Tag Archives: Ham Radio Kits

The New Penntek TR-45L: A Video Tour/Overview, then a full POTA activation!

Yesterday, John (WA3RNC) opened orders for his long-awaited Penntek TR-45L 5 band, CW-only, QRP transceiver.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve had the pleasure of helping John beta test this radio for the past month. In that time, I’ve gotten to know the radio from the inside out and have even taken it on a few POTA activations. In fact, with John’s permission, I just posted my first TR-45L activation video for Patreon supporters yesterday. The radio was using an early firmware version in that video.

TR-45L Video Tour and Overview

Yesterday, after an early morning appointment, my schedule opened up; a rarity in my world.

I then got the idea to take the TR-45L out to a park, do a full video overview of its features, then put it on the air in a POTA activation.

Hazel loved this idea too.

So I packed the TR-45L, a log book, my throw line, and two 28′ lengths of wire. Hazel jumped in the car before I could invite her.

I’ve used a wide variety of antennas on the TR-45L over the past weeks, but I hadn’t yet performed a park activation only using two lengths of wire and relying on the TR-45L’s optional Z-Match manual antenna tuner. This would make for a great real-life test!

Quick note about video timeline

Side note for those of you who follow my field reports and activation videos

I pushed this video to the front of the line since the TR-45L just hit the market. I wanted to give potential buyers an opportunity to see and hear this radio in real world conditions thinking it might help them with their purchase decision.

I’m currently about 7 weeks behind publishing my activation videos. Much of this has to do with my travel schedule, free time to write up the reports, and availability of bandwidth to do the video uploads (I’ve mentioned that the Internet service at the QTH is almost dial-up speed).

I was able to publish this video within one day using a new (limited bandwidth) 4G mobile hotspot.  Patreon supporters have made it possible for me to subscribe to this hotspot service and I am most grateful. Thank you!

So that I can publish this report quickly (this AM), I’m not going to produce a long-format article like I typically do. Instead, this is one of those rare times when the video will have much more information about the radio and the activation than my report.  I’ve linked to and embedded the video below.

Now back to the activation…

Continue reading The New Penntek TR-45L: A Video Tour/Overview, then a full POTA activation!

Jonathan reviews the EGV+ QRP CW transceiver kit

Many thanks to Jonathan (KN6LFB) who shares the following guest review:


A review of the EGV+ QRP Transceiver Kit

by Jonathan (KN6LFB)

Introduction

The EGV+ is a QRP CW-only transceiver that covers the 40-, 30-, and 20-meter HAM bands.  Designed by Javier Solans, EA3GCY, it is sold in kit form from his website, qrphamradiokits.com.

Javier designed the EGV+ in honor of his friend and co-founder of the EA-QRP Club, Miguel Montilla, EA3EGV.  The first page of the instruction manual dedicates the radio to Miguel with this tribute:

This EGV+ transceiver is probably the kit that I have produced with more care and illusion in my life.  It is a great honor to name this kit “EGV”, the callsign suffix of the late Miguel Montilla, EA3EGV (SK). With no doubt, this is the kind of kit he liked most.  It was my privilege to establish and share with him the first years of the EA-QRP Club. He has always been a referent in my life; when I remember those wonderful years his humbleness, work capacity and generosity are the virtues which shine his image.

How lucky I was to be able to share the path with you, Miguel. Thanks! 

Javier Solans, ea3gcy 

Specifications

  • Frequency Coverage: 40m, 30m, 20m
  • Modes: CW
  • Power Requirements: 12–14VDC, 1–2A transmit, 0.14–0.25A receive. 

Transmitter:

  • RF Output: 5W @ 13.8V
  • Harmonics Output: -45dBc or better below fundamental
  • Other Spurious Signals: -50dBc or better
  • T/R Switching: Relays

Receiver:

  • Type: Superheterodyne.  Balanced mixers.
  • Sensitivity: 0.2uV minimum discernable signal.
  • Selectivity: 3-pole crystal ladder filter, 700Hz nominal bandwidth
  • IF: 4.915MHz
  • AGC: acts on the receive path according to the received audio.
  • Audio Output: 250mW, 4-8 ohms.

Ordering

I purchased my EGV+ kit with the optional enclosure from qrphamradiokits.com.  Javier requests that US customers email him using the contact form on his website for the current pricing in USD prior to ordering.  At the time of my order (February 2022), the cost with the optional enclosure was $203.37.

