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QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie

Bill Brown (KA6KBC) on May 28, 2009
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QRPp Transceiver - Simple Kit - Pixie

The Pixie is a small, direct conversion CW QRPp transceiver using just a handful of common parts and is a retail kit for $10. Most people should be able to build it. This is a Fun little kit. However it might be harder for a first timer, but with some help you can make a working Radio. It is a cheap kit However the $10 price is not completely correct. $10 for the PCB/Parts then $3 for the Crystal (Plus shipping). Then you have to buy connectors/Wire/Sockets/Solder/enclosure. I would guess in a box with the connectors/Switches you will be closer to $20. But worth the money just based on the learning experience.

The Pixie 2 is an HF CW transceiver, with a standard two transistor transmitter. It's a Colpitts oscillator, left running, and a keyed power amplifier. There is no external mixer used to feed the audio amplifier. The mixing is done at the final amplifier itself with the audio taken off the emitter. Depending on the PA device chosen, RF power outputs of between 100mW and 500mW may be achieved (I had to cherry pick transistors, but you can get about 400 mW with a 9V Cell). The only components which are band critical are in the TX PA output, so modifying for different bands (40M to 80M) can be done. On receive, the TX PA is used as a mixer which feeds the LM386 audio amplifier. This is a bare bones transceiver there's no RIT, a simple switch and cap in parallel, between the crystal will work as an offset though and theres no volume control for the audio. The whole idea here was to make a tiny rig that worked, with room for improvements, using a minimum of parts. In some cases you may also have Hum with an external Power Supply Id recommend a Battery and you might also hear some BCI (Broadcast interference).

Hams have made many contacts many of them have been over hundreds of miles away. It takes some skills to make contacts, but it can be done. Not a great primary rig, but you will have some fun building and playing with it.

CONSTRUCTION:

You need to be able to solder and trouble shoot a little, but its worth the time. Also you need to know a little about reading a schematic as some of the instructions could be clearer.

You will need a low wattage soldering iron with a small tip, some rosin core solder, solder wick (for removing parts), small wire cutters, needle nose pliers. Use Eye Protection, while cutting leads.

All the components, except for U1 the LM386, are mounted vertically. Id recommend to start at one end of the board and work to the other. There are no coils to wind, no alignment either. Once you apply power you should be able to hear the oscillator start up by listening on a near by receiver. Then check for audio at the headphones. If you run into noise/oscillation check the power. Use a new alkaline battery.

Parts kits for the Pixie 2 are available from

HSC Electronics, 3500 Ryder St., Santa Clara, CA 95051. The cost is $9.95 + $2.00 shipping and handling for the PC board and all board mounted components except the crystal. Chokes will be provided for both 40 and 80 meters. Phone 1-800-4HALTED. http://www.halted.com/

You will need the following additional items (not supplied in the kit): 2-RCA jacks, or 3.5mm jacks for key and antenna 1-3.5 mm mono or stereo jack, depending upon your headphones 1-short piece of RG-174 for antenna connection 1-crystal socket or pair of mini-alligator clips - http://www.amqrp.org/kits/crystals/index.html

Also there are a lot of good resources on the Web:

http://www.al7fs.us/AL7FS2.html

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/lapthorn/pixie.htm

73

Bill - KA6KBC

Member Comments:
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QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K5END on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
This was enjoyable.

It looks almost flameproof.

Good job.

73
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K8SOR on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I built one of the older pixie rigs with the filter in it. works well--lots of fun. 400mw from a 9 volt cell, better have a box of batteries (hi)
Good article
K8SOR
Skip
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K4LJA on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Really nice article, Bill.
I have my parts together now
and will build it soon.
Thanks --
Randy
K4LJA
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by WB5JNC on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Another simple kit option for not much more money is the Small Wonder Labs Rockmite series ($29 for the board kit with crystal.) I admit that I haven't ever used a Rockmite myself, but I've worked several of them on the air, and my experience with my SW-40 has given me a lot of respect for Dave Benson's entire operation (product functionality/quality, customer service, etc.)

Disclaimer as noted above: no financial interest, just a satisfied customer.

Link to Dave's website:

http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/

TNX/73, Al
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K8ALM on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
A crystal controlled radio! Reminds me of my Novice days back in 1967 when I worked the world with 75 watts. I'm going to check the junk box then give this baby a try.

