5/10/20: Updated information here: https://miscdotgeek.com/bitx-easy-more-details-tentative-pricing-and-release-date/
In a recent post “The BITX40 is dead. Long Live the BITX40!” we talked about the demise of the HFSignals.com version of the BITX40, and offered some details about a different BITX kit that is coming out soon: The Bitx Easy. We’ve been able to get some more details about the Bitx Easy, and we think you’re going to be very excited about this kit when it arrives- we are!
What is the Bitx Easy?
The Bitx Easy is an upcoming kit from https://amateurradiokits.in/, an established vendor in the QRP and BITX marketplace. They make AGC kits, enclosures, and other accessories and parts for QRP radios. They’ve decided to build on the lessons learned in the BITX40 and are producing an improved BITX kit called the Bitx Easy.
If you’re interested in the most basic information and how the Bitx Easy will be fundamentally different from the BITX40, check out the aforementioned post and then come back.
New Details Emerge
The Bitx Easy, while sharing many design elements with the BITX40, is really quite different in many aspects. The original BITX design was created so that the builder could use whatever parts they had on hand. Substitutions and modifications during the build are a normal part of the homebrew process, and that spirit is alive and well in the Bitx Easy, both in its design and its flexibility. Let’s get to the details themselves:
The BITX40 from HFSignals used the QRP Homebrewer’s favorite thing to hate: The LM386 audio amplifier. The Bitx Easy instead uses the TDA 7231, an amp that they have a lot of experience with in previous kits. As much as the LM386 is maligned, it’s a decent amp- but the TDA 7231 in the Bitx Easy should be a nice improvement.
The BITX40 used a mic preamp made with discrete components, centered around a BC849 transistor. This worked, but didn’t seem to have enough gain without increasing the bias on the transistor. The Bitx Easy uses a TL071 Op Amp to solve this problem and reduce parts count.
Diode Ring Mixer Options
The BITX40 uses the common 1n4148 in a surface mount package, and this is a very good choice. The Bitx Easy has the opton to use the through hole 1n4148 diode, or the surface mount BAT54S. This is very good because the builder can choose what they’re most comfortable with. With matched 1n4148’s, performance can be good, but with a BAT54S package, no matching is needed. The mixer performance will be optimal, which increases the sensitivity of the receiver. This will mean doing some surface mount soldering which is intimidating for some, and the 1n4148’s are through hole which may be easier for a novice kit builder.
The Bitx Easy will be 6″ wide and 5.5″ long. This will certainly make case selection simple, since that happens to be the same size as the uBITX.
Pre-Made SMA cabling
To connect the antenna connector and the si5351 BFO and VFO to the main board, there will be pre-made SMA cables included. These will also provide better shielding than a plain wire. Check out the board mounts for the SMA connectors below:
Options, Options Options
The Bitx Easy is going to have some great accessories available from https://amateurradiokits.in including a 40W PA, AGC, Case, and possibly even more as time goes by. Furthermore, the band can be changed to 20, 40, or 80 meters with Low Pass Filter and Band Pass Filter changes. You could even use an off-board filter setup for multi-band ability. You can bet we’ll be trying this and documenting it!
There’s no release date just yet, or a price. Quality engineering takes time, and it was a lack of such diligence that has led to some serious fiasco’s with certain QRP vendors releasing products that were not well tested in the past. Good things come to those who wait!
Make sure you subscribe this site, way up in the top right corner, and you’ll get emails with updates as they become available. We’ll definitely be announcing the availability of the Bitx Easy, and Other Epic QRP Rigs In Development, when they’re released.
Thanks for reading and 73!