NOTE: Far more detail on these two rigs is available on Thomas K4SWL’s website here.
With Ten Tec now selling a YouKits version of Elecraft’s KX1 I thought I’d take a look at how the two compare in basic features.
Numbers don’t tell all but they’re a good place to start:
Some other differences:
- The KX1 offers a built-in autotuner for an additional $120. This greatly adds to the convenience of a rig designed for portable use given the wide variety of antennas that may be implemented by owners.
- The HB1B is already assembled for those who have no interest in building their own equipment.
- The HB1B also has a 4-pole filter. This may not seem like a big advantage over the KX1’s 3-pole but the KX1 does suffer from adjacent sideband interference of strong signals.
- Elecraft’s support is well-known and universally respected. Their online forum is also extremely helpful for those needing it. Tough to put a $ value on that asset…until you need it! How will Ten Tec’s support be for the HB1B? Not being a kit, similar levels of support probably won’t be required.
I have a 3-band KX1 and have taken it on many business and backpacking trips (most recently here). It’s a fine, reliable rig and, with its built-in tuner, offers a complete station in a single box – but at a price. A 4-band KX1 with tuner is a whopping $510. Add Elecraft’s paddles for the KX1 and you’re up to $580.
The KX1’s everything-in-one-box is a wonderful thing but it comes at the cost of flexibility, ie the KX1’s internal autotuner can only be used with the KX1. If I had it to do over again, I’d be very tempted to opt for the HB1B, an Elecraft T1 autotuner (that could be used with any QRP rig) and a set of paddles from Whiterook.