Thursday, September 19, 2013

Radi0Kit-140 QRPp Rig Build

I was browsing eBay the other day and discovered a Pixie variant that I had not played with before.  On a whim I sent the seller an email asking if he would send me a sample to review for my blog.  Yiannis from radi0shop was kind enough to send me one of his Radi0Kit-140 kits free of charge!  He shipped it promptly and was very easy to deal with.  I highly recommend his product if you are into small done-in-one kits!

Here is a link to his eBay store:  http://stores.ebay.com/radi0shop?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

He is shipping from Greece, so allow some time for his shipment to reach you as international post takes a while.

For those not familiar, the Pixie transceiver and its variants, are CW only QRPp radios.  Being QRPp, they transmit less than one watt (usually 500mW-750mW).

Form their website:

"The kit is based on the famous Pixie transceiver introduced many years ago. The design was improved over the years and still catches the interest of many radio amateurs over the world due to it's simplicity, satisfying performance and ease of construction.
The kit isvery simple to construct even for the novice kit builder.
RadiØKit-1 incorporates additions and improvements. The circuit board is constructed by FR-4 material, the placement of the components is silk screened on the top side. All the copper traces on the bottom side are solder masked to prevent short circuits and accidental bridging between conductors. All component holes are already drilled. There are also four drilled holes for placing the board inside a box using appropriate screws and spacers.
A crystal is used at the oscillator circuit in order to achive the best possible stability.
The components that are used for RadiØKit-1 are of the highest quality. All the resistors are metal film 1% type. The capacitors are of the MLCC type except for the electrolytic ones that are mini sized 85°C types. The inductors used are resistor type and provide high performance and minimum space usage. The famous 2N2222A and 2N2219 transistors are used in order to achieve a little bit more output power.

DC voltage is supplied by a 9 Volt battery or a power supply 9-12V (not included) and the output RF power produced can reach or exceed 300mW depending on the voltage applied. You only need to connect the battery, a Morse key, an earphone or small speaker and an appropriate antenna to have a fully working ham radio transceiver. RadiØKit-1 comes in two flavours. One for the 80M CW radio amateur (RadiØKit-180) band, one for the 40M band (RadiØKit-140) and one for the 20M band (RadiØKit-120).
This is Radi0Kit-140 designed to work on the 40M band. You have to solder the components on the board. All the components supplied are shown in the photo above. Detailed theory of operation, construction details, parts list, schematics and resistor, capacitor and inductors identification instructions are provided inside the printed owners manual accompanying the kit. 

We use "registered signed for" post services for all our items in order to insure the best services to you. Will post same or next working day of payment. We would be happy to combine postage for multiple items in order to reduce P&P cost please email us after you place your order.
In case you decide not to keep the item you may return it within 14 days of receiving it, inside it's original packaging and at it's original condition for a full refund excluding shipping costs.
All items are covered by 2 years warranty. You may return them for repair under warranty to us, you only pay the shipping cost both ways. In case of DOA (you have to report it within 14 days after receiving the item) we will cover all costs for sending you another item and for returning the faulty item to us."


Now, for the build-out....

The packaging consisted of a sturdy padded envelope with the folded instructions and a small jewelry type box inside that contains the kit.  It made the trip from Greece to central Florida in fine fashion.



The board itself is quite nice for a novice builder.  The holes are nicely spaced.  The only complaint that I would have if I had to dig deep is that the holes are only plated on one side.  But it isn't a major concern.

The instructions walk you through the process nicely as well as explaining things like resistor colors code.  As far as component fit goes, the only issue that I encounted was the R4 resistor holes being a little too close together, but again, not a major issue.

As you can see, it is a low part count kit that goes together very fast.  The only part that would be challenging for a beginner is soldering the IC socket.  But at least it is a socket and you don't have to worry about burning up a chip.

As you can see below, the spacing is nice and it is really easy to solder, even for a ham handed guy like me (pun fully intended, even if painful).

The radio runs off of a simple 9V battery making it a really nice "get up and go" rig.  The picture below is during final "smoke testing"

Here is a quick video of the testing.  You can clearly hear the CW, and you can just as clearly hear the BCI interference as well.  In this kit's defense, it was 40m in the evening in central Florida, so BCI is a fact of life.

video


I ended up putting it into an aluminum project box and adding a few options:

  • Ability to have an internal battery and an external power source
  • An on/off switch with volume control (I had intended on adding an LM386 audio amp, but didn't get around to it)
  • An internal/external power switch
  • An on/off LED indicator
  • Jacks for headphones and key in front with external power and SO-239 in the rear



All-in-all this made a really nice and fun little one evening project.  I found it to have a capable receiver, although it is wide as a barn door and really subject to overloading by broadcast stations.  I think that adding a filter crystal to the front-end might help that a bit.  On transmit it puts out about 500mW according to my NCG2050 power meter which admittedly isn't made for such low power verification.

In summation, if you're looking for a fast and easy first-time project, you could do worse than to get this little guy!  I ended up passing it on as a gift to a ham that was trying to get back into the hobby and find things to do with his son after losing all his gear due to some life problems.

73,

Richard, KK4JDO

2 comments:

  1. Hi Richard, thank you for the nice presentation.
    Yiannis sv1eez

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yiannis, You are most certainly welcome, sorry it took so long to get the review up!
      73,
      Richard, KK4JDO

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