Hans responds to a few questions asked regarding the upcoming QSX kit. For those that don't know, the QSX will initially be released as a 10-watt, monoband, all-mode kit with later options available that will convert it to a 10-160m rig - all for around $150. And with performance said to be comparable to rigs costing 10x the price.
Needless to say, many - including me - are eager to see the release of this kit.
QRP Labs capacity
QRP Labs volume handling capacity is considerably greater than in August 2017 when the QCX kit http://qrp-labs.com/qcx was released. Back then, shipping was handled by two part-time ladies in Japan. They were unable to meet the demand and so additional help in extra locations was brought in to help clear the backlog. Since May 2018, we have a dedicated full-time employee who handles package shipments. We expect to be able to handle production and shipping volumes in excess of 1,000 units per month. Probably a lot more than that, if necessary. To put that in context - in the August 2017 the peak order volume for QCX kits was 589 kits (from 21st to 31st August inclusive). The average sales for the first 5 months was 500 kits per month. So you can see that we have a much greater production and shipment capability now and expect to be able to handle demand for QSX without the large backlogs which built up in the first few months of the QCX.
QRP Labs kit runs
As someone pointed out - QRP Labs policy is not a limited kit run. We will continue manufacturing and shipping as long as it is economically possible to do so, and you can see this with all the 20-or-so kits in the QRP Labs line-up http://qrp-labs.com . To date, the only kits which have been retired, have been the kits in the progression from the original 2010 QRSS TX kit to the Ultimate, Ultimate2, and Ultimate3. Each one superseded its predecessor which was retired. ALL other kits QRP Labs ever produced, are still in production. When they run out, we manufacture another batch.
QCX kit continues...
Although there is some overlap, I do not view the QSX as a replacement for the QCX. The QCX has been tremendously popular, to date selling 6,708 kits. The QCX has become a classic QRP kit in its own right, used for a wide range of purposes from student education, to SOTA activities, contesting, and of course casual shack operating. A CW-only transceiver always has a place, particularly since the highly efficient Class-E power amplifier stage is very battery friendly, which is not possible with an all-modes transceiver. I have no current plans to retire the QCX! The QCX kit will continue in parallel with QSX!
QSX ordering schedule
I get it that some people might view "fair" as 1 per person; and I like Chris OE1CGS' suggestion of collecting orders for a couple of days then selecting at random to fulfil from the available stock... however, these things would be time-consuming to administer. It will be far simpler to just satisfy orders on a first-come-first-served basis. Particularly since we do not expect to have backlog issues like with QCX. Also, whereas the QCX kit first batch was 500 kits (with ~90 going to YOTA 2017 summercamp buildathon attendees), this time I will make sure that the first manufactured batch of QSX is much larger. Therefore the most practical way of launching the kit, will be for me to announce a day or two in advance, a certain date and time at which sales will be opened. Then satisfy orders first-come-first-served. Apart from a small handful of kits which are already allocated to certain individuals on the basis of good deeds or other promises - which will go first :-) I also do not expect any server traffic issue.
QSX progress and availability date
Yes, I know it has taken a lot longer than I expected. However, I am determined to get it right. Or at least, as close to right as possible. There is a world of difference between a monoband CW-only transceiver, and an all-modes transceiver which will later be multi-band covering all HF. It is a highly complex undertaking.
This design also breaks new ground. It combines top shelf performance normally seen only in radios 10x the price, with a huge array of features, and all at very low cost. Three things together, simultaneously: high performance, many features, low cost. There is NO other radio available, kit or ready-made, which combines these three. There has NEVER been any radio which combines these three (not at anywhere near this low cost). The QSX radio truly cuts new ground. This is also why it is a very difficult project for poor me. If it was easy, someone would have done it already. But, nobody has.
Rest assured, I am working hard on it, a proportion of every day (after all the emails and other tasks). When I go to sleep at night, my brain is working on it. If I wake up in the night, I find my brain has been dreaming about it. When I wake up in the morning, sometimes a solution is at hand. Work, night and day. Hairs growing greyer and fewer by the day. This evening I undertook the particularly tedious and unwelcome (but I am reliably informed, necessary) duty of my bi-monthly shower and shave. Looking at the ghost in the mirror I noted two blisters on my nose. SOLDER blisters. That's what happens when you peer through the Jeweler's Loupe to solder something tiny and concentrate so hard that you forget how long your nose is. Occupational hazards.
So please... bear with me, be patient. The wait will be WELL WORTH IT.
73 Hans G0UPL