Great article!
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by PA7WWO on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Everyone

For Eu builders BC547 will do fb in osc. and amp.
the other transistors are not so easy to fin in the Netherlands.

We 've build one recently and keying is done by Pico key with paddles or vibroplex 100th anneversary bug.
PWR suply is 12V. 1.2 Watt solar panel and 10 NIMH batteries as buffer.
Fun to buid but didn't make a lot of QSO's yet.

Very few CW ops around here, in my city only 3 others then me and one of them is my own son.
Would be a very big dx from one bedroom to the other is abt 20 feet..
The antenna's would be apart further abt 40 feet.
Rx is Vy bad but it works.
Tx is great, vy stable and I have buid it on 7001 and 7001.8 KHz by lifting Cristal .8 KHz. with a small capacitor.

Ant. is full half wave vertical or quarter wave GP for portable use even 2 elements phased half wave vert. for 40 mtrs. , but this is only portabel.
We even could try the four square portable
The phased array's won't fit in my garden.

With solar panel a true green zero emmision ham rig hihi
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KA6KBC on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Another good resouce:

http://users.whsmithnet.co.uk/m0dad/

He built it ugly style, using copper clad board off cuts as stand offs, and soldered any components which needed grounding directly to the main pcb board.


73's

Bill - KA6KBC
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by AK2B on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article, Bill.
Getting on the air with something you built with your own hands still remains one of the greater thrills of ham radio.

Tom, ak2b
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K8QV on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that using something you built carries extra reward and satisfaction.

I built my first xtal controlled xmtr from Handbook plans when I got my Novice ticket. After that, several Heathkits. Those were all well used with enjoyment and pride.

Building anything these days is a bit tedious for me, but I highly recommend it to anyone capable of it. For smiles per dollar, you can't beat it.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W7ETA on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice prose.
73
Bob
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by AI2IA on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Amateur radio becomes especially rewarding when you can clearly feel a sense of personal accomplishment. Fortunately there are many ways to do that, and you can involve yourself in all of them.

One very rewarding way is to build and use something that you assembled yourself from a kit. Another is to modify something in such a way that you see a clear improvement. Still another is to troubleshoot a problem and succeed in isolating and fixing the fault yourself. These personal projects can be small or large. Most cost you very little in terms of money, but mainly involve taking your time and doing it carefully.

If you have never built anything from a kit, I would definitely suggest that you make a selection carefully and put one together. Start small and work your way up to bigger projects. It is very rewarding, and whey you use it and look at it, you will see it with an understanding you could not have otherwise had unless you touched and installed the parts yourself.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K3AN on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article.

QRP and kit building are both rewarding activities. Not that the author has done so, but I would caution against recommending such pursuits to the newcomers to our ranks, despite the attractively low cost of entry. Let them start with a 100-Watt multiband rig, where they can easily make contacts, including DX contacts. As they become more immersed in Amateur Radio and begin looking for new worlds to conquer, then kit building and QRP are just two of the many avenues open to them.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by QRZDXR2 on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice project. Made one but found that life is too short for QRP or p Grin. We did make some contacts on it but found that we needed a additional item... the CMOS keyer with memory seemed to work out about right. Now you program into it your CQ and call and just have to hit the buttons to contenue fishing for the DX.

We worked the Islands with ours but, one must choose their crystal frequency carefully if one is to make contacts etc...

Oh and you forgot to mention that you needed to know CW code. Boy are the lip flappers going to be mad at you for promoting CW only... smile.
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Pixies, Rock mites, and their cousins are useful for learning kit building but they are virtually worthless for making QSOs. With 250 milliwatta and stuck on one frequency you might make a contact someday if you are lucky, have a decent antenna, or both. Soon after assembling you'll put Pixie on the shelf and plan on building a VFO run transceiver in the $100 range. At about the same time you'll ask yourself why you didn't skip the Pixie and build a more useful rig to begin with. You live, you learn.

oli
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Don't get me wrong - I am a QRPer and QRPPer. The minimum I would use is a 1 watt VXO transmitter such as a Ramsey kit with with a general coverage portable receiver or a VFO transceiver with at least 1-2 watts such as the Vectronics, the MFJ Cub, the SW+, or the Wilderness SST. I've used all. I'd stay away from single frequency otherwise you're in for a lot of frustration.

