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Author Topic: QRP Kits  (Read 453 times)
KE5HJO
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Posts: 207




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« on: December 02, 2007, 06:35:14 AM »

I would like to build my own QRP rig for CW use.  I'm looking for something portable and easy to build.  Any suggestions?

Thanks.
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G3XBM
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2007, 06:49:02 AM »

Let me recommend the 5W QRP Elecraft K1. I bought mine as a kit early in 2007 and got it with the auto-ATU and coverage of 40, 30, 20 and 15m bands although other choices are possible. Unlike the larger K2 this is a very small CW only rig. The instructions for building are first class and the finished rig works a dream, even in the crowded and noisy 40m band here in the UK. I have lost count of the DXCC countries worked with the rig but it is over 50 now in casual operating and 100 DXCC countries is almost a certainty next year after I retire and have more time. BTW, I only use a simple, low, 15m long wire, so nothing special at all by way of antennas. The rig has good styling and ergonomics and is a professional piece of kit with nice features like digital display, built-in keyer, beacon message memory. See http://www.elecraft.com or my own website http://www.g3xbm.co.uk for more information.

73s
Roger G3XBM
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3229




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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2007, 07:14:07 AM »

Another vote for the K1; Roger has it right.  My K1 is NOT for sale ... ever.  It isn't a pure-bred backpacker's radio, that would be the Elecraft KX-1, which didn't fit my needs.  KD1JV sells an occasionally-available ATS-3 kit and that deserves a look, as well, as does the DC-40 from Hendricks (also a KD1JV design).
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AK2B
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2007, 08:47:26 AM »

"I'm looking for something portable and easy to build."
I would also suggest the K1 or KX1. The question is what you mean by portable. If you mean camping and backpacking the KX1 is the clear choice. If you have a home station rig and occasionally make trips to relatives then the answer is not as easy. I keep my KX1 ready to go in a little bag the size of a fanny pack. I have everything I need in that small little bag and take it with me when I go somewhere where I might have a little time to kill. The KX1 can't be beat for that purpose. Everything, batteries, atu and key are self contained in the rig. On the other hand, the K1 has a better receiver, a slightly better atu and puts out more power and sounds really great. I love the K1. It is truly an amazing little radio and I often set it up on the operating desk just for the sheer fun of it. You can put a battery pack inside the K1 but, if I remember correctly, you have to install a smaller speaker.
As far as construction, the K1 may be a little easier to build (but not by much). All Elecraft kits are a joy to build – little or no point to point wiring and the manuals are exceptional.
The choice is not easy. I ended up building all three Elecraft rigs and if UPS is on time, I will be putting together a K3 tomorrow :-)

Tom, AK2B
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AI4WC
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2007, 09:32:14 AM »

My first (and only)kit was the NorCal 40.  It is made of high quality components and the directions are first rate.  More importantly, Wilderness Radio and specifically QRP Bob is quick to respond to questions.  The case is professional and the rig can be operated with a keyer with the additional keyer kit and the radio is as sensitive as, and quieter than, my FT-897.  It also has a very low battery drain so it can be powered with less battery (smaller battery packs).  You won't be sorry.
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KE5HJO
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2007, 12:16:33 PM »

All the above mentioned rigs are top quality and, unfortunately, out of my price range.  Is it possible to build one from "ground up"?  I'm sure it is possible but are there QRP plans that one can purchase?  I have access to an electronics lab so assembly will not be an issue and I have more time than money :>)

Thanks,

Mike
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3229




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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2007, 12:38:44 PM »

Well, I think you may need to look again ...

http://www.qrpkits.com/dc40a.html

$39 is less than what you will pay just for the parts, if you bought them yourself.  BTW that $39 is including shipping, US domestic.

This radio is no slouch in the performance department, and any number of add-ons can be built (for just a few extra dollars in most cases) to make a really neat, super-inexpensive setup.

