Skip to content

The Sienna, a new high performance kit HF transceiver

July 9, 2008

DZkit Sienna transceiver

DZkit Sienna transceiver. Image © 2008 The DZ company

The DZkit company now has details of its new high performance kit transceiver , the Sienna, on its website.  This rig is currently in its beta testing stage, according to company owner Brian Wood, W0DZ.

Comprehensive details of the rig’s design and features are on the company website, in both detailed and  datasheet form.  Features include:

  • 500 kHz to 30 MHz, with SSB, CW, AM and FM modes
  • Triple IF stages. With Inrad filters as standard and further optional Inrad and Collins filters.
  • +/- 1 ppm TXCO
  • 455kHz IF (3rd IF stage) output
  • Noise blanker
  • Analogue metering
  • 147 memories
  • RS232C interface
  • SO2R capable
  • 10W output.
  • Two switchable antenna ports
  • Options include
    • 100W PA
    • ATU
    • A PC to install inside the transceiver, which can run Windows or Linux. (Two levels of performance are offered)
    • Interface module that allows DVI, S-video output and 6W stereo audio output.

The website also explains the decision not to include 6m or IF DSP.  The currently listed price is US $2899 for the standard kit, options are extra.  DZkit estimates the build time to be around 30 hours.

This is an exciting choice for someone looking at that mid to high priced transceiver.  The design looks very interesting, even the appearance makes the transceiver look quite different to the usual black box.  It is nice to see such attention to the aesthetics in some of the new rigs – another radically looking rig is the Hilberling.

The pricing  will be pitching it up against the Elecraft K3, Ten Tec Omni VII, Icom 756 Pro III, Yaesu FT-2000 and Kenwood TS2000. It will be interesting to see how the Sienna matches in performance.

Great to see more companies producing exciting amateur radio transceivers.  I wish DZkits the best success.

DZkits are soliciting for kit ideas, so if you have been frustrated by the lack of a certain amateur radio product in kit form, contact them.

Finally, thanks to Brian, W0DZ for permission to use the image of the Sienna.

Advertisements
19 Comments leave one →
  1. Scot permalink
    July 10, 2008 8:37 pm

    Great post and who knew a market transforming transceiver is under beta testing? Visually, the Sienna seems rack-like, one capable of slipping nicely into the shack. Additionally, the manufacturer may have insight into analogue metering, sometimes I miss traditional analogue. A new trend? Maybe.

    Why 10-watts with an option to buy a 100-watt power amplifier (PA)? A rig like this suggests a 100-watt or more entry in the marketplace. Is the price tag worth 10-watts with options?

    The really interesting aspect of the Sienna is its SO2R capability. They have taken RadioSport to a new level if the Sienna catches inside the contesting community.

    However, the Sienna is a kit radio and will it be too complex for the marketplace? I wonder. And its price is prohibitive but I’m sure the guys at DZ Kit did their research.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    73,
    Scot KA3DRR

  2. va3stl permalink*
    July 11, 2008 10:12 am

    Scot,

    Thanks for the nice comment.

    The 10W standard and 100W option allows choice. The final PA is left out for those that want to only operate QRP or drive a transverter, I suppose. It is a little like the choice ELecraft offers with the K2 and K3, or the older Kenwood TS120V which was a TS120S without the final 100W PA stage. I admit though that most will want 100W if buying a rig like that so should price in the optional PA. I enjoy the challenge of QRP and so have both my K2 and K3 without the 100W PA modules.

    I had another e-mail from Bob, W0DZ, and he pointed out the following (I quote)

    “You compared us to some fine rigs. Bear in mind that with full-duplex, we
    have a feature that all those rigs lack, which will be useful for satellite
    work using transverters. And the built-in PC allows us to offer digital
    modes built-in, making us similar to the Flex5000 in price, but with a real
    front panel, QSK keying and a lot of other cool stuff. And as you can
    probably tell, we’re obsessed with customer focus.”

    It appears the designers are offering us something a little different and great to see the focus on the customer. Companies like Elecraft, Buddipole and PAR Electronics have shown that good customer support can help with success.

    73
    Alan VA3STL

  3. Scot permalink
    July 13, 2008 10:21 pm

    Interesting comment that Bob, W0DZ pointed out a “real front panel” as separating an SDR like the Flex5000 from the Sienna. Likewise, are they anticipating a surge in satellite niche, in the near future? Interesting.

