Many thanks to Neil (W2NDG) who notes that he has recently updated his extensive list of radio kits at radiokitguide.com.
Thank you for sharing this, Neil!
Many thanks to Neil (W2NDG) who notes that he has recently updated his extensive list of radio kits at radiokitguide.com.
Thank you for sharing this, Neil!
Here’s the info about the TR-25 from the WA3RNC website:
Here is a compact but powerful 2-band CW transceiver kit that uses no tiny pushbuttons, and without those seemingly endless and hard-to-remember back menus. There is a knob or a switch for every function!
Price is $250 or you can add pre-wound toroids for $18, a precision optical encoder for $30, or for $310 you can purchase this kit fully assembled and tested. Click here to check it out.
Here’s the info about the TR-45L from the WA3RNC website:
Beta testing is continuing…73 de WA3RNC
No pricing or availability has been noted yet.
I life the look of both of these kits. I love the fact that you can buy pre-wound toroids as this is often one of the more complicated parts when building radios. Also, I’m pleased to see that all SMD components are pre-installed and that all critical circuits are factory pre-aligned and calibrated. That will make this kit accessible to a much larger kit building audience.
Click here to check out the WA3RNC kits!
Looks like our Prayers have been answer! 160 – 10, 5 Watts, single side band using a new transmitting technique , no more DSB!
All for 80 bucks (includes 3 band modules)
The v. III version debuts a novel firmware scheme for our Si5351A/MS5351M VFO which allows a move away from DSB transmission to SSB, by a new process we are calling AFP-FSK (Audio Frequency Processed-FSK).
What’s not to like 🙂
Brilliant, Pete! This looks like a fun kit to build and certainly an affordable way to hit the digi modes! Thank you for sharing!
by Frank Lagaet (ON6UU)
Another EA3GCY kit has seen daylight. The EGV+ is ready for you all.
It was beginning 2021 I got word a new kit from EA3GCY was ready and distribution could start. After a successful build of the DB4020 I did not need much time to decide to buy this kit, a week later the kit arrived at my QTH. As weather was good I did not start immediately building but then winter kicked in, with snowfall and frost, perfect time for some quality time and building the kit.
The kit has a general coverage receiver from 6 to 16MHz, it has a keyer built in, has RIT without limit, requires only 0.25A on RX and smaller than 2A on TX. Dimensions are 18x14cm and weight is 0.3Kg. It is CW only, able to produce 8W on 40 and some 5-6 on 30 and 20. The kit has an AB class amplifier. Spurious is below -50DBc. The receiver is a heterodyne type balanced mixer, sensitivity is 0.2µV minimum and the CW filter is some 700Hz wide, the AGC is on audio. Furthermore the transceiver is equipped with both output for loudspeaker as for a headset or earbuds.
The kit arrived in a brown envelope and in that envelope I found a well-packed packet of plastic bags and the printed board well packed in bubble wrap. Around that another layer of bubblewrap. Safe!!
All plastic bags were checked, all needed stuff was there, super, well done Javier.
All components were installed in about 10 hours “relax max style”, if you have built some kits already you can easily do this one, all elements are far enough out of each other, the board is not overcrowded at all. Some attention is needed when soldering the IC’s and display but even that is a piece of cake. Be careful when installing the SI5351 module.
Winding the toroids, just follow what is in the manual, it is not that hard to do, I don’t understand what many find so difficult. Just take your time and don’t rush into it.
I got the transceiver up and running quite quick. I didn’t install a speaker in the cabinet but decided to go for a transceiver where no speaker is in. If I want to use it on SOTA or GMA I don’t need the extra weight and can take earbuds with me. So I installed the speaker connector on the board.
I made connections towards the CW key and CMD push button with jumper cables which fit exactly on the headers Javier supplies, a little glue to keep them in place is also added afterward. For easy operation I mounted the CW key connector and CMD pushbutton on the front of the transceiver.
Do to be able to withstand high power nearby stations, I mounted the EGV+ in a homemade box which is made of printboard. The box should be a Faraday cage to keep all QRM out. If you buy a box, buy one in metal. I added a laminated front and back which make the transceiver look kinda cool. Now you can also buy a box from qrphamradiokits.
The alignment is done on 40 meters: crank up the volume and start turning the 2 coils (L1 and L2)to maximum volume. Be careful to handle these with caution and don’t use metallic screwdrivers. Connect an antenna after you’ve done that and do the alignment of the coils again for maximum volume. Find a station on 40 and redo the alignment once more. You should already have good results now.
P1 Set sidetone level to your liking.
P2 Set the hangtime of the relay after you’ve been on air–fast fingers will need a quick release. Set this to your liking.
