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Author Topic: DC-3001 "Minion Mini" from QRPver; New kid on the block  (Read 1988 times)
VE3OCU
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Posts: 11




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« on: April 04, 2018, 09:14:54 AM »

All things come to those who wait...

The DC-3001, (AKA "Minion Mini") a $350 USD, 9-band, direct-conversion, transceiver from QRPver has been shipping for a couple of weeks now.
Particulars, including a FAQ, YouTube-videos, ordering-info, user-manual, schematics and accessories here:

   https://qrpver.com/transceivers/all-band-hf-direct-conversion-transceiver-qrpver-dc-3001-minion-mini.html

The design owes its providence to the QRP-2004, designed by Jan Verduyn G0BBL, John Law G8BTR (sk), and Alan Rowe M0PUB, as well as the JUMA TRX2 transceiver.

   http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/qrp2004/
   http://www.jumaradio.com/juma-trx2/

Going back ~30-years, the above two direct conversion (ham) transceivers have providence in the PRC-2000 & PRC-319 manpack sets designed for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) by MEL (Mullard Equipment Ltd) in the late 1980's.

   http://www.w7kf.com/Articles/Rigs/PRC-2000.html
   http://www.cryptomuseum.com/radio/mel/prc319/index.htm

Considering the glut of QRP rigs now available, the DC-3001 appears to have a lot of things going for it, including:

- Lowest price relative to features available, and competitive offerings
- Assembled & tested
- Very small size (100x100x30 mm)
- Light weight (430-g)
- Modest power consumption (~120-ma on receive)
- USB interface for CAT control (TS-440 protocol)
- 5-9 watt power output
- .5 micro-volt receiver sensitivity (not *great*, but acceptable relative to the price)
- 80-db of AGC dynamic range
- Simple uncluttered functional ergonomics

A review of the schematics indicate the I/Q outputs should be easy to tap into, for adding a pan-adapter, or external SDR computer processing support.

Looking forward to seeing some objective reviews!

Who's got one? What's your opinion? How does the DC-3001 compare with offerings from Xiegu, Elecraft, LNR, et al?

With repackaging into a more suitable form factor, and the addition of an antenna-tuner and battery pack, could this rig be the basis for a rapidly deployable handheld HF set?

   http://qrper.com/2013/05/hamvention-tokyo-hy-powers-xt-751-5w-hf-ht/

de VE3OCU in Ottawa
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KC0MYW
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Posts: 31




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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 01:11:50 PM »

Thanks for bringing it up. I had not seen that one yet and it looks interesting.

After a quick perusal of the specs/information on the website and the downloadable user's manual, I'm intrigued.

Sure, there are things that could be nit-picked on the specs such as receiver sensitivity or that I would like to see the CW bandwidth go down to 200Hz or 300Hz; but it would still be functional/usable at least to some degree and for a budget priced radio would probably be just fine.

With a size of roughly 4"x4"x1" it would have perhaps been better if they would have put the "front panel" on the 'top' 4"x4" side rather than on a 4"x1" side where the photo on the website makes it look pretty nice but that photo is 1.5x the actual size as measured with a tape measure (at least on my screen) so in actuality those buttons are pretty small and close together and the display is really tiny.

All that said, the "oh, that's cool - I should get one" factor is fairly high and for $350 to my door I would probably get one on order.

However, it does not come with a mic ($29.00 extra) and even though I primarily operate CW on HF (especially when QRP) I still like to at least HAVE a mic for SSB capable radios. I also selected to include the $7.00 power cable, I know I've got a couple around here that would work and were probably half that cost, but they don't have the built-in filter and right-angle plug so $7.00 for this one seems somewhat reasonable. This brings the total to $386.00, still not too bad.

Upon going to the checkout, I decided not to place an order at this time. The cheapest shipping on this 0.78kg (1.7lb) package to USA is $48.00 and selecting PayPal as the payment method adds an additional $61.76 fee. (The additional fee is only $5.00 if you choose to do a wire transfer and go to your bank and pay them whatever their fee would be, but PayPal is a much simpler and more convenient option.) The final total that I would have to pay to get one of these to my door with the mic and power cable was $495.76. Still a pretty reasonably priced rig, but there are lot of HF rigs around at the $500 price point and, for my pocketbook and in my opinion, that's a bit above the "oh, that's cool - I gotta have that" factor of this particular rig.

