I haven’t made additional comments about the Penntek TR-25 transceiver from WA3RNC because there was a minor hiccup. When I received the dual-band CW transceiver kit there was a bug in the keyer circuit that wasn’t noticeable when using a straight key or bug. Once John was made aware of it, he asked that it be sent back for an update. Problem solved and the rig was back in my shack in a couple of days.
“This message is to inform you that the TR-25 transceiver you recently purchased may have an issue with the internal keyer firmware whereby the dot and dash memories might not be configured properly. This condition could cause varying degrees of difficulty when using the internal keyer.”
“If the software revision number that shows on the OLED display at power-on is other than “V.0.20”, you may return your unit for a no-charge reprogramming and recalibration service. At the same time, a slight upgrade modification will be made to allow for smoother QSK switching. Your TR-25 will be returned to you promptly, with the return freight cost born by Penntek Instruments.”
This wasn’t especially troubling. I ordered the unit the day it became available and sometimes early adopters have to deal with these things. John promptly took care of the situation and that gave me a great deal more confidence in his commitment to the product. Especially since I look forward to a future product from him - more on this later.
I’ve had the transceiver on the air enough to have made about a dozen contacts and determined that it works well. The receiver is quiet and sensitive on both 40 and 20 meters. It’s small, lightweight, and I’m still in love with its simplicity. Exposing deep levels of menu options in equipment this size thru some kind of clever yet impossible to use interface is failed design. The TR-25 is simple to use - there is a knob or a switch for every function.
At 13 volts the TR-25 draws right at 100ma on receive and 1.29a with key down at full power out - a shade over 10 watts. The specs say it can generate 4 watts output with a 9.5 volt supply though I didn’t try at that low input level.
Bottom line is that the TR-25 is a fun little QRP transceiver that will see plenty of use here, and yes, I heartily recommend it if you’re in the market for a small, dual-band QRP CW transceiver.
I traded emails with John about another product, the TR-45L that he has announced. A big brother to the TR-25, the TR-45L is a four-band QRP transceiver with a retro styling that I’d really like to see in my shack. But John indicated that the global electronic parts shortage was keeping the new transceiver from hitting the market:
“The TR-45 is delayed due to extremely long lead times for some critical parts. Some of these lead times are exceeding 54 weeks! It looks like the best guess for release will be first quarter of 2022. It might be possible to get a few units out this fall, but no guarantees. I’ll be posting some information about the delay on the TR-45L web page. Damn covid…”
Damn Covid indeed. I really want that transceiver!