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Favorite Kit


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My favorite kit right now is the QCX 40.  I successfully built one.  I also bought the professional enclosure, so the rig looks nice.  I am taking the little QRP 5 watt rig on park-peditions and SOTA mountain climbs.  There is a monthly QCX party on the air also, and usually I forget about it until the day after when everyone is posting to the discussion group.  

My second favorite kit is the Pixie II.  This is a complete transceiver in two transistors and a 386 IC.  Amazing.  And what is even more amazing is the fact that these kits can be bought for about $2.70 on eBay.  The kit with an enclosure costs a bit more, $5.75.  I am now buying these kits and building them for fun.  I love it when they work, and they almost always do work.  For me.  The only thing about these kits is that the crystal is 7.023, and the Novice/Tech band only goes down to 7.025.  Now either you could pad the crystal with a capacitor to raise the frequency (which I have done) or just use a 7.030 crystal, which I have also done.  Would anyone like one from me, already built?  I have six or seven now available...   I would like to see a Pixie II club - with meetings on the air.  

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My other kit is a BitX 40 SSB transceiver.  This one cost $50 also.  But I don't know if you could classify it as a complete kit, because it comes as a completed transceiver board.  You just add wires to the controls.  I bought a commercial metal case for this tranceiver too, although not an enclosure that was made directly for the BitX.  I drilled the holes, etc.  And mounted the controls and board in the case.  It is a five watt SSB transceiver.  I am very happy with it. 

One thing with this rig - when I got it originally, it was not very frequency fixed, that is, the frequency would change as the rig warmed up, or changed temperature. or what ever.  It wouldn't stay on a stable frequency.  I wrote to Farkan (the designer) and asked him what kind of capacitors were used in the oscillator.  He used regular (cheap) caps there too, as he did throughout the board.  So I went out and bought NP0 type caps for the frequency determining caps.  Made all the difference.  Now the rig is very frequency stable.  I even notified the discussion group about the NP0 caps, and offered them to anyone who wanted.  I still have a lot because I had to buy a 100 cap strip off of eBay.  By the way, the board is all surface mount, and this was my first attempt at soldering surface mount.  It is harder to unsolder than to solder surface mount.  

 

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ELMER

Hey Joseph. Thanks for these. Just to be helpful, here is the url to the QCX: https://www.qrp-labs.com/qcx.html

And this is the BitX40: http://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/bitx40/

Methinks you may have made me into a buyer. I love building kits too. My last one was a bit of a failure, it was a GPS clock kit I bought from a vendor at Hamvention. The IC was defective.

BTW, good call on changing out the capacitors on the BitX!

Last thing, the mark of a good kit builder is his ability to unsolder 😎

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I recently completed a D4D kit for 20 meters and it worked first time power was applied. This is a neat little DSB transceiver  designed for FT-8. It is fixed on 14.074, however versions are available for 40, 30 20 and perhaps others.

This is never going to be your only FT-8 rig, since it is DSB, but what a blast to put together.  It plugs directly into the sound card input of your laptop running WSJT-x and puts out a watt or so.  I made a couple of Qs on 20 and haven't had this much fun in ages!

73 Tom/W4OKW

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ELMER

Photos of kits welcome!!!

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/13/2019 at 6:50 PM, W4OKW said:

I recently completed a D4D kit for 20 meters and it worked first time power was applied. This is a neat little DSB transceiver  designed for FT-8. It is fixed on 14.074, however versions are available for 40, 30 20 and perhaps others.

This is never going to be your only FT-8 rig, since it is DSB, but what a blast to put together.  It plugs directly into the sound card input of your laptop running WSJT-x and puts out a watt or so.  I made a couple of Qs on 20 and haven't had this much fun in ages!

73 Tom/W4OKW

Tom, 
Is the D4D kit you're talking about the one this site sells?  http://crkits.com/

Thanks

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  • 1 year later...
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Heathkit SB-102 which I built many years ago back in the '70s. I was surprised that they used RCA jacks for everything including RF out. I replaced all of them except the RF out with BNC connectors. The RF out was replaced with an N connector. Also, the balance pot seemed to react to the cover being closed. This was very annoying. So I replaced the 200 ohm pot with a 10 turn 100 ohm pot between two 50 ohm fixed resistors. With that I could null out the carrier to absolutely nothing. Also, the internal coax cables had three or four very thin strands of wire for the shield connection, which didn't seem mechanically strong enough, so I potted the ends of every coax cable inside the rig. Barefoot with a 50 ft tower and HyGain triband yagi, that rig worked the world back in the day. When I moved away from the 10 acre property and into apartments, I tried using makeshift antennas but after the tower and beam, the disappointment was too great so I sold that rig. 

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