Just my two cents.

oli
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K9FON on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
At least someone is offering a simple little QRP kit for under 20.00. They are a TON of fun to build and a TON of fun to operate. There is nothing like self satisfaction of saying you built it and then make contacts with it on the air...
It is too bad i was born too late to have been around when one could buy stuff from Heathkit to put together. I would have been in rig building heaven back in the day. I am a build it myself type of person and have always been. I guess all the times i had Lego blocks did it for me!!!
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by WI7B on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I've built and used the Pixie II into a real Altoids box for both 40m and 20m (with the extra coils/components). I've worked Oregon from the patio seating of my local Starbucks's. I strung the wire antenna up into the Starbuck's umbrella over the table; sipped my Latte' Grand; worked 400 miles on a 9V battery.

Nice.

73,

---* Ken
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by AH6GI on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"It is too bad i was born too late to have been around when one could buy stuff from Heathkit "

No, you have not missed the Heathkit experience, see

<http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/156>
single band QSK CW transceiver

<http://www.qrpkits.com/bitx20acase.html>
single band SSB transceiver kit

<http://www.elecraft.com/k2_page.htm>
all band HF SSB/CW transceiver kit

I built a pixie into a baby DX-60 and am working on turning a Hendricks BitX20a into a small KWM-2.

de ah6gi/4
 
Fun but not much good for QSOs  
by AA1UY on May 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
As a fairly long-time CW QRPer myself, I agree with OLLIOXEN27 about these QRPp crystal controlled kits.

I haven't built a Pixie, but have built a Tuna Tin 2. These little kits are interesting I guess, but for most of us (with mediocre antennas), and especially given the state of the bands in recent years, I wouldn't want to use anything less than a VFO controlled rig with at least 2 or 3 watts available (preferably 5).

Thanks for a nice article though.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Ken,

You strung a 20 or 40 meter wire up on a Starbuck's umbrella and made a contact using a Pixie? Where was the keyer, SWR meter, and tuner? On the table next to your latte? Did the lady who walks around Starbucks wiping the tables ask what you were doing? Did anyone become fearful, suspicious,talk to the employees, or call 911 on their cell?

No offense but it sounds like a fantasy.

I gave up on operating from my car, while camping, backpacking, or doing any outdoor activities. The hassell of getting everything to work right in the field took away all the fun and definitely conflicted with the relaxation factor. I only do ham radio at home anymore where everything is set up and ready to go. When I go to the countryside I just want to relax. Same with driving. How can you enjoy nature, smell the flowers, watch the waves rush in, or watch the sunset with your nose stuck in ham radio? It never made sense to me. Might as well stay home.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
....and don't tell me you made a 400 mile contact with a 250mw Pixie working into an untuned, short, random wire.

That's a fantasy and a fish story.

oli
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
....plus all the mosquitoes. Can anybody copy 25wpm, scratch, swat, and ignore the ear buzzing all at the same time? And why do mosquitoes always want to fly up your ear?

....Field Day you ask? With all the problems in the world and my personal problems if a true emergency came up I'd just give up....or bet my last nickel things might actually get better after that.

oli
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
.....a 250mw signal into a short untuned random wire would have an efficiency somewhere between dead short and 13% on 40 meters, and dead short and 18.7% on 20 meters.

That would be infinity to 7692 miles per watt on 40 meters and infinity to 5347 miles per watt on 20 meters.....



flamers?
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
...and people think people named Ollie aren't smart...
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
correction 30768 miles per watt on 40 meters and 21388 miles per watt on 20 meters....forgot to multiply by 4. Guess I'm not so smart after all.....probably why they named me....

oli
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
.....with my enemies gone or me gone what's the fuss?
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
....since when did they start calling going permanently to sleep or returning to the stone age an emergency?

really
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by WS4E on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe I am crazy, but I would love to do with a tube based design.


I have ZERO experience with tubes, I am barely young enough to remember the GE Service guy coming to the house and fixing the tubes in our big console color tv.


But, I would love to learn a little about how that stuff worked and a tube based QRP kit that could do 4-5 watts would have me hooked in a second.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W0AEW on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Ollie: Are you having an argument with yourself? If so, who's winning? :-)
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by NU4B on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Pixies, Rock mites, and their cousins are useful for learning kit building but they are virtually worthless for making QSOs."

Really?

Here is a list of stations I worked with a 20 meter Rock-Mite (running 500 mW) and a HF5B installed on my roof from 2003 through 2005. I have QSLs for all these contacts.

