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