P3 Connect a power meter between a dummy load and the transceiver, set power on 40 to some 8 Watts. Measure on 30 and 20 meters, you should find some 6-7W there. Don’t set the power to full if you want a long life for the final in the transceiver. Mine is set for 6W on 20, resulting in some 7.5W on 30 and some 8.4W on 40. I think I will reduce even more.
P4 Set to max, it is the RX-attenuator.
P5 Don’t pay too much attention to the signal meter, mine is set at 6/8 of the potmeter’s range. It is only an indication. If you don’t want the S-meter then you can do a start-up sequence with the tuning knob.
These are in fact the alignments you need to do inside the transceiver. You should also check Xtal calibration and BFO, these are settings which you need to do in the set-up. Don’t forget to write all down when you have maximised these settings. If you do a reset, all these values are erased too so be carefull.
Well, you get a 3 band transceiver which you build yourself, it has RIT and XIT, has 4 memories on the KB-2 keyer, speed of CW can be set between 0 and 50WPM and you can set the KB-2 as a beacon which can be handy too. The EGV+ provides you with 3 bands which are almost for certain insurance for QSOs when going on SOTA, GMA or POTA.
You may have noticed some resemblance with the DB4020. You are right as some parts are the same on the board. The designer worked on the same platform to make two completely different transceivers. The result is twice the fun for kit builders.
I made a box myself since, at the time of ordering, there were no boxes available, here’s the result.
The naked printboard transceiver.
After adding a laminated front to the trx, it looks now like this. You can see it is not made professionally but I like it.
The paper which is between the plastic was first cut out for the display before placing it in the plastics so giving an extra protection to the display.
I have also made a retractable stand for it, when folded back it is next to the bottom of the transceiver, when folded out the stand is under the front of the transceiver, the retractable stand is also made out of printboard.
It’s an easy-to-make stand–take some old printboard and solder it together. The pictures explain it all, I think.
Meanwhile, I already made a lot of QSOs with this small (16 X 20 X 6 cm) QRP transceiver. The power out is better than expected and even reduced so all bands are within QRP regulations.
Finally, I’d like to say that I’m not sponsored to make this kit, I don’t have any ties with the kit producer, nor do I gain money with building it. If people would like to have this QRP kit built for them I’m willing to help out in populating the board and aligning it. A ready made box is available with qrphamradiokits. This also stands for the DB4020 which I made earlier.
The kit comes for 125€ without shipping costs. Many European countries will have no shipping costs at all. The enclosure comes for 50€ all included. This means you have a complete 3 band radio for about 200€. In my eyes, this is a pretty good deal.
Info about the kit can be found here : Home – Página web de ea3gcy (qrphamradiokits.com)
I’ve just received the following announcement from Breadboard Radio. Looks like a fun build and quite useful QRP radio for the 60 meter band!
Breadboard Radio has just released the “Woodpecker” a 60 meter low power CW transceiver for the 60 meter band. The Woodpecker features a crystal controlled transmitter with a 500 milliwatt output on 5332 kilohertz, sometimes referred to as channel 1. The transmitter provides sidetone, receiver muting and QSK with delay.
The Woodpecker’s direct conversion receiver has an adjustable bandpass filter, attenuator and an audio amplifier suitable for headphone level output plus a selectable low / high filter which helps with band noise and static crashes.
The designer, W4FSV has made multiple contacts using a 160 meter inverted L antenna including many from 500 to 1000 miles. The kit is complete with all parts including a cabinet and attractive front panel plastic decal. A two channel 40 meter version will be available soon.
More information is available at www.breadboardradio.com
The introductory price is $49.95 US.
Click here to read the full PDF manual (note this is a large file).
This article was originally published on the SWLing Post.
Last August, SWLing Post contributor, Andy (G7UHN), shared his homebrew project with us: a genius companion control display for the venerable Yaesu FT-817 general coverage QRP transceiver.
Andy’s article caused me (yes, I blame him) to wax nostalgic about the popular FT-817 transceiver. You see, I owned one of the first production models of the FT-817 in 2001 when I lived in the UK.
At the time, there was nothing like it on the market: a very portable and efficient HF, VHF, UHF, multi-mode general coverage QRP transceiver…all for $670 US.
In fact, they knocked it out of the ballpark so hard, the radio is still in production two decades later and in demand under the model FT-818.
I sold my FT-817 in 2008 to raise funds for the purchase of an Elecraft KX1, if memory serves. My reasoning? The one thing I disliked about my FT-817 was its tiny front-facing display. When combined with the embedded menus and lack of controls, it could get frustrating at home and in the field.
I mentioned in a previous post that I purchased a used FT-817ND from my buddy, Don, in October, 2020. I do blame Andy for this purchase. Indeed, I hereby declare him an FT-817 enabler!