Add in the 'SLT' 1/2 wave tuner (kit also from qrpkits.com), and you're on the air for less than I recently paid for a tank of 93 premium.
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AG4RQ
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2007, 01:27:18 PM »

KE5HJO asked:
"I would like to build my own QRP rig for CW use. I'm looking for something portable and easy to build. Any suggestions?"

It all depends what your needs and wants are. Do you want to operate on a single band? Or do you want a rig for multi-band operation? There are plenty of modestly-priced kits for monoband QRP rigs. The multi-band kits are more expensive and are more complicated to build. The Elecraft kits are nice but pricey.

The easier kits to build are of course the monobanders. Quality wise, the best bang for your buck would be a Small Wonder Labs SW+ Series Transceivers. They cost $55 each and are available for 20m, 30m, 40m and 80m.

For a newbie to kit-building, it is best to start with a monobander. Most hams would suggest the Small Wonder Labs SW+ Series Transceivers. Best band would be 20m or 40m for starters.

Here are some URLs:

Elecraft
http://www.elecraft.com/

Ten-Tec
http://www.tentec.com/

Oak Hills Research
http://www.ohr.com/

Small Wonder Labs
http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/

Norcal
http://www.norcalqrp.org/

MFJ
http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?catid=19&subcat=xcvr

Vectronics
http://www.vectronics.com/products.php?catid=2

Ramsey
http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/hk/default.asp?page=ar

Wilderness Radio
http://www.fix.net/~jparker/wild.html

KE5HJO also asked:
"Is it possible to build one from "ground up"? I'm sure it is possible but are there QRP plans that one can purchase?"

If you want free info and schematics just Google "QRP Homebrew", "Homebrew CW Transmitter", "Homebrew CW Transceiver", and you will get an infinite supply of links to hams' web sites with homebrew information.

A must if you're going to start homebrewing is to download a book named "Crystal Sets To Sideband" at the following URL:
http://www.hanssummers.com/radio/k0iye/index.htm

At this site there are links for all 16 chapters in PDF files.

I have the files on my hard drive. I can send you an e-mail with a zip attachment with all the PDF files (21.5 MB), or I can send you a single PDF file (3.35 MB). The individual files are the most current (Revision 10 dated July 2006, whereas the single file is Revision 9 dated Sept. 2004. If you want me to send any of these files to you, send me an e-mail.

Also see my post to this eHam thread "Help build my Radio":

http://www.eham.net/forums/homebrew/3812

I put plenty of URLs for homebrew information on the above thread.

I hope this helps.

73 de Mark
AG4RQ
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KE5HJO
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2007, 02:14:52 PM »

Thanks for the great responses.  The last two posts hit the nail on the head.  Now I know what I can do and afford.

73!

Mike
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9927




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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2007, 07:41:49 PM »

I think Ten Tec still has some kits too
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5555




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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2007, 04:39:37 AM »

Single band, or multi-band?
There are a lot of CW kits out there!
Wilderness and Ten Tec make good single band kits... while Elecraft has multi-band available.
There are others.

-Mike.
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VE3GNU
Member

Posts: 86




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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2007, 06:08:07 AM »

I have both the Wilderness NC 40A and the Ten Tec 1340.  Both are great performers, but as far as getting 'the most radio for the money'---my vote goes for the Ten Tec---($99.00). The biggest difference---for me anyway, is the bandwidth: the 1340 has a 1kc bandwidth while the NC 40A has a 400hz one.  Also, the 1340 has a built-in speaker.
We are truly fortunate to have available such great QRP kits these days!
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KB1IAI
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2007, 04:17:00 PM »

dude, build a pixie two. greatest little transciever in the world. i knocked one out in an hour. runs on a nine volt battery. 10 to 160meters. pick the band you want. i put a three way switch in mine and got three bands. less then two inchs square. get one here:
http://www.kenneke.com/



73 paul kb1iai
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