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Author Topic: SW40 Alternative?  (Read 9396 times)
KD8PMK
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Posts: 10




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« on: April 11, 2012, 08:18:03 AM »

Hello all,

I had planned to build a Small Wonders SW40, but held off ordering till now.  When I went to order one it appears that he has discontinued these. Embarrassed  So now what?  I am exploring the idea of building a RockMite40 and adding a Texas Helper 5W amp to it.  However it would have been nice to have the VXO of the SW kit.

What do you guys thing?  I have seen a few other similar kits out there but none of them have gotten the same good reviews as the SW+ transceivers.  So should I go the RockMite route or wait and see how long it takes Small Wonders to put out the replacement for the SW+ series?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Dave
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K6TTE
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Posts: 70




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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 08:50:26 AM »

Have you looked at a NorCal 40a?  It's a nice kit and QRP Bob at Wilderness Radio provides great support.

http://www.fix.net/~jparker/wilderness/nc40a.htm

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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13038




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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 08:58:20 AM »

We ordered boards for the 40-40 transceiver (forerunner of the SW-40 series) from FAR Circuits
and stuffed them with parts from our junkbox.  They work great.  Not quite the latest version
of the SW40+, but very good performance.
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N2LK
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Posts: 71




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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 09:32:27 AM »

WOW! I just finished 2 of his SW kits in Feb...just got in under the wire. I found them very very easy to build for a newbie, and easier to alighn. Not sure what he can do to make them easier.

However, with no kind of AGC I find the receiver to be tough with strong signals on 40 meters. Will blow your ears out with headphones, which is all I use anyway.

I just finished a OHR100A for 20 Meters and it is very, very nice. Has some really nice audio features and a pleasure to listen too. Does drift a bit on power up, while the SWL is rock solid, but not a big deal.

My recommendation is the OHR unit till Dave at SWL comes out with his new design.

Cant go wrong with either mfc...
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VE3GNU
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Posts: 83




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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 05:29:28 AM »

Dave----I second the suggestion of the Wilderness NC-40A---a wonderful monoband kit with clear and easy-to-understand instructions---fantastic receiver with narrow bandpass!
As well, consider the Ten Tec 1340 Kit---more parts, bigger and heavier, more challenging to build, but a 'hot' receiver with wonderful QSK.
Also have the OHR-100A for 20m---more features, easier to build than the TT, but with a more spacious board.
GL with your choice.
Ernie  VE3GNU
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WB0FDJ
Member

Posts: 134




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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 01:18:18 PM »

Just a clarifying point. This information comes from Daves website:

"Effective 28 March 2012, I have halted sales of the popular SW+ series.  It will be undergoing a ‘facelift’ for improved ease of construction and alignment."

So apparently the good news is that this series will return at some time. Having built two of these I can't imagine how he can make them better or "easier" but I'm looking forward to the next iteration.

72 de WB0FDJ Doc
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WB8YYY
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Posts: 159


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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 02:17:51 PM »

While the rockmite and similar rigs are cute, nothing beats having an xtal CW filter and a VFO -- literally more valuable the transmitter power. 
If portable operating is your thing - also look at the SST.  While VXO based, it has enough frequency range to make QSO's. 
I can't imagine Dave will have a new SW-series out by end of summer - not that I haven't been wrong before (but its my reading between the lines of his message). 
The TT-1340 is a real pain (or adventure at least) - so I do not highly recommend it unless you want to work hard to get it working well. 
If you have a little more money to spend - check out qrpkits.com.  I have a PFR-3 which I really like. 
Shop carefully, read reviews, ask questions - and don't wait until never to get a portable-worthy QRP rig. 
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2232




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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2012, 05:28:26 PM »

Quote
So should I go the RockMite route or wait and see how long it takes Small Wonders to put out the replacement for the SW+ series?

No.
I wouldn't hold my breath for a "new improved SW40+".

I'm still waiting for the "new and improved PSK Series Rigs"
that were promised when they were discontinued, what,
over a year ago now?

I have an SW40+ I finished a few weeks ago, works FB
if you're interested. (I got side tracked with another project).
It's setup for 30 KHz in the Novice Band, but changing
one cap and maybe squeezing a few turns on L1 will put it
wherever you want it to be.

My email is gud at QRZ.com.
73, Ken  AD6KA
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VE3WMB
Member

Posts: 282




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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 07:12:09 AM »

One option could be the NADC 40 sold by Hendricks QRP.  This is a KD1JV design.
The board kit is a bit more expensive than the SW40+ ($75 vs $55) but you can also opt for the enclosure and the digital dial or just put it in your own box. 

The Wilderness NC40A is a good choice but it is a bit more expensive .. very nice rig though !
If you don't mind spending a bit more $$ I would opt for the NC40A.

Michael VE3WMB

Hello all,

I had planned to build a Small Wonders SW40, but held off ordering till now.  When I went to order one it appears that he has discontinued these. Embarrassed  So now what?  I am exploring the idea of building a RockMite40 and adding a Texas Helper 5W amp to it.  However it would have been nice to have the VXO of the SW kit.

What do you guys thing?  I have seen a few other similar kits out there but none of them have gotten the same good reviews as the SW+ transceivers.  So should I go the RockMite route or wait and see how long it takes Small Wonders to put out the replacement for the SW+ series?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Dave
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N4OI
Member

Posts: 200




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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2012, 08:55:32 AM »

How about a resurrected DSW-II series?  Man, I love those little boxes!

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN   Cool
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KA4DQJ
Member

Posts: 44




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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 11:55:00 AM »

Yep, you never know if a discontinued product will ever be restarted.  I've built a lot of QRP gear since the 70's, and owned some commercial low-power stuff too.  But, the SW-40 I built from Small Wonder Labs is nothing less than stunning!  The sensitivity of the superhet receiver matches any mega-buck rig I've listened to, and I can leave the thing on for hours and return to find that it has not drifted.  That's nothing remarkable given the state-of-art technology making the rounds today, but for something you put together in a plastic junk box?  I replaced the direct-drive tuning knob with a reduction-drive vernier and doubled the tuning range to 140 khz, and added a heat-sinked souped-up final for 4-watts out if I run the pot all the way up - no chirp, distortion or appreciable harmonics.

I hope the SW-40 returns, and it's a mystery why it was ever discontinued anyway.  The sales had to be going through the roof, and since the discontinuation I can only guess at the army of hams itching to get and build one.  I know that if you already have one assembled and working that you have no trouble selling it at a very good price... if you are that desperate!  Smiley
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W0EA
Member

Posts: 17




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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 12:20:58 PM »

What about the Cyclone: http://www.4sqrp.com/cyclone.php
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W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1619




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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 01:25:17 PM »

As above the SW series is a very nice radio and I have built two, but for portable ops I still prefer my MFJ Cubs with a cheap Hypermite Audio Filter.
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2165




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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 01:41:10 PM »

From the SWL web site:
"Folks-

 

I took a ‘leap of faith’ in 1996, leaving the corporate world to undertake ‘Small Wonder Labs’ as a full-time venture.  Since then, it’s been a great experience.  I have to face facts, though: I’m getting older. The shortcomings in vision can be overcome with close-up glasses. More troublesome, though, are the muscular issues from spending hours a day at the computer, or with my head down, sorting parts into bowls.

 

Over the years, I’ve assisted countless customers with no-questions-asked replacement parts and troubleshooting advice. The issue of repairs has been problematic, though.  While no one really objects to paying $50/hour to have a $1000 rig repaired, that’s not true of a $50-100 kit. I’ve had some good people doing repair work for me, but it’s just not economically viable. Neither can I do the work in a timely manner. Therefore, and effectively immediately, I will not be accepting returns for troubleshooting/repair.

 

It’s not clear to me at this point if I’ll release any additional product offerings. Although I love the creative process involved in a new design, everything that follows is now just ‘work’.   Along the way, I lost the ‘hobby’ aspect of ham radio. I have not been on the air in almost 5 years. I want my hobby back!

 

I’ve finished our home here in the woods of New Hampshire, and it’s time for me to move on to other interests.  I’ve still got a garage/barn to build, a garden that grows larger each year, and a wealth of outdoor activities I can’t seem to find the time for. Retirement is clearly not for the faint-of-heart!

 

I’ll continue to sell RockMites forever, apparently.  Demand is still brisk, with more than 8000 of them out there so far. Ongoing activity for the RockMite as well as support for ‘legacy’ kits occupies me for 2-3 hours each day.  At this stage of my life, that’s ‘enough’.

 

 

73- Dave Benson, K1SWL

19 November 2012

 

“Let’s face it, boys – I’m pooped” - Lili von Shtupp, ‘Blazing Saddles’"

I wouldn't hold my breath on anything new for now from SWL. (very sad, but understandable)

I just got a Cyclone 40, but I haven't started it yet.


"
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GILGSN
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Posts: 199




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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 02:38:55 PM »

If you can wait for a release of the Weber MTR, or other AT_Sprint radios, they are great. Sometimes they come up for sales, but not that often..

Gil.
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