When I told Andy about my ‘817ND purchase, he asked if I’d like to help him test the FT-817 Buddy board versions. How could I refuse?
Andy sent me a prototype of his Version 2 Buddy board which arrived in late November. I had to source out a few bits (an Arduino board, Nokia display, and multi-conductor CAT cable). Andy kindly pre-populated all of the SMD components so I only needed to solder the Arduino board and configure/solder the cable. I did take a lot of care preparing and soldering the cable, making sure there was no unintentional short between the voltage and ground conductors.
Overall, I found the construction and programming pretty straight-forward. It helped that Andy did a remote session with me during the programming process (thanks, OM!). Andy is doing an amazing job with the documentation.
I do love how the board makes it easier to read the frequency and have direct access to important functions without digging through embedded menus. While there’s nothing stopping you from changing the program to suit you, Andy’s done a brilliant job with this since he’s an experienced FT-817 user.
The Nokia display is very well backlit, high contrast, and easy very to read.
I mentioned on Twitter that, with the backlight on, the FT-817 Buddy makes my ‘817ND look like it was recently assimilated by The Borg.
Don’t tell any Star Trek captains, but I’m good with that.
For more information about the FT-817 Buddy, check out Andy’s website.
Of course, we’ll keep you updated here as well. Many thanks to Andy for taking this project to the next level. No doubt a lot of FT-817 users will benefit from this brilliant project!
Hans at QRP Labs has just posted a video of the new QCX-Mini 5 watt transceiver kit. It looks like another thoughtful design:
Even though I’ve yet to build my QCX+ (!!!), I just ordered the QCX-Mini. This little kit will be a challenge for me–even though all of the SMD components are pre-populated, it’s still a tight board and requires some fancy toroid work!
Still, I’m buying it to support QRP Labs’ work and because I love the challenge of building kits. This one is awfully cute and I’m pretty sure I’ll use it to claim a summit!
My entire QCX-Mini kit with enclosure set me back $86.99 US with shipping and tax included. How could I resist? (Don’t answer that, please.)
MFJ Enterprises has an amazingly deep catalog of products. So deep, I often overlook items that could be quite useful in the field.
MFJ recently sent me one of their travel paddle kits to evaluate on QRPer.com–no doubt, they heard my plea for paddle recommendations some time ago.
Paddles are a funny thing: they’re basically a very simple switch, so not terribly difficult to homebrew. Yet sometimes we want to simply purchase pre-made paddles instead of building them.
I don’t personally want to invest crazy money in field paddles because there’s a reasonable chance they could get damaged in my pack or I could even leave them on the forest floor after a POTA/SOTA activation.
Plus, paddles aren’t the weak link in my CW game (ahem, yeah…you might have guessed it’s the operator–!).
The price of MFJ-561K paddles hits a sweet spot at $25 US. I know of no other paddles made in the US that are cheaper (although I know I might stand corrected on this point).
For $25, you’re not getting Begali quality: you’re getting something that’s simple and gets the job done.
The MJF-561K is actually a simple kit that you assemble at home. It’s a novice build for sure, taking (generously) 20 minutes to assemble and requiring no kit building experience. You will need to use a soldering iron to attach the three conductor wire to your paddles–otherwise, it feels more like a mini Meccano or Erector set.
At one point early in the build, I did find myself looking for a detailed photo to determine how the shoulder washers were placed. I couldn’t find one, so I decided to take my own photos to help anyone else building these paddles in the future.
Click on the photos below to enlarge:
The building process was super simple as you can see from the photos above. I didn’t test the paddles in advance to make sure the shoulder washers were insulating the contacts properly, nor did I test that my ring/tip placement was correct before soldering. I would suggest you do this!
Fortunately, I plugged it into the Yaesu FT-817ND and it worked perfectly!
The paddles are lightweight and the action reminds me very much of Whiterook Paddles.
Any criticisms? For the price, these are brilliant. With that said, I wish the three conductor wire was just a bit heavier gauge. The conductors are very thin and I do worry how well they’ll hold with heavy use. Of course, it’s an easy process to replace this cable with one of my own. Also, like most lightweight backpack paddles, the thin metal sheet base needs to be held in place while operating.
I think I might attach the paddles directly to a clipboard. If I drill two holes in the paddle base, I could mount them with small bolts onto the clipboard and remove them when done. I’ll give this some thought.
For $25, the MJF-561K paddles are a no-brainer. I see keeping a set of these for ultralight operating and perhaps even as a set of backup paddles. And, hey! They’re a great stocking stuffer idea. I would suggest MFJ consider making a single-lever version as well.
I’m not quite sure how Hans Summers at QRP Labs has the time to innovate at the pace he does–especially during a global pandemic–but he believes he will have the new QCX-Mini CW QRP transceiver available for purchase in December 2020.
