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Author Topic: First Kit Build in Years  (Read 3124 times)
KF7DS
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Posts: 179




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« on: October 10, 2011, 08:32:36 AM »

After a 40 year hiatus (had my license and was into CW), I am a Ham again and sorry I missed out for so long. Guess better late than never.

I used to build my own stuff, Heathkits for the most part. I have been practicing soldering some Radio Shack small kits to get back into the swing of things, and feel pretty comfortable soldering again...as well as I can be:).

My wife loves the fact that I have a hobby that keeps me indoors (somewhat) and bought me a few Elecraft kits to build during the rainy season (it's Portland)...A 4 band K1 and a 40/20 KX1...what do all suggest I build first? I have most tools needed, including a lighted magnifier.

Don
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 08:48:54 AM »

Don.... as with anything new... start with the easiest.  Finding yourself overwhelmed by unfamiliar complexities isn't a wise way to gain confidence.
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KF7DS
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 01:42:28 PM »

Don.... as with anything new... start with the easiest.  Finding yourself overwhelmed by unfamiliar complexities isn't a wise way to gain confidence.

That is where I need a little feedback. The KX1 has a dense PCB with regard to solder placement relative to the K1 - but, many fewer parts.

What do most consider easier of the two?

Thanks
Don
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2011, 09:24:22 PM »

Don:  Personally, parts count never bothered me because you place them one a time and eventually you will get 'er done!

With high density kits there is a greater tendency to place parts in the wrong places and encourages solder bridges which can be a real bear to find.

Another thing to consider is if the parts are through-hole or SMT. (Surface Mount Technology)  The SMTS are strictly for very advanced builders.  SMTs presents their own complete set of problems.  I would avoid going that way first.

In either case it pays to be sure of each component identity.  It's quite easy to mix up various kinds of capacitors and diodes.  Take you time.  Have a resistor color code card handy if none is provided with the kit.  (Heath used to say, "install a 1500 ohm resistor" and then give the color code for it. 

Before starting make sure you have plenty of lighting, a magnifying glass or headband magnifier and a solder iron of the correct size.

I also find it beneficial to have my table top covered with a large towel or other material that prevents dropped components from bouncing and rolling off the table or work bench.  Care must be taken than you don't hook said towel and drag the whole mess off onto the floor!


As the Japanese say, "Rotsa Ruck!"
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KF7DS
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 10:38:39 AM »

I have my work station all setup with illuminated magnifier, towel, WTCPT Soldering station, desoldering stuff, etc...

Just finished the DL1 and tested it out on the K2 I had built and it works fine.

Now, on to, I guess, the K1:).

Best,
Don
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NI0C
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 11:33:33 AM »

Don,

Don't forget to avail yourself of all the help in the form of downloads, etc., available on the Elecraft website.  You might also consider signing up on the Elecraft Reflector where you can ask questions if things go wrong.  Have fun with the builds-- just take your time.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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KF7DS
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 01:19:06 PM »

Good advice Chuck....have subscribed to the Reflector

Don
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K8AXW
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2011, 08:49:21 PM »

There you go Don!  Exciting, isn't it?  LOL
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KF7DS
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2011, 10:57:05 PM »

Endless fun i can get lost in on a rainy night.

Don
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K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2011, 09:17:08 PM »

Don, I never checked where you live but I can tell you that I've spent many, many cold winter days and nights here in WV building stuff in my little shop.  I've found that building is actually more fun than operating!

Enjoy!
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KF7DS
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2011, 10:16:07 PM »

Don, I never checked where you live but I can tell you that I've spent many, many cold winter days and nights here in WV building stuff in my little shop.  I've found that building is actually more fun than operating!

Enjoy!

I live in Portland OR:)

I feel the same sometines about my electric remote controlled airplanes- i love building of most anything

Don
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2011, 08:48:43 AM »

Still a couple weekends to work outside before it gets too rainy out here in Yamhill,
but I'm getting the workshop ready to finally get the K2 fixed and do some other
building.  Last project was a hand-held 80m DF receiver for my wife, using a mixture
of ugly construction and SMD parts to fit in a small case.  Still needs a couple of
adjustments, and some additional circuitry if I can find space...
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K8AXW
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2011, 09:15:41 AM »

Wow!  A ham wife?  My last project for my wife was fixing her necklace! 
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KF7DS
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2011, 11:56:30 PM »

Wow!  A ham wife?  My last project for my wife was fixing her necklace! 

I can relate to that

Don
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W1JKA
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2011, 08:08:30 AM »

Similar situation here Don.I was qrt for 43 years,started out building two MFJ Cub kits to get the hang of things then jumped right into building a K-1., went very slow, about two hours most days for about 3 weeks and had my share of gliches,cold solder joints,polarities,ect.but eventually got it on the air and have had a great time with it since.As noted there is much help on the internet to get these rigs up and running,good luck with yours.

73 Jim
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