With the release of the QRP Labs QSX just around the corner, some folks are wondering if building it will be within their capability. In this post my goal is to dispel some of the fears that people have when it comes to building such a kit, and talk about some of the tools needed. How hard will a QSX build be?
Let’s look at what’s already been said by Hans Summers, the owner of QRP Labs and the creator of the QSX and at some of the things you’ll need.
You Can do it- Don’t be overwhelmed!
It’s as simple as that. QRP Lab’s documentation is second to none, and many have compared Hans’ building instructions to that of the original HeathKit manuals. For an example of what to expect, go check out the the manual for the QCX, a single band 5W CW QRP transceiver. There are many fully amateur builders who have built the QCX, and while the QSX build might be more involved, it’s unlikely to be more difficult to build. For comments from Hans himself on how to build successfully, check out the video interview from YOTA 2018 about the QSX:
QSX Build Tools
Something that bugs me is what I call “tool snobs”. These are the people that are going to tell you that you need to spend lots of money on a name brand soldering station or else you’ll have nothing but problems. They’ll tell you you need several tools aside from that. I’m going to contradict all of them. They’re not completely wrong- nice expensive name brand tools are nice. But they’re not 100% correct either. The simple truth is this: Cheap tools also work and get the job just as done. Everything I’ve done on This Site is done with cheap (but not necessarily the cheapest) tools. Check out my page Low Budget Tools and Parts For The Budget Builder for my personal recommendations for things you can use, if you don’t have anything. These are tools that I personally use and can vouch for.
You’re going to need two major skills for a QSX: Soldering, and winding about a dozen inductors. Neither are difficult tasks and with a little bit of practice you’ll be doing both with ease. To learn to solder, I recommend the Soldering is Easy comic book. You can also go to youtube and search “How to solder electronics” to find various tutorials. To learn how to wind toroids and various coils? Well, that’s easy. Read the manual, when it’s released 😉
If you’re just getting started in kit building, this might not be a good first kit. I’d recommend starting with a simpler kit. I’d recommend the QRP Labs U3S. It has all the basic elements you’ll need to learn about and is a fun projects all its own. You can read about my build of the U3S Here and purchase one at QRP Labs Here. Now, if you have done even a little bit of soldering and focus on following the directions in exact order without jumping ahead then go ahead and start on the QSX build as your next project. It’ll be fun!
Watch This Space
As more details about the QSX become available, and certainly when it’s released I’ll be doing what I can to cover it here. Be sure to subscribe to the blog (top right corner up there ^^) and you’ll get notified.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave a note below. 73!