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Review Of The 5W (tr)uSDX QRP Transceiver

The (tr)uSDX QRP Transceiver is a 5W HF multimode transceiver. The small size makes it excellent for portable work. A tiny but mighty five bands transceiver.
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roWaves Technologies

Magnetic materials and RF electronic components for amateur  radio / ham radio.

A quick review of the (tr)uSDX Transceiver, a 5W multiband / multimode QRP Transceiver. After receiving my amateur radio license, I realized that I’m way behind building my own equipment. Just like everyone else, I was really excited that I was able to do QSO’s. Sadly I had no transceiver to do that. Here is where my friend Andrei ( YO6TJJ ) came to the rescue. He sent me one of the best presents for this year, a (tr)uSDX QRP transceiver that would allow me to finally get on air.

1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I was thinking a lot lately to order the PCB and the components to build one. The only thing that made me postpone my decision, was the lack of equipment I had to fine tune it. That made me think that I will not be able to bring it up to the specs.

I decided that the best for me would be to order one that is already adjusted and properly tested. It seems that Andrei can read my thoughts, because I woke up with the delivery man in front of the house, with an unexpected package.

2. ORDERING OPTIONS

Don’t forget to check DL2MAN web page to always stay up to date with the latest list of approved sellers for the (tr)uSDX. Especially that lately there are a lot of shady transceivers available on the market that will never be able to do firmware updates since the manufacturer did not respect the license. Talking about the firmware updates, always check for the latest one as Manuel and Guido seem to improve it constantly with new features.

My friends at roWaves no longer sell the (tr)uSDX transceiver.

3. THE (tr)uSDX QRP TRANSCEIVER

In the video I’m talking mostly about my opinions about this little transceiver. The best part of the (tr)uSDX is that it has five HF bands available. If you like QRP and portable work this is the perfect choice so far. I usually don’t like any digital amateur radio equipment. I did followed all the work and development of the (tr)uSDX transceiver on Manuel’s YouTube channel.

It has been a lot of hard work behind done by Manuel and Guido. For a beginner in amateur radio, this little QRP transceiver is just perfect. I would also recommend you to read the Users Manual. Many of the questions people usually ask, have answers in the manual.

DATA OF THE TRANSCEIVER RECEIVED FROM ROWAVES

PA EFFICIENCY @ 12v POWER (W)
80m - 76.6%
5.06
60m - 74.3%
5.71
40m - 75.8%
6.2
30m - 74%
6.48
20m - 76.2%
5.78

I did not had much free time lately, but I do listen on the (tr)uSDX every time I’m at the desk working on my laptop. I also made my very first QSO on this tiny transceiver. For sure I will remember it all my life. The overall opinion is that it’s worth having one. Even if you have fancy equipment to use, it’s still great to have one for portable work. It’s so tiny that it fits in your pocket. The fact that you can also power it via USB it’s a plus, even if the power is only 500mW.

I’ve been playing a lot with FT8 and similar modes, as it works great for digital mods as well. It has CAT control that goes really well with all sort of software. For me the CAT control was great when using Log40M2, as I didn’t had to input the frequency all the time in the log. The software will always autocomplete those fields with the info received from the transceiver.

If 5W are not enough, you also have the option to connect it to an external power amplifier. I do have the JUMA PA-100D HF linear amplifier at 100W on my wishlist already. And if 100W won’t do for you, then the new JUMA PA-1000+ is what you are looking for.

4. SPEAKER OUTPUT

Many people that didn’t follow the development of the (tr)uSDX complained about the speaker output. The transceiver did not had that speaker at first. The one that comes now with the transceiver, it’s nothing but an emergency speaker that was added in the last minute. It’s not excellent, but is better than having no audio at all. If you don’t raise the volume over 11, you should have decent audio with no issues. If you ever go out for portable work and you forget your headphones or the amplified speaker, you will end up loving that little speaker. I sure know what I’m talking about as I do that quite often ( ha ).

5. IDEAS FOR THE DEVELOPERS

I will not go into the programing side as I don’t know much about that. As I was saying, I prefer analog equipment. But I do appreciate very much the fact that they managed to get so much, out of such a small and simple processor. There are only three things I didn’t like. I do understand the reasons behind the choices made though, so I’m not actually complaining about it. First is the SMA connector, as I would always prefer a straight BNC instead. I do understand the space limitations in that little package.

The second thing is the use of the USB connector. A USB C would be great in the future designs, since it seems to become an international standard for the phones as well. Right now in my area, the other types of USB cables simply disappeared. They only seem to sell USB C. I ended up ordering one online.

The last one is the power connector. I know that because of the space limitations is harder to use a 6mm one that is more common for most power supplies or battery packs. It took me a little, but at the end I managed to replace the power connector with a 6mm one.

6. FINAL THOUGHTS

The fact that I have nice words about the (tr)uSDX QRP transceiver, has nothing to do with my friendship with Andrei from roWaves. I’m writing this part months after receiving the transceiver and I will say that I am more than happy about it. The power output seems bigger in reality compared to the PA efficiency table on top. On the 40m band I actually have around 7.2W output power. Is great fun in SSB and digital modes. It connects really nice and communicates with most amateur radio software available via CAT control.

Sadly I still didn’t had the free time to learn the Morse code so far. But making tests in CW I did realized how much fun that is. If you are looking for a cheap portable transceiver, I would really recommend it. Is not perfect is true, but even with a few limitations that it has, is an excellent transceiver especially for beginners. Have a look at my logbook, as it fills up with QSO’s and so far they are all made using the (tr)uSX transceiver.

73 DE YO6DXE

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6 Comments

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  1. Hi,

    Great thanks for publishing stuff in written form (for oldschool people, that still know how to read) instead of pushing everything only as video on youtube.

    73, de SP9LRD, Misha

    • Thank you Misha. I wish I had a little more time to write. I prefer the blog than YouTube as I can share more detailed information than a video. I consider the videos more like a… demo.
      73 my friend, YO6DXE

  2. Estoy tentando para comprar uno, tengo varias dudas, pero, la principal es, cuál es su desempeño en fonia?
    Gracias.
    Alvaro Gasga Cid del Prado XE3PNO

    • Hola Alvaro… A mi me funciona bien. Estoy muy feliz por ello en SSB. Solo debe asegurarse de tener una buena antena y un estrangulador de modo común para evitar que la corriente de modo común ingrese al transceptor. Por lo general, eso causará algunos malos informes, ya que estropeará la modulación. Pero hasta ahora estoy contento con la forma en que funciona… tanto en SSB como en digital. No uso CW en este momento ya que todavía estoy aprendiendo el código Morse.
      73, YO6DXE

  3. A very nice review article. It motivated me to buy the little transceiver.It appears to be just what I have been looking for.