Topics

One Month With The uBitx

Curt M.
 

Hi guys, last month I finished up the build on my uBitx.  It's completely stock other than using some outboard filters.  I decided to humor myself and for one month exclusively use only the uBitx.  I have to say that I'm impressed with the results.

With just casually making contacts I made 61 between 40, 20 & 80m.  Those contacts were in 18 states plus Slovenia and Belgium.  Being that the last month has had a state QSO party or two every weekend that kind of increased the contact to state ratio but it gave me a lot of opportunities to make some contacts when I could fit it in.  At no point did I sit down and spent more than 15 minutes trying to make contacts.  I think had I sat through a QSO party or two for an extended period of time I could have done even better.  Also I did not make one contact by throwing out the QRP card, that made it even more of a challange.  I had a few contacts that I struggled with along the way but there were five times more immediately successful contacts than ones that I struggled with.

During this last month I also checked into a bunch of nets.  When checking into one net during their 73 round the net control operator asked me where I was located and what I was running becuase he said the band was in such bad shape that day that they didn't have as many check-in's.  He seemed to be impressed with how I was making it into his location on about 8 watts.  He closed down the net and all of the sudden people started throwing out my call sign to make contact with me.  I picked up about 4 new states in a few minutes that said I was making it into them with varying degrees of signal strength.  One guy said that I was about an S5 but I was 10 over at one point while talking to another guy before him.  So that was a lot of fun.

So my take-away from this last month is that if the uBitx was your only radio, even though it doesn't have fancy filters and all of the other stuff like a mainstream radio does, you can still have a lot of fun and make contacts.  I will say that I missed having AGC and although the pop when you key up is annoying, it's bearable.  Both can be fixed through various mods.

Last night I turned on my IC-7300 for the first time in a month and even though it's a great radio in it's class, making contacts with less power and not telling anyone what you are running unless they ask is really a lot of fun.  I see me getting use out of both radios but I was amazed at how well the uBitx performed at less than one tenth the power.

73

Curt M.

Jack, W8TEE
 

Curt:

Thanks for telling us about this. I'm always selling the µBITX to whomever will listen, but not because it's QRP, but because it can bring into the fold new operators who may have a misconception about our hobby. I've told this story before, but it's worth repeating. My club (Milford Amateur Radio Club) always had a GOTO station and in 2015, we had a 13 year old who made contacts almost from coast-to-coast. I was listening to him excitedly telling his mother what he had just done--he could hardly contain himself he was so excited! His mother looked at him and said: "It sounds like a wonderful hobby, but where are you going to get the thousands of dollars it takes to buy the radio?" He looked like he had just been shot...

Ever since that day, I've been doing what I can to promote low-cost HF operation, especially to people starting out on a lawn-mowing budget. The µBITX, QCX, Forty-9er, up-coming QSX, and many others all work towards that goal.

Share your story on the air. You never know: Somebody may be listening who is speaking at a Cub Scout or GIrl Scout meeting is a few days and he may point out that you can buy a viable rig for a reasonable sum of money.

Good work!!

Jack, W8TEE


On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 10:06:40 AM EDT, Curt M. <Kc3hjp@...> wrote:


Hi guys, last month I finished up the build on my uBitx.  It's completely stock other than using some outboard filters.  I decided to humor myself and for one month exclusively use only the uBitx.  I have to say that I'm impressed with the results.

With just casually making contacts I made 61 between 40, 20 & 80m.  Those contacts were in 18 states plus Slovenia and Belgium.  Being that the last month has had a state QSO party or two every weekend that kind of increased the contact to state ratio but it gave me a lot of opportunities to make some contacts when I could fit it in.  At no point did I sit down and spent more than 15 minutes trying to make contacts.  I think had I sat through a QSO party or two for an extended period of time I could have done even better.  Also I did not make one contact by throwing out the QRP card, that made it even more of a challange.  I had a few contacts that I struggled with along the way but there were five times more immediately successful contacts than ones that I struggled with.

During this last month I also checked into a bunch of nets.  When checking into one net during their 73 round the net control operator asked me where I was located and what I was running becuase he said the band was in such bad shape that day that they didn't have as many check-in's.  He seemed to be impressed with how I was making it into his location on about 8 watts.  He closed down the net and all of the sudden people started throwing out my call sign to make contact with me.  I picked up about 4 new states in a few minutes that said I was making it into them with varying degrees of signal strength.  One guy said that I was about an S5 but I was 10 over at one point while talking to another guy before him.  So that was a lot of fun.

