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Portable QRP rig
Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:59 pm
I am interested in getting a taste of QRP and portable operating. I would like a CW rig, since they are much simpler in construction and I don't operate on phone much anyway. I would like something that will introduce me to the fun of QRP and portable operating, and possibly also kit building, that won't break the budget. I have been looking at the MFJ Cub. Anyone have experience (good or bad) with the Cub? Any other suggestions (keeping in mind that I am also new to kit building)?
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:03 am
There are plenty of QRP kits out there to choose from. My QRP rigs were built long ago.. so don't have recent experience with kits on the market. I have a NORCAL-40a from the Northern California QRP club which is excellent. In addition, I have several Oak Hills Research (OHR) kits built. If you're not keen on building one right away, you can find them on EPay from time to time. The link below has a great list of available kits.
Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:05 pm
Take a look at the Elecraft K1.
Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:18 pm
Something like this, or is it too minimal?
Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:27 pm
Had some struggles displaying the picture.
Alex - PA1FOX
Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:37 pm
Love it, Alex. I've been considering getting a K-1 kit to carry on my motorcycle touring trips, but your home brew is one of the neatest I've seen!
Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:52 am
Vic, its a Pixie2 based rig, but I called it Pixie 3, since it tuneable from 3500 to 3580 KHz.
Gives a nice 500 mW and with a too short end fed wire of 13 meters it has brought me to Vienna from here. (800 km)
The sister is a 40m version. Components for the 20m version are here, but that one is not finished yet.
Some 55 components or so, just as minimal as it can be.
The housing is peppermint box. The contents was consumed during construction....
Alex - PA1FOX
Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:48 pm
Thanks for your input, guys. The K1 and 817 are nice, but a little out of my budget right now. The milliwatt variety seem a little too minimal for what I have in mind. So, it seems Oak Hills Research or MFJ have about what I'm looking for. Haven't made a firm decision yet, but leaning toward the Cub since it seems like an easier kit for an inexperienced builder like me.
Now if I can just decide between 20 m and 40 m! HI HI
Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:32 pm
Great looking Pixie Alex.
BTW.. if anyone needs a color burst crystal (3579.545 MHz) as used in the Pixie.. I have almost a hundred available. Gratis to members.
Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:48 pm
Adding to Paul's remark, with two such crystals in parallel you can create a super VXO with great tuning range, like my Pixie with over 80 kHz tuning range.
On 40, it ranges from 7000 to 7040, using two 7040 crystals in parallel.
Google for SP5DDJ, from who I took the idea of using two crystals.
Do a second search on 'super VXO' about experiments with crystals in parallel.
Alex - PA1FOX
Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:38 pm
I have a NorCal 40A and love it! It draws around 13 mA on receive (no lie, I measured) and receive it does! Also, many mods can be made. Have made many contacts with this rig, even while running out of power. But speaking of power.... I once made a battery pack from the cheapest most lightweight AA batteries I could find (those yellow ones at Harbor freight. I got around 5 and a half hours of transmit time sending with a straight key and about a day, perhaps something in the high teens for hours, of receive.)
Was lucky to get this from a ham who had a kit laying around. I think they can still be bought new at a place called Wilderness Radio. Thinking about getting the Sierra next. Anyway, you won't be sorry with this rig, at all. You can even make an extremely narrow filter, easily.
73 de KC0ZIX
Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:58 pm
The MFJ single band QRP rigs are very economical and perform very well.
I have a 9030 and have worked 18 countries with it and simple vertical ad dipole antennas at 5 W. My 9017 got me on a new band and with about 5 watts output I worked Germany from my car with an eleven ft piece of wire tied to a tree branch for an antenna.
The Cub siries are less than half the price and a little harder to tune the VFO. They had no freq dial like the 90xx siries but I made my own calibrated dial on a piece of card stock fastened to the front.
I built my first Cub in about two hours and in a few months on 80M with 3.5 W I had 24 staes worked. Next came the 40M kit and even more fun.
Even on a busy weekend the selectivity and sensitivity of the Recievers are quite good.