[HQRP] History - Dentron QRP MLX Mini

K5BDZ@aol.com K5BDZ@aol.com
Sat, 23 Mar 2002 08:19:30 EST

A quick history on the Dentron QRP MLX-Mini rigs (delete now if not 

Bill K5BDZ

About 1983, Dentron had basically folded, and the remains were in "new 
ownership" hands.  As the oxygen mask was being removed prior to its final 
demize, the original Dentron attempted to build a single band QRP transceiver 
that would operate SSB / CW, had a digital readout (KHz only), and was 
capable of 15 watts output on SSB.  Housed in a steel case about 6" x 7" x 1 
1/2" (just a guess... but close)  it was a heavy little unit.  It was called 
the MLX Mini.  But it never hit the markets.

The heart of this little rig was the "factory wired and tested" Mizuho SG9 
board, which was basically a 9 MHz IF transciever, for which Dentron made and 
connected their own VFO board, LED digi readout, Mixer board (freq dependent 
for 80, 40, 20, 15 band) and the driver/final amp board.

In 1983 I contacted the "owner of the Dentron remains" regarding those rigs 
and was told some 100+ MLX Mini's were available as well as a number of 
parts.  Being told by the "new owner" these units were assembled and tested, 
and working, we negotiated a price for all as well as the other spares items, 
including extra SG9 boards, PC boards, parts, pieces, etc.  I sent the money 
and received two big boxes of Dentron goodies.  Based on the good faith 
telephone conversation, I expected to have over 100 good operating MLX Mini's 
to sell to QRPers... even had a booth ready to go at the Houston Hamcomm, the 
ARRL National Convention for 1983.

To say I had been mislead by the seller was the nice way to put it.  PT 
Barnum described me perfectly when he said "There's a sucker born every 

Well, the reality was that only about 10 of the MLX Mini's were operable, to 
some questionable degree.  Others had the boards installed with no wires 
connected, etc.  Most of the "Dentron factory assembled boards" appeared to 
have been soldered on an early Monday morning by someone with a monsterous 
hangover!!  (We used to describe that as "drop soldered from Knee Height).  
Manuals were few, incomplete, lacking in documentation, hand drawn, and 

Long story short, my first effort into marketing QRP equiment was a dismal 
failure, and after months and expense of trying to recoup my "investment" I 
put it all in boxes on the shelf and "got a life" again.

A couple of years or so later Leo (sorry Leo, forgot your call) called, and 
long story short, he purchased the bulk of the SG9 boards and other items, 
and delivered them to the GQRP group, where they all found great homes, and 
where Ian G3ROO, George G3RJV and group designed a wonderful QRP transceiver 
circuit featuring the SG9 boards, to include mixer, VFO, final amp and other 

This story and a $1.50 (One Pound to you Brits) won't even buy you a good cup 
of coffee (tea??) these days.  But it is a part of the QRP history, from the 
early days when QRP was just a "CW word" that most hams could not define.  
QRP equipment ? TenTec and homebrew were your main QRP choices.

How wonderfully times have changed! Dave's Small Wonder Labs... NORCAL and 
all the other clubs... Kanga...the wonderful designs of Sheldon Hands and his 
offerings... and the multitude I failed to note.... NOW we have a world of 
great, wonderful choices from design talents second to none!  Thanks ALL 
y'all for bringing the unending excitement to QRP'ers.  and "Eat you hearts 
out QRO... we've arrived!"

Bill K5BDZ
P.S.  Being from Texas I must define for you that "y'all is singular... and 
ALL y'all is plural"... hey Dick 'BPS, you must admit, I at least made it to 
the last sentence before the vernacular crept in...!
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