After waiting about 4 months I received my Venus Itech SW-3B QRP transceiver. Around mid June I shot an email off to Venus Itech requesting status on my order. Dale, BA4TB (owner and operator of Venus Itech) kindly replied within 24 hours assuring me that my order was in progress and that delays were due to the Covid virus.
Unboxing showed that the SW-3B was well packed and included the power cord, a BNC to SO239 adapter and manual. As a 3 band (40,30,20) CW / SSB (RX only) transceiver almost every feature of the rig is self-explanatory. A short and to the point manual makes sense for a rig like this. Finding out how to change the keyer speed and storing my call for the automated CQ was about all I needed from the manual. Those features were similar to my old TenTec R4030/4020 rigs.
Next up was to compare a couple of key features that really bugged the hell out of me with the $600 XEIGU X5105 that I quickly sold. The X5105 had this constant hiss in the receiver and the onboard keyer was a disaster. No matter how I adjusted the dot dash ratio the X5105 keying was super choppy. My guess is that whoever designed the onboard keyer at XIEGU never actually worked code.
At an amazing $188 and a size of only 4 x 2 5/8 x 5/8 inches this rig has an excellent receiver while using headphones or an external speaker. There’s no receiver hiss like that $600 rig and the onboard keyer is as smooth as my KX3. There no AGC but the range of the RF Gain control works exactly as needed.
In summary, after a quick comparison of the key features, waiting for the SW-3B was worth it. You can tell when a rig is designed by a ham radio operator. Hey! Look for a follow up post about my SW-3B after I’ve put some hours on it.
Here’s a YouTube review of the SW-3B features by W5KV:
What kind of QRP rigs do you have? Which one is your favorite and why?
72 de @ke2yk