Kit Fun and the Thrill Of A1A

SCRC Rag Chew NetThe Weekly “Rag Chew'” Net:

My radio club has a weekly 2 meter “Rag Chew” Net where we BS about anything and everything related to Ham Radio and Emergency Communication. During the past few Wednesday nights, two topics have come up in conversation which are of particular interest to me.

Through The Years:

Over the years as a true Ham (whatever that means), among other Hamming adventures, I have messed around building antennas, ran a TCP/IP (over ax25) packet node and had a blast working CW/QRP/M. There’s another article somewhere on my blog which goes into a bit more detail about the CW/QRP/M adventures.

A1A – Know What It Is?

Working CW (A1A) has always been special to me. I just find it to be an amazing way to communicate using very simple gear. Build or buy an inexpensive 40 meter radio, roll up some wire, grab a straight key, virtually throw the wire out of the window or drive to a quiet spot, connect the radio up to the cigarette lighter, throw the wire into a tree and presto! You are on the air.

Soldering For Fun:

Another aspect of the hobby which is close to my heart is kit building. Unfortunately, I just missed the days when getting a complete “mail order” radio kit (Heathkit) was possible. It must have been a fun challenge to learn radio fundamentals (a home science lab of sorts) while in the construction phase. Finally you end up with the finished product and something that you could proudly use each time you tuned it up and called CQ. There aren’t too many hobbies where you can build your own equipment and then use it to communicate with people that you will most likely never meet.

The Thrill Of Victory:

When it comes to kits, I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination (either yours or mine) but have built a few low cost QRP kits and receivers. Winding toroids by hand and learning how to solder parts together without causing a meltdown was a bit challenging at first. I do have to admit, the end result really justifies the means (what?). Think about it for a second, you take a bunch of parts that someone came up with, remove them from their plastic bags and carefully put them into some “logical order”. Then comes the moment of truth! Time to fire it up (a big 9 volt battery whoa!) and hammer away on the straight key calling CQ, I don’t know about you but when that other station comes back with a 5X9… WOW! Readability 5 and tone 9 (who cares what the signal value is) hey, at that moment  it  really all comes together.

Surfing For Great Ideas:

While surfing this morning, I ran across a very interesting transmitter kit.  No I have not built it. Why is it interesting and different? Because there are no toroids to wind. This guy built them into the PC board. That’s especially good for those who may be squeamish about winding toroids during the construction of  their first kit.

The NS-40 QRP Transmitter

The article goes on to talk about how that is unique to an HF design. Visit the Web page for more information about the amazing NS-40.

General Description

“The NS-40 Transmitter is an upgraded version of the overall winner in the FDIM 2008 Homebrew Contest. It is a truly unique QRP transmitter design. NS stands for No Simpler, so this is the No Simpler 40 Meter Transmitter. Why is it called the No Simpler? Because there are only 14 electronic components, and NO TOROIDS or COILS of any kind to wind – NONE! All inductors are incorporated directly on the PC board as etched spirals. This is an ideal first kit for budding homebrewers and will also appeal to the seasoned QRP’r due to it’s innovative design.”

More QRP Stuff:

Wilderness SST, NorCal-40, Sierra and EleCraft K2 “Stack”

Wilderness SST - Norcal 40 - Sierra - Elecraft K2

The Famous NORCAL Kits:

Wantit all? Build an Elecraft Kit:

Ten Tec 1254 Kit Receiver Video:

MFJ 9040 (not in kit form)

Comments Questions Criticisms:

I always ask for feedback but rarely get any but here goes.

Which kits have you built?

What was your experience?

Why not write a review and have it posted here?

One comment on “Kit Fun and the Thrill Of A1A

  1. Great post. I have the NS-40 and it was my 4th kit to build that actually worked! I have worked two stations since getting it on the air and still can’t believe that it works. Great fun and amazing what 5 watts will do even at the end of 100 foot run of coax!

    Saving up my coins to buy an Elecraft K1. Next to build is the SW40+!
    de WA5LPW


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