Building Things – QRP Gear: Dummy Load, Antenna Tuner and QRPometer

As part of my interest in QRP low power work & gear, I’ve been putting together a few kits as I assemble a viable QRP station.

First to dust off the soldering iron, a simple Dummy Load kit was tackled a couple weeks ago. Took me more than ten minutes, but then I had to find & set up my gear too!

Hendricks QRP Dummy Load

Hendricks QRP Dummy Load

Hendricks 10 Watt (DC-150MHz) 50 Ohm Dummy Load/Power Meter kit Link: http://www.qrpkits.com/dummyload.html

Next put together was a Summits On The Air (SOTA) style antenna tuner kit. Technically this one isn’t quite done, as I have the back-of-case label to sort out. I want to confirm the antenna lengths & setting for various frequencies myself before doing a label.

Hendricks SOTA Antenna Tuner

Hendricks SOTA Antenna Tuner

Hendricks 40m – 15m SOTA Halfwave Tuner Link: http://www.qrpkits.com/sota.html

This weekend I snuck a bit of time and put together what looked to be a harder kit, but turned out to be pretty straight forward. The QRPometer is a SWR Meter kits designed for QRP use. I want to reconfim my calibration one more time, then there a few final steps beofre it is fully mechanically assembled. Thinking of upgrading my kit to use BNC connectors rather than the supplied RCA ones before the final bolting together.

QRPometer

QRPometer

QRPometer Link: http://www.wa0itp.com/qrpom.html

Next up is a Small Wonder Labs Retro-75 and Retro-Helper VFO kit.

I gave away my QRPme setup (Two-Tun Tuna & Sudden Storm) but have another set unbuilt, so those may follow.  Already complete is a Small Wonder Labs Rockmite in a MityBox enclosure.  I’m not happy yet with the American Morse key I put together and I have to knock it down and get agressive on lapping the paddles for clearance.

Slowly coming together, and will eventually be a complete multi-ability QRP Station in a Cigarbox for grab-n-go QRP fun!

73

Steve K9ZW

QRPme – QRP Kit of the Month

W1REX and the team at QRPme (which is really W1REX and family) have launched an interesting idea of a parallel group build on a subscription basis with his QRPme Kit of the Month Club program.

Sounds like an excellent idea for any budding builder!

The information from the website:

QRPme Kit of the Month Club – 1 Year Subscription

Price: $180.00

US orders:

DX orders:

QRPme is undertaking a new & interesting project: Produce 12 unique kits with a new kit shipping each month. These kits will be interesting and useful to all builders. There will be no extra shipping & handling charges or DX disparity. One price gets a kit delivered to your door. I did break it down into 3 options; however, to allow for a modest investment for either budget or evaluation purposes.

So:

1 year subscription = $180 ($15/kit)

6 month subscription = $108 ($18/kit)

3 month subscription = $60 ($20/kit)

As you can see, the price of each kit is modest. (especially when you consider that all mailing costs are included) You won\’t be receiving a top of the line kit each month for that price but each kit will be useful and will have an educational content that will be worth your time and expense.

The current lineup for the 1st 6 KotMC kits are:

MARCH: Pocket Electronics Lab: a shirtpocket friendly solderless breadboard system

APRIL: 4 Port Directional Coupler which is the ‘engine’ of a power/VSWR meter

MAY: Audio Amplifier

JUNE: ‘Fireball’ Style Transmitter

JULY: IC Prototype Board Project

AUGUST: ‘Universal’ Low Pass Filter module

And I will make a further promise: If at any time, you decide that you want to cancel your subscription, I will refund the price of any remaining undelivered kits in your subscription.

Subscriptions will be accepted now with the first kits being shipped in the middle of March. The first kit: the Pocket Electronics Lab, is in the hands of a few evaluators and will be available in about 2 weeks.

Read more at URL Link:   QRPme – Can it!

I know that I won’t have time to keep up, having about six kits on the bench to build to just catch up. Perhaps I will be caught up enough to catch QRPme’s second season of QRPme Kit of the Month.

73

Steve
K9ZW

The ARRL’s “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio” on YouTube

Just in case you haven’t seen a link for this great video yet:

ARRL’s new video, “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio,” is an 8-minute video that follows some of the innovative, imaginative and fun ways “hams” use radio technology in new and creative ways. The presentation is directed toward the DIY (do it yourself) movement, which is inspiring a new generation of creators, hackers and innovators. The message should be helpful for existing members to shape the ways they understand and talk about ham radio. For more information and related resources, visit http://www.arrl.org/wedothat-radio-org.

Enjoy!

73

Steve
K9ZW

QRP in Three Hundred Zeros – A Story with an Amateur Radio Side

Just finished Dennis K1YPP’s book “Three Hundred Zeros” and was tickled pink that among the QRP QSOs that feature in the novel, a local amateur Mike AA9AA QSOed with Dennis K1YPP from the base of Mt Katahdin and Dennis wrote of this QSOs importance to the story in his book! (This QSO was also mention in QST Magazine).

From the write ups:

Dennis Blanchard’s promise to his brother haunted him for over forty years. Finally, when there were no more excuses, he set out on the Appalachian Trail to fulfill that promise. He learned that walking in the wilderness can reconnect one with a Norman Rockwell America that at times seems long lost and forgotten. The difficulties encountered walking over 2,200 miles are easily underestimated and trouble can begin long before setting a first step on the trail. Blanchard’s introspective demonstrates that bears, rattlesnakes and challenging terrain may be far less formidable than some of life’s more subtle dangers.

Book Website: http://threehundredzeroes.com/

The book is an excellent read – I so enjoyed Dennis K1YPP’s tale that two evenings took me through the whole book.

Well written and inspiring! Well done!

All best and 73

Steve
K9ZW

QRP Book: Crystal Sets to Sideband – Version 12 PDF Downloads

Just downloaded and have started reading through the 400 plus pages of Frank K0IYE’s work:

Crystal Sets to Sideband

The Four State QRP Group is very pleased to offer the latest version of Crystal Sets To Sideband by Frank W. Harris, KØIYE. This book has become an icon within the QRP community as an excellent treatise on the homebrewing science/art. When first released in 2002 Mr. Harris donated his work to amateur radio. He provided these Version 12 pdf files to Four State on 21 Jan 2011, they are free and are posted here with his permission. Frank is a retired engineer and an excellent author. His easy to read style makes this not only a fine and informative reference book, but also a very pleasant reading experience.. Click on the links below to download and save each chapter. Enjoy this great book with our best wishes, it’s a FB read.

Now downloading from the QRP ARCI really fast server. Many thanks to Steve Fletcher, G4GXL, for making this possible.

via Crystal Sets to Sideband.

Looks VERY useful and a hats off to Frank K0IYE, QRP ARCI and The Four State QRP Group for making the book available to us all!

73

Steve
K9ZW

QRPme Kits featured in QRP Ham Radio Station Setup and Operation Video by Jeff VE3ICH

QRP Ham Radio Station Setup and Operation

Videos that take you through the steps, and don’t assume that you have experience or access to knowledgeable Elmer are always a huge help – Jeff VE3ICH has done the QRP community a great service by doing a QRP Station “Setup and Operation” video, and putting it on Youtube:

    Messages from the QRPme Kits and Stuff Yahoo Group Email Reflector:

Jeff VE3ICH announcing his Youtube Video:

Video of QRPme.com QRP Station Setup
Posted by: “Jeff Tranter” VE3ICH
Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:51 am (PDT)

I made a little YouTube video showing how to set up and operate a complete QRP ham radio station using the Two Tinned Tunas ][ transmitter, Sudden Storm ][ receiver, and Tuna Helper T/R switch.

You can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zyxl7cciq3Q

Rex W1REX the man behind QRPme responding:

Jeff’s U-Tube video
Posted by: “Rex Harper” W1REX
Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:03 pm (PDT)

Fans,

Jeff, THANK YOU for posting that tuna can setup video!

Jeff’s video on setting up a tuna can station is EXCELLENT! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Jeff did a nice job running through setting up and tuning a station made up of separate components, just like the good old days.

He just happened to have used a complete set of station components that fit inside tuna cans…. I even learned some good tips about my own kits! He has a pretty good collection of QRPme tuna can kits but not all:

  • The Tuna Power System (TPS) kit is both a power distribution system for powering 5 tuna can kits AND an intelligent gel cell battery charger. It uses a UC3906 intelligent charger chip to keep your gel cell in tip top shape. It performs the same function as the Penguin mint tin shown in the video …but more. Of course, if you like the Altoids size… the Picnic Table Outlets (PTO) kit could possibly fit the bill. It only has one RCA outlet but you could make a special cable to daisy chain the tuna can power feeds. Just don’t include the Tuna Topper in that chain. The Topper requires a cable that is HEAVY and as short as possible to avoid any voltage drop in the cable.
  • The new Tuna Tunah is a switched inductor antenna tuner with LED matching indicator.
  • Also, If you happen to have the Tuna Topper 5 watt RF amp, it includes an automatic RF sensing T/R switch which will perform the same function as the Tuna Helper shown in the video.

    Rex

    Hope you have enjoyed and get as much from this video as I have!

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW