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Author Topic: Elecraft K1  (Read 4537 times)
WB4SNU
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Posts: 78




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« on: December 12, 2011, 05:16:06 PM »

I have put it off way too long. I ordered my K1 with the backlit mod today. I love to build and tinker. Not everything I have built has worked but most have. My project is to have a complete station that I have built. It won't be used as a bragging item but it will feel good to me that I did build it even if it was in kit form. I am not knowledgeable enough to design much but sure will make me feel good that I can put the parts onto the board and soldier good. I can remember in the 60's, I built a tube receiver from an article in a electronics magazine and it worked. I could only pick up taxi cabs and other stuff. I wish I still had it but don't remember what happened to it. To many moves from then. I have built a few QRP transmitters and they work.
Wish me luck. My eyes and a steady hand need it.

Richard   WB4SNU
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 07:55:42 PM »

Good choice Richard!

Just take it slow, don't work when you're tired,
 and above all.......
Use a good temperature controlled soldering iron!
This is a MUST!

I have the Weller WTCTP system with the interchangeable
tips but you needn't spend near that much money.
Perhaps come other people can chime in on some
alternative temp controlled soldering irons, not my bailiwick.

A good PC Board vice will really help too.
I use the Panavise PC board vice but it's pricey.
Maybe you can borrow one or find something similar cheaper.

DO the parts inventory! It is time consuming but will
familiarize you with the parts you don't know.
I sort mine into inexpensive plastic multi-compartment
boxes designed for sewing. It's handy to have all the
IC's & transistors in one box, caps in another, screws
& hardware in another, etc.

GL ES 73, Ken  AD6KA
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1821




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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 03:33:20 AM »

     I started out the same as you Richard,I built a homebrew 3w xtmr. in the 60s then went QRT until 2009,then built a couple of MFJ Cubs to get into the swing of things before building my K-1.As mentioned before,inventory and take your time.I had the usual few cold solder joints and backward diodes,but with help from the elecraft folks finally got it up and going,I have had no problems and have used it steady as my only home QTH rig since.You won't be dissapointed with the K-1 if QRP is your thing.My best building asset was a magnified desk lamp(HI).

73  Jim
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WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 05:09:16 AM »

Thanks James and Ken
Just a little background on my stuff. I have a Weller WTLE soldering station. It is about 15 or 20 years old. It works good on circuit boards. Probably need to get an adjustable temp. one though. I have the Panavise. And I also have the magnified, lighted setup. I can't do anything without the magnifier. Call that getting older every day. I am retired and can spend as much time as needed to work on it.
In the sixty's I worked for Western Electric installing PBX's and I learned to soldier there. Through the years and with other jobs I had to rely on soldering some times.
I also have the mat and wrist strap for sensitive parts.
The idea of organizing the parts is a good tip. I have used plastic cups in the past but by accident tip one over and start looking in the carpet for the pieces. The sewing boxes seem to be what I need to get for this project.
I am working on a Herring-Aid Five receiver for now and still need to order a few parts to finish it. I am building it the Ugly style.
I'll keep posting here on building stages if anyone is interested in it.

Richard  WB4SNU     Grin
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KE2EE
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2011, 02:44:53 PM »

Rich, good luck with your new K-1 kit. I am sure you will enjoy it. I built K1 #2918 awhile back.
The kit is of very good quality. Your iron should work, as long as you have a fine tip. I used a similar Weller with a 700 degree tip. I bought a good grade of solder- Kester Rosin core 44. Static mat and wrist strap are a must as is a magnifiner ( to see some component markings). The rig aligned perfect and worked as designed with no glitches. Inventory the parts as soon as you get it, I found three components missing- but after an email to Elecraft they arrived in two days.
I use my K-1 portable on the back deck running off a 2 ah Gel battery. Lots of fun.

Mike   
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WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2011, 05:40:40 PM »






Rich, good luck with your new K-1 kit. I am sure you will enjoy it. I built K1 #2918 awhile back.
The kit is of very good quality. Your iron should work, as long as you have a fine tip. I used a similar Weller with a 700 degree tip. I bought a good grade of solder- Kester Rosin core 44. Static mat and wrist strap are a must as is a magnifiner ( to see some component markings). The rig aligned perfect and worked as designed with no glitches. Inventory the parts as soon as you get it, I found three components missing- but after an email to Elecraft they arrived in two days.
I use my K-1 portable on the back deck running off a 2 ah Gel battery. Lots of fun.