I still think it looks interesting and if/when there are some favorable reviews from some of the more known/experienced QRP enthusiasts, I would be willing to put some serious consideration towards purchasing one.
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AE5X
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Posts: 1138




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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2018, 07:39:20 AM »

I was all set to order one - until I saw the "surcharge" for using PayPal:

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N8DAH
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 11:23:37 AM »

I have been looking at one for a Pack rig. I haven't seen the paypal up charge that would be a deal breaker for me as well since a used 817 is about 400 or so. I have yet to see any reviews about it so I guess I wait.

also just checked and its against the paypal ToS to upcharge too
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 11:41:35 AM by N8DAH » Logged
AE5X
Member

Posts: 1138




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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 12:24:25 PM »

also just checked and its against the paypal ToS to upcharge too


Yes, it is against their ToS. I did email QRPver to ask about that charge - I'll post whatever reply I get here and on my website.

I have a theory that it is to discourage any potential requests for a return/refund since the buyer would lose this amount regardless. QRPver notes elsewhere on their website that refunds granted for items ordered via their other payment method (Swift Transfer) would result in a 12.5% restocking fee. This PP charge is, in my opinion, nothing more than a "restocking" fee to discourage refund requests.
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VE3OCU
Member

Posts: 11




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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2018, 12:50:35 PM »

Concerning the surcharge for using PayPal; From the additional FAQ here: https://qrpver.com/faq

Question:

> Why is there an extra (far over priced) charge on Paypal?
> It does not costs you extra.
> I'm a seller too so this supriced me and I have to think a while before i order.
> 73 Hans PD1AHM

Answer:

> This is due to the fact that in our country there is no possibility to accept
> PayPal directly and we have to accept payment through the gateway where
> a commission is charged for each transfer of funds.

Comment:

> also just checked and its against the paypal ToS to upcharge too

Strictly speaking, this likely doesn't apply to this seller, as *they're* not a customer of PayPal, the gateway service provider is, and it's not the gateway provider who's applying the surcharge...

Until a North American or European distributor takes on some inventory, the option of a SWIFT Money Transfer maybe the way to go, as the surcharge is almost 20% of the cost!

  <at-your-own-risk-insert-joke-about-Russian-oligarchs-here>

de VE3OCU

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AE5X
Member

Posts: 1138




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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2018, 07:16:19 AM »

After looking around a bit I'm still not convinced.

The Transverter Store is also a Ukrainian vendor (and even sells some QRPver items) without the PP penalty.
http://www.auctiva.com/stores/viewstore2.aspx?id=1948691&page=contact
and
http://transverters-store.com/contact.htm

They sell via eBay as well - again, without a PP mark-up. Is it possible that QRPver and the Transverter Store consist of the same people? Regardless, they are both in Ukraine, both accept PP for payment and yet only one of them has a 20% "extra fee" added to the purchase of their products.

Hopefully they guys behind the Minion Mini find a way sell their products internationally without the financial penalty to the buyers. QRPver and RigExpert products are fairly priced and originate from the same country.
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VE3OCU
Member

Posts: 11




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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 08:42:38 AM »

It appears that Yury Gubernatorov UR5FYG in Odessa, (Ukraine) is the principal designer of the DC-3001.
I'm seeking clarification from him about QRPer's policy of applying a surcharge for orders settled via PayPal.
Maybe an improvement in the "optics" of this policy will be helpful for business?

de VE3OCU
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AE5X
Member

Posts: 1138




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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2018, 08:28:36 AM »

It appears that Yury Gubernatorov UR5FYG in Odessa, (Ukraine) is the principal designer of the DC-3001.
I'm seeking clarification from him about QRPer's policy of applying a surcharge for orders settled via PayPal.
Maybe an improvement in the "optics" of this policy will be helpful for business?

de VE3OCU

That would be great. I never heard back from him on my email.
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