VE1OP
IU2X
IU4T
HK3CQ (2 WAY ROCK-MITE 500 MW qso)
EA6UN
YV5AJ
PA6HQ
IU2HQ
YT0HQ
T90HQ
P3A
TM0HQ
TI3TLS
J88DR
WIAW
OO4UN
PJ5NA

and a host of US stations both QRP and QRO. While some operators may not have the ability to make QSOs with a Rock-Mite, I can assure you there are plenty of ops out there that can. I have not used a Pixie, so I can't comment on that rig.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by K5END on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
.
"learn a little about how that stuff worked and a tube based QRP kit that could do 4-5 watts would have me hooked in a second"

You are in luck.

There are some low voltage low power (triode) tubes that are roughly the size of a peanut.

The filament voltage on some of these is 1.5 volts, as I recall, plate voltage is around 50 volts on some, so a series of 4, 9 volt batteries could work.

I think some were used for radar on warheads, so tubes might be available with the response to work in the HF bands. will have to research.

Another plus is they don't need sockets. The leads are wires and not pins.

Would be a cool project that might fit in a "sucrets" box (sorry, didn't want to say "altoids" hihi.)

I wish I'd thought of this, but go ahead and go for it. Or maybe we could collaborate. send me an email to the arrl forward thingy if you're interested.

And this would be a good project for....yet another eham article.

a pocket size qrp boat anchor.

it would be a novelty, as solid state is more useful and efficient for backpacking, etc.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by WB5JNC on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, it is possible to make contacts with a Pixie/Tixie/Tiny Tornado et al, but I think the Rockmite is really a different class of rig. To wit: the Pixie etc. use a very simple bipolar transistor mixer, whereas the Rockmite (and other similar designs) use an NE602. While the NE602 isn't the ultimate in mixers by any means, its performance is probably an order of magnitude above that of the Pixie design. Both will work, but as band conditions and QRM (especially in the case of very strong signals that are out of the RX audio passband but still nearby) increase, the '602 based designs will do much better at providing a copyable signal. (Note that this isn't just my opinion, it is well documented in technical discussions of the designs which are in print as well as on line.)


[Personal to OLLIEOXEN27:

You said "...and people think people named Ollie aren't smart...."

Yes, but... only if they aren't married to Lena....]

Note to the reader: if the "Lena" reference left you scratching your head, take a look at this article on Wickipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_and_Lena

TNX/73, Al
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by WB5JNC on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Typo: should have read "as band conditions deteriorate and QRM... increases...."

Must remember to put brain in gear before posting comment HI HI!!

TNX/73, Al
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by NU4B on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Yes, it is possible to make contacts with a Pixie/Tixie/Tiny Tornado et al, but I think the Rockmite is really a different class of rig."

Good point! - Though the Rock-Mite was mentioned.

But in any of these rigs, to write them off as worthless in terms of making a QSO seemed a rather extraordinary statement. I'm not sure why the comparison was made to some 100 watt rig or some such. These are not, and were never meant to be, those rigs.

The value of these rigs, besides the fun, is the experimentation both in playing around with the circuits, adding circuits, and just playing around with making QSO's.

For instance on my Rock-Mite, I added 6 swithched crystals, a crude VXO, a freqmite, and an audio filter.

But even without those additions, with the stock Mite I was able to call CQ and made many contacts. My QSO with HK3CQ was made by both of us using a stock mite. This was not a sked either. I can't remember who was calling CQ, but it was a neat QSO. I don't consider a 2 way 500mw QSO a worthless endeavor, but that's just me.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by IZ4KBS on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
== I gave up on operating from my car, while camping, backpacking, or doing any outdoor activities. The hassell of getting everything to work right in the field took away all the fun and definitely conflicted with the relaxation factor. I only do ham radio at home anymore where everything is set up and ready to go. When I go to the countryside I just want to relax. Same with driving. How can you enjoy nature, smell the flowers, watch the waves rush in, or watch the sunset with your nose stuck in ham radio? It never made sense to me. Might as well stay home. ==