Hans shared the following message via the QRP Labs Groups.io page (click here for the full message):
Quite a lot of people have been asking about QCX-mini.
QCX-mini manufacturing has slipped a couple of weeks longer than my estimated “4 weeks”. But all is going well now…
[…]Latest problem is apparently my 5-in-1 top PCB design… normally PCBs are panelized and SMD’d in a set of 6 (or more) like that, then separated later. But the top PCB design is such that the amount of cut away material is too much to be able to break apart the boards without damage. So the factory had to come up with a different method for manufacturing it. I tried to understand what they are doing but I gave up, anyway in reliably assured all is well.
The 1000 enclosures are all finished, cut, CNC’ed, drilled, laser etch printed, packed.
Current estimate is that the PCB assembly (SMD soldering) will be completed on 17-Nov-2020. It’s the last step in the manufacturing process, everything else is done… then the boards will ship to me.
So, still on track for 1,000 Christmas stocking goodies.
73 Hans G0UPL
Although I look at this kit and think, “yeah, like I need another portable QRP transceiver!” I’m nearly 100% certain I’ll buy it.
For one thing, I love building kits and am very happy to see that the surface mount components will be pre-populated.
I purchased the QCX+ and, indeed, plan to review the build and transceiver for RadCom. I’ve almost been “savoring” this build for a nice stretch of cold winter evenings.
Frankly I’ll buy and build the QCX-Mini because I love supporting mom and pop innovators here in our ham radio world.
Click here to check out QCX-Mini updates at QRP Labs. Of course, we’ll post an update when the QCX-Mini is available to order.
by Steve Allen, KZ4TN
I wanted to build a lightweight backpackable transceiver I could take hiking and camping. I chose the 30 meter band as it is specific to CW and the digital modes. I am also in the process of building Dave Benson’s (K1SWL) Phaser Digital Mode QRP Transceiver kit for the 30 meter band. Also, a 30 meter antenna is a bit smaller than one for 40 meters and the band is open most anytime of the day.
I sourced the DC30B transceiver kit, designed by Steve Weber KD1JV, from Pacific Antennas, http://www.qrpkits.com. It appears that they are now (10-11-20) only offering the kit for the 40 meter band. The following information can be used for the assembly of most any kit that lacks an enclosure.
Lately I have been finding extruded aluminum enclosures on Amazon.com and eBay.com. They come in many sizes and configurations. I like to use the versions with the split case which allows you to access the internal enclosure with the front and rear panels attached to the lower half of the enclosure. Most of these enclosures have a slot cut into the sides that allow a PCB to slide into the slots keeping it above the bottom of the enclosure without having to use standoffs. The one requirement for assembly is that the PCB needs to be attached to either the front or rear panel to hold it in place.
As the enclosure is anodized, I didn’t want to rely on the enclosure for common ground. I used a piece of copper clad board that I cut to fit the slot width of the enclosure and attached it to the back panel. I was then able to mount the transceiver PCB to the copper clad board with standoffs. This basic platform of the enclosure with the copper clad PCB provides a good foundation for any number of projects. All you have to do is mount the wired PCB on the board, install the components on the front and rear panel, then wire it up.
I wanted to have the choice of a few frequencies to operate on so I searched eBay for 30 meter crystals and found a source for 4 different popular frequencies. I installed a rotary switch on the front panel and added a small auxiliary PCB with two, 4 pin machined IC sockets. This allowed me to plug the crystals into the sockets. I wired the bottom of the socket PCB first using wire pairs stripped from computer ribbon cable leaving extra length. I marked the wires with dots to indicate which sockets each wire pair went to so I could solder them onto the rotary switch in the correct order. It was tight but I always work with optical magnification so I can see exactly what I’m doing. I have used this crystal switching method in the past with good success.
The rest of the assembly was straight forward. I find that most kits are well designed and documented, and if you take your time and follow the directions carefully all should go well. The two most common speed bumps seem to be soldering in the wrong component or bad soldering technique. I double check all component values and placements prior to soldering, and I always use optical magnification while working. I inspect each solder joint and look for good flow through in the plated through holes, and make sure there are no solder bridges.
The finished product. I bought a Dymo label maker and it works very well for projects like this. I love using these enclosures and they are a leap forward from the old folded aluminum clam shells I used in the past. I could stand on this without causing any damage. Power out is 1-3 watts depending on the DC power in. The receiver is sensitive and the ability to choose from four frequencies is a real plus.
73 de KZ4TN
Wow, Steve! What a top-shelf job on this build! I’ll have to look for those aluminum enclosures as well. Beautiful little rig you’ve made there and I think it’s fantastic you’ve a few crystal frequency options! Thank you for sharing!