When it comes too small QRP transceivers I just can’t help myself! I have a fascination for how small they can be and how few components you actually need to make a contact! To that end I’m starting to build up a small collection. Below I will list them all:
The PIXIE was my first venture into QRP. The PIXIE kits can be found on eBay from numerous vendors at still prices with some being less than £3. The kit is easy to build but the end results suffers from being able to hear most of the 40m band all in one go. I have managed to have a handful of QSOs but none of them have been particularly easy. Having said that everyone should have one!
Next came the G3XBM XBM80-2 an 80m transceiver using just 14 parts plus crystal and earpiece. There is not kit for this so I decided to use the project as my first venture into using MePADs which seemed to work quite well. Using this technique, the layout of the board can simple follow the layout in the circuit diagram. Though simple the transceiver proved to be sufficient to hold a QSO with my friend Chris G3XVL some 4 – 5 miles away.
Next came another 80m transformer – the Micro80. This came in kit form from the USA. It is relatively expensive and it took a couple of a round-trips to the supplier and back to get a complete kits of parts that I was happy with. My biggest gripe was the around the fact that the holes and legend on the PCB did not fit the components supplied. The results for me were mixed. At home I could certainly hear stations but when out in a field /P all I could really hear were broadcast stations.
The final addition to my collection is the Micro Mountaineer. I bought a kit for this on eBay for less than £11. The supplied kit was excellent; a quality PCB supplied with quality parts. All parts were in the kit along with a few extras. The supplied instructions, though very much in Chinese English, were easy to follow. I only made one mistake. There is a dual colour LED that should turn from green to red as you transmit. I managed to get it the wrong way round so mine goes from red to green!
Operation wise this is the best kit so far. It’s best to keen clear of 40m if the band is busy but it’s very capable of having a real QSO. My first QSO was 500km to Germany to DF7XR who was running a PIXIE!