I kept a eye on LNRs website listing the current stock of MTR3b’s I knew I wanted one. I am learning Morse and no where near able to start using it. When it showed one more left I hit the “buy now” button. I believe I purchased the last one in the current production run and maybe ever! It is still in its box untouched. I like to have 2 of everything that proves to work well so I am hoping LNR does another production run. Another alternative is the Venus SW3b that will be in stock mid-October (according to website) I have no experience with these devices so take that my words with a grain of salt!
The Venus is a non-starter for me. Twice as heavy as the MTR and no programmable messages. I wish they had forgone the channel memories in favor of custom messages (ie CQ SOTA). Plus, not a big fan of Chinese radios in general. Support for these are generally spotty at best. A $125 price point for a 3 band Chinese CW rig is more in line with that I’d pay. You can get Chinese DMR radios with all the bells and whistles for less than the bare bones SW-3b.
I have a feeling anyone who wants an MTR-3b is going to wind up paying upwards of $400-$500 on the open market after word gets our of their (probable) demise. When a company uses the phrase “re-evaluate” that is generally not a good sign.
Looks like I’ll probably only be operating on 40m with a QCX mini in the future. Just hope my soldering and winding skills are up to par.
Hans of QRP labs said during his presentation for the GQRP convention that he would like to do a 3 band CW radio one day. If the MTR 3B is no more, maybe the chance to fill the gap in the market will move it up his list.
(I think the presentation may be on the QRP Labs YouTube channel now and iirc he mentioned it in the Q & A at the end).
I think his SSB rig is higher on the priority list right now. A 3 band QCX sounds interesting. I wonder how much more complex it would be to build vs the monobander?
I have a KX1 and instead of using six AA batteries I use four of these internally (you have to short two of the battery slots):
https://www.megabatteries.com/item_details2.asp?id=15581 (note that I’m only using this site as an example; not an endorsement).
The nice thing is that everything is now pretty much self-contained and these batteries are light. At only 600mAh you’ll want to charge them after every outing, But you’ll always get a solid 12V.