Hans Summers has done it again with an amazing new product for kit builders, QRP and digital enthusiasts with the new QDX transceiver. News of the new product release broke last week sending QRP Labs fans into a frenzy on the QRP Labs Google group. An initial batch of 450 units was released on at 1800Z on 11 October with all units sold in 12 minutes! Wow, that’s popular!
The initial batch has been limited in number due to a current global lack of semiconductors although Hans has promised at least one further batch will be available once his supply situation improves. In the meantime, I was pleased to get my order in (despite a number of glitches caused by the online sales portal being overloaded by the sheer number of folks trying to secure their QDX).
All being well the QDX will be here in the UK in a week or so and I will then, as time permits, document the build and operating on here.
Outline details and specs are here:
Four bands 80, 40, 30 and 20m
5W output at 9V supply (can be built for 4-5W at 12-13V supply)
Single signal transmission (zero unwanted sideband, zero residual carrier, zero intermodulation distortion)
Solid-state band switching and transmit/receive switching under CAT control
High performance embedded SDR SSB receiver with 60-70dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
Built-in 24-bit 48ksps USB sound card
Built-in USB Virtual COM Serial port for CAT control
Si5351A Synthesized VFO with 25MHz TCXO as standard
Easy to build single-board design, Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screen printed PCBs
All SMD components factory assembled
Connectors: 2.1mm power barrel connector, USB B (for audio and CAT control), BNC RF input/output
Built-in test signal generator and testing tools
Receive current 100mA, Transmit current 1.0-1.1A for 5W output with 9V supply (around 0.7A for 5W with 13V supply).
QFU firmware update for lifetime free firmware updates, easy installation on any PC without drivers, software or hardware e.g. programmer
Optional aluminum extruded cut/drilled/laser-etched black anodized enclosure
Delighted by QRP Labs QLG2 GPS module and patch antenna arrived this morning. Especially pleased because the item is has gone of of stock in the last few days as Hans is having supply problems with the microcontroller due to the current global semiconductor chip shortage. The microcontroller is based on a 32-bit STM32 ARM processor.
With optional 16×02 LCD diplay:
Features of the QLG2:
Supply voltage range 3.3 to 6V.
Board 80 x 37mm (Same as Ultimate3S, VFO and Clock kits).
Multi GNSS satellite constellation receiver supports GPS (US), Galileo (Europe),
GLONASS (Russia) and Beidou (Chinese) – (default GPS + Beidou) – giving a faster
more accurate position fix – Module is E108-GN01 (GK9501 GNSS chip set)
• Serial to USB converter, using onboard USB B connector, for convenient interface to
PC software if required – no drivers required. Jumpers select either the GPS serial
data, or your own externally connected serial data, for example you could use this as
a USB to Serial data converter for CAT control of QCX, QCX+ and QCX-mini
• Can optionally be connected to a standard 1602 LCD, in the same style as the
Ultimate3S, VFO and Clock kits, to GPS date, time and satellite information using
the onboard microcontroller.
• Supplied with included magnetic-mount active antenna, approx 2m coax and SMA
• Supply voltage range 3.3 to 6V.
• Board 80 x 37mm (Same as, and compatible with, Ultimate3S, VFO and Clock kits).
• Onboard LEDs for status indication: Red (Power), Yellow (Serial data) and Green
• 2.8 to 5V logic level conversion to provide 5V serial data for full compatibility with all
QRP Labs kits.
• Supports 2.8/3.3V logic OR 5V logic (jumper wire selected)
• SMD assembly already undertaken by factory facility – only SMA connector, and
optional USB B connector to solder.
• Space provided for optional ultra-capacitor for faster hot-start
The QLG2 will be used to provide the GPS controlled time synch signal for both my QCX range of QRP Labs transceivers and also my Ultimate 3 WSPR beacon. I’ll post ‘build and boxing’ images here soon. I am considering adding the device to a clock module using a 20×4 LCD display for more information including Maidenhead locator, Lat and Lon and altitude.
