You could say that my QRP transceiver kit addiction is getting slightly out of control but where’s the fun in life if you can’t build things that put a smile on your face?
This whole flirtation with the Chinese kit market has caused me to do some delving into the history of the original kits that they look to emulate or some would say “rip off”.
As I’ve alluded to before the Ham fraternity in America is huge and a lot of the QRP kits or ideas originate from that side of the globe. My plan post Pixie/Frog was to have a look at a thing called a Super Rockmite, which again hails from the Asian markets and can be readily found on eBay and the likes. It is an evolution of the other kits and adds a computer interface to allow the transceiver to be hooked to a PC and to generate CW directly from software. Sound familiar?
Well one thing that this has taught me is that despite liking the idea of a PC doing the hard work, it’s very much a case of missing out if you’re not pressing the key or the paddle yourself and with that in mind I’m having a serious go at learning code using the Koch method using IZ2UUF’s Morse Koch CW app for Android. I’m not saying it’s easy and to become proficient will take a lot of time and effort but then reward isn’t without endeavour!
Now with that very much at the front of my mind when I started reading the forums about the shoddy standard of both Super Rockmite kits and fully assembled purchases, poor audio quality and inability to find English version software it was very much a case of “Do I really want to waste my time on this one?” Short answer, no!
Then a bit more delving into the term Rockmite revealed the history of Dave Benson’s, K1SWL, nifty RockMite QRP transceiver kits, Small Wonder Labs and the NorCal QRP club. What a shame Small Wonder Labs are no more! Until I found out that QRPme have taken on the mantle of supplying an updated version of the kit which is a true testament to the original device. Even better Kanga Products in the UK are the authorised distributors avoiding the pain of being mugged by Border Force and Royal Mail for import duty charges!
It was an absolute no brainer and after a brief email exchange with Rex Harper at QRPme and Dennis Anderson at Kanga I secured a bespoke RockMite ][ enclosure (unfortunately you can’t get the Heathkit green one anymore)
along with a RockMite][ in the 40m flavour
The kit landed today (12/02/16) and I genuinely can’t wait to build this thing!
The enclosure landed on a month later and is a work of art and nicer than anything I could make myself
Unlike the Asian kit’s this thing is a work of perfection on all levels, with everything included and loads of support and documentation available online to assist in the build and getting it up and running. I won’t be rushing this that’s for sure as it’d be great to have this working perfectly from the outset and running as my outdoor rig for the summer in conjunction with something like an Emtech-ZM-2 ATU and a Palm Radio Mini Paddle.
That’s more money and several months away so lets finish the projects sat on the desk first!