So my take-away from this last month is that if the uBitx was your only radio, even though it doesn't have fancy filters and all of the other stuff like a mainstream radio does, you can still have a lot of fun and make contacts.  I will say that I missed having AGC and although the pop when you key up is annoying, it's bearable.  Both can be fixed through various mods.

Last night I turned on my IC-7300 for the first time in a month and even though it's a great radio in it's class, making contacts with less power and not telling anyone what you are running unless they ask is really a lot of fun.  I see me getting use out of both radios but I was amazed at how well the uBitx performed at less than one tenth the power.

73

Curt M.

Dave Dixon
 

Hi CURT,
              Congratulations,ive been running a couple of bitx radios for a while now,1 is version 3 and the others version 4. and like you am amazed at the results im getting,the only changes ive made are adding KD 8 CEC firmware on both and a blue lcd screen on 1 and a touch colour screen on the other.I sold my,k3 and k2 and am totally home brew now save a power supply,.So far ive worked 60 countries on 40 mtrs.and most days conditions prevailing into europe nothng spectacular, but pleased to take what comes out of the speaker ive only wire aerials here plus i live in an area of conservation.Dave G0 AYD QRZ.COM

And all thanks to Ashar Farnham..

also to Jack W8 TEE whose sentiments i totally agree with.
i keep talking to the newly licenced guys on 2 mtrs over here and tell them about the ubitx.


On Tue, 23 Oct 2018 at 15:06, Curt M. <Kc3hjp@...> wrote:
Hi guys, last month I finished up the build on my uBitx.  It's completely stock other than using some outboard filters.  I decided to humor myself and for one month exclusively use only the uBitx.  I have to say that I'm impressed with the results.

With just casually making contacts I made 61 between 40, 20 & 80m.  Those contacts were in 18 states plus Slovenia and Belgium.  Being that the last month has had a state QSO party or two every weekend that kind of increased the contact to state ratio but it gave me a lot of opportunities to make some contacts when I could fit it in.  At no point did I sit down and spent more than 15 minutes trying to make contacts.  I think had I sat through a QSO party or two for an extended period of time I could have done even better.  Also I did not make one contact by throwing out the QRP card, that made it even more of a challange.  I had a few contacts that I struggled with along the way but there were five times more immediately successful contacts than ones that I struggled with.

During this last month I also checked into a bunch of nets.  When checking into one net during their 73 round the net control operator asked me where I was located and what I was running becuase he said the band was in such bad shape that day that they didn't have as many check-in's.  He seemed to be impressed with how I was making it into his location on about 8 watts.  He closed down the net and all of the sudden people started throwing out my call sign to make contact with me.  I picked up about 4 new states in a few minutes that said I was making it into them with varying degrees of signal strength.  One guy said that I was about an S5 but I was 10 over at one point while talking to another guy before him.  So that was a lot of fun.

So my take-away from this last month is that if the uBitx was your only radio, even though it doesn't have fancy filters and all of the other stuff like a mainstream radio does, you can still have a lot of fun and make contacts.  I will say that I missed having AGC and although the pop when you key up is annoying, it's bearable.  Both can be fixed through various mods.

Last night I turned on my IC-7300 for the first time in a month and even though it's a great radio in it's class, making contacts with less power and not telling anyone what you are running unless they ask is really a lot of fun.  I see me getting use out of both radios but I was amazed at how well the uBitx performed at less than one tenth the power.

73

Curt M.

Curt M.
 

Thanks Jack!  The uBitx is definitely a sleeper product.  All of us on here know about it but there are so many people that do not.  I made a quick sort of a raw video of my uBitx and sent it to some local hams.  A few of them immediately ordered one.  I'm sure they will have a lot of fun with it also.    

I just built up one of the QRSS WSPR 6 band kit from QRP-Labs.  That's a fairly time consuming kit if you are going to build all of the filters but the reward is very much worth it.  I have a 40m QCX on the way which I hope will entice me to get a little more proficient with CW.  In the next week I have the 10W linear amp for the QSX coming so I can get that part built while Hans finishes up the things that he needs to on the QSX.  Luckily he's going to make it an option to buy the QSX without the amp so anyone that wants to get a jump on building that kit can order the amp now and the rest later.  I really feel like the QSX is going to be the first game changer of many to come in the modern day world of kit radios.

Curt

Curt M.
 

Hi Dave, after using my uBitx for one day I did install the CEC firmware which I forgot to mention.  That makes it's really easy to use and experiment with being that you can backup and restore your settings.

As far as kits go I started out with a Bitx40 in which right out of the gate I received a non functional board.  I was never able to figure out what was wrong with it.  The replacement board came, I didn't change a thing with my wiring and just connected the board up and it's been fully functional from the get go.