The marvel that is the QCX Mini is already equipped with a rudimentary electronic keyer for Iambic modes and including memories, beaconing and practice modes but I wanted to add a K16 keyer for increased features.
The K16 Keyer from Steve Elliot K1EL is perfect for both contesting and casual use and fits on a PCB measuring just 38mm x 35mm. I am using the Kanga UK version of the board available here. Detail of the full range of keyers from K1EL (US site) are here. The K16 chip can be purchased separately if you wish to design your own PCB here (US) or in the UK, again from Kanga UK, here.
Further details of K16 features and operation can be found here.
I have previously built a K14 keyer into an Altoids tin but on this occasion I am salvaging a defunct USB soundcard case to build the keyer into (matches the QCX Mini styling) and will be supplying the power from 2 x CR2032 cells (the keyer only draw 1mA when on and uA when in standby mode) rather than the larger PP3 specified by Kanga.
This is the original soundcard and box:
The K16 keyer in progress:
I intend to integrate my old K14 Keyer into my 20m QCX (vanilla).
The QCX mini is a high-performance single band HF QRP CW transceiver kit available for just $55 with a 50W amp for an additional $29.50.
My QCX Mini kit from Hans Summers QRP Labs arrived just before Christmas and was sitting under the Christmas tree for me to open. I’ll be documenting the journey with some links to other useful sites along the way. Watch this space!
Made sure to install the IC holder as far to the top of the PCB as possible to ensure sufficient space for the paddle socket and the TCXO board.
Now for a nice cup of coffee before alignment this evening
Initial findings are that it’s receiving very well and RF output at 12V is just a shade over 3W.
Having a Bud to celebrate progress so far!
Transmit test to follow …
Testing the Mini QCX in WSPR TX mode:
My very first transmission tests on WSPR:
And the results – AMAZING – Decoded in Antractica on first transmission, how excellent is that for something that was a bag of components 2 days ago!
Received on both receivers at DP0GVN – Neumayer Station III Ekstroem Ice Shelf, Atka Bay, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica
Top 50 spots, all over 1000Km in less than 10min (note only ONE station is reporting drift). Ignore the power shown as 5W, it’s actually 3.6W!:
… and also DP0POL/MM the German Ice-breaker Maritime Mobile (at this very moment the Polarstern, a German research icebreaker is presently off the coast of Africa en route to the scientific station in Antarctica. )
Time to play with CW I think …
No reply to CQ call but picked up on the reverse beacon network in USA and Russia.
Now to bed … Looking forward to some CW QSO’s tomorrow 🙂 Anyone for a QCX to QCX sked?
Thank you to Steve Hartley G0FUW and all the team at GQRP for the excellent virtual GQRP Convention run over the weekend 5-6th September.
A thoroughly enjoyable event. I have attended a number of the conventions in person over the years and was a little apprehensive about how well it would run as an online event. Whilst I admit I missed the face to face conversations and annual ‘meet-up’ given the circumstances this year I thought the event was a huge success, so much so that I hope the online element continues in future years – if nothing else it provides a much greater global reach and provided a valuable source of videos to watch over again for ideas and stimulation.
Intrigued by the potential I have converted a spare 40m QCX from QRP Labs into an SSB transceiver, it’s not without it’s issues but it’s remarkable piece of coding. Here’s mine boxed up (groovy orange 44870 LCD unit!).
An earlier manifestation of my build, do you think I need a bigger VFO knob?
Here’s a short video of it working on receive:
Here’s me playing with FT8 and the uSDX using an ancient laptop rescued from the bin!
If you want a technical explanation of the coding, look at Guido’s page here noting this began with work on a RPi back in 2013: http://pe1nnz.nl.eu.org/2013/
The latest version of the QCX is this QCX Mini and Hans has kindly included a PCB module to enable the uSDX to be built into the Mini. Alternatively you can ‘go the full hog’ and build the uSDX ‘sandwich’, full details are at the DL2MAN website here: DL2MAN´s HAM Radio Page – home of the uSDX Sandwich, it’s also worth checking-out DL2MAN’s YouTube channel here: Manuel K – YouTube