I got notified the other day that my uBitx is shipping from India. I cannot wait to try this radio. Meanwhile, I have been working on a better display system. I plan on re-doing the Raduino in my own way. New main display board using a 2.8” display, and maybe a more powerful Arduino, or even switching to a different CPU (cortex-m0?). I am working out the circuit as we speak (as well as working on stuff I do for work, so the new front panel console will be done in my own time). I have even considered putting in a 4”-5” LCD and adding a landscape to the receiver. Anyways, now a days it is great to be a home brewer and the toolset to make your own stuff, while expensive, is powerful.
Well, I have received a SDRPlay RSP-2Pro and I love it. Such a beautiful SDR. The folks at SDRPlay really did a nice job on this thing. I run SDRUno with it on a (ick) Windows 10 installation in BootCamp on my MacBook Pro and it is a nice combo. (Hey SDRPlay, you should have me port SDRUno to macOS!). What I like about the RSP-2pro is the metal case, and that it has 3 antenna inputs. a Hi-Z, a standard SMA antenna connection, and a bias-t SMA antenna connection (to power those LNAs, etc). The thing really shines, and compared to the RSP-1, the difference is amazing. Another SDR for the shack!
I ordered back in October of 2017, a QRPLabs QCX 30 meter transceiver. As most of you know, I am a QRPer (in addition to an SDR enthusiast), so this was a great opportunity to build a single band, 5W QRP rig that has amazing features like a CW Beacon, WSPR beacon, a CW keyed and a really nice receiver. In addition, all the settings do not require external equipment to tune up the radio. In addition, the radio offers built int east equipment to test other things. Quite a handy little package.
Anyways, I was thrilled to build it. It took about 10 hours, total, due to the winding of a transformer and 4 toroids, but it was fun to build.
Go over to QRPLabs and look at the QCX transceiver for yourself.
Here is the completed rig:
Using the work of Brent Simmons and Manton Reece, I have enabled this blog to have a JSON feed. Similar to Atom or RSS, except it is JSON, and not XML based.
To find my feed, scroll to the lower right of this blog, and find the link:
If you want to read more about this, look at:
I did some mods to my BITX40. I added a 10 turn 10K pot for the tuning, to get better granularity, and I added UpperSideband (USB), so i could use it to work digital modes.
The 10K pot was straight forward, but the USB mode introduced clicking when tuning across the band. So, I added a 1000uF Electrolytic and a 100nF cap, in parallel, across the digital VFO’s power regulator. I also added a 56ohm resistor between rig power and the digital VFO power. Clicking was still there. I discovered I had linked with version 2.0.3 of the SI5351 library, and saw a note on the BITX40 Facebook group, that one should link with version 2.0.1. I did that, uploaded the sketch and viola! The clicking was gone. In fact, adding the filtering got rid of a number of other things I was hearing when I tuned. Pretty cool.
So my next mods will be to put a 8 pin microphone connector in, add in a mode switch to get the rig into calibration. Also, adding a voltage divider to put the current input voltage on the display and last but not least, a S meter circuit, to use the bottom left row of the display as an S-meter.
The BITX40 is a lot of fun. And modifying it so I can do JT65 and such will be a blast.
I think the KX3 is a great radio. Here is a SWL person’s review.
Not the most elegant work I have done, but the BITX40 is up and running. Puts out about 9 Watts according to the Oak Hills QRP meter. And adorned on top with a classic Realistic speaker. Listening to a nice QSO on 40 meters as we speak.
Well, I bit the BitX. I ordered a BitX40 transceiver and will be building it in a custom cabinet. I look forward to seeing how it performs on 40 meter phone around the PacNW. Now to get a 40 Meter antenna up. That is this weekend’s project. Will let you know how it goes.
If you have not heard about the BitX40, here is the link:
So, been having a bit of fun doing things with WSPR and such. But today, I got to try JT65 for the first time. Receive only, mind you. I have the output of KiwiSDR piping into MultiPSK and I am very surprised on how good it works.
I finally received my KiwiSDR from Seeed last week and it has been a wonderful device. I had to travel to the east coast, last week, and being able to listen to CW, etc on my phone was great. I will be writing more on this in the days ahead. Stay tuned.