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QSX Update and Winter Project Ideas

Most of us have been waiting patiently for the QSX, but some have been waiting a little less patiently. Unfortunately this has put a lot of pressure on Hans over at QRP Labs, but he’s stood his ground: It’ll be ready when it’s ready, because quality comes first. And to that we say, bravo! Given the low price point that the QSX is aiming for, I’m happy to wait as long as it takes.

But Hans isn’t ignoring the subject. In the QRP Labs December 2019 Newsletter, Hans faces the subject head on and links to a Groups.io post on the same subject. If you’re awaiting the QSX, be sure to give it a read.

In The Mean Time… Build!

While waiting for the QSX, what can you do to keep your soldering skills up to date and have some fun in the mean time? Build! Here are a couple of projects you can look into:

QCX: The QCX is QRP-Labs’ CW transceiver for any single band: 80m, 60m, 40m, 30m, 20m, or 17m. It puts out 5W of CW and includes everything you need to align it and get the best performance possible out of it. It’s small, takes only little power, and is a great way to keep your skills up to snuff. They’re only $50, and you can buy one by Clicking Here. And if you’re going to build a QCX, you can also build…

QCX 50W PA: Let’s face it: We’re at a solar minimum. QRP is great but sometimes just a little more is needed. Your QCX can get a little more OOMPH with this 50W PA kit, which is only $30 Imagine: A high performance CW transceiver with a built in keyer and numerous other features, with 50W output, for only $80 ($50 for the QCX and $30 for the 50W PA). This thing has HUGE advantages over all of the ebay specials: Solid state switching, built in Low Pass Filter, all of these things that are completely missing from the ebay special amps! Go get the 50W PA by Clicking Here.

U3S WSPR Beacon: I’ve written about this one before, so go check out the QRP Labs U3S review and how to make a simple 5V power supply.

Put up an Antenna: The QSX will be multi-band, and so an 80-10m antenna will be desirable, and one without a tuner will be even more desirable. We wrote about the G7FEK garden Antenna which fits the bill. You’ll also need someting to put the pole up, and for that you can use the Jackite 31′ kite pole, which we’ve reviewed quite a bit in these pages:

Build a QRP Tuner: If you’re going for an end fed antenna, you’ll need either a 49:1 transformer for a half wave (67 feet of wire for 40/20/15) or an LC tuner so you can match the a random length antenna to your transmitter using an SWR meter or antenna analyer. Or, you can build in an LED current indicator per VK3YE and follow his “Tune for Maximum Brightness” method. Here’s a link to our VK3YE inspired L match:

The DC40

Upcoming BITX Easy: The BITX Easy will be out soon and will be a great BITX project to keep your building skills honed.

Scratch Build your First Receiver: The DC40 was my winter project last year, and I documented it in sufficient detail that anyone with some basic tools and supplies can build a Direct Conversion receiver, even if they’ve never done it before!

Pick a project! The beautiful thing about ham radio is that there is an endless supply of projects you can choose from. The uBITX community is really big, there are Digital Radios for FT8 and JS8Call (an awesome mode, try it out!), antenna projects, and much much more. So get building and have some fun!

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