Topics

share your BITX success stories

Doug W
 

With all the mud in the water these past few days, I figured I would share something positive.  Lately I've been playing with FT8 on my µBITX.  I am more interested in learning as much as I can about propagation and antenna optimization than talking to strangers most of the time.  Say what you want about digital modes, they meet that requirement for me.  Last night I completed a QSO with an operator in Russia 4582 miles away on 30m putting out 4.67 watts (as measured with my QRPguys dummy load/power meter).  Sure I just missed the illustrious 1000mi/w but it is a personal µBITX best for me not counting WSPR which even though is only a one way mode continues to amaze me.

Let's lighten up the mood in this joint.  Share some good stories.

--
www.bitxmap.com

Bo Barry <bobarr@...>
 

Agreed!  I'm still struggling getting audio levels right. It's hard to turn my nearby icom 7300 down low enough to see a clean signal.
On FT8 soon
Bo W4GHV since '54

Craig Wadsworth <cwadsworth@...>
 

My wife had watched me carefully collecting (inexpensive) parts to build a uBitX over many months. When she heard about Ash’s ‘elves are busy’ post,she game me the $$$ to buy one. It’s been fun, and I’m planning to try it on FT8 tonight (finished soldering the cables a couple nights ago). It’s exactly what Ashhar designed: an amazingly inexpensive transceiver that, with a little work, will soon do almost everything my FT-817 can - with a better receiver! It’s cheap, it’s fun, and I’ve learned a lot from it and from the others on this list.

tonyrazzell2@...
 

I would echo the positive news story - getting my uBitx up and running on Saturday and setting up only took an evening, the 'poor audio quality' turned out to be the BFO frequency being off - easy to fix (especially if you look at the basic documentation on calibration on the HFsignals website). I reckon I'm getting around 10W out on 80m, using a long wire via a home brew L match. First contact was in Denmark so a reasonable DX from the UK, especially on low power. Sunday evening had several contacts round the UK, including a /P station on one of the Scottish islands. Best of all was the Worked All Britain net where I spoke to another radio amateur using a uBitx!!

In the process of putting a case round the radio now, I will do the PA mod to unleash it at higher frequencies.

A big Well Done to Ashhar Farhan and Co for making this radio to folks round the world at such an affordable price!!

73
Tony
G0PBM

Jay - WS4JM
 

I am having a ball with mine, I get around 10 watts on 80 and 40 meters. I am making contacts up to around 700 miles from a fan dipole at 35 feet (10 meters or so). I am putting the finishing touches on my enclosure, a re-purposed Cobra 148 CB case, and am enjoying the whole experience. I am going to attempt to do Howard's mods for leveling out the power on the upper bands and add the necessary cabling for digital.

I have also uploaded the KD8CEC firmware, and must say it is a pleasure to use. Thanks to Ian for his hard work!

73 de WS4JM

Daniel Conklin
 

I agree too!  I have been making contacts with special events stations and DX on 40 meters SSB.  My first contact was the Marconi Birthday Memorial station in Cape Cod, then the Indy Speedway F1 race day station.  Since I sole my FT=817 two years ago I've only been using CW with home built QRP transmitters, so it's a real treat to be able to make some voice contacts with a radio that I may not have designed and built, but at least I assembled it.  
- Dan , W2DLC

Doug W
 

On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 05:03 am, Daniel Conklin wrote:
then the Indy Speedway F1 race day station
My very first contact with my BITX40, first HF contact at all for that matter, was with W9IMS.  I'm not a race fan but they had a good strong signal and I got through.  I don't collect paper but I made a quick QSL card on card stock just so I could get theirs to commemorate it.
 
--
www.bitxmap.com

William Cullison
 

I haven't had a chance transmit other than CW mode into a dummy load. I want to finish my antenna analyzer before I start pumping rf into my Carolina Windom. Reception was very good but noisy with all the weather here in Florida at this time. Lightning is a major concern as my antenna is almost as high as my natural lightning rods, pine trees 60 - 90 feet tall. As a QCWA member I enjoy CW as my primary mode but really have enjoyed WSPR with my U3S. I see alot of digital in my future.

