The Penntek TR-45L (skinny) arrived in the mail today. I put it on the air almost immediately and wasn’t disappointed. The purchase was prompted by the fact that WA3RNC announced his retirement and would be closing his shop making these units no longer available. I wanted one since it was first announced, but it took long enough to wind its way to market that I put it off until it was almost too late. I feel lucky to have gotten one under the wire, as it were.

I’d be the first to admit that the big draw for me was the retro-chic look of the five-band QRP CW transceiver. It covers 80, 40, 30, 20, and 17 meters with five watts output. I’m knee deep in similar transceivers, but this one just looks cool though that’s not the only thing that attracted me to it. I like that it’s simple to operate. The manual is comprised of just a few pages, it’s not some hundred plus page treatise. There are no nested menus buried deep in software. There’s a button or switch on the front panel for every available feature. Plus, it supports keeping a paddle and a straight key plugged in at all times. That’s a unique feature that would make any SKCC operator happy.

There is no digital interface and that’s fine by me. My interest with the TR-45L is QRP CW only and while it receives SSB, the unit supports no other mode. I bought it without an internal battery or antenna tuner. These matters are more than covered. (More about this in a few days when another new toy arrives).

The first order of business was putting it on the air which took only a few minutes from the time I opened the box to its inaugural QSO. I made six contacts with it in short order this afternoon, all POTA activators and easy picking.

The TR-45L has moved up in the rotation and will get top billing for the foreseeable future. My first goal with it is Worked All States. I already have WAS across multiple bands and modes, including the Triple Play award (fifty states confirmed on Digital, fifty on CW, and fifty on Phone) and all the wallpaper that goes with all that. This isn’t about more wallpaper. This is about setting a goal and achieving it. Today was six quick contacts including LA, FL, MO, TX, and Canada, so I figure I’ve already started down that path.

I’m looking forward to using this one out on the patio this summer while enjoying being outdoors and playing radio, always a winning combination.