I'm hoping that these kits will spin off some kids that are getting their feet wet in electronics with Raspberry Pi's and maybe we'll get a new crop of hams.

Bill Cromwell
 

Hi Curt,

We don't need the "QRP card". Our license is as good as anybody else. In 1981 I took a Ten Tec Argonaut 509 (2 watts wide open) to Field day and used it as our 80 meter station on CW. It held it's own against the 100 watt stations :) A new novice licensee was put with me for logging and duping (no computers then). As the hours wore on he became quite proficient at CW as it is used in contest exchanges. By 2AM he was at the key and I was logging and duping :) 10 watts is 5 times the power of that 509 and a couple of s-units higher on distant receivers. Just act as if you belong on the bands, You do.

73,

Bill KU8H

On 10/23/2018 10:06 AM, Curt M. wrote:
Hi guys, last month I finished up the build on my uBitx. It's
completely stock other than using some outboard filters. I decided to
humor myself and for one month exclusively use only the uBitx. I have
to say that I'm impressed with the results.

With just casually making contacts I made 61 between 40, 20 & 80m.
Those contacts were in 18 states plus Slovenia and Belgium. Being that
the last month has had a state QSO party or two every weekend that kind
of increased the contact to state ratio but it gave me a lot of
opportunities to make some contacts when I could fit it in. At no point
did I sit down and spent more than 15 minutes trying to make contacts.
I think had I sat through a QSO party or two for an extended period of
time I could have done even better. Also I did not make one contact by
throwing out the QRP card, that made it even more of a challange. I had
a few contacts that I struggled with along the way but there were five
times more immediately successful contacts than ones that I struggled with.

During this last month I also checked into a bunch of nets. When
checking into one net during their 73 round the net control operator
asked me where I was located and what I was running becuase he said the
band was in such bad shape that day that they didn't have as many
check-in's. He seemed to be impressed with how I was making it into his
location on about 8 watts. He closed down the net and all of the sudden
people started throwing out my call sign to make contact with me. I
picked up about 4 new states in a few minutes that said I was making it
into them with varying degrees of signal strength. One guy said that I
was about an S5 but I was 10 over at one point while talking to another
guy before him. So that was a lot of fun.

So my take-away from this last month is that if the uBitx was your only
radio, even though it doesn't have fancy filters and all of the other
stuff like a mainstream radio does, you can still have a lot of fun and
make contacts. I will say that I missed having AGC and although the pop
when you key up is annoying, it's bearable. Both can be fixed through
various mods.

Last night I turned on my IC-7300 for the first time in a month and even
though it's a great radio in it's class, making contacts with less power
and not telling anyone what you are running unless they ask is really a
lot of fun. I see me getting use out of both radios but I was amazed at
how well the uBitx performed at less than one tenth the power.

73

Curt M.
--
bark less - wag more

Dave Dixon
 

Hi Curt,
             I started off buildiong in 1985 from basic kits produced here in te uk by CM HOWES...At the time i hankered after a radio produiced over here which was 9 bands all mode called the OMEGA ( PICTURE ON MY QRZ PAGE).but that was the cost of 2 months mortgage so never got done,30 years later in quick succession 2 appeared on ebay which i bought as spares or repairs i robbed one to get the other running  plus 2 years after the omega the author produced a 6 band 15 watt cw transceiver and again at the time couldnt afford it but shortly after i got, my 2 omegas the micron came up on ebay as spares or repairs and i bought that to date both the olmega and micron are running reliably and have given me an immence amount of pleasure..these are now having a rest as the ubitx is now my main staion.no comercial radios at all in the shack save a 2 mtr fm radio.regards Dave.G0AYD.
PSThe omega took 5 weeks to rejuvanate..rewire and resolder 1300 dry joints!!!!!.
the micron took 2 hours a 5 and 8 volt regulator amd an lm 380 ic.


On Tue, 23 Oct 2018 at 16:34, Curt M. <Kc3hjp@...> wrote:
Hi Dave, after using my uBitx for one day I did install the CEC firmware which I forgot to mention.  That makes it's really easy to use and experiment with being that you can backup and restore your settings.

As far as kits go I started out with a Bitx40 in which right out of the gate I received a non functional board.  I was never able to figure out what was wrong with it.  The replacement board came, I didn't change a thing with my wiring and just connected the board up and it's been fully functional from the get go.

I'm hoping that these kits will spin off some kids that are getting their feet wet in electronics with Raspberry Pi's and maybe we'll get a new crop of hams.