Well, if all you want to do is communicating then there are now much better/cheaper/bullet-proof means than hamradio: use telephone, e-mail, Facebook or whatever. BUT if you enjoy hamradio as a hobby, then it is like fishing, and doing it also while camping/hiking, or under the shade of a palm tree on a beautiful beach makes perfect sense to me. In fact, hamradio has more to do with a personal sense of achievement than it has to do with communicating. Likewise, fishing has usually more to do with a sense of achievement and relaxation than it has to do with eating.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W8ZNX on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
ex hard core qrp op
for years my only hf rig was a 509
joined the ARCI over 35 years ago
have built from scratch and kit
dozens of qrp and qrpp rigs
solid state and tube

even hooked to a good antenna
there are times
nobody is going to hear you
once spent 3 weeks calling cq
rock bound on 80 cw running 450 mw
without one single contact
funny
before the dry spell
had five late night long rag chew contacts
with this rig on 80 cw

pixie
please
its a novelty item

how few parts can you use to build a radio
and still call it a radio

i would rather try to make contacts
keying a Millen GDO
receiving on a one tube hb autodyne
hooked to 60 ft of scrap wire

any
Ten Tec, Kanga, Hendricks, Small Wonder Labs, NorCal kit will run rings around the pixie

there are too many first class
GREAT qrp kits
to waste your time building a pixie

want to start off easy

lots of good dirt simple kits

dit dit
mac
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KA6KBC on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for all the Great comments. For me this was like building the little Crystal Set my dad and I made back in the 70's, when I was in 5th Grade. At the time I was amazed that I was able to build something that could receive the AM Broadcast station 10 miles away. It did not matter to me that it was a very poor radio. All I cared was that the Bag of parts and block of wood actually picked up signals and was a working radio. In the case of the Pixie Transceiver I was again amazed that this little thing with Two Transistors could actually Send and Receive signals. I dont have any ties to the Designer or Company who makes the kit - I just think it is really neat and a good bit of Radio Fun.

I thought this comment was interesting:

"... Remember this transmitter is at QRPp levels of output, typical 200 to 300 MW.(.02 watt). The receiver is not selective and as sensitive as your regular ham receiver. Seriously consider of making a scheduled contact with another ham for your first QSO with the PIXIE. It is better to call stations you hear with the radio than to spend endless hours calling CQ. If you suffer from depression, are easily disappointed or discouraged, do not use this radio as a primary communications device...but it is alot of fun!".

http://members.fortunecity.com/radio12/greg6fzh/pixie.htm

73's - Bill - KA6KBC
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W8LV on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
A tip of the Green Telegrapher's Visor to you, Sir!

Best of all, you don't have to rewire your shack for 220 for this one!
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KC2MJT on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Bill.

Although a few of you are correct to point out a Pixie isn't going to rack up a fistful of QSOs, it will make QSOs. And when it does it is a thrill. Remember your first CW contact and how your hands shook like a sailor's just in port after 45 days at sea and the first cold one just hit the bar? That's Qrpp.

My first rig was a DSWII 40. Cut a homebrew dipole for 40, threw one end out a first story window, left the other leg lying on the kitchen floor. First QSO within 1 minute and with a guy 350 Miles away. One hour later, QSO 600 miles away with heavy QRN. My hands shake thinking about it. Although I was pushing 3 watts, my signal (without back of he napkin math) was probably Qrpp.

Sure, if I want to chat I usually work 50-100W cw. Yet, when conditions are good there is nothing like QRP. I've worked guys working pixies and rockmites from across the U.S., and one or two from Europe - all at or near the bottom of the solar cycle. Most were 559 or better and I could chat until they got tired or their 9Volt died. Many with compromised antennas that many of you wouldn't even call antennas. That's the magic of radio. When you plug your expected band conditions into math and physics you get the expected.

When I play radio, I expect the unexpected. That's the fun of radio. Nature likes to wink at neat little models. That's when Qrp wins smiles.
 
To W4SE re. tubes  
by AA1UY on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
W4SE, you might be interested in the 1-Der 40 kit.

It's a rock-bound (XTAL controlled) one-tube transceiver, with ~200 milliwats RF out coupled with a tunable regenerative receiver; received audio is output through a crystal earpiece. Pretty basic.

Looks very professionally done, but with only 200 mw out, you'll have to work hard using it at this point in the solar cycle.

Like you, if someone came out with a VFO controlled tube transceiver (or seperates) kit, with a stable 5 watts out and no spurious emissions, I'd pounce on it too.

http://glowbugkits.com
 
Correction  
by AA1UY on May 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, typo.