Mike   


Thanks Mike
I won't get it until Tuesday and looking forward to building it. I have a couple rolls of .040 size solder. I am going to get some a little smaller in size just in case. The element on the iron is 700F degrees and have used it quite a lot. I have a smaller wattage single iron that I can also use. I have a couple of projects on the bench that I have started but not finished yet. I'll have to clean the bench Monday and get ready for this project. I am retired but now I don't see how I had time to work full time and got anything done. Too many projects, not enough time.HIHI  I am taking a break now because I am building a 4' by 8' radio table. If I keep on I'll have to add on to the room for all the stuff I accumulate. I don't buy much but it seems to just grow. I'll try to keep an update on this build.
Thanks and Merry Christmas

Richard    WB4SNU
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WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 05:34:44 AM »

Well I got it yesterday and did the parts inventory last night. Nothing was missing, not even a lock washer. I guess my eyes are not what they used to be. I had to use 2 magnifiers to see some of the caps. numbers. I measured the resistance of each resistor as I was counting and everything checked out. I will probably start building sometime today since I have to go to a few places this morning for last minute Christmas buying.
I'll keep information coming as it evolves. The only thing that bothered me a little was the 2 variable caps were not identified. Hope they are the right ones since nothing was on them to tell me anything. No number or ID.

Thanks for reading

Richard  WB4SNU
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WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 11:49:02 AM »

Well it is finished. Grin Grin  Just to make sure I didn't lose my place between times I was not working on it, I checked each item off as I went. I still left a transistor out even after I tuned the 40m band up. I didn't find out until I was installing the transmitter side parts and had a transistor left over and got to checking back into the manual to find it and sure enough I had not checked it off.
It tuned up very good. I had trouble finding a signal on 20m band, so I waited until the transmitter tune up to do it. When I first got it, I checked off the parts list and I had a resistor that was not marked or told what it was for. After I started building I saw the resistor was left over and was finished with the board. You talk about sweating. I know I looked at the boards 20 times and never did find it. It sure made me nervous when it was time to turn it on. It wasn't the resistor that they kept mentioning about on the 80m setup.
I found signals that my Yaesu FT950 didn't hear.
I did find that a wall wart not rated for the amperage is not the way to go when tuning up. It was very unstable until I changed power supplies. I fed it with a power supply that gave 12 amps and that sure stabilized it.
I haven't finished setting it up for my wants and needs but so far it is working very good. The parts and enclosure are first class. I'll probably do a K2 in the future and if it works as good as the K1, then I'll sell my Yaesu FT950.
I set it up for the 120khz spread and it is a little touchy on the tuning. I have seen a mod that was used for the VFO to smooth it a little more and I'll check that out.
That is my goal is to have a station that is allmost all made by me. So far the project is working out.

Richard  WB4SNU
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2238




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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2011, 12:33:53 PM »

Howdy Richard:

Congratulations on the successful completion
of building your K1. That is FANTASTIC!
What bands did you chose?

Here is a link which shows an approximate photo
of those adjustable plastic sewing stuff storage
boxes for kit parts I was telling you about,

http://www.organize.com/stca15co.html?gclid=CPiM9bj4na0CFQR5hwodQRUiag

Forget the $7.99 price you see here, you can buy three
of them for that price
at Wall Mark, Wallgreens,
Rite Aid, etc. The interior compartments are adjustable
in size which makes them perfect for different parts.
I put a label on each one like "K1 Caps" "K1 Transistors", etc.
And since I have three VERY curious caps who jump
up on my bench, these boxes have saved me from
a psychic break on a couple of occasions!

