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Author Topic: Building a Rig for Voice  (Read 5627 times)
KC2QVY
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Posts: 3




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« on: December 21, 2011, 06:23:14 AM »

I'm looking for some advice for building a rig to use for SSB. It doesn't necessarily have to be a QRP rig, this just seemed like the forum with the most talk about kit builds.  I'm hoping to find a low cost kit that I can build to get some experience with electronics and finally get on the air in the HF bands (just got my General a week or two ago).

Any suggestions are appreciated.  If there's a better spot to pose a question like this, please let me know.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 08:49:55 AM »

There's not a lot out there.

The Elecraft K2 springs to mind: It's very good and a full "kit" (you build all of it) and the result is a very functional multiband HF transceiver (base unit is 10W and CW only, but the SSB option is $120 more).  For about $860 you get a good performing SSB (and CW and digital) rig that runs 10W on all amateur HF bands except 160m and 60m (those can be added as options, too).  If you want more power, you can add an "internal" 100W PA module for another $400, at which point the rig becomes competitive with many HF transceivers in the $1500-$2000 price range.

And you get the experience of putting it all together and understanding exactly how it all works when you're finished!

The inexpensive QRP xcvr kits are all CW rigs, which keeps them inexpensive.  Simply adding decent SSB functionality requires a lot more circuitry and the cost escalates dramatically.

There are SSB transceiver "projects" (build from scratch, entirely homebrew) published that might do the job for you but they are not for inexperienced builders.
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KC2QVY
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 10:36:50 AM »

WB2WIK, thanks for the info.  It makes sense that adding SSB functionality increases the price quite a bit, that's just a bit more than I was hoping. Perhaps I'll have to get into CW a bit and build a QRP xcvr for that.

That said, have you worked with (or read about) any particular QRP kits for CW that you thought were particularly good? I've read about a few different ones, but there are so many options it's hard to decide which is the best one to start out with.  Also, a lot of the material I've found seems like it was written 5 or 10 years ago and I don't know if it's still valid or not.
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13580




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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 11:05:46 AM »

I like the SW40+ series from Small Wonder Labs.  Actually I built the 40-40 rig, which was a
predecessor, but they are simple, inexpensive, and work well.

At one point there was a whole online tutorial that took you through the theory of each stage
as well as building and testing it:  an excellent approach to learning how it works.
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1821




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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 12:30:52 PM »

     I can't comment on qrp-ssb(only cw).If you are an inexperienced kit builder like I was 3 yrs.ago,consider the MFJ cubs,I built 2 of them to get experince with pcb/solid state construction,then built a SW-30 before moving up and building my K-1.All of these work equally well and I have no favorites between them although I use the cubs the most only because I do a lot of portable work under adverse conditions that the K-1 & SW would not hold up to so they stay inside.They all have great receivers and filters and in actual operating there is no noticable difference between 3-5 watts cw and my tuned wire antennas do all the work anyway.Check out all the reviews and have fun building.
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KQ6Q
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Posts: 993




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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 12:40:38 PM »

take a look at www.qrpkits.com - some neat kits that will do CW and SSB on one band, or CW only on several bands, at reasonable prices.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 10:39:42 PM »

For a great inexpensive SSB QRP kit
check out the MKARS80,  80 m SSB, from the UK.
http://www.radio-kits.co.uk/mkars80page.html
Yeah, 80m SSB QRP sounds like a tough pull, but
you will be pleasantly surprised. Look at what the
Retro-75 QRP AM guys are doing on 80m with 1.5
to 2 watts AM modulation.

For about $85-90 USD you get a terrific receiver,
6 watts out, an LCD Frequency Display, and an
undrilled enclosure. That's a lot.
I men really, how many kit rigs in that
price class come with a frequency display?

It's a hell of a deal and all you
need is a DVM and a decent receiver to align it.
The assembly instructions are first rate and there is
a wonderful Yahoo Users Group who answer questions
really quickly, as does Steve Drury,the owner of the company.

I really, really like my QRPKITS.COM BITX 20,
20m SSB XCVR. I get good reception and 10-12 watts out.
BUT....I bought mine as a "Board and Parts Only" kit,
back when they first came out. Now they force you to
buy a nice but overpriced enclosure and a frequency
display whether you want to or not. I paid less than
half of what they are charging now for all that folderol.

But if you want a nice 10 watt monoband 20m SSB kit, the BITX20A is hard to beat, and 20m antennas bare small.
Oh yeah, there are THREE versions of the
BITX20 for sale on the Net (long story)
Get Hendrick's at qrpkits.com.
It's expensive, but you don't want to build a
kit with single sided PC board made in a bath
tub in India......I'm serious!

73, Ken  AD6KA
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 10:26:11 AM by AD6KA » Logged
KH2BR
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Posts: 103




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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2011, 08:48:00 AM »

Take a look at the Juma line of kits.  I have built the RX1, TX1, TRX1, and now in the
process of building the TRX2. These are the most enjoyable, neat and clean kits I have
ever built. The technology is up to date and not old school like most that you see.
They do have a amplifier kit that these QRP rigs will drive.
Here is the web site.  http://www.nikkemedia.fi/juma/

All the kits contain surface mount parts. If you do not have experience with surface mount, give it a try and start with a softrock sdr kit. Its a good learning experience. It doesnt hurt
to try, just give it your best shot.

Robert, KH2BR
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N5RWJ
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Posts: 461




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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2011, 11:53:47 AM »

This ma help.www.qrpkits.com,www.orin.com and,www.freedomscietific.com .
Could you tell us more about your plans for voice ssb. Is it J3E or something Elsa?
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 01:37:20 PM by N5RWJ » Logged
WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2011, 02:13:03 PM »

Take a look at the Juma line of kits.  I have built the RX1, TX1, TRX1, and now in the
process of building the TRX2. These are the most enjoyable, neat and clean kits I have
ever built. The technology is up to date and not old school like most that you see.
They do have a amplifier kit that these QRP rigs will drive.
Here is the web site.  http://www.nikkemedia.fi/juma/



I've seen those (never built one).  The TRX2A multi-band QRP (10W) HF rig is 490 Euros, which is $637 U.S. + shipping, so I guess it's "landed" price here is close to $700.  Pretty comparable to the Elecraft K2.

Let us know how it works for you!
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KD8HES
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2011, 11:53:29 AM »

I have never dealt with them, but youkits.com has a good-looking rig, the TJ2A SSB/CW transceiver for a reasonable price. Just another option...
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BD6CR
Member

Posts: 19




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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2011, 11:44:13 PM »

John, AE5X recently posted a blog about SSB kits.
http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2011/12/17/ssb-qrp-kits-and-a-new-sdr-kit/

I sincerely invite you take a look at us at http://crkits.com if you think 40 meter is the band to try out.
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KC2QVY
Member

Posts: 3




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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 09:34:19 AM »

Wow, thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.  At the moment, I'm leaning towards the Ensemble RXTX from Softrock.  Seems to be the best bang for the buck and will give an opportunity to work with surface mount parts which should be interesting (and tedious, I'm sure).  I will be sure to let everyone know how it turns out.
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N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2011, 06:12:28 PM »

Wow, thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.  At the moment, I'm leaning towards the Ensemble RXTX from Softrock.  Seems to be the best bang for the buck and will give an opportunity to work with surface mount parts which should be interesting (and tedious, I'm sure).  I will be sure to let everyone know how it turns out.
You may pick up, some good info on this site, or their yahoo site. www.sdr-cube.com
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