It’s a great time to be into Survivalist Communications. It’s a great time to be into Survivalism, period. Sure, the world sucks. We’re on track to reignite the Cold War. The flames keep being fanned higher and higher here at home. The economy is borderline insane. Yep, all that.
And yet, the technology out there is advancing by leaps and bounds. 3D printers and rapid decline in the price of CNC machines has led to the world’s truly open-source weapon, the AR-15. Computers are smaller and more powerful than ever before. The access to information has never been easier. And radio has never been better.
QRP HF used to only have a handful of options- Ten-Tec was the leader- but even then it was limited to a couple bands and kinda tough to run in the field. Yaesu brought out the 817 and with it, revolutionized what a ‘field day’ radio should be. It’s served a lot of people well and continues to do so today. But even still, it’s got a couple drawbacks, namely an outdated receiver. The Icom 703 was nice, but kinda bulky, and no longer made. Elecraft came along with the KX3 and proved how nice and power efficient a receiver can be with QRP capability, and the KX2 has so far proven big things come in tiny, if expensive, packages. LNR is building nice sets in small batches, and the Chinese are importing a few interesting designs if one likes to gamble with their money.
Enter CommRadio, a subsection of AeroStream Communications in Colorado. Perhaps not a household name, AeroStream develops new and innovative SDR products, producing the excellent CR-1a all-mode receiver. After having been on the market for a few years, requests for a QRP transceiver have led to the development of the CTX-10- and from the looks of things, it’s just about everything one could want in the field for HF short of shelling out the cash for a Harris PRC-138 or 150. The whole body of the radio is machined as a heat sink, which as many know is a must-have accessory for Elecraft’s radios. The knobs are machined aluminum as well, proving that durability was put first in the design. But the biggest thing to get excited about is the inclusion of three 2600mAh internal batteries- so this thing can likely run in the field for a long time.
No internal tuner option like offered with Elecraft, but I’d gladly trade off an internal tuner for ruggedization. Edit to add- apparently it does include an internal tuner as well. This is incredible for its size.
Looking at the back of the case, all the standard features are where they should be, along with a fan to keep things cool and a BNC connection. It looks like it will have USB control capability, which will make running digital modes from a variety of devices simple. This is a big plus for efficient, reliable communications at low power. Running up to 10w @ 2A of power consumption, it appears to be very efficient although the full power specs have yet to be published.
Overall I’m very excited about this- I think it’s the radio 817 fans have been asking Yaesu to build for a long while now and similar in size and form factor. No MSRP is posted as of yet, because they’re still waiting on FCC certification, but it’s due on the market early next year. If it’s priced just under the Elecraft KX2, the CTX-10 is going to be a home run.
It’s a great time to be into Survivalist communications.