QRP Labs 5W CW transciever kit #3

Day 8 of Aussie Flu. Reporting beard length 25 mm and increasing slowly, cough currently south by south west force 8 and productive, inter cranial pressure reduced by several millibars but still pounding, temperature 38 degrees, local bodily precipitation clammy. Outlook – bleak!

In between moments of grottiness I eventually finished the little QCX kit.

I made the decision early on that I was going to mount it in an enclosure so fashioned up fly leads for the switches and connectors to allow it to be boxed up. I’ve been umming and ahhing as to how to enclose the kit after having a look at QRP Labs builders gallery,  which you could consider as the equivalent of “readers wives for the Ham Radio enthusiast” in slight less salubrious circles!

Drawing inspiration from several candidates I’m going for a hybrid between two very well fashioned products. My enclosure has arrived and I need to get cutting and drilling.

Learning points on this one –

1/ Have a look at the suggest modifications page on the QRP Labs site. On initial power up my QCX did nothing and I wondered what was going on. It transpires that some people have seen issues with the software on the micro controller not starting on power up and there’s a mod to overcome the issue.

2/ The LCD has metal “fins” protruding from beneath which actually touch the top of one of the inductors which isn’t a good thing. Bend it out the way gently with pliers.

3/ The nylon pillars which fit close to the display contrast pot won’t fit on mine. I’ve got a very dodgy looking pot and the pillar needs filing down to allow it to fit. Easy enough to do, but without things would be under tension which isn’t a good idea.

4/ I was short changed on my nylon hardware in the kit which has meant an eBay job to get some spares

I’ve also got the GPS unit to build as I liked the idea of playing with WSPR again with this kit, so that needs building.

The real bummer I’ve found is that where I’ve been living out of packing crates for the last 13 months I can’t find my capacitive touch key anywhere. It added to the pile of frustration last night and I emptied countless boxes in the hope of finding it but to no avail. As such I’ve got no way of putting this little thing through its paces and getting it set up correctly. Another problem to be overcome.

To be continued . . .