YouKits TJ2B

These recordings are from TJ2B on 18.135Mhz USB: 

qso.wma qso.wma
Size : 438.954 Kb
Type : wma
w5dnt.wma w5dnt.wma
Size : 316.181 Kb
Type : wma
wa1gzy.wma wa1gzy.wma
Size : 118.866 Kb
Type : wma

This video is a DX contact with D4C (Cape Verde Island off the coast of Africa) with only 2 watts SSB at 28.525 on Hexbeam. 

CapeVerde.wmv CapeVerde.wmv
Size : 14046.422 Kb
Type : wmv

June 2013

YouKits HF SSB Kit Transceiver 14-30Mhz

I settled on a Youkits TJ2B after looking for a multiband HF QRP kit for under $275. The mainstream offerings in this price range are mostly missing 10 meters. I began searching for niche vendors to find something unique and fun, and came across Youkits in my internet search results.

The new TJ2B "Kit B" seemed ideal, offering 14Mhz to 30Mhz SSB +(CW Receive) in a handheld case and $269 plus ship.

Also offered is "Kit A" which is a 3Mhz to 14Mhz version.

The TJ2B is a great concept. It was a faster build but every bit as much fun to assemble as the K2's I built. The final product has a quality fit and finish styled like an Elecraft. The receiver is analog and has a great natural sound but you do need a battery or a well regulated PS, no wall warts. 

It is a simple radio, minimal AGC on receive, 40 memories, and no computer interface but it is easy and enjoyable to operate even in the hamshack. It has fixed station quality received audio (using external amplified speakers) and low noise. It is extremely stable using a nice DDS with an LCD display. The case has a quality powder coat with bright white labels. The inside includes high quality PCB's with all pre-soldered SMT components. The firmware in the radio works well, it is flexible for setting up the BFO values and some other customization. The internal rechargable lithium battery is 1600mah and the radio draws 250ma on receive. The TJ2B is a terrific fixed station spotting radio, I leave mine on all the time operating from the station supply, antenna, and amplified speakers. RF output (using a pulser) on mine is 20m/1.5w, 17m/3.5w, 15m/4.5w, 12m/3w, 10m/2.5w. It may take the careful selection of an external microphone to drive the Kit B transmitter to the levels shown using the pulser. The receiver can be connected to the station antenna but is overloaded easily and the AF gain is a little low on weak signals. TJ2B was designed primarily for working strong fixed stations in the field using shortened antennas but I enjoy leaving it turned on a dead band using the station antenna, where it will be dead quiet until the band opens and then provide a high level of volume when a moderate signal is detected on frequency. 17m is a great band for this purpose. 

This radio might not be for everyone however, for a number of significant reasons:

- Youkits is not setup to ship TJ2B in any kind of volume, they make very small batches and ship when they can, you will probably wait on your order.

- TJ2B is shipped directly from China.

- The assembly instructions work for savvy builders, they boil down to just some decent notes and photos. In one section of the assembly instructions you are directed to solder a section of coax directly to two boards that were layed out for MMCX connectors. Experienced builders will immediately see that some kind of a strain relief on the interboard coax connections is an absolute MUST. There are some assembly notes in the FILES area of the Yahoo Group for YouKits Canada. Magnification, strong lighting, and a steady hand are required to solder some tiny parts and to hand wind and tin small toroids. 

- The kits inventory list is not comprehensive and the step by step assembly document is missing checkboxes. The photos you see when attaching a part does not always show the board that you are working on in the same stage of assembly as your own. 

- As of today there is no schematic. 

- The assembly for TJ2B is simple and the engineering and materials are amazing versus dollars paid. But if something is missing from your kit or the radio does not fire up at some test stage, there is no in-country support center staffed with parts, nor is there an in-country repair center if the unit comes to the point of last resort. There is one smart and very helpful man named Yimin who will do whatever he can for you within the constraints that he lives in Canada and most everything else is in China.

- If the radio does not operate within published specs even after proper assembly you may be asked to disassemble it, desolder and replace various components (normally resistors) in a trial and error fashion until it works as designed. Mainly in the PA section, said to be due to parts tolerances.

- Shipping radios back to China for service is either cost prohibitive (Fedex $175 from Ca.) or Customs prohibited (USPS). Servicing happens in China, not Canada. 

- The quickly evolving HF line at Youkits seems to leave a higher than expected number of discontinued models. 

Youkits is in it's infancy and their great desire is to innovate at a break neck pace. Their profit margins are slim to non-existent. You can get a terrific product from them and I really enjoy my TJ2B. The design is innovative and unique but it is a riskier proposition than going with with the more established brands. de wb8yqj...


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