTA activations because it’s extremely portable and incredibly versatile. I’ll still use the KX2 for activations that require hiking or in situations where I can’t easily set up a table-top radio, but I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had a little more TX output Since the RGO One can provide up to 50W out, it’ll give me a little more ‘juice’ when conditions demand” […].
The HobbyPCB IQ32
On this rig, one reviewer at the SWLing Post recently commented, “While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the IQ32 as a first transceiver to a newly-minted ham, I can certainly envision a niche market for this unique rig. For one, I think the IQ32 could satisfy those operators who desire a very clean and stable transmitter. The IQ32 sports a Class A 5-watt power amplifier with individual low-pass filters for each band that exceed FCC (USA) requirements for spectral purity. It also has a Temperature-Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TXCO) for frequency stability––truly, this is not common in a radio of this price class. For another, the IQ32 could be used as a driver for a transverter when operating on VHF or UHF. Another of its unique and useful features is that the user can set an offset to display the transverter output frequency rather than the IQ32-driven frequency. And, finally, let’s face it: I know of few other radios that you can take to the field, hook up a keyboard, and natively send and decode PSK-31 transmissions. My KX2 can do this to a degree, but I have to input the text as CW, and the number of characters in the display is quite limited. The IQ32 is robust enough to permit you to carry on PSK-31 rag-chews if you wish. If this is your thing, you’ll definitely want to play with this rig” […].
Do you know of any other QRP transceivers that may be of interest to RadioUser readers? If so, maybe you would be able and willing to review one or more of these radios? E-mail me at email@example.com
(Sources: e.g.: cqdx.ru; e-Ham.net; John (AE5X); QRZnow.com; RGO One; SWLing.com; The Spectrum Monitor, radio industry press)