73 Bill WA8VIH/4

On Thu, May 17, 2018, 09:37 Doug W <dougwilner@...> wrote:
On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 05:03 am, Daniel Conklin wrote:
then the Indy Speedway F1 race day station
My very first contact with my BITX40, first HF contact at all for that matter, was with W9IMS.  I'm not a race fan but they had a good strong signal and I got through.  I don't collect paper but I made a quick QSL card on card stock just so I could get theirs to commemorate it.
 
--
www.bitxmap.com

Dennis
 

On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 04:24 am, WS4JM wrote:
Where can I find instructions for the necessary cabling for digital?

73, Dennis
W7DRW

Tom Christian
 

The uBITx has been a blast!  330 FT8 QSOs in 6 weeks including 46 states and 12 countries on 4 watts or less.  Using end-fed 59 ft antenna to tree.  Having too much fun to see the negative......:) Looking forward to "souping up" the 2nd uBITx!
Tom
AB7WT

Rob Snow
 

I've given my report before, but I'll throw it in here for giggles.

My uBITX is my first HF rig.  I ordered to close the deal on getting my Extra.  I got my Extra 2 weeks later and got my CW up to 13wpm (5 char, random) as penance for not getting my ticket 30 years ago.

While waiting for my uBITX to arrived I read every...single...post, looked up part numbers, googled what it did when I didn't understand it, ordered some extras, practiced my soldering and read some more.  I ordered the SMD practice boards, a new soldering iron and some spare IRF510's and RD16's as well as some SMD kits.

uBITX arrived, I soldered it up and started the "Junkyard Dogs" thread here for my complete lack of regard for aesthetics.  I fired it up and couldn't get any SSB QSO's with my EFHW, so I found the CW key memory and sent "TEST AG5OV TEST" a few times and checked the RBNs....IT LIVED, I was getting out!

Next I updated the firmware to Ian's fantastic work and soldered up a home grown EasyDigi interface and plugged it into a RPi.  I've been running FT8 and WSPR almost continuously since I turned it on a couple months ago.  I'm over 700 digital QSOs, 0 SSB (it'll come, no rush) and 0 CW (printed up a key, just need to wire it up).  It's been, simply, fantastic.  I'm so very glad I went with the uBITX as my first HF rig, the experience with both the product and the support here has been more than I could have imagined.  It's what I got into ham for, to explore, to learn, to discover to get that spark in the mind of "ah ha!".

I wouldn't change a thing, even my dreaded WX2822...where I got to down convert to 12.1v instead of running at full 13.8.  If I had wanted to make eleventy-seven DX SSB QSO's in the first week then I wouldn't have picked the uBITX.  I don't need that, I yearn for discovery and and exploration.

I'll add that I have a 2nd uBITX still in box that I need to wire up and put across town.  I'm super interested in not just digital modes, but data modes and having my own testbed with rigs across town and network access to each end will be great fun.

73 Rob AG5OV

_Dave_ K0MBT
 

I got the bitx40 as an interm radio while by ubitx was still over in India. 
Between the two I have made contacts with SSB in 40 US states as well as Ontario. A couple of weeks ago I put in the firmware for ft8 and have made numerous contacts in Eastern europe over 5000 miles distant. 

When on the air I get good audio reports including some 5-9+10 over 1000 miles away. God has to be with us on the atmospherics of course. These radios are my first HF rigs and I am told just wait till propagation gets decent again.  My antennas are dipoles made from steel electric fence wire with weed eater nylon line tied to the ends for insulators. The lead in is RG6 75 ohm used cable TV coax that I have scrounged over the years. I am sure  I've made many mistakes but it does work and has not cost me much. 

ajparent1/KB1GMX
 

My call is fire up on 40 and call CQ!  Someone is likely to answer.    If you don't 
you never know if the propagation has happend.  I find a lot of South Americans
on 10M during the day, but people keep telling me 10 is dead.

75ohm coax to a dipole is not a bad thing but you may need a simple tuner to match
it to the radio. 

Allison

John
 

I guess I would be able to obtain the 1000mi/W award as I had contact with Fiji from the Texas/Mexico border at the Gulf Coast.
But as I am fairly new (6 months) still have to learn about those things.
Contact was made on 10m with FT8 in March. Before that I only had seen reception reports drom Japan and Europe. 
So pretty pleased with my uBitx with an end-fed in the attic.

John
KG5WJQ

ajparent1/KB1GMX
 

Well took it out of the box and wired up the connectors and all and having on the bench spread out.
haven't measured power in any exacting way for at 11V I see 6W at 7mhz.  Receives well.

I then installed my mod for the audio amp to run it at 8V regulated.  It works.  Only one part
used an lm7808.

Changed the resistor on the back of the LCD from 100ohms to 330 to damp down the brightness a bit.
Adjusted pot on the back of Raduino for better contrast.
Flipped the 5V regulator around so it doesn't hang off, my case needed that bit of space for a really
good encoder.

Next step is the bias on Q70 its sitting at 1.6V way too low for good overload results. 16k resistor will fix that.

After that replace q90 with 2n2222A and then check the bias it seems to be at higher current than needed.

At this point I'll break for an order of a dozen MPSH10 and some other RF parts to try.

The case, no matter what they say the drillin and blastin is the work:
While waiting I'm working the fitment of the case and the various parts.   Other things that
will need to be on the panel is the power led, some form of metering for received signal
strength and relative TX power (bargraph but not on LCD). 
Mic jack, headphone, and antenna jack are  on the front panel along with LCD and power
switch.  Then we have audio level and rf-gain.  All this goes in an area 8.x inches by 2.25 inches.
It has the potential for being cramped if I use the larger tuning encoder.   The display
eats panel space too.

plodding on..

Allison

Doug W
 

On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 09:48 am, Doug W wrote:
I just missed the illustrious 1000mi/w
I guess this is a wishing well because I just hit 1,128.9mi/w with a QSO from Brazil.
Just in case this thing works....oh mighty list I still haven't won the lottery.
 
--
www.bitxmap.com

John
 

I've been working FT8 for a few days on my shiny new uBITX tied to a homebrew G5RV set up as an inverted v.  Just finished a 20m QSO with Tasmania.... thats over 9000 miles on just less than 9w! Amazing little rig!

73's de W5JXN 

Jerry Gaffke
 

Yup, I have no idea why they come mounted sticking out the side.
If you wish, once flipped you can keep that LM7805 cool by soldering the tab to the Raduino ground plane,
though somebody once pointed out that the heat will cause the 25mhz oscillator to drift a bit more.
A 25 to 50 ohm 1/2 watt resistor, perhaps on the bottom of the uBitx, in series with 
that 12v line into the Raduino will reduce the heat at the Raduino.
On the Bitx40, it was necessary to add caps on that 12v line to keep LCD updates on the
Raduino from getting into the 12v rail of the main board and creating hash in the receiver.

I've added a diode on the Raduino board between the incoming 12v pin and the LM7805,
after first cutting that trace.  Provides reverse polarity protection, which the LM7805 does not.
Also, when powering the Raduino from the USB cable during downloads, that 5v
goes back through the LM7805 and powers the radio, which is ok I guess if you want to 
listen to the SW bands while downloading but seems it might cause trouble.


On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 07:54 pm, ajparent1/KB1GMX wrote:
Flipped the 5V regulator around so it doesn't hang off, my case needed that bit of space for a really
good encoder.

ajparent1/KB1GMX
 

I did two things:

flipped the regulator but left it about .2" above the board.  Check the raduino stck as about 50-55Ma
far from enough to warrant heat sink.  At most its dissipating .6W.  This may be lower as I've lowered
the backlight current.

I also added a series diode (1n4007) on the back of the raduino board (paranoia) for reverse power
protection plus a 100uf cap for noise and spike protection and a .7V drop as well.

While I had the diodes out I added two to the back of the board at the power connector (one for
general 12V and one for the PA12V).  I prefer the polarity protection after the fuse so the power
wires do not burn up and fuse failure is an attention grabber.  

None of these need be in the production or for a cased and fielded unit but if I'm going to be
hacking the board I need protection to avoid painful errors.

There is a lot of check then continue steps.  I do this to insure I haven't broken something
and if need be also to see I've not degraded anything.

Allison

W3JDR
 

As an aside on power supply filtering, the stock rig has about 'none' and is very susceptible to power supply noise, especially power supplies with switching regulators. There's not much margin for voltage loss in an input regulator, so I came up with a scheme that uses a cheap Ebay boost-buck regulator board and a built-in LiIon battery pack. This provides some filtering, isolation from input noise and the ability to run at full performance from battery even when the voltage drops below 10V.

Joe