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Hitting the (HF) airways

As I may have mentioned before, I don’t actually have any HF equipment. The HF bands (160-10 meters) are considered the hot spot of ham radio activity; since I’ve been a Technician for the last eight years, my time has been spent on the VHF and UHF bands, which involves local contact either simplex or via the nearby repeaters.

My son just passed his Technician and General exams, and we’re waiting for his license to be issued. He would like to build his own radio. Sadly, brands like Heathkit are long gone1, and it’s actually fairly difficult to find a reasonable kit these days.

Elecraft has some beautiful kits, but they’re very expensive and look to be very difficult to assemble. MFJ Enterprises also has some kits, but they’re mostly low-power CW, and I don’t do code (yet).

I’ve run across this site, however, that focuses on QRP radio kits that are made in China, and are very reasonable. The one problem I see, however, is that they require you to have an existing receiver to be able to calibrate your kit-built one, which kind of defeats the purpose. I’m sorely tempted, however, to get the KN-Q7A pre-assembled, just so that I’ll have an HF rig to start playing with, since (at $180) it’s very inexpensive.

If you have any recommendations on radio kits, or have any experience, please let me know! You can leave a comment here or fill out the Contact form.


  1. The Tentec model 1056 receiver kit came highly recommended from people over on Reddit and it looks great. It’s not a transceiver, but a receiver only, but it appears to be a solid kit and is very inexpensive at only $39.00. Tentec also has some QRP CW kits as well, though those cost a bit more.

  1. Heathkit may, in fact, be rebooted sometime soon. Stay tuned. ↩︎

Glen Campbell
May 7, 2014