    I still cannot fathom rolling out the Sienna with a 10-watt PA but the transceiver is intended as a kit. I like that DZ Kit is pushing the technical envelope while offering a solid platform like the Sienna.

    I’m going to read more later this week. However at least one manufacturer is reading ham radio’s blogosphere indicating a hand is on the pulse of the hobby.

    In the meantime, software defined radio for me, is defining a new era in ham radio. And the human machine interface is the next, next big. It is a matter of time, when someone figures out the economy of scale, and rolls out an SDR for less than $1000.

    73
    Scot KA3DRR

  4. Rick Westerman permalink
    December 31, 2008 11:58 am

    This is an interesting addition to the current product offerings on the market.
    I also feel the 10w option is a good choice, though most people will probably end up going with the 100w.
    I am most impressed by the effort to keep as much as possible analog, and have the PC as optional.

    What I don’t understand yet is just how good this rig will perform.
    I’m no friend of upward conversion.
    I would love to see it tested by ARRL or Sherwood Engineering.

    Although Bob touts the benefits of upward conversion, when considering a general coverage receiver, it brings even more disadvantages for ultimate performance on the ham bands. I would gladly forfeit a 500 khz spectrum of general coverage in return for a better performing RX. We’ll see.

    And as a tiny blemish, I think putting the RF gain on the top left corner was a compromise. It would be better to have the AF gain there because you have to reach for it far more often than the RF gain. But that is an easy user mod, so not really a big problem.

    Although I would enjoy building the kit, I too feel it is too much for today’s world. People were different in the days of Heathkit. In any case I wish Bob and his team all the best and offer a big THANKS for the contribution.

    73,
    Rick, NJ0IP, DJ0IP

  5. February 7, 2009 3:51 pm

    Has anyone seen a review yet of this kit? I can’t wait to read one!

  6. Darrell Huth / WB6VHK permalink
    October 14, 2009 11:05 pm

    I just received my new DZKIT Sienna yesterday and already have a few hours into it. This is a very high quality kit and the manual is very easy to follow. I started with the basic receiver kit and will add the front panel and transmitter as my budget allows. I was very exited about this radio when I first saw it and I am very glad I bought one. I will post more when it is finished…….

    • va3stl permalink*
      October 15, 2009 6:44 am

      Darrell,

      Congratulations on the new Sienna. I am sure many readers of the blog would be interested in your experiences with this radio. Do post more.

      73
      Alan, VA3STL

  7. Darrell Huth / WB6VHK permalink
    October 22, 2009 11:00 pm

    Well it’s been a week now and the Sienna is almost finished. I just need to build the last board ( Receiver ) and connect all of the cables and alignment. So far it has been a lot of fun. Very easy to follow instructions, no missing parts,etc… Will post another update soon!

    • va3stl permalink*
      October 22, 2009 11:22 pm

      Darrell,

      Glad to hear everything is going smoothly. I look forward to your next report.

      73
      Alan, VA3STL

  8. Darrell Huth / WB6VHK permalink
    October 24, 2009 11:23 pm

    Finished the receiver board Friday at work and installed it on Saturday, Halfway through the alignment and spent all afternoon listening to the 40 meter swap net on it…It sounds great! A few more hours of dressing the cables and testing and it will be finished….until my new front panel arrives! This was a very straightforward kit to build, nothing hard about it, and anyone with basic soldering skills should be able to do it no problem. After the front panel I plan to build the transmitter and add all of the filters, amp, computer, etc…..73, Darrell / WB6VHK

    • Marinos Markomanolakis permalink
      October 25, 2009 3:45 am

      Hi Darrell,

      I am glad you had a nice building experience so far with the Sienna. I am very interested myself in the radio and think it has the potential of being the ideal radio for every ham.
      Having built 3 K2s (sold them all due to their inability to replace other rigs in the shack), I enjoy soldering as much as or more than operating…

      Anyway, I would be very interested to hear your comments about how clean sounding (quiet) the Rx in the Sienna sounds, especially compared to another radio if you have one for doing A/B testing.
      This would have to do not only with optimum signal gain distribution in the Rx chain but also on the quality of the AF circuit which sometimes lacks even in high end rigs making prolonged listening fatiquing.

      I do not even want to comment on the unnatural DSP sound which is the hallmark of “cool” radios of today. Have tried several of the latest radios only to come back to my Drake TR7 and JRC125 (wish I still had my TS830).
      Actually the lack of DSP is what I like most in the Sienna.

