Topics

HFSignals poor business practices

John Cardoso
 

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Ian Reeve
 

As a owner of two units I was saddened to read of your experience.The capacitor goes directly across the electret element and I can only agree with your observations on the pot switch and volume pot. I changed the pot for a standard sized one but bear in mind the supplied knob should fit the shaft on the pot supplied. I guess you would have version 4 but it will be marked along one edge of the pcb.Having found this group you can still down the posts and umpteen you tube videos but mine came with a multitude A4 sized assembly and test procedures.Ian M0IDR


From: BITX20@groups.io <BITX20@groups.io> on behalf of John Cardoso <ve9pct@...>
Sent: Saturday, June 1, 2019 8:26:46 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: [BITX20] HFSignals poor business practices
 
I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Skip Davis
 

John, no doubt you we’ll get many responses on your post please don’t be too discouraged. If you go to HFSignals.com then under the BITX40 heading select wireup that will give you instructions on how to wire up the board to the controls and jacks to get you to the point of powering up and operation. There are a few other resources that are linked on the group.io that will help you also. If you have more questions post them to the group and we all will try to guide you in the right direction so you can enjoy your BITX40. 
HFSignal is not a larger company with a large staff of people it is a few hams that have made their ideas for a hf rig available in kit form for others to enjoy. There are hundreds if not thousands of us who are enjoying tinkering/modifying these rigs that have them working right out of the box. If your expectations were that you would open the box and plug it in then I’m sorry it isn’t that kind of rig. But if you were looking for one you could make your own through customizing with enclosures and added features then you came to the right place.
Please enjoy and ask questions many of us will be pleased to answer them and guide you in the right direction.

73,
Skip Davis, NC9O 

On Jun 1, 2019, at 15:26, John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Jonas Sanamon
 

Hi John,

I think that much of Your experience is linked to expectations. It looks like You perhaps had too high expectations. 
In my mind the Bitx radios rate real high on value for money, but one should probably not expect to get icom quality for $130.

On the other hand I think that "on a shoestring" HF rig is a thrill in itself, and probably the reason a lot of us do this.
So I am grateful to HF signals for making these radios available to most of the world at an affordable price.

Best Regards,
Jonas - SM4VEY



Den lör 1 juni 2019 kl 21:26 skrev John Cardoso <ve9pct@...>:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Scott McDonald
 

Hi John.
 
I expect you'll be happier with it once you have it put together and working, mine's been running fine for quite some time.
 
If you send me your mailing address off line, I'll be happy to dig out an old mic housing with a PPT switch you can put the electret element in - the element isn't much different from most once it's in a housing.
 
And I'll be happy to toss in a better tuning pot from the junk box as well if it will help you get more enthused about the project.  Yeah, the supplied pots aren't exactly robust, but they work well enough.
 
There are detailed directions on the site where you ordered the BITX40.  As for printed directions, it's not an Indian or poor business practice issue that they aren't provided, virtually all the kit providers these days provide their instructions on-line.
 
You'll find lots of folks here that have had fun tackling the same kit and that are willing to help you get going.
 
73 Scott ka9p
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: John Cardoso <ve9pct@...>
To: BITX20 <BITX20@groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Jun 1, 2019 2:26 pm
Subject: [BITX20] HFSignals poor business practices

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

maximilien971
 

Hi John,

With your expectations mlaybe you have to buy a K1 Elecraft Kit? But remind me how much does it cost?

73
Patrick
F6GWE

Arv Evans
 

John

The day is long gone when we used large ceramic wafer rotary switches, 1/4 inch phone jacks,
5 inch skirted phenolic knobs, and 500 volt power supplies.  It is easy to look at the diminutive
size of today's components and disparage them, but without those small components you would
not have cell phones, network routers and hubs, personal computers, and automotive system
computers.  Support for Heathkit and similar systems used to involve a commercial printing group
just to print and mail the manuals.  Today support is via on-line groups and documentation is
on web sites.  It is called progress. 

As has been stated many times before, this website is the support system for HF Signals products.
There is a website for HF Signals that has schematics and assembly instructions.  There are
several ancillary web sites which host collections of modifications and additions for HF Signals
products.  There are many on this web site that are willing to help you through the learning
process necessary to come up to speed with today's technology. 

The SMT components used by HF Signals are not the smallest available.  It is possible to trace
circuits and signals just like we did back in the 50's and 60's.  The electronics have not changed...
well, not quite true.  Now we are presented with several technological tools that are made possible
by small components and new knowledge that arose from using those components.  Today's ham
radio operator has almost instant access to on-line help and on-line helpers, as well as to
manufacturer's data sheets for all the individual components.  Today we have free circuit simulation
software and PCB layout editors.  Once a PCB has been designed we can click on a manufacturer's
URL and have that board made for us and delivered within a few days. 

Many of the functions of today's ham radio equipment is computer assisted.  Small microprocessors
have matured significantly over the past 20 years and prices are now so low as to make them very
advantageous for our homebrew projects.  For this reason a significant portion of today's ham radio
operators have educated themselves in programming skills and are writing their own subroutines
for interface with their hardware creations.  IDE (Integrated Development Environments) are freely
available for those who want to write their own software.  Again, there are many on this discussion
group who are willing help you if you need assistance with software design and implementation. 

When you purchase a radio or test equipment system today you should not expect it to be filled
with 12AU7s, 6V6s, and 6146 tubes.  We left those behind 25 years ago.  Today transmitting
amplifiers are usually relatively inexpensive MOSFETs or expensive RF transistors.  Variable
frequency tuned circuits are adjusted by changing DC bias on reverse biased diodes.  It has
become rare to see a modern project that uses an air-variable capacitor.  Instead of VFOs
(Variable Frequency Oscillators) we now mostly use Digital Frequency Synthesizers.  Even the
old PLL (Phase Locked Loop) circuits have become unpopular for all but microwave work,
although internally the DDS or Synthesizers do contain PLL-like circuitry.   

In the bad-old-days the only resource we had for technical support was printed manuals, the
technical section in a local library, and a few ARRL or RSGB publications.  Today the amount
of technical reference material has increased exponentially and is mostly available with only a
few clicks of the computer mouse or by typing a line on the keyboard. 

So, bite the bullet, pull your britches up, and start on the journey toward learning and using
modern electronics components and circuit designs.  There are people on this group that will
help if you get lost.  Just ask nicely and carefully explain your problem(s).  They may ask you
questions in return but that is just the process to refine knowledge of the problem and help lead
you to resolution if the issue. 

Having said all that...this group is not a social group.  Facebook and Twitter are for general
socializing.  This group is focused on technical topics related to BITX designs, BITX products,
and the support of these systems.  We do stray off-topic from time to time, but most discussions
stay on, or close to, the objective of the group. 

Because of the "I Need Help" nature of the group it sometimes sounds like a particular design
or product may be faulty.  That is usually far from reality.  Most of the units discussed here have
been built and are in operation by several thousand hams worldwide.  You only hear from those
who are having problems and that sometimes gives the impression that these are general
situations when truth is that what we hear about are those few who have wired something wrong,
applied wrong polarity power, or just did not understand how to build a circuit or connect a
pre-assembled circuit board. 

Hams, and non-hams, on this group run the full range from total newbies to engineers who have
designed large and expensive commercial systems.  We all had to start somewhere and this is
a good place to start...or to upgrade one's skills. 

The BITX design series started as a simple design to allow hams with limited access to parts
to build their own working transceivers and to get on the air with those units.  As a result the
BITX builders usually develop a significant base of knowledge regarding the circuit design and
are well prepared to make their own modifications and upgrades.  This is part of the discussion
and also apparently leads some to believe that the basic design is not viable as a working rig.

The BITX20 organization is an international group with over 7000 members located in almost every
country of the world.  This includes many cultures, and sensitivities.  For this reason it is a good
idea to read over what you have written before you post it to avoid offending someone else or
causing mis-information to be sent. 

Arv
_._



On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 1:26 PM John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:
I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Don - KM4UDX
 

Dear Arv Evans -- I have just read and re-read your post. I humbly share two thoughts with you.

First, your ability to communicate effectively is unmatched - whoever got you started on writing did one heck of a job. I'm going to study your stuff, well done. And thank you very very much for your eloquent commentary.  You have written a guide for all of us.

Second, you have spot on played out my experience with this group.  As a liberal arts major, I come this very technical field with more enthusiasm than expertise. For example: Based on the sheer volume of spurs/out of band comments, I was briefly obsessed with adding inductors (what ever they are?) and other little doohickeys to get the rig under control.  Then I learned to just keep the drive level down, and presto, I have a fully functioning, computer control, viable wonderful little kit radio.  Indeed, only the folks with issues tend to write. So getting a general lay of the land from reading  posts is a fool's errand. 

Arv, you rock, thank you.

Don

MadRadioModder
 

Ahhhh I think he just said he needs the instruction book to put it together (but extremely nice history review).  The instruction book can be found in the form of a website  http://www.hfsignals.com/

 

 

From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Arv Evans
Sent: Saturday, June 1, 2019 5:01 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] HFSignals poor business practices

 

John

 

The day is long gone when we used large ceramic wafer rotary switches, 1/4 inch phone jacks,

5 inch skirted phenolic knobs, and 500 volt power supplies.  It is easy to look at the diminutive

size of today's components and disparage them, but without those small components you would

not have cell phones, network routers and hubs, personal computers, and automotive system

computers.  Support for Heathkit and similar systems used to involve a commercial printing group

just to print and mail the manuals.  Today support is via on-line groups and documentation is

on web sites.  It is called progress. 

 

As has been stated many times before, this website is the support system for HF Signals products.

There is a website for HF Signals that has schematics and assembly instructions.  There are

several ancillary web sites which host collections of modifications and additions for HF Signals

products.  There are many on this web site that are willing to help you through the learning

process necessary to come up to speed with today's technology. 

 

The SMT components used by HF Signals are not the smallest available.  It is possible to trace

circuits and signals just like we did back in the 50's and 60's.  The electronics have not changed...

well, not quite true.  Now we are presented with several technological tools that are made possible

by small components and new knowledge that arose from using those components.  Today's ham

radio operator has almost instant access to on-line help and on-line helpers, as well as to

manufacturer's data sheets for all the individual components.  Today we have free circuit simulation

software and PCB layout editors.  Once a PCB has been designed we can click on a manufacturer's

URL and have that board made for us and delivered within a few days. 

 

Many of the functions of today's ham radio equipment is computer assisted.  Small microprocessors

have matured significantly over the past 20 years and prices are now so low as to make them very

advantageous for our homebrew projects.  For this reason a significant portion of today's ham radio

operators have educated themselves in programming skills and are writing their own subroutines

for interface with their hardware creations.  IDE (Integrated Development Environments) are freely

available for those who want to write their own software.  Again, there are many on this discussion

group who are willing help you if you need assistance with software design and implementation. 

 

When you purchase a radio or test equipment system today you should not expect it to be filled

with 12AU7s, 6V6s, and 6146 tubes.  We left those behind 25 years ago.  Today transmitting

amplifiers are usually relatively inexpensive MOSFETs or expensive RF transistors.  Variable

frequency tuned circuits are adjusted by changing DC bias on reverse biased diodes.  It has

become rare to see a modern project that uses an air-variable capacitor.  Instead of VFOs

(Variable Frequency Oscillators) we now mostly use Digital Frequency Synthesizers.  Even the

old PLL (Phase Locked Loop) circuits have become unpopular for all but microwave work,

although internally the DDS or Synthesizers do contain PLL-like circuitry.   

 

In the bad-old-days the only resource we had for technical support was printed manuals, the

technical section in a local library, and a few ARRL or RSGB publications.  Today the amount

of technical reference material has increased exponentially and is mostly available with only a

few clicks of the computer mouse or by typing a line on the keyboard. 

 

So, bite the bullet, pull your britches up, and start on the journey toward learning and using

modern electronics components and circuit designs.  There are people on this group that will

help if you get lost.  Just ask nicely and carefully explain your problem(s).  They may ask you

questions in return but that is just the process to refine knowledge of the problem and help lead

you to resolution if the issue. 

 

Having said all that...this group is not a social group.  Facebook and Twitter are for general

socializing.  This group is focused on technical topics related to BITX designs, BITX products,

and the support of these systems.  We do stray off-topic from time to time, but most discussions

stay on, or close to, the objective of the group. 

 

Because of the "I Need Help" nature of the group it sometimes sounds like a particular design

or product may be faulty.  That is usually far from reality.  Most of the units discussed here have

been built and are in operation by several thousand hams worldwide.  You only hear from those

who are having problems and that sometimes gives the impression that these are general

situations when truth is that what we hear about are those few who have wired something wrong,

applied wrong polarity power, or just did not understand how to build a circuit or connect a

pre-assembled circuit board. 

 

Hams, and non-hams, on this group run the full range from total newbies to engineers who have

designed large and expensive commercial systems.  We all had to start somewhere and this is

a good place to start...or to upgrade one's skills. 

 

The BITX design series started as a simple design to allow hams with limited access to parts

to build their own working transceivers and to get on the air with those units.  As a result the

BITX builders usually develop a significant base of knowledge regarding the circuit design and

are well prepared to make their own modifications and upgrades.  This is part of the discussion

and also apparently leads some to believe that the basic design is not viable as a working rig.

 

The BITX20 organization is an international group with over 7000 members located in almost every

country of the world.  This includes many cultures, and sensitivities.  For this reason it is a good

idea to read over what you have written before you post it to avoid offending someone else or

causing mis-information to be sent. 

 

Arv

_._

 

 

 

On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 1:26 PM John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?


Virus-free. www.avg.com

--

…_. _._

Matt 9V1MH / VK3AMH
 

Hi

I have 3 uBitx v3/4/5
and they exceeded my expectations each time
i really enjoyed doing the research to find the tips and tweaks/add-ins and modifications - after all - our hobby is all about experimentation and learning.
it is true the uBitx is not for everyone - and it never claims to be. Understanding your needs and then looking at what it provides will guide you.
I have added agc, twin nextions, s-meter, dynamic mic, higher power and more - and I never get tired of looking for more ways to tweak the units
I think in general as a hobby we have become lazy and used to pre-packaged units.
There are a pile of resources out there that provide excellent hints/tips/tweaks/instructions but in the end - it is yours to build the way you want to build it.
There is no right or wrong way - assuming you follow the circuit connections and don't apply volts in the wrong way :-)
Your search engine is your friend - as is this group and the 2 or 3 facebook groups
if you persevere and learn as you go - you will find much joy in this unit - no matter what version.

73
Matt

Ken Hansen
 

I'm curious on out the research you undertook before purchasing a Bitx40 that lead you to expect anything other than what you got.

Everything not on the PCB is really included for two reasons:

1) to enable someone without access to a well-stocked 'junk box' to complete the radio, and
2) minimize postage

I'm not sure what I'd change at HFSignals, except maybe include a somewhat more informative 'getting started' document, but it would have to be multi-lingual, since the market is truly world-wide.

Ken, N2VIP

On Jun 1, 2019, at 2:26 PM, John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Arv Evans
 

Don  KM4UDX

Thanks for the kind words. 
At my ancient age some things come about from errors and experience.

Arv  K7HKL
_._


On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 6:59 PM Don - KM4UDX <dontAy155@...> wrote:
Dear Arv Evans -- I have just read and re-read your post. I humbly share two thoughts with you.

First, your ability to communicate effectively is unmatched - whoever got you started on writing did one heck of a job. I'm going to study your stuff, well done. And thank you very very much for your eloquent commentary.  You have written a guide for all of us.

Second, you have spot on played out my experience with this group.  As a liberal arts major, I come this very technical field with more enthusiasm than expertise. For example: Based on the sheer volume of spurs/out of band comments, I was briefly obsessed with adding inductors (what ever they are?) and other little doohickeys to get the rig under control.  Then I learned to just keep the drive level down, and presto, I have a fully functioning, computer control, viable wonderful little kit radio.  Indeed, only the folks with issues tend to write. So getting a general lay of the land from reading  posts is a fool's errand. 

Arv, you rock, thank you.

Don

Arv Evans
 

John and myself have discussed this off-net.


On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 7:21 PM MadRadioModder <madradiomodder@...> wrote:

Ahhhh I think he just said he needs the instruction book to put it together (but extremely nice history review).  The instruction book can be found in the form of a website  http://www.hfsignals.com/

 

 

From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Arv Evans
Sent: Saturday, June 1, 2019 5:01 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] HFSignals poor business practices

 

John

 

The day is long gone when we used large ceramic wafer rotary switches, 1/4 inch phone jacks,

5 inch skirted phenolic knobs, and 500 volt power supplies.  It is easy to look at the diminutive

size of today's components and disparage them, but without those small components you would

not have cell phones, network routers and hubs, personal computers, and automotive system

computers.  Support for Heathkit and similar systems used to involve a commercial printing group

just to print and mail the manuals.  Today support is via on-line groups and documentation is

on web sites.  It is called progress. 

 

As has been stated many times before, this website is the support system for HF Signals products.

There is a website for HF Signals that has schematics and assembly instructions.  There are

several ancillary web sites which host collections of modifications and additions for HF Signals

products.  There are many on this web site that are willing to help you through the learning

process necessary to come up to speed with today's technology. 

 

The SMT components used by HF Signals are not the smallest available.  It is possible to trace

circuits and signals just like we did back in the 50's and 60's.  The electronics have not changed...

well, not quite true.  Now we are presented with several technological tools that are made possible

by small components and new knowledge that arose from using those components.  Today's ham

radio operator has almost instant access to on-line help and on-line helpers, as well as to

manufacturer's data sheets for all the individual components.  Today we have free circuit simulation

software and PCB layout editors.  Once a PCB has been designed we can click on a manufacturer's

URL and have that board made for us and delivered within a few days. 

 

Many of the functions of today's ham radio equipment is computer assisted.  Small microprocessors

have matured significantly over the past 20 years and prices are now so low as to make them very

advantageous for our homebrew projects.  For this reason a significant portion of today's ham radio

operators have educated themselves in programming skills and are writing their own subroutines

for interface with their hardware creations.  IDE (Integrated Development Environments) are freely

available for those who want to write their own software.  Again, there are many on this discussion

group who are willing help you if you need assistance with software design and implementation. 

 

When you purchase a radio or test equipment system today you should not expect it to be filled

with 12AU7s, 6V6s, and 6146 tubes.  We left those behind 25 years ago.  Today transmitting

amplifiers are usually relatively inexpensive MOSFETs or expensive RF transistors.  Variable

frequency tuned circuits are adjusted by changing DC bias on reverse biased diodes.  It has

become rare to see a modern project that uses an air-variable capacitor.  Instead of VFOs

(Variable Frequency Oscillators) we now mostly use Digital Frequency Synthesizers.  Even the

old PLL (Phase Locked Loop) circuits have become unpopular for all but microwave work,

although internally the DDS or Synthesizers do contain PLL-like circuitry.   

 

In the bad-old-days the only resource we had for technical support was printed manuals, the

technical section in a local library, and a few ARRL or RSGB publications.  Today the amount

of technical reference material has increased exponentially and is mostly available with only a

few clicks of the computer mouse or by typing a line on the keyboard. 

 

So, bite the bullet, pull your britches up, and start on the journey toward learning and using

modern electronics components and circuit designs.  There are people on this group that will

help if you get lost.  Just ask nicely and carefully explain your problem(s).  They may ask you

questions in return but that is just the process to refine knowledge of the problem and help lead

you to resolution if the issue. 

 

Having said all that...this group is not a social group.  Facebook and Twitter are for general

socializing.  This group is focused on technical topics related to BITX designs, BITX products,

and the support of these systems.  We do stray off-topic from time to time, but most discussions

stay on, or close to, the objective of the group. 

 

Because of the "I Need Help" nature of the group it sometimes sounds like a particular design

or product may be faulty.  That is usually far from reality.  Most of the units discussed here have

been built and are in operation by several thousand hams worldwide.  You only hear from those

who are having problems and that sometimes gives the impression that these are general

situations when truth is that what we hear about are those few who have wired something wrong,

applied wrong polarity power, or just did not understand how to build a circuit or connect a

pre-assembled circuit board. 

 

Hams, and non-hams, on this group run the full range from total newbies to engineers who have

designed large and expensive commercial systems.  We all had to start somewhere and this is

a good place to start...or to upgrade one's skills. 

 

The BITX design series started as a simple design to allow hams with limited access to parts

to build their own working transceivers and to get on the air with those units.  As a result the

BITX builders usually develop a significant base of knowledge regarding the circuit design and

are well prepared to make their own modifications and upgrades.  This is part of the discussion

and also apparently leads some to believe that the basic design is not viable as a working rig.

 

The BITX20 organization is an international group with over 7000 members located in almost every

country of the world.  This includes many cultures, and sensitivities.  For this reason it is a good

idea to read over what you have written before you post it to avoid offending someone else or

causing mis-information to be sent. 

 

Arv

_._

 

 

 

On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 1:26 PM John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?


Virus-free. www.avg.com

--

…_. _._

Arv Evans
 

Ken, and others

John and myself have discussed this off-net.  Turns out that I may have miss-interpreted
his post.  He is well qualified and experienced.  He just posted some thoughts that
probably we have all had from time to time.  I probably over-reacted a bit. 

Arv  K7HKL
_._


On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 7:41 PM Ken Hansen <ken@...> wrote:
I'm curious on out the research you undertook before purchasing a Bitx40 that lead you to expect anything other than what you got.

Everything not on the PCB is really included for two reasons:

1) to enable someone without access to a well-stocked 'junk box' to complete the radio, and
2) minimize postage

I'm not sure what I'd change at HFSignals, except maybe include a somewhat more informative 'getting started' document, but it would have to be multi-lingual, since the market is truly world-wide.

Ken, N2VIP

On Jun 1, 2019, at 2:26 PM, John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

Ashhar Farhan
 

John,

You are refering to the BITX40 kit, rather than the uBITX. I entirely accept that the presentation could be better. I am working on updating the BITX40 documentation and it should be through in a week.
However, on quality, I have to be a little defensive. 
First, we use high grade components through out. Our toroids are from micrometals our encoders are original Bourn.
You mentioned the 'crappy' tiny ptt button and mic. Considering that our goal was to ship an entire SSB transceiver for well under the price of a standard radio mic, instead of not shipping any mic at all, chose to ship a very fine electret mic. It is a Panasonic that forms the main element. It has had very good on-air reviews.
The small ptt microswitch is what many mics have inside them. Just like there is no casing for the transceiver, there is no casing for the mic either.
All inductors are measured before they get on the PCB, crystals are matched. After assembly, each board is tested and signed.
As for the firmware, it ships with the latest version. If you would like more features, you can try this https://github.com/amunters/bitx40, it is a great piece of software engineering by a very talented ham.
If there are any specific places you get stuck, do ask on this group. We are an open community, open to self correction.

-f

PS the 0.1 uf is a spare to help you eliminate RFI. Depending upon how you wire up the BITX 40 and into what kind of enclosure, you may need to solder it across a control or not.

On Sun 2 Jun, 2019, 9:02 AM Arv Evans, <arvid.evans@...> wrote:
Ken, and others

John and myself have discussed this off-net.  Turns out that I may have miss-interpreted
his post.  He is well qualified and experienced.  He just posted some thoughts that
probably we have all had from time to time.  I probably over-reacted a bit. 

Arv  K7HKL
_._

On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 7:41 PM Ken Hansen <ken@...> wrote:
I'm curious on out the research you undertook before purchasing a Bitx40 that lead you to expect anything other than what you got.

Everything not on the PCB is really included for two reasons:

1) to enable someone without access to a well-stocked 'junk box' to complete the radio, and
2) minimize postage

I'm not sure what I'd change at HFSignals, except maybe include a somewhat more informative 'getting started' document, but it would have to be multi-lingual, since the market is truly world-wide.

Ken, N2VIP

On Jun 1, 2019, at 2:26 PM, John Cardoso <ve9pct@...> wrote:

I have been wishing to order a Bitx40 for a while now. Meanwhile, I have been reading the posters of this group from time to time. I kept reading about the problems people were having with the radios but, I think, I had to experience it myself.
Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment. But I did not expect the experience to be this bad.
The order was delivered on time. So far so good. The packaging was well done and strong as if it was expected to go through hell and come out unscathed.
The surprises came after - The quality of the components can't be any worse - very cheap and poor quality pots, a tiny push button for PTT (are you kidding me?), a lousy mic and a 0.1 uF capacitor that I still have no idea where it will go.
There were no instructions of any sort. Not even a link to a website where they could be found. One half-page of an 8X11 sheet of paper with a list of the contents (probably to save on expenses), and an invoice, was all that came with the parts. No even a mention on the version of the board and/or  software. What version is it being sold now, anyway?
The whole thing is crappy. Is this the way they do business in India or is it just a company that doesn't know how to do it?
This post will probably have some replies telling me that I should have known better. Maybe. For hackers they say?

KB2HSH
 

Wow. 

You must seriously lack many skills needed for life, not just in building a radio. To blame OTHERS for your inability is hilarious.  Glad I don't live by OR associate with you. 

ke6bgn@...
 

They also state on their webpage, the email address of the only place you can get support. My bitx40 board arrived with 1 of the toroids ripped from the board. I emailed them about it at the provided email address, and to this day, months later, bupkis........nada, zip, nothing, no reply. That type of support from the vendor excites me in the wrong direction, so much so, that I refuse to recommend their services to anyone. It also really drained my enthusiasm for the project I was going to build.
I understand that the vast majority of folks have a good experience dealing with this vendor, but it does seem to me that if something goes wrong with your initial purchase, the experience is not handled well by that same vendor most of time.
As always, your mileage may vary, but my gas tank is on fumes now from their underwhelming support.

73 de RC.....KE6BGN 

Christopher Miller
 

You could always just wind the inductor yourself for much less than it would cost to ship one around the world. The manufacturer isn't responsible for damage during transport, so you could