Frog Sounds HAM Radio QRP Kit

I just completed building the “Frog Sounds HAM Radio QRP Kit Telegraph CW Transceiver Receiver Radio Station V3” available on Ebay for $15 shipped from China.

Frogsounds QRP rig, with 9 volt AA battery pack, PicoKeyer Plus and Chiinese paddles.
Frog Sounds QRP rig, with 9 volt AA battery pack, PicoKeyer Plus and Uni-Ham Chinese paddles.

Some notes on this kit:

  • The instructions are terrible.  Some are in Chinese.
  • You will definitely need some kind of magnifying glass or goggles to differentiate the values of the various components.  I taped them to a sheet of paper and wrote the part numbers next to them, e.g., CP1,CP3,CP5, R1, etc.  This was very helpful.
  • There are extra parts included, which was confusing, but ended up being a good thing after I soldered the wrong capacitor in – I was glad there happened to be included an extra of that value.
  • The rig has a red/green led that shows green for rx and red on tx. When installing, the short lead is the green, middle lead is the red, and the longest (middle) lead is the common anode.
  • I got a different board from the one in the photos and in the included photocopied instructions.
  • The included crystals are 7.023, which is a portion of the 40 meter band reserved for Extra class ops in the US.  I am a general so I have some 7.030 crystals on order.
  • Its important not to transmit without an antenna as it will destroy the transmit circuit.

The receive band is very wide.  The first time I turned it the CQ WPX CW had just started and the band was going crazy.  It is very difficult to pick out a CW signal when you can hear 4 or 5 at the same time.  I imagine it will be easier once the contest is over. Here is a sample of the contest in full swing:

And, using my 40m dipole, with only 9 volts this little rig really got out – calling CQ, K1TTT of the Reverse Beacon Network picked me up as far away as Massachusetts – 323 miles away.

Reverse Beacon Network map showing stations receiving my CW CQ
Reverse Beacon Network map showing stations receiving my CW CQ

Ultimate3 WSPR transmitter kit

I have built the WSPR kit that I purchased from the Net – it is working and my signal is being picked up by WSPR trackers in a 500 mile radius on 40m. I expect that to improve tonight. The kit was fairly advanced for me but I am (was) a beginner before this kit – I think my next kit will be a lot cleaner. In any case it works.

It has a great LED display, many modes (WSPR, CW, QRSS, FSK, Hellschreiber), and even an optional GPS module for WSPR. I built it in 3 sessions of about 1.5 hours each. It is fun, including winding some toroids.

http://www.hanssummers.com/ultimate3/u3.html

He is shipping a new kit since I bought mine (of course) with some more features:

http://www.hanssummers.com/ultimate3/u3s.html

At $29 it is a steal, and the build documentation is very good.

It would be nice to design a case for it (and build on the 3d printer?) as it does not have one now.

Operating from Hains Point

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Brought my radio, 20m ham stick and a bottle of wine (shh) down to the DC waterfront and operated mobile for an hour or so just around sunset.  Beautiful night. Tried to break through the Desecheo Island dxpedition pileup with no success. Still a beautiful night. That is the ‘pirate ship’ steaming by, it is very popular for kids’ birthday parties.