'Should've been addressed to WS4E (not W4SE).
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W8ZNX on May 30, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
1-Der 40
oh no

what the heck is with some of you people
the 1 Der 40 is almost as bad as the Pixie

what's with this need to run 4th rate junk

when you can build from scratch
a dirt simple lash up
that works better than the pixie and 1 der 40

see any old copy of " How to Become a Radio Amateur "
if you can not figure out how to build
the simple inexpensive hb lash ups in this book
you should turn in your license

mac
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by AD5LT on May 30, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Need a little more power and portable too, try building one of these http://members.shaw.ca/ve7sl/paraset.html
not for the faint of heart,but looks like a good project.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by 5R8GQ on May 30, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I do not have any experience with the Pixie 2, though I do operate a lot of QRP and have built 9 different QRP transceivers. I agree with the statement that this kit is probably not the best for beginners, especially with the "No Code" HF licensing. For those interested in QRP but not CW (GASP! BLASHPEMY!) my recommendations are:
Small Wonder Labs PSK-20 at $100. PSK is an ideal mode for QRP, and you will make contacts right away. I have made 2,500 Mile/watt QSO's with this rig into a multiband vertical. Got the T-shirt and everything.(walllpaper certificate from 1,000 mile/watt club).
http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/

If you want to build an inexpensive but VERY nice SSB rig, I recommend the BITX20A 20m SSB kit rig from qrpkits.com. The "Board & Parts Only" version is only $80. The enclosure is ridiculously overpriced at $50. You can make your own. A digital dial is $30 extra, but I don't have one or miss it. Very nice little rig, though not technically QRP as it is rated at 10 watts output, mine puts out 12 watts at peaks.
Have made many, many nice SSB QSO's with this little rig. Yahoo Users Group for those late nite questions.
http://www.qrpkits.com/bitx20a.html

There is an 80m version of this basic design called the MKARS-80, available from England for 45 GBP, about $78 USD plus 5 GBP ($7 USD) shipping). Rated at 5 watts output. Yahoo Users Group
http://www.radio-kits.co.uk/

CW AND SSB = 40m MMR-40 from qrpkits.com. Nice rig but unfortunately no longer available in "Board and Parts Only Kit" and VERY overpriced with a $50 enclosure which you are FORCED to buy. One of the winners of the QST Builders Challenge". Yahoo User Group
http://www.qrpkits.com/mmr40.html

For something REALLY special: The Genesis line of QRP SDR (Software Designed Radio) Kits. 5 watts out, all modes, can use free software with your computer and Sound Card and have all the bells and whistles of a very expensive rig costing thousands. Downside: Requires powerful computer and sophisticated Sound Card for full operation. Price $150 USD. Available in 40m rig and new 20m-30m dual band rig, same price.
Yahoo User Group.
http://www.genesisradio.com.au/G40/
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KD6DXA on May 30, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I built a Pixie II a few years back. It took many days of trying to get a QSO. But when I got a 579 RST from 300 miles away, with only 250 mw, it was one of the more exciting moments of ham radio I have had. Build one. They're fun.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on May 31, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
W0AEW,

Yes actually I'm the only interesting person or at least the most interesting person to talk to most of the time. Since I'm intuitive and not programmed like most people I learn a lot just by writing down something interesting, then a stream of new realizations come out like magic. I'm not always in that zone but when I am it's something.

Most people are destroyed by anger which blocks intuition and understanding and shuts them off from their hearts and all the colors of reality.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W5ESE on June 1, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
> Pixies, Rock mites, and their cousins are useful
> for learning kit building but they are virtually
> worthless for making QSOs. With 250 milliwatta
> and stuck on one frequency you might make a
> contact someday if you are lucky, have a
> decent antenna, or both.

I beg to differ!

I've had several enjoyable QSOs with both Pixies
and Rockmites.

On 80m, I've reached FL and NC with a Pixie (from
TX).

My 20m and 40m Rockmites have provided contacts
to the upper midwest, the northeast (Long
Island), Oregon, and Washington state. I've
taken them on several backpacking outings, and
had a lot of fun with them on those trips.

And my antennas aren't that great, either.
No towers, beams, etc; just a basic wire
antenna.

The Rockmite is a lot more effective radio
than the Pixie, though. The Pixie is more
limited by it's receiver than it's transmitter.

