Thank you for sharing this, Pete! Sadly, I was unable to attend live due to my schedule, so am very happy to see these excellent presentations. I do hope that things will be normal next year and FDIM will happen in person again. If you attend the Hamvention, I strongly encourage you to also take in FDIM–it is always an amazing event.
A new kit from the Four State QRP Group and David Cripe (NM0S)
Arising from Dave’s entry in QRP ARCI’s 72 Part Challenge Design Contest in 2010, the Cyclone 40 is an enhanced version of the original design. The transceiver designed for the design contest had 72 total parts, performed well, and won honorable mention. This improved version has less than 100 components and even better performance! The kit features all through hole parts and easy assembly. The receiver is a superhet design with very good sensitivity and selectivity, and tunes the entire 125 kHZ CW segment of the 40M Band – and does so at a comfortable tuning rate. A frequency readout is included so you know where you are at all times.
This is a complete kit, including the enclosure. A high quality board package includes the pc board, front and back panels, the sides, and top and bottom all of which make up the enclosure. The control and jack labels are silk screened in white letters and vividly contrast with the black solder mask, and the holes for the connectors and controls are pre-drilled. The ends are “dovetailed” together making a very rugged, easy to build, and attractive enclosure.
Features and Specifications
Enclosure: A very nice predrilled and silkscreened enclosure is included. It’s easy to assemble and looks great.
Ergonomics: Smooth solid tuning, a quiet receiver with QSK and well behaved AGC. Nicely laid out front and rear panels.
VFO: The VFO is a simple PTO design, is very stable, and also quite easy to build
AGC: Audio derived, fast and smooth.
Frequency Range: 7.000 – 7.125 typical.
Tuning Speed: 10kHz/knob turn typical.
Stability: 300 HZ the first 5 min after power up, less than 10 HZ/hour after that.
QSK: Fantastic QSK! Full Break in, excellent muting, really fast!
All Through Hole Parts There are NO SMT parts in this kit, and only three easy to wind toroids.
Dimensions: 4.4 x 3.6 x 1.9″
Power Connector: 2.5×5.5mm coaxial, center positive. Should be fused at 1A, fast blow at PS
Antenna connector: BNC
Configuration: Superheterodyne, 11 MHZ IF, 4 Crystal IF Filter.
Sensitivity: MDS (Minimum Discernable Signal) -125, Typical, below the normal 40M band noise level.
Selectivity: Four crystal, 500 HZ IF filter
IMD3: 90 dB typical, better than most commercial gear!
IP3: +10 dBm typical – another very good number
Frequency Readout: 3 or 4 digit CW, 1 kHz or 100 Hz resolution (user selectable), developed by Adrian Hill, KCØYOI.
Band Edge Marker: A band edge marker is heard at 7.001 MHZ
Headphone Jack: 1/8″ stereo, standard earbud/Walkman® headphone compatible
DC Current consumption: 30 ma typical at 13.6 VDC.
Configuration: Stable, Wide Range VFO (PTO design), Efficient Class E Final.
Spectral Purity: All harmonics and spurs less than 50dB below the carrier.
Output Power: approximately 4W into 50 ohms
DC Current consumption: 500ma typical at 13.6 VDC Will operate down to 9v DC.
Key Jack: 1/8″ stereo, grounded shell, switching the tip keys TX. Contacts accessible for an internal add-on keyer
Kits should be available at QRP ARCI’s Four Days in May conference at Dayton, and will be for sale on the Four State QRP Group’s web site approximately May 20th. The final price hasn’t been determined yet but should be less than $100 plus shipping.
Last year, I snapped quite a few photos at FDIM which I planned to post following the Hamvention. Unfortunately, shortly after the Hamvention, my laptop began displaying signs of an early demise. In haste, I archived my photos on a portable drive, where they remained buried for a year. I just rediscovered this photographic treasure, and thought I’d share it with readers; looking through them rekindled my enthusiasm for FDIM 2013, which starts next week!
A quick look at FDIM 2012
A great characteristic about FDIM is the array of QRP products offered by QRPers for the community. More often than not, these products are fairly priced, and often in support of the QRP community rather than major profit-making ventures.
For example, the North Georgia QRP Club produces affordable wood stands for QRP rigs. They’re incredibly simple, but fully finished and beautifully designed, just the thing to prop up your QRP portable at the right angle for desktop use.
Dennis, being a hard-core QRPer, trekked with ham gear in tow; he brought his kits to FDIM:
There were a variety of keys and paddles to be seen, of course; offerings range from the home brewed to gorgeous Italian Begali designs:
One paddle that really caught my attention was QuadraBug, a creation of WB9LPU. What makes this gem stand apart from other “Bugs” is that not only will it form “dits” automatically, but it also forms “dahs.” Truly, an amazing work of engineering. I searched the web for a video of the QuadraBug in action, but found nothing. [UPDATE: Thanks, Yan for finding a video! See video below.] This year, I’ll take a video if I’m fortunate enough to see it again.
There were an amazing number of home-brewed projects on display, and even a home-brew contest. I didn’t capture photos of them all, but I did manage to snap a few.
One that really caught my eye (being a shortwave receiver enthusiast) was David Cripe’s (NM0S) version of Hutch’s Radio. The original Hutch’s Radios were built by US and British POW’s in WWII. Built in canteens, often from confiscated parts, these radios gave POWs hope by allowing them to tune in the outside world, via the BBC WS and Voice of America. In the spirit of the original, David challenged himself to build his version prior to FDIM, with original parts of the era, and in “secrecy.” Secrecy? As many of the components had to be purchased from suppliers on eBay, David tried to intercept all of the incoming packages without his wife noticing. His success was brief–alas, his wife discovered the mission–but fun; still, the end result was a very cool piece of historical recreation with a humorous story to match:
Of course, FDIM featured loads of QRP transmitters, receivers and transceivers; here is Dwayne’s (AK4P) 40 meter transceiver, built in a SPAM container:
Terry Young, K4KJP, built a very cool pocket 20 meter transceiver in an Altoids tin:
And Alan Shapiro, NM5S, should have won a prize for the most compact set of CW paddles. These paddles are so small that they can be clamped onto your log book. Much to my surprise, they were amazingly easy to use, and would be a great addition to any field-portable radio:
If FDIM 2012 is any indication (yes), this is a mere sampling of the stuff you’ll see at Four Days In May 2013. I encourage you to attend: if nothing else, make a little time either Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening to visit the evening displays at FDIM–they’re free and open to the public.
If you can’t attend, I hope you’ll earmark your calendar for a future date. I do plan to bring my camera again this year and will share some photos. Hopefully, I’ll post them a little earlier this go-around!
Hope to see you at FDIM and the Hamvention. For the third year in a row, I will be representing my charity, Ears To Our World (ETOW), at an inside exhibit at the Hamvention. We should be in booth 601 in the East Hall. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself! (And if you feel so inclined, you can even donate a few bucks to our worthy cause.) See you there–!