Category Archives: Kits

A new Heathkit: The Precision RF Meter – HM-1002

Heathkit recently sent the following link to their “Insiders” email list:

Dear Heathkit Insider

We have opened advance orders for our newest product, the HM-1002 Heathkit® Precision RF Meter™, for our most loyal customers and fans. This is the first amateur radio accessory and the first test equipment kit Heathkit has produced in over 30 years.

We believe the Heathkit® Precision RF Meter™ is a landmark achievement in RF meters, in both technical features and price/performance. It is most suitable for amateur radio operators and for customers who use RF test equipment.

Its patent-pending design offers features not available in other power/SWR meters: Transmit frequency display, ERP display, efficiency measurement, many forms of peak power monitoring, smart alerting, both SWR and Return Loss, user-selected units (e.g. watts or dBm), autoranging for both power and frequency, QRP and QRO, superior ergonomics, and more. It’s about five times more accurate than our previous power/SWR meters, at an affordable price and exceptional quality. And it’s a Heathkit.®

This early make-to-order offering gives our most loyal customers a first-in-line position when this kit ships, probably at about the end of the summer. To thank you for your loyalty and trust, Heathkit will waive and pay standard-rate shipping on initial pre-sales orders to anywhere in the world we ship. Limit is two units per customer at this time.

If you’re the kind of builder who doesn’t want to be last in line for the best new equipment or the latest Heathkit®, this is for you. Please see our product web page for more information. Be sure to read all the pre-order details, including how to complete your order. We welcome your pre-order.

Sincerely,

the Heathkit Team

Pre-order pricing for the HM-1002 is $575.00 US.

Video: Lightbulb vs Radio Beacon by Thomas Cholakov (N1SPY)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who writes:

My 11 year old son Tommy (N1SPY) completed a project where he compared a 1W lightbulb to a .25 W radio beacon that he put together and bet that the radio beacon can be heard around the world. I asked him to document his activities as he went along. The project took a couple of months but is now complete and we stitched together a video of his activities.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Wow–Tommy, you’ve done an amazing job here!

I especially like how you’ve taken time to explain the principles behind the various steps of the process. Brilliant job!

Tommy, your future videos are always welcome here. Keep up the good work and we’d love to hear how many new countries you’ve racked up on your WSPR system!

The Cricket: The Four State QRP Group’s latest transceiver kit

Here’s a hot tip for those of you who enjoy building transceiver kits:

The Four State QRP group has just released The Cricket: a simple 80 CW transceiver kit. The Cricket was designed by David Cripe (NM0S) who is behind a number of successful kits (including the Ozark Patrol and the Bayou Jumper).

The amazing part about this kit is that it’s super simple, has no toroids to wind and doesn’t even need to be aligned. It even includes a Morse key.

All this shipped for $32.68 in the US, $39.50 in Canada and $43.50 for international orders. A serious bargain, in my book.

Typically, Dave’s kits sell out the same day they are posted for sale. If you’re interested in The Cricket, don’t hesitate to order! (I just bought three, for example.)

Click here to order The Cricket.

Here’s The Cricket kit description via the Four State QRP Group website:

Kitted and Offered For Sale By The Four State QRP Group

The Cricket is a low cost entry level minimalist CW transceiver for the 80 meter band. Chosen as the build session kit for OzarkCon 2017, it bears a family resemblance to the well known but much lower performing Pixie. However it is very different and vastly improved over the Pixie. This is NOT a Pixie, it is far superior! It features low parts count, better components including MOSFETs for better sensitivity and switching, and a modern NJM2113D audio amp.

A TX/RX offset is also incuded so that you can work other stations that have zero beat you, or are using a crystal on the same frequncy. Full QSK and a sidetone complete the essential operating features. Dave’s famous etched spiral coils are included on the pc board, so there are NO TOROIDS to wind. Additionally a straight key is included on the pc board, just snap it off, mount it on the board, and the whole rig is then self contained. Also included is an electronic keyer adapter – you can use your favorite keyer with the Cricket! These are many features for such a low parts count and inexpensive transceiver.

ALL THROUGH HOLE parts make this kit very easy to assemble. It will make a fine, fully functional, and educational first rig for a new builder, the new ham, or seasoned veterans wishing to just have fun with a new rig at minimal expense and effort. Note that Novices and Technicians have 80M CW privileges from 3.525 to 3.600, same as everyone else – so they also can build and use the Cricket.

This simple rig is fun and functional, and made many contacts at OzarkCon after the build session. A proven design and a great choice for your next rig, it is perfect for a group build with nets and contacts after the build. This is an excellent club project.

USB Battery Pack Keep-Alive Load Kit

(Source: Southgate ARC)

USB power banks are a convenient way of powering low power USB devices in the field. Unfortunately, as they are designed for charging phones and tablets, many have an internal electronic cut out circuit that switches power off below a certain current draw. The exact current that they switch off at varies from pack to pack.

Although there are circuits on the internet that purport to solve this problem by applying a pulsed load, we found this did not work with all power banks. As a result we designed a neat variable electronic load to address this problem.

Available as a kit, using it is easy; just plug it into your power bank, plug your target device into it and adjust the current draw until the pack remains on.

http://www.sotabeams.co.uk/usb-battery-pack-keep-alive-load-kit/

This could be a handy tool for those of us who use USB battery packs for portable work. SotaBeams originally created this simple kit for the WSPRlite.

Stampfl products on eBay

This morning, I noticed that the Swiss radio and Morse key manufacturer, Stampfl, is selling some of their products on eBay.

In particular, they’ve listed the Junior 1 shortwave radio receiver kit (above) and the STM-11 Classic Morse Code straight key (below).

Stampfl was founded by Heinz Stampfl (HB9KOC)–I’ve been following his work the past few years, especially fascinated with his SDR designs which are (sadly) only experimental and have never been put into production.

I’m particularly fascinated with the MICRO SWRX:

And the EXPERIMENTAL SWRX:

I’ve written Heinz more than once encouraging him to put these on the market. Of course, it’s an easy request coming from a consumer who doesn’t have to front the production costs and inherent overhead!

Heinz, if you’re reading this, why not do a Kickstarter campaign for one of your fine SDR designs?!

The Junior 1 receiver kit

The Stampfl Junior 1 shortwave receiver kit looks like a lot of fun not only to operate, but also to build and I’m sorely tempted to purchase one!

Here’s a video of the Junior 1 in action:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to download the Junior 1 manual.

The Junior 1 is listed as an auction on eBay with a starting bid of $50 with $25 Economy Shipping to the US. The BuyItNow price is $70.

I think $95 US shipped is a fair price for what looks like a fascinating little receiver kit designed by an (obviously) talented engineer.

Click here to view on eBay.

Post readers: Have any of you built the Junior 1 or purchased any of Stampfl’s Morse Code keys? Please comment!