Tuesday, June 13, 2023

QRPver QRP Minion SDR Transceiver

The QRPVer QRP Minion SDR transceiver I ordered on Feb 3, has just arrived (June 13). So far I'm very impressed. It's very compact, with a beautiful display and enough audio power to be heard clearly.

Operating frequency ranges: 1.8, 3.5, 5, 7, 10, 14, 18, 21, 24, 26-30 MHz.

The unit has a USB port for CAT control and software updates. There's also audio line in and out for digital modes. 

I plugged it in to a 40m dipole and it receives well. I called in to the morning net on 7.1Mhz and was given a 5/5. Another station, unprompted, popped up to say that my audio sounded good.

Here's some video of the Macedon Ranges Amateur Radio Club 80m net with comments from other stations. Note the PL-259 connector on top to show the size.

The company that makes these is in Ukraine and I'm sympathetic to the obvious disruption that's taking place over there. It's amazing that they can keep an export business going. The purchase process was not smooth and, hearing nothing, I thought perhaps my money was gone. Yurii asks that you pay with PayPal and select "friends & family" option which saves him a fee but also means you can't reverse the transaction if the goods don't come. I would advise purchasers to add 3% and pay normally.

Anyhow, all good in the end although my unit arrived with damage to the rear panel but otherwise working well. 

I've written to Yurii to ask about ordering a replacement rear panel. So far, no reply. In the mean time, I've made a replacement rear panel. I skipped the power switch as simply unplugging the 12V is fine for me.

Yikes, no low pass filter!

The manual isn't explicit but another multi band radio from QRPver mentions that the low pass filter is at 30Mhz and external filters should be used for other bands. I can confirm this:

Transmitting on 80m CW the spectrum shows that the first harmonic is down just 4.3dB. 

The waveform on CW looks rather bad.

I did use it into a resonant 80m dipole so there would have been some filtering but this is a concern and an external low pass filter is definitely required for legal (or responsible) operation.

Update from the next post, after building a low pass filter for 80m, the CW waveform looks much better:

A question about tuning

When transmit is keyed the display shows audio level, power out and SWR - very convenient!

Tuning needs a fixed RF output which could be created in CW mode or with a tone on SSB. There is an indicator saying "Tone OFF" here. The user manual describes this as "Tone tune Indicator" and one of the features listed is "Transmit tone to tune the antenna tuner, amplifier."

I can't see how to turn on the tuning tone. Perhaps it's done via CAT from an amplifier? Interested to hear if anyone knows.

There are some more detailed reviews here. The current price is US$410.00. (Microphone sold separately).

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