As an alternative for newcomers, I recommend
the Ten-Tec TKIT 1056 DC receiver. The level
of complexity is still low, but it has good
performance. The receiver board kit is a bit
over $30. Read the reviews on this site.

Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by CLEBOT on June 1, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Sounds like a great project for our High School Amateur Radio Club! Something to grab their attention from the get-go. thanks for bringing this up.

Gerrit
KE5HVM/K2CHS
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KA6KBC on June 1, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
See pictures of my version on my WebPage:

http://billbrwn.tripod.com/id30.html


73's - Bill - KA6KBC
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KG4ZVA on June 2, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
and this is an article, why???

build a 100 watt, 160-440, all mode rig.
THEN it might be interesting.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KA1DNO on June 2, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"and this is an article, why???"

My father didn't know about the Pixie II until he saw this piece. So I'm kind of glad the article was posted.

If he builds this rig and takes it to the top of Mt. Washington (that's his plan), it'll be a thrill to work him in my shack!

btw, I think the all-band, multi-mode transceiver you mentioned would've been unsuitable for Dad's purposes. :-)

Rick
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by XE1GXG on June 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Pixies, Rockmites, NS40s, homebrewed thingies DO work and are a blast! Seguro que s!!
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KL2TC on June 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
My grandson and I are working on this one together. It is perfect for increasing his excitement about learning CW. Holding the carrot out of communicating radio to radio, instead of code oscillators across a wire, is a cheap learning incentive.

This is really cool!
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KE7WAV on June 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I have a few friends who are hams who haven't learned code yet, they have expressed an interest, but all of their equipment is for UHF and VHF. This is a cheap and easy way to start a local 80m milliwatt net to help them catch "CW bug!" (or straight key...hihi)

I think I will build a couple on the condition that they'll give CW an honest try.

Does anyone know how long the battery lasts?
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by KE7WAV on June 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry that was a stupid wuestion because it would depend on duty cycle, battery brand etc thanks!
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLDSWAB on June 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
A lot of th OM's could tell you a story or two about QRP transmitters and contest. All of the newbys want is a computer and internet connection. Trust me I know. Oldswab
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by AE1X on June 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Look guys, I built a Pixie2 for 30m (10.116MHz). This was an unmodified version. I measured the output prior to modifying it as 140mW. The antenna was a 51' doublet or a short G5RV at about 20' with a Ten-Tec 247 tuner. I worked W4QBE in GA from here in MA with this little marvel and I have the confirmation to prove it. The distance estimate that I got with an online site indicates that this contact covered 821 miles.

Ken - AE1X
 
QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on June 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
With current conditions and at my current qth working qrp is like pulling teeth. Articles I've read online talk about a very poor Cycle 24 in contrast to what we heard several months ago. Cycle 23 was one of the longest on record which portends a poor Cycle 24. Cycle 24 is shaping up as a dud or perhaps an extended period of minimal solar activity (see Maunder Minimum, Sporer Minimum etc).

I remember all the hype on Coast to Coast AM about how Cycle 24 will break all records and the sun might be the reason for the end of the Mayan calender and us in 2011 seems pretty far fetched now.

oli
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by WA2JJH on June 7, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
The PIXIE is an excellent tool for those that want to understand basic transceiver theory.


Check around. Many mods and improved variatons of the basic Pixie. PWR amps, VCO/VFO's and better TX/RX

The new ham gets short changed in theory. If one can really understand every bit of the pixie....you are on your way to understanding store purchased rigs.
 
RE: QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie  
by W2AFD on June 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
A well written article and interesting to read. I have built a Pixie, and a Ticksie (remember those?) and quite honestly cannot understand how anyone could come up with praise for these little radios.

The receiver is so poor it is almost useless, and contacts for me were quite difficult...almost impossible, and always frustrating. I always had the feeling that I was being heard at times, but the Pixie receiver is so poor I am sure I was not able to hear the response.

I'd like to think I am a seasoned ham, and I am QRP oriented. The only people I would recommend this radio to would be to someone I loathe, and quite frankly, I do not recall anyone in my lifetime I have disliked enough to give them this little rig!

As mentioned, the Rockmite is a much better radio, and many contacts can be made easily, it's fun to build, the documentation makes it easy to troubleshoot if necessary, and the price is right.

Any prospective ham introduced to this radio would, in my opinion, run back to the internet as soon as possible.
 
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