      As for Sienna’s ability to handle strong signals, I have no doubt it will perform great!!!

      Looking forward to your comments.
      73,
      Marinos, sv9dru / ki4gin

      • Darrell permalink
        November 1, 2009 7:20 pm

        Marinos:

        So far I really like this radio. ( Now keep in mind, I only have the stock 2.4 khz filter in it so far ) ….It is a GOOD sounding radio. It took me a bit to get it aligned properly ( If I would have followed the instructions it would have gone quicker! ). My new front panel should arrive next week and once that is built it will be on to the transmitter

        I have also built a few K2’s, and a K3, They all have there own strengths and weaknesses. I also prefer analogue to DSP.

        I will give you another update once the front panel is on……73, Darrell

      • Luis Gutierrez permalink
        March 19, 2010 10:14 pm

        I have been looking for a art-radio, this is the choice, may be not in the K3 league but far more beatiful and far more different than any radio. I want to know Darrell how performs your radio and If you can send me a picture of it ( lmgtz_doc@hotmail.com )

        Congrats for your radio.

  9. Marinos permalink
    November 2, 2009 12:03 pm

    Ok Darrell,
    Thanks for the update and your comments on the Rx audio. I have found that 2,7Khz is probably the best bandwidth for natural reproduction of communications grade SSB without being too wide, but of course 2,4Khz is very good in terms of getting an acurate estimate of the Rx quality.
    Glad it is performing fine, and of course looking forward for any additional impressions.

    73,
    Marinos

  10. Reto permalink
    November 23, 2009 5:00 am

    I was looking for further independet information about the Sienna TRX. So I stop on this page and saw that you also listed other interesting TRX like the Hilberling. As you know, Hilberling stoped the production of it’s PT-8000 but on the last “Ham Radio” in Friedrichshafen I saw, that AEG-Telefunken plans to continue this high end transceiver. Another very interesting TRX it the ADT-200A. Only a limited number of pieces is delivered until now. It’s a development of HB9CBU and it’s a fully Software defined radio without any computer. I know Hans (HB9CBU) and I was one of the first who got such a very special TRX. It is availlable for a reasonable price. The TRX will be produced in a small serie of about 30 or 50 pieces in a swiss company. If you are interested in technical specifications have a look to http://www.adat.ch. There you’ll find any information. Maybe you also find aditional information on the internet. It’s a TRX for HAM’s from a HAM.
    I test this device since about 1 and a half year and I’m happy with it. Next comes also a webserver card so it’s possible to control the TRX completely by remote. Also a 6m and 2m module is planed next year.
    New modulation’s upgrade in filters and so on is only loading a new firmware. A really nice concept. If this TRX will be pruduced by a commercial company it costs 6 times more.. (this told Ulrich Rhode (Rhode &Schwarz) N1UL).

    73, Reto

    • va3stl permalink*
      November 23, 2009 9:16 pm

      Reto,

      Thanks for the information on the ADT-200A. I have had a quick look at the website and the transceiver looks very interesting. The price comes in at around $4,800 CDN which puts it in the high end transceiver category. Very interesting design.

      73
      Alan

  11. Darrell permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:23 pm

    Another update on my new Sienna…..I received my front panel kit a few weeks ago, took me around 4 hours to build it and install it on the radio. It works perfect and makes the radio a lot more enjoyable to use. The display and meters are some of the nicest I have seen. Very high quality. I just received the transmitter kit last week but I have been in the process of moving so I have not had a chance to start on it, It is supposed to be around a 12 hour job. I will post another update when it is finished……………73, Darrell / WB6VHK

  12. Gary Krause, N7HTS permalink
    November 25, 2009 11:18 am

    Hi, I just found your site. DZkits is just down the road from me and I made a visit a couple of weeks ago. I met Brian, the president of the company and he gave me a tour of the facility. He is a really great guy and took about an hour and a half out of his time to give me a tour and answer questions.

    Like some of you here, I do not really care for the sound of DSP. I’ve owned one rig with IF DSP and to me it sounds muddy. I have a K2 with audio DSP and it works great for SSB but, I work mostly CW and prefer crystal filters.

    Anyway, the Sienna looks like a nice rig. It is built solid and like someone else said, the analog meters are really nice. Brian is not a fan of DSP either. I would also like to here more about it’s performance. The quality looks superb from the case to the boards and other components.

    73,
    Gary, N7HTS

Trackbacks

  1. Wo bleibt der Hilberling? | ANTON's FUNKPERLEN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: