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A story of discovery...and uBITX #ubitx


Rob Snow
 

I discovered the uBITX around Christmas and had promised myself that when I Extra'ed, I'd setup my first HF shack.  The uBITX removed the financial barrier and two weeks after I discovered the uBITX I passed my Extra (50 of 50, to brag a bit) and the adventure was in full-swing.  I was aware of the anecdote of not to QRP for your first rig, but some frustration and failures do not dissuade me easily.

I decided against building my own antenna for my first go as the uBITX was already going to be somewhat of a variable and less variables == better, so I decided against my own wire+matchbox (9:1 or 64:1 unun was my plan) and went with an EFHW from MyAntennas, which seemed pretty well regarded.  I learned about configurations, gotchas of EF's, radiation patterns and about slingshotting fishing weights over tree limbs.

While waiting for my uBITX to ship I read mercilessly, every single post.  If there was a part number, I went and read.  If there was something I needed, I ordered it. (I have a stash of 2822's, sockets, IRF510's, RD16 and BN's sitting around).  Bought a new soldering iron, bought a handful of newly discovered SMD practice boards and then read some more.

My uBITX arrived and had the dreaded WX, but I was not discouraged for I had a stash of step-downs from eBay.  I rushed putting my uBITX together with a build that aesthetically belongs in class of what not to look like.  I printed a mic enclosure and a double paddle (I've been practicing my CW regularly) and brought it to life.  There were VOICES on my radio!  I tried some SSB CQ, but my output looked very low...some to follow-up on.

Next I built an audio interface (easy digi, but without the kit) and tried some FT8 because I have two young helpers who need to see results...they make activist investors look like puppy dogs, they don't want to hear daddy endlessly calling CQ, they need action!

I had my first uBITX QSO on FT8 last week and with my helpers we look at the map everyday.  We worked Mexico and down to Colombia shortly after.  Last night we managed our first FT8 QSO's across the pond to Slovenia and Hungary on my junkyard uBITX.

I write this not for myself, but because all this happened because of the fact that the uBITX being available changed a "someday" into a "Hmm, I can do this right now" and ignited a grand adventure for myself and a couple of young men.

Next up are CW and SSB QSO!  I've already met a local HF'er via FT8 who's going to be my testbed for SSB and I'm practicing for my first QRS CW QSO.

Thank you Ashhar for making our little hackable platform of discovery and thank you to the community for imparting the "Yeah, I can do this" motivation...without both this adventure and these discoveries probably didn't happen.

73 Rob AG5OV


Tim Gorman
 

Good for you!

The ubitx is a veritable cornucopia of knowledge opportunities. Start
with the explanation of how each section of the rig works, it's there
on hfsignals. There is all kinds of info on the internet about how
mixers work, filters work, demodulators and modulators work, etc.

It will be a lifetime journey.

tim ab0wr

On Sat, 31 Mar 2018 09:52:45 -0700
"Rob Snow" <rsnow@...> wrote:

I discovered the uBITX around Christmas and had promised myself that
when I Extra'ed, I'd setup my first HF shack.  The uBITX removed the
financial barrier and two weeks after I discovered the uBITX I passed
my Extra (50 of 50, to brag a bit) and the adventure was in
full-swing.  I was aware of the anecdote of not to QRP for your first
rig, but some frustration and failures do not dissuade me easily.

I decided against building my own antenna for my first go as the
uBITX was already going to be somewhat of a variable and less
variables == better, so I decided against my own wire+matchbox (9:1
or 64:1 unun was my plan) and went with an EFHW from MyAntennas,
which seemed pretty well regarded.  I learned about configurations,
gotchas of EF's, radiation patterns and about slingshotting fishing
weights over tree limbs.

While waiting for my uBITX to ship I read mercilessly, every single
post.  If there was a part number, I went and read.  If there was
something I needed, I ordered it. (I have a stash of 2822's, sockets,
IRF510's, RD16 and BN's sitting around).  Bought a new soldering
iron, bought a handful of newly discovered SMD practice boards and
then read some more.

My uBITX arrived and had the dreaded WX, but I was not discouraged
for I had a stash of step-downs from eBay.  I rushed putting my uBITX
together with a build that aesthetically belongs in class of what not
to look like.  I printed a mic enclosure and a double paddle (I've
been practicing my CW regularly) and brought it to life.  There were
VOICES on my radio!  I tried some SSB CQ, but my output looked very
low...some to follow-up on.

Next I built an audio interface (easy digi, but without the kit) and
tried some FT8 because I have two young helpers who need to see
results...they make activist investors look like puppy dogs, they
don't want to hear daddy endlessly calling CQ, they need action!

I had my first uBITX QSO on FT8 last week and with my helpers we look
at the map everyday.  We worked Mexico and down to Colombia shortly
after.  Last night we managed our first FT8 QSO's across the pond to
Slovenia and Hungary on my junkyard uBITX.

I write this not for myself, but because all this happened because of
the fact that the uBITX being available changed a "someday" into a
"Hmm, I can do this right now" and ignited a grand adventure for
myself and a couple of young men.

Next up are CW and SSB QSO!  I've already met a local HF'er via FT8
who's going to be my testbed for SSB and I'm practicing for my first
QRS CW QSO.

Thank you Ashhar for making our little hackable platform of discovery
and thank you to the community for imparting the "Yeah, I can do
this" motivation...without both this adventure and these discoveries
probably didn't happen.

73 Rob AG5OV


Doug W
 

Congratulations Rob.
My first HF rig was my BITX40.  I never bought into the don't start with QRP argument.  I think it is aimed at the instant gratification types that would give up if they didn't make a 59 QSO with some obscure DX station the first time they hit the PTT.


Paul Galburt - K2AYZ
 

My first transmitter (1953) was a 6V6 running at abouit 250 volts built on a piece of wood and with a single 80M novice crystal. Lucky if it got 5 watts into my random wire antenna. The term QRP was not in common use and it was just what a kid in Brooklyn could afford. 

As with uBitx, it started a lifetime of discovery and launched me on several engineering careers. Thought still a working engineer, I have been inactive for decades hamwise, but uBitx has rekindled my excitement, and I am awaiting my first unit while thinking about getting a second in the pipeline.

Thanks again, Ashhar!


Stephen Wandling
 

Sounds like the one in How To Become A  Radio Amateur. 


I too built mine on the orange crate 'chassis', in '51.  Them were the days! If the uBITX brings back that sort of feeling, then bring it on.

Thanks for the memory.

Stephen   VE7NSD

On Mon, Apr 2, 2018, 6:46 AM Paul Galburt - K2AYZ, <galburt@...> wrote:
My first transmitter (1953) was a 6V6 running at abouit 250 volts built on a piece of wood and with a single 80M novice crystal. Lucky if it got 5 watts into my random wire antenna. The term QRP was not in common use and it was just what a kid in Brooklyn could afford. 

As with uBitx, it started a lifetime of discovery and launched me on several engineering careers. Thought still a working engineer, I have been inactive for decades hamwise, but uBitx has rekindled my excitement, and I am awaiting my first unit while thinking about getting a second in the pipeline.

Thanks again, Ashhar!


Rob Snow
 

Thank you for all the stories, I love hearing them and I'll bet others do too.

I'm certain, now, that jumping into an IC-7300 wouldn't have supplied the same experience...not that I won't end up with one (or a FT-450D, as funds allow).

The joys and countless hours of fretting over coax (ended up using 400MAX), discovering and solving broadcast interference, driving ground rods and tying them, lightning arrestor, even something as simple as picking a 2 way antenna switch has led to much education and knowledge.

Now to ponder this 2nd uBITX and these RD16's sitting on the shelf...

73 Rob AG5OV


Tim Gorman
 

Rob,

It's why I have a 2nd one on order. I've modified this one about all
I'm going to. My first one is my power outage rig and it works fine.
Going to leave it alone. When the new comes in I'll leave it on a
breadboard to play with and worry about a case later.

I'm not concerned about more power but would like to have more
equalized power across the bands. I'll probably only play with the
driving circuitry.

I also want to see if I can get the carrier suppression to a good level
instead of marginal and the same for the 3rd order IMD.

tim ab0wr

On Mon, 02 Apr 2018 12:05:49 -0700
"Rob Snow" <rsnow@...> wrote:

Thank you for all the stories, I love hearing them and I'll bet
others do too.

I'm certain, now, that jumping into an IC-7300 wouldn't have supplied
the same experience...not that I won't end up with one (or a FT-450D,
as funds allow).

The joys and countless hours of fretting over coax (ended up using
400MAX), discovering and solving broadcast interference, driving
ground rods and tying them, lightning arrestor, even something as
simple as picking a 2 way antenna switch has led to much education
and knowledge.

Now to ponder this 2nd uBITX and these RD16's sitting on the shelf...

73 Rob AG5OV


Rob Snow
 

The flatness is appealing to me as well.  If I can get it flat, via drive circuitry, finals, or some combination then I can build myself an amplifier as its own project to see if I can create a local aurora centered above my house...the boys will love that and the wife and daughter will continue to roll their eyes.

73 Rob AG5OV