Back in February I ordered a low power SSB transceiver from MFJ, the MFJ-9440. In June it arrived!
They have versions for 75m, 40m, 20m and 10m. For US$260, you get a simple transceiver that draws low current (100mA) on receive (attractive for long listening on battery power) and puts out about 5W on transmit. The design is by K1BQT, Fred Littlefield, and is well regarded.
Construction is solid and it looks like it could survive a bit of travel without any bits dropping off. Internally it's largely surface mount which should be very robust.
Receive sensitivity is adequate but not as good as other radios here. Given the low power output I can probably only contact people who are very strong anyway. There's plenty of receive audio volume available, but there is some hiss behind it.
Coverage comes set to about 7.15Mhz to 7.35 so I shifted mine down and re-peaked the receiver.
This afternoon, I called CQ and was quickly answered by Peter, VK2NEO located in Griffith who gave me a 5 and S9 (although there was some fading). We had a good chat during which he reported that I was slowly drifting "towards 20m" but that transmit audio was "excellent".
Manly Warringah 80m sked contact Brian, VK2JE, also popped up, based near Taree and also gave a good report.
I'm pleased with the radio, it's fun to use a simple analog VFO controlled rig for a change and to not have all the buttons and menus.
It did take a long time to arrive and the front panel is a little rough in both printing and the dial pointer is slightly damaged. The meter doesn't seem to show my transmit power very much for some reason but an external meter shows about 5W peak output.
It's a fun edition to the shack and the price is reasonable. Thanks to Peter and Brian for responding so quickly to my CQ on 40m. You can read the manual here.