Assembly

The EGV+ is a single large (180x140mm) PCB, with separate modules for the OLED display, processor, and Si-5351 frequency generator.  All components are through-hole and placed on the top of the PCB.  The kit arrived well packaged and well organized.  There were no missing or mislabeled parts in my kit, which is impressive considering the high number of components.  There are 53 100nF capacitors alone!

The manual contains detailed lists of the components by value/quantity and individually.  One of my favorite features of the manual, and something I wish was more common, is a grid-based layout map of the entire PCB [see above], with the grid position called out in the list of individual components.  This greatly speeds assembly and diagnosis as you can find component positions more easily.

Continue reading Jonathan reviews the EGV+ QRP CW transceiver kit

The new QRP Labs QDX 4-band 5 watt digital transceiver kit

Many thanks to Pete  (WB9FLW) who shares the following information about the new QDX transceiver from QRP Labs:

The “QDX” (QRP Labs Digital Xcvr): a feature-packed, high performance, four-band (80, 40, 30, 20m) 5W Digi-modes transceiver kit, including embedded SDR receiver, 24-bit 48 ksps USB sound card, CAT control, synthesized VFO with TCXO reference. QDX transmits a SINGLE SIGNAL, it is not an SSB modulator with associated unwanted sideband and residual carrier, or intermodulation due to amplifier non-linearity. QDX outputs a pure single signal.

The Optional enclosure is black anodized extruded aluminium, very sturdy and elegant. The enclosure size is 89 x 63 x 25mm without protrusions. The front and rear panels are drilled and cut to match the QDX PCB with laser-etched lettering. The enclosure includes four self-adhesive feet.

List of features: 

    • Four bands 80, 40, 30 and 20m
    • 5W output at 9V supply (can be built for 4-5W at 12-13V supply)
    • Single signal transmission (zero unwanted sideband, zero residual carrier, zero intermodulation distortion)
    • Solid-state band switching and transmit/receive switching under CAT control
    • High performance embedded SDR SSB receiver with 60-70dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
    • Built-in 24-bit 48ksps USB sound card
    • Built-in USB Virtual COM Serial port for CAT control
    • Si5351A Synthesized VFO with 25MHz TCXO as standard
    • Easy to build single-board design, Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screen printed PCBs
    • All SMD components factory assembled
    • Connectors: 2.1mm power barrel connector, USB B (for audio and CAT control), BNC RF input/output
    • Built-in test signal generator and testing tools
    • Receive current 100mA, Transmit current 1.0-1.1A for 5W output with 9V supply (around 0.7A for 5W with 13V supply).
    • Optional aluminium extruded cut/drilled/laser-etched black anodized enclosure

Full details, see main QRP Labs QDX page.

Video tour of the QDX

Click here to view on YouTube.

Absolutely amazing! I’m not sure how Hans is able to innovate at the pace he does, but I think we’re all better for it. This will be a big seller for those who’ve been looking for a high performance QRP digital mode transceiver.

Thanks for the tip, Pete!

Click here to check out the QDX at QRP Labs.

QRP Labs projects QCX-Mini CW Transceiver Kit availability in December 2020

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):

Hi all

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
http://qrp-labs.com

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.

New Kit: The QRPometer from The Four State QRP Group

This meter sounds like a fun and useful project. Purchase one here–all proceeds benefit OzarkCon! Details below:

(Source: Terry, WAØITP with The Four State QRP Group, via QRP-L)

The Four State QRP Group is pleased to announce a new kit, the QRPometer, a sensitive and accurate power/swr meter designed by David Cripe, NMØS.   Complete specifications, assembly manual, and ordering information can be found here  ttp://www.wa0itp.com/qrpom.html
PayPal is accepted.

The range of accurate power  easurement extends down to a low 100 milliwatts.  This kit was conceived to fill a need within the hobby for an inexpensive, highly accurate RF power and VSWR meter for QRP power levels.  With it’s large digital display it makes a very useful addition to your shack.

The QRPometer uses simple analog signal-processing circuitry to provide a set of essential measurement features not previously available in a single unit. High quality, double sided,
printed circuit board construction is used, with solder mask and silk screened component reference designators.

All components are  through-hole for easy assembly. NO toroids are required, and all controls  and jacks are PCB mounted. The QRPometer can be constructed by beginners as well as experienced builders. Construction time is approximately 3 hours, depending on experience level. The only equipment required for calibration is a digital voltmeter, and a QRP transmitter..

All proceeds  go to fund OzarkCon.  As always, thank you for supporting the Four State QRP Group.  http://www.4sqrp.com/

UPDATE: See comments–first run of these kits sold out within 27 hours! More to come later.