Interesting comment from Edwin VK2VEL re the boom in the Chinese Kit scene in response to the recent mention of the KN-Q7 40 m SSB QRP kit.
The KN-Q7 was designed by Ke Shi, BA6BF and has since been superceded by the KN-Q8, 9 and 10. As Edwin says “The kit (or ‘DIY’ in Chinese ham speak) scene in China is absolutely enormous”. I checked out his leads to the Taobao auction site (Wikipedia info) and the hellocq.net forum and quickly realised the limits of my minimal barely there Mandarin.
I also discovered via Google that you can find Taobao agents to purchase in your own language.
There are a number of designers busily producing some interesting looking sets.
The models include:
KN-Q9 by BA6BF - uses a DDS + PLL frequency synthesizer
TJ6A 6 bands SSB CW QRP Transceiver – available via eBay for about US$285
HB-1A 3 Band HF CW Transceiver by BD4RG
Stumbled across Adam Rong’s BD6CR/4 site. Document about building a KN-Q9 and an image of a Thunder TH-300 2 band txrx by BD6RA.
As Adam explained in a prompt reply to my email, one significant hurdle to jump regarding these attractive radio kits is that the assembly manuals are generally not translated from Chinese. As the price advantage is firmly China’s way and the quality (by judging online videos etc) seems good, I would have thought there would ultimately be a significant international market. Also I suspect there’s a sizeable enough community of Chinese speaking hams – in China and overseas – who are only too willing to give this industry a boost by crowdsourcing the translation of the assembly instructions.
This aspect possibly explains why the NZ Feature Tech are still selling the KN-Q7, an effectively superceded model. I’ve seen the TJ6A – which seems more current – and other models on the Canadian Youkits.com site. There’s an information sheet, and a 23 page construction guide on the site. It’s hard to distinguish the Youkits site and an eBay store based in China and be sure which version of the set is on offer.