Hanz, radio, and how RadioSet-GO came to be

My name is Hanz, W1JSB, sole proprietor of RadioSet-GO, QTH Sanbornton, NH. From an early age I have had a fascination with electronics and radios. I grew up in Littleton, Colorado, and as a kid, enjoyed taking appliances apart and building receivers. My friends and I experimented with radios and computers. I gained a scientific perspective from my father and an artistic sensitivity from my mother, and I feel it is this combination that allows me to innovate.

I moved to New Hampshire at the age of 15, and a year later got my HAM license as part of a choice high school project. I met Jim Cluett, W1PID, who lived in the area, and he helped get me going in the hobby. Two years later he encouraged and helped me learn CW (Morse code) so I was able to upgrade to General class and have HF privileges.

Jim and I started hiking a lot together in 2009. He showed me how to set up radios in the middle of nowhere and communicate with people in far off lands using low power (QRP) equipment. Radio alone is magic, but to enjoy it while out adventuring in nature with a friend is many times better.

At some point I installed an HF setup in my car and was sending/receiving Morse code while driving - having to head copy all that was received in order to carry on an exchange. It was sort of extreme CW which helped build my proficiency quickly.

One day I decided to build a QRP transceiver, specifically for portable and emergency use. With many kits available online, I found the Small Wonder Labs SW+ series to be the best option, and got the 80m version to begin with, since that band would allow for local communication within a few hundred mile radius using NVIS propagation.

While browsing the camping section of a local department store, I found an enclosure that was fitting for the project.

With some imagination and simple tools at home, I combined other electronics and hardware to create a battery powered radio transceiver in a clear, water resistant box. It was a success. It looked nice and worked well, but I knew it could be improved.

Since the SW+ radios are mono-band, I felt compelled to build a few more to cover other frequency ranges. With each construction, the design evolved.

One of the key features is exactly that, the key - it is an integrated touch keyer using the rounded end caps on the outside of the enclosure, eliminating the need to carry an external key or paddle. It is super responsive, since there are no moving parts, and with some practice, it is easy to send fast and accurately.

I added more to each successive build: a frequency counter with LCD display, and a speaker with audio amplifier. I rounded the corners of the control panel to fit the enclosure better. Soon I was using a computer to align the controls and switches on the panel in an orderly and balanced way. It became an art and a science to me. After finding a larger enclosure option, I was able to add more features, including built in solar panels, and a zerobeat tuning indicator.

Somewhere along the way the name 'RadioSet-GO' was thought of and I put together this website, since web design is another of my abilities. I have been uploading videos to YouTube of the radios in action, contacting other stations thousands of miles away, and have received a lot of positive feedback. That has inspired me to keep going. One of my designs was in the June 2011 issue of CQ Magazine.

I sold the radios I built on eBay, and that exposure generated a lot of interest. Unfortunately, Small Wonder Labs shut down, so I had to find another transceiver to use. Someone had mentioned online that a multi-band rig would be nice, and I ended up successfully converting a YouKits HB-1A tri-bander. I knew that could be improved too. I used a similar configuration, with some upgraded components to build the latest HB-1B quad-band transceiver, which I continue to innovate, combining whatever electronic components adds to the FUNctionality.

Stay tuned...