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Author Topic: Self-contained QRP digital mode rig?  (Read 4844 times)
KB1NLW
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2010, 02:52:51 PM »

If you do not mind building a kit, I strongly recommend a Small Wonder Labs PSK transciever.  I built a 20m unit and followed it with a 40m version.  See the reviews in the QRP section.

Last field day we set up a station with the SML PSK-20 and a cheap  Ramsey 20W amplifier (see review).  Made a lot of converts to PSK!
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2232




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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2010, 06:24:46 PM »

"Last field day we set up a station with the SML PSK-20 and a cheap Ramsey 20W amplifier (see review). Made a lot of converts to PSK!"

I have those two kits built into one cabinet and it works great. (I have the much older version of the PSK-20, usues a serial cable and has a lot more parts.)

I have been thinking of building a 4 band PSK-31 rig much like the original poster describes for some time.
Over a period of years I have built the (now discontinued) PSK-10, PSK20, PSK40, and Warbler.  Also have built the HF Projects 35w amp, and the now discontinued LDF Z-11 QRP Auto tuner (LDG Offered some of their tuners as kits for a while).
I want to take the 4 PSK XCVR boards, the small amp, the auto tuner, and add the NUE Modem (Which I do not yet have) and put them all into one enclosure.

Then all I would have to do is hookup a battery, a keyboard, and an antenna and I'd be ready to roll on PSK31 on 4 bands.
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WA7NCL
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Posts: 625




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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2010, 01:49:42 PM »

Why not build your own.  Buy a mini itx chassis.  Buy a mini itx mobo.  Make some mechanical mods and add one of the mini QRP rigs to a shielded area of the ITX case (you might have to do some metal work or add an internal box.  Hook the works up to the itx sound card and RS232 port.  Find a small keyboard and display.  Bundle it and run linux and fldigi.

Or... get a netbook and strap it onto a metal box with a QRP rig in the box.  Rig up some simple interconnect and voila! mobile QRP psk.

Lest you think this is a pipe dream, I have a very simple interface I made for my K2 and HP mini 1010nr netbook.  The K2 has an internal battery and SSB adapter.  I put the works in my pack with a home brew dipole and sligshot laucher.  Hiked 2 miles up a mtn. and operated PSK31 from under a tree in amoungst the snow banks.

Or you can wait for somebody to do it for you.
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W6RQ
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2010, 03:04:35 PM »

Hi All,

Thanks everyone for your helpful responses. It sounds like there are a number of kit options available. Many of you mentioned the PSK-<band> series from Small Wonder Labs (possibly in combination with the Ramsey 20w amp kit), and/or the NUE-PSK digital modem (kit or assembled), possibly in combination with the announced but not yet available "NUE-SDR" ... an SDR transceiver option for the NUE-PSK.

I am still on the lookout for an inexpensive, fully assembled, all-in-one digital transceiver, capable of RTTY and PSK-31. Seems like an enterprising ham (or company) could fill a niche here.

Many thanks again. 73, Curt W6RQ
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2232




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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2010, 03:29:08 PM »

Quote
  Does anyone have any experience with the PSK-20 etc? It has gotten good reviews here on eham.

Yes, I do, they're excellent rigs and not hard to build.
I've built, own & use the (discontined PSK-10) PSK-20, PSK-40,
and Warbler (Downsized PSK-80).

You are not going to find everything you want in your
"dream radio".......no such animal. The NUE modem is very nice
and a great performer. But have you ever stared at it for hours?
The print is very small and tuning can be awkward.

Get yourself a FT-817, small interface, and small laptop.
More versatile (you can use more modes/software/rig control/QSO logging)
easier to read. You'll be happier in the long run.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2357




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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2010, 06:28:23 PM »

Quote
The NUE-PSK eliminates the need for a laptop and soundcard, but requires a rig. OK, that might be a good choice. But what I'm really looking for is an all-in-one radio+digital modem. The closest thing I've found is the PSK-20 (-30, -40, etc) from Small Wonder Labs (http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/). The main downsides for me is that it only does PSK-31 (no RTTY)m it's only available as a kit (though I could probably pay someone to build me one), and I don't know if there is an enclosure available for it (though one could be fabricated I'm sure). Does anyone have any experience with the PSK-20 etc? It has gotten good reviews here on eham.

You're misunderstanding what "digital modem" means.  For most of us (except people using PACTOR hardware, and owners of K3's and some other rigs with digital decoding built in), all the "modem" activity takes place in the computer + soundcard (or the NUE-PSK "modem") 

So a PSK-20, plus a laptop, is _capable_ of RTTY  (via audio FSK), but it's not capable of moving frequency.  That's a limitation of the PSK-20.  [Forgive me if you understand this already.]

FWIW, RTTY operation is mostly heard during contests.  It's popular then, but I rarely hear it otherwise.  [Forgive me again . . . ]

In your place, I'd spring for a compact netbook computer + FT-817.  You can direct-wire them together, without an interface, according to many FT-817 users.  It gives you "all digital modes, all bands" operation.  You get CW and SSB and FM as freebies.   [I own an FT-817; it's an amazing rig, but not really lightweight, and not cheap.]

                   Charles


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VE3WMB
Member

Posts: 282




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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2010, 06:32:49 PM »

You should seriously look at the Flex 1500 SDR. With a small netbook computer running Windows
a USB cable and the Flex 1500 you can achieve what you are looking for. I went to a Flex 1500
talk at the QRP ARCI Symposium (FDIM) this year in Dayton and someone asked exactly this question.

You need two additional pieces of software, one is free and the other is only around $25.
This allows you to key the rig without the use of a serial port/cable and the other routes the audio
to/from the computer to the 1500 via the USB cable so you need no other connections to the rig
other than the USB and power. You can then use whatever digital mode program you like along
with the PowerSDR program to control the rig.

Michael VE3WMB

P.S. The new version of PowerSDR software (free but may still be in beta) is incredible.

Hi all,

I'm looking for a fully self-contained, small, QRP, inexpensive digital mode rig, capable of operating on multiple bands, and multiple modes (including PSK and RTTY). When I say self-contained, I mean an all-in-one unit, including transceiver, native support for digital modes (no need for external interface), and battery. All that is needed to add would be a laptop and antenna. Does such a rig exist? I'd prefer a commercially available product, all assembled (no kits). Thanks in advance.

73, Curt W6RQ
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NR4C
Member

Posts: 306




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« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2010, 05:39:00 AM »

Check out the Yahoo group on Softrock40.  This group discusses a growing trend in ham radio using Software Defined Radio technology.  Most are kits, but very inexpensive and most QRP but amps can be added, such as the one in this months QST.  Kits are avail that have TX/RX capabilities, and buildin digital, cw and ssb modes.  Check it out.  Yes, they will need a computer, basically a homebuilt Flex system.

...bc   nr4c
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