Kachina 505DSP Transceiver    The origional software controlled radio

Users Resource Website


Kachina 505DSP History

Introduction of the 505DSP

With the extremely successful introduction of the Kachina 505DSP Computer-Controlled Transceiver at Dayton Hamvention of 1997, Kachina became known overnight to amateur radio operators. Most did not realize that Kachina had been manufacturing commercial and military radios in the U.S.A. for nearly 20 years.

The original product brochure is 505bro.pdf

February 1999

Company Profile

Kachina Communications was established in 1975 by Lester A. Earnshaw, well known as a pioneer in the development of HF/SSB radio. Mr. Earnshaw still serves as the President of Kachina, where today we manufacture a wide variety of high-quality radio communications products for amateur, commercial and military applications.

Chief Engineer Douglas Smith is known as one of the leading authorities on DSP radio design. He also serves as the Editor of the ARRL publication "QEX". His series of articles entitled "Signals, Samples and Stuff" on DSP technology recently appeared in QEX.

505AR/ARX Introduced

505AR/ARX Computer-Controlled Antenna Rotors - Control your rotor from your keyboard or mouse.

900 MHz Wireless Remote Control for 505DSP Transceiver!

The 505DSP was the first amateur transceiver to offer full remote control over dial-up telephone lines. Now we've taken it a step further by modifying the 505RC Remote Control Interface Unit to allow the option of remote control via wireless modems. With proper modem and antenna selection, remote control range of up to 20 miles is possible. Connect rates of up to 38.4 kbps are now supported, resulting in audio quality superior to that usually attainable over standard dial-up telephone lines. As before, remote antenna control and accessory switching via the Kachina 505ARX Antenna Rotor Control (see below) are supported. High quality Freewave 900 MHz, 110 kbps, spread-spectrum modems and Cushcraft Yagi antennas are now available in our Factory Store.

505ETX Extended TX Audio Response Option!

A revolution is afoot in Amateur Radio. An increasing number of hams are discovering the pleasures of high-fidelity audio over HF SSB. More of us are paying attention to the quality of our transmitted signals. Join the fun with the 505ETX Extended TX Audio Response option for your 505DSP Transceiver. With a response extending from just under 100 Hz to approximately 4 kHz, this option lets you get those lows and highs missing from most other transceivers. And unlike competing models, opposite-sideband suppression and carrier rejection remain excellent.

Year 2000

505TVR Transverter Option for 505DSP

This new internal option for the Kachina 505DSP Transceiver allows control of 2m/6m/70cm transverters (such as those made by SSB Electronics and others) directly from the 505DSP's control panel. When installed, the 505DSP's rear-panel ACC2 port is converted into a switchable transverter port, providing ALC-controlled, low-level transmit signals (approx. + 15 dBm) and a separate receiver input. When the port is switched on, transverter frequencies are automatically displayed in the 505DSPs control software, based on a frequency offset that you select. This option is available optionally on all new 505DSPs or as a factory-retrofit only.

Discontinuance of 505DSP

Regretfully, effective 24 May 2001, the production of Kachina HF radio equipment was discontinued.

From the ARRL Newsletter of May 25, 2001:


Kachina--which made a big splash at the 1997 Dayton Hamvention when it introduced its then-revolutionary 505DSP PC-controlled Amateur Radio transceiver--has quit the ham radio market. The Arizona manufacturer discontinued production and marketing of the 505DSP, its only ham product, and all other HF radio products and accessories, effective May 24.

Kachina Vice President Cameron Earnshaw blamed "the slowdown in Amateur Radio in general, and HF radio in particular" for the company's decision to exit the HF market. "Any radio selling for over $1000 is a pretty hard sell these days," he said. The Kachina 505DSP, the first amateur transceiver designed solely for control via a personal computer, has retailed in the vicinity of $2000.

"Unfortunately, the 505DSP was too expensive to produce," he told ARRL. "For that we have only ourselves to blame. Performance costs money, but you really limit your sales when you cross that $1000-$1200 mark."

Earnshaw said he does not know how the Japanese manufacturers continue to produce and market top-end Amateur Radio gear. He suggested they must be doing so "out of a labor of love, supporting the losses from other more-profitable ventures."

Earnshaw said Kachina will continue to provide service and spare parts for all Kachina HF radio products for the foreseeable future and will honor all factory warranties through their duration. Amateur Radio products remaining in Kachina's inventory were being discounted through Kachina's Web site, http://kachina-az.com.

Kachina Chief Engineer Doug Smith, KF6DX, said he's sad to see the product line come to an end. "Some might say that this is another blow to Amateur Radio, but I would say it is just an indicator of the need to adapt to changing conditions," he said. "The Amateur Radio Service should see several exciting developments in the coming years, including digital voice, high-speed digital modes, remote control and further improvements in so-called software-defined radios, to name a few."

Smith says he'll be moving on "to greener pastures," but will continue to edit QEX/Communications Quarterly for the ARRL.