GL with your K1 and NEXT project, too.
73, Ken  AD6KA

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WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2011, 03:36:49 PM »

Howdy Richard:

Congratulations on the successful completion
of building your K1. That is FANTASTIC!
What bands did you chose

GL with your K1 and NEXT project, too.
73, Ken  AD6KA




Hey Ken
Thanks for the info. I had some close to the same things here from past hobby's and just used them along with some cat food plastic cups.
It was a fun build.
I did miss putting a transistor in the receive section, but it let me tune the first band pretty good. Not much audio out but I could hear a faint signal when I hooked up the antenna. I went back and found where it goes and thought to myself, HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THAT!!!!
They did send me an extra resistor. It was taped to the strip that the rest was. I know I looked at each part on the board a least 20 times and still scratched my head. It wasn't on the parts list that I inventoried from the start. Talk about being nervous when it was time to turn it on for the first time.
There is one little quirk that bothers me a little. When I pick it up from the sides and just grab it between top and bottom, the cabinet will flex just a little and the received signal will increase in tone just a little. It won't be a problem because I'll just let it sit on the bench and won't be moved or picked up any.
The bands are 40m and 20m. I don't know if I'll get anymore bands since I don't have but a 40m antenna up now. I have allmost allways operated on 40 only. I can pick up local and couple states around me. According to how the band is though. I wanted 20m for about the same distance plus some DX in the mornings.
It took a little while to get used to the way to program it for how I like and use it.
Very impressed with it though.
I could pick up a few signals that my Yaesu FT950 didn't hear. Luckily I had some pl259 adapters to BNC that worked out.
My next build will be the ATU for it and maybe next year the K2.
Thanks for the reply.
 
Richard  WB4SNU
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KE2EE
Member

Posts: 21




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« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2011, 03:57:30 PM »

Rich, Congrats on a successful build. I built my K-1 with the 120 kHz spread and found it to be
OK, but one of the mods to help with more precious tuning is to put a felt spacer under the
VFO knob for added friction. A felt table leg floor protector would work with a hole punched in it. I later built the ant tuner kit and am still experimenting with the best antenna for portable use.

Mike 
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WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2011, 04:22:47 PM »

Rich, Congrats on a successful build. I built my K-1 with the 120 kHz spread and found it to be
OK, but one of the mods to help with more precious tuning is to put a felt spacer under the
VFO knob for added friction. A felt table leg floor protector would work with a hole punched in it. I later built the ant tuner kit and am still experimenting with the best antenna for portable use.

Mike 

Hey Mike
Thanks. I 'll get some felt and put it on. I also went with the 120khz spread. It tunes into the ssb portion a little and I heard someone this morning. Tuned real easy and listened to them for awhile. I read somewhere (can't remember where) that he did a mod to the pot by adding a resistor to the wiper and hot side to smooth out the tuning. Wish I could find that again. It might have been on eHam. There is some QRP being sent around 7.115--7.122. I'll try it out tomorrow and see if I can reach anyone. I also might try another cap. to see if I can narrow the spread a little. ( Called fine tuning) hi
I don't think I'll use mine for portable use. I have a prosthetic left leg and walking in the woods gets a little troublesome. I can walk in the WalMart all day but uneven ground gets to be a problem. I worked as an electrician for 8 years after it was removed but now since retirement, I am not as stable as I once was. If you operate on 40m, I hope to maybe work you some day. I can reach 2 land with my Yaesu.
Hope the new year is a good one for you.

Richard   WB4SNU
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KE2EE
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2011, 07:07:01 PM »

Rich, I checked that VFO mod you spoke of and it is to linearize the VFO pot. The newer rigs already have that mod in place. If you check your manual there is already a 100k resistor (R19) from VFO pot wiper to the hot side. (Appendix B. Front Panel Board)
I operate on the higher side of 40m cw segment, if you would like to set up a QRO or QRP k1-k1 QSO my email is good on QRZ.
73,
Mike
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 07:19:45 PM by KE2EE » Logged
WB4SNU
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2011, 02:24:00 AM »

Rich, I checked that VFO mod you spoke of and it is to linearize the VFO pot. The newer rigs already have that mod in place. If you check your manual there is already a 100k resistor (R19) from VFO pot wiper to the hot side. (Appendix B. Front Panel Board)
I operate on the higher side of 40m cw segment, if you would like to set up a QRO or QRP k1-k1 QSO my email is good on QRZ.
73,
Mike

Mike, I looked at the schematic and sure enough it is there.
We can set up something later in the week. I have to get some adapters for the key's. They have the big phono plug on them now. I think radio shack is the fastest way here for me. I haven't tried the internal keyer yet but my straight key will work until I get something made.
I'll email when I think the band will respond?Huh?

Later

Richard   WB4SNU
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