Now that the QCX Mini’s are arriving, hams around the world are looking at the little tiny package that comes in the post and are wondering if they have the tools to build this diminutive little radio. If you’ve built almost any other radio kit, then you have most of the tools already. But we’re going to recap all the tools you’d need as if you don’t have any, and then we’ll look at the tools you need that are specific to building the QCX Mini.
Rather than show you the top of the line tools that not everyone wants to spend all of their money on, I’m going to show you those tools that I personally used on my QCX Mini build. Are their nicer things available? Yes, at a greater cost. Did the tools I have work perfectly? I’d say they did, only because I got my QCX Mini built! Isn’t that what counts the most?
I’m going to do my best to keep this simple. I use tools that are affordable and hopefully won’t cost you more than the cost of the kit!
I use a Plusivo soldering iron that I bought on Amazon. It’s inexpensive and comes with solder (you’ll need more), tweezers, a wire stripper, extra tips, tiny screwdrivers (*perfect* for the adjustments on the QCX Mini, I might add!), heat shrink tubing, a solder sucker, hookup wire, electrical tape, and oh yeah, a 60W soldering iron with two extra tips!! This thing was ridiculously cheap, and it still is. For a few bucks more, you get more tools, more tips, wire cutters (which you need, see below) and a soldering stand, and all the other things. Click Here to go to that one.
Other Items you’ll need:
- Helping Hands
- Wire Cutter <- These things are amazing and useful
- Kester 60/40 .031″ Rosin Core solder. One of the more expensive items, but it’ll last a very long time. I happened to buy a used roll of this stuff about 4 years ago at yard sale and I’m still using it.
- A DVM. I used my trusty Innova 3320. I’ve had it over 3 years now and it is EXCELLENT.
- Magnifier Lamp (See my Full Review here for the one I use) *REQUIRED FOR QCX MINI*
- Tiny screwdriver (see the above kit)*REQUIRED FOR QCX MINI*
- Tweezers (also see the above kit or raid the XYL’s supplies like I did!)*REQUIRED FOR QCX MINI*
That’s genuinely it. That’s all I used. I didn’t use any fancy board holders, solder braid, high end solder station, or anything else. Just basic tools. There’s one more thing you’ll need to build a QCX Mini, and you can’t buy it.
The QCX Mini isn’t a rank beginners kit. There’s not a lot of room for error, and it is very small. I’d recommend starting with a QCX+ if you’re looking at building a QCX as your first HF Radio kit.
That being said, if you have already purchased a QCX Mini- don’t despair! You can build it. Here are some basic tips:
- Read the manual FULLY before starting
- NO EXCEPTIONS
- Do not be in a hurry! Take your time!
- Learn to solder before you start this kit, starting with other kits first.
- Watch my not-yet-complete YouTube series of QCX Mini Mini Tips. They’re short and to the point and will help you through the build. Subscribe! Please?
What do you think?
Do you have your own tool tips? Please do share them in the comments below. 73!