The HT-1A is a compact 20/40m dual band CW QRP transceiver from CRKITS that comes in either kit form or fully assembled. I received the fully assembled model, so this review won’t cover the kit building process. Even though I didn’t build this one, I did take a peek inside. SMD components are used, but not to worry. All the SMD parts are pre-mounted, and you will only have to solder through hole components.
Measuring 4.33” x 4.09” x 2.32” and weighing in at only 400 grams (14.12 oz), the HT-1A is a great option for hams that enjoy portable operating in the great outdoors. It’d be a good fit for SOTA & POTA activations or even quick LTOTA deployments (Lunch Time On The Air).
It has a transmit range of 7.0-7.2 MHz and 14.0-14.35 MHz. Even though this rig only transmits CW, it does have the ability to listen to SSB signals. It also has an extended receive range, which covers everything between 5.9-16 MHz which means shortwave broadcast reception while in SSB mode. Filter bandwidth is set at about 300 Hz for CW and 1.8 KHz for SSB. Spurious suppression is no worse than -50 dBc. I was impressed that the receiver is surprisingly sensitive considering the size and price of the radio. Using simple base loaded MFJ single band telescopic whip antennas with no counterpose and no grounding, I was able to copy quite a few QSOs on 20m and 40m.
RF power output is 5 watts with 12 volts input power, but it can handle up to 15 volts. However, the transceiver can be powered off a 9 volt battery in a pinch if needed. Speaking of batteries, this little guy even has room to install an internal lithium ion battery pack! Current consumption during receive is about 60 milliamps with the display backlight on and only about 45 milliamps when the backlight is off. During transmit, the HT-1A draws 1 amp.
No internal speaker is provided with the HT-1A, however there is plenty of room inside the enclosure to install a small speaker and audio amplifier. I used a tiny external LiPo powered amplified speaker and a set of headphones to keep things simple.
The HT-1A has some great features for such a small and affordable QRP transceiver. These include: 16 user programmable memory channels, built-in keyer for iambic paddles, full break-in QSK, RIT, XIT, AGC, S-meter, and even side tone selection. The HT-1A can even automatically detect whether you are using paddles or a straight key. The built-in keyer is adjustable from 5-40 words per minutes and is set at 15 WPM by default.
I was able to easily fit it into a small rugged waterproof case along with a couple single band telescopic whips for 20m/40m, a small 12v LiPo battery, headphones, a MK-11 Pocket Spy Micro Straight Key, and a bulldog BD6 Mini Iambic Key.
I had a blast with this compact QRP rig. It’s just so easy and fun to use! With an interface consisting of only 2 buttons, 2 knobs and an on/off switch, you can learn to operate the HT-1A in just a couple minutes and without ever reading the user manual. I think this ease of use makes it a great option for preppers who typically want a compact affordable emergency backup transceiver. Plus, you don’t have to take much time to relearn the interface if you haven’t used it in a long time.
The HT-1A from CRKITS should appeal to a wide demographic of ham enthusiasts, builders, beginners, preppers, SOTA, and especially the budget savvy ham crowd. If you fit into any of these categories, then I highly recommend you take a close look at this great little dual band 20m/40m CW transceiver.
73! from James Hannibal – KH2SR
Kit Price: $150 USD
Fully Assembled Price: $175 USD
Available for purchase at the following links:
Chassis Dimensions: 110 x 59 x 104 mm (not including protruding parts like knobs)
Weight: About 400 grams (14.12 oz)
Power supply: 9-15 V DC
During RX: About 60 mA when backlight is on and about 45 mA when backlight is off
During TX: About 0.8 A (@ 12 V)
Local oscillator: DDS, reference frequency 54 MHz
RF output power: About 5 W (@ 12V)
RX: 5.9-16 MHz continuous (peak sensitivity only in 40 m and 20 m bands)
TX: 7.0-7.2MHz and 14.0-14.35MHz
Side tone: 600 Hz
Keyer: Built-in, 5-40 wpm adjustable
Memory: 16 memories, user programmable
RX mode: CW, SSB (LSB only if it is below 10 MHz, and USB only if it is equal or above 10MHz)
AGC: Audio derived AGC with S-meter to show relative strength just for reference
QSK: Full break-in
Spurious Suppression: no worse than -50 dBc
Filter bandwidth: about 300 Hz for CW and 1.8 KHz for SSB
Antenna Connector: BNC
Audio Connector: 3.5mm
Key Connector: 3.5mm