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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Pixie2 Help

Reviews Summary for Pixie2
Pixie2 Reviews: 36 Average rating: 3.2/5 MSRP: $10
Description: Ultra simple HF QRP transceiver
Product is in production.
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NS6Y_ Rating: 2/5 Sep 15, 2006 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Get an SST or NorCal40  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had a few of these, .... some kinda worked... sorta,... the most interesting one TICKED. Tick, tick, tick..... It's a nice single-sided board but then you have to add a jumper here and a resistor there.... I don't know, the fiddle-to-fun ratio just is not there for me.

If you're going to sit down and built something, and want it simple, get a Wilderness Radio SST. If you want to build something simple/fun/educational, get a Wilderness Radio NorCal 40A and the book that's used with that kit to teach a college course in radio.
KB3GZW Rating: 1/5 Sep 15, 2006 17:02 Send this review to a friend
Not something I would recommend!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought the kit thinking it was going to be something cheap and easy just to get myself into kit building before I bought a Rockmite or a Wilderness Radio SST. Well, I was right on one part. It is cheap. The board is not very professional and the traces are not very hard to burn off. I never even got mine working. I would suggest that you put a little more money into a kit than $10. Hopefully I will have more luck with the Rockmite.
PY2PBB Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2006 11:59 Send this review to a friend
Nice project  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is the best and simple project I have ever built and it is my principal Rig in my shack. I every weekend operate it, make some regular QSO without problems, in distances around 1000 km, with 700mW on 40M. RST normally received is 569, not bad...I nowadays have only two Pixiels in operations; My VHF, My other radios are in the shelf....In portuguese: O pixie2 dá de causae vergonha nos outros rádios...". 73 to all...
KB3GWP Rating: 2/5 Jan 26, 2006 09:42 Send this review to a friend
wrong part sent ---Never got working  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased a Pixie2 kit for $30 thinking "You might get a better kit by paying more than the $10 quoted here" I should have saved the money and bought the cheaper kit. I found one inductor was the wrong vaue but decided to put the kit together in case the wrong vaue was close enough or in case I identified the part wrong and the kit was right.

After assembling it the first time and using a 50 ohm dummy load I was able to hear the local oscillator in another receiver and the tone changed when it was keyed. The receiver part never did pick up signals. At first there was motorboating or sometimes a loud squelling sound. Then there was silence. Hooking up a simple half-wave dipole for 7.040 (the crystal I decided to use instead of the colorburst), I still got no sound except an occasional motorboating.

After removing and re-intalling parts I managed to damage some pads from the circuit board. The end result being a non-working $30 pile of parts.

If you get this kit:
Check the parts well so you only assemble it once.
Expect some problems. Be glad if it works first shot.
Expect little in way of instructions. Use the net to locate better drawings and explanations.
Consider using sockets for the I.C. and inductors and even the transistors if you expect to experiment with the circuit.

If you can get the parts yourself you should consider bread-boarding or home-brewing your own version of this circuit instead of buying a kit. That way you are free to experiment and possibly make the needed changes (whatever they are) without destroying a purchased printed circuit board.

I expect to one day have this circuit working but for now it lives in the junk box.

A better kit to buy would be, in my opinion, a Tuna Tin 2 kit. No receiver to that kit but it worked first time at least into a dummy load and other than winding your own inductors, which turned out to be easy and kind of fun, the TT2 uses easier to find parts.
W8WLC Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2006 10:35 Send this review to a friend
Amazing  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I built one of these from a print I got off the internet and a handfull of parts I had laying around. Total cost right around $3. I see HSC is selling a whole kits for under $10. Just to set the record straight this is not a FT1000 or 756PRO and you are expected to know at least a little bit about electronics or be willing to learn to build this. Using ugly construction I was able to have this operating in about one hour. I already have made a handfull of contacts with this simple rig. The cw tone of this little critter is smooth as silk and easy to listen to. I housed my finished product in a empty honey comb plastic container and bought out all the connections to RCA style connectors. If you roll your own or buy the kit you can't go wrong for the price and the fun alone is priceless.
WA8MEA Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2006 09:29 Send this review to a friend
It's a blast!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Sometimes I just can't understand the extreme reviews that one gets on a product like this. For one, the cost is HIGHLY reasonable. Second, it's a learning experience. If I do encounter problems, I have the opportunity to diagnosis and resolve the problem since this is such a simple circuit.

Mine went together in about an hour, and I was putzin'. I did get the traditional motorboating sound, but found that it went away when I switched from the 80 meter dipole over to a 1/4 wave. I assume something with the ground side of the circuit didn't agree with the ground side of the dipole.

Be sure to use QRP calling frequency crystals. I tried 3579 kHz and sat there calling CQ all day. Switched to qrp and everything FB. No 599's yet, but it's sure a lot of fun!

I housed mine in a plastic container used for breath mints. The connections come through small holes I drilled, and I used RCA phono plugs/jacks for power and code key connections. Since the motorboating stopped after disconnecting the ground side of the antenna, I have a single wire coming out connected to an alligator clip. I then clip that to a 1/4 wave wire. (No tuner.)

See you on 80 meters!

--... ...--

Bill - WA8MEA
AH6GI Rating: 4/5 Jan 22, 2006 08:05 Send this review to a friend
Toy radio?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up several kits and crystals from HSC. I got one together the other day. I built it as a transmitter only, not as a transceiver. It was easy and quick, although the parts are a bit small and I had to use a magnifying glass to read the numbers on the capacitors. A lot easier and quicker to build than the DX-60 I put together 40 years ago.

OK, so it's one band only and no AM but it is a two stage, Master Oscillator, Power Amplifier, crystal locked CW transmitter. This'll do until I get a WA6OTP VFO kit.

I've wanted a QRP CW transmitter to use with my SB-303 on 40 meters.

I haven't tried to make QSO's yet but it works fine. With a 10 foot wire on the PIXIE2, the quarter watt of CW hammers into the un-muted SB-303.

I'm looking forward to completing a QRP station based on the transmitter half of the PIXIE2 and vintage components for the rest. I have an original WB4VVF accukeyer board to build up into a keyer for this.

de ah6gi/4
KG6LRI Rating: 3/5 Nov 12, 2005 23:34 Send this review to a friend
Not too bad!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got my Pixie2 and a set of all band crystals. Actually I got 2 pixies so that I can play around with them.

Like everyone says, documentaton was pretty vague, I work with soldering iron, so I am not a noob, yet it took me a while to figure out wher to put each component, since the board doesn't have a silkscreen. First board took me about 90 minutes (that's a lot for 2 transistors and one IC), second one took me 10 min.

I tested 80M TX sitting next to my HF rig, the problem is that Oscilator is constantly running so my HF rig picks up CW even if I am not keying.

I have two Pixies for 80M and I can't communicate between them, with identical components, frequency is not the same, so I have to put a little tunning curcuit in series with crystal in order to use them on the same band.

Don't expect to use this Kit for any serious project. Yet it is worth $10.

KC4NHR Rating: 2/5 Mar 16, 2005 16:18 Send this review to a friend
Motorboating  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I got the kit together and all hooked up to earphones, it motorboated like you know what. I had no idea what was going on. After looking at an NS LM386 data sheet, I found that all of their designs (except for the oscillator :-) include a 10uF bypass capacitor on pin 7. The Pixie leaves pin 7 unconnected. I put a 100uF (just to make sure) bypass on pin 7 and it works great.

From looking at the data sheet, adding this cap may reduce the gain--but hey, no motorboating.
ROLFEDH Rating: 4/5 Feb 25, 2005 23:28 Send this review to a friend
Challenging &Success  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My FIRST kit. It was tricky, but I made it. I think you'll be happy with it. Here are some tips to help you:
- Instructions well intended but poorly written. Read twice before starting. Also visit
- In diagram, "C6" looks like "C8". C6 is near the top. C8 is near the bottom.
- Take time to identify the parts. Line them up and tape them to a sheet of paper - write the part number next to each one. If you're not sure - test the value of the part with a multimeter. A magnifying glass and plenty of light might help when IDing some of the smaller parts.
- Use small amounts of high-quality solder. I put on too much and got the 'popping sound'. Had to clean out the mess between the three legs of Q1 - then it worked!
- Connect the negative lead from the battery to the ground (-) under C7.
- Use a 9v battery as your power supply if you get buzzing noise from an AC to DC power supply when you listen to the Pixie.
- Open the kit in the store when you're sure you're going to buy it, and get all the other items needed but not included (e.g., crystal oscillator, battery connector, earphone jack, antenna connector, connector for key)
- Avoid overheating the parts when soldering. Keep it short and sweet. Use alligator clips to bleed heat from the oscillator and caps.
- For newbies, a 40m dipole antenna should be approx. 66.8 feet or slightly less. Cut that in half. Connect one half to the antenna"+", and the other half to the antenna "-". 80m antenna is approx 133 feet, so I recommend building the 40m version. Light insulated wire is fine for low power rigs like this one.
- I'll rewrite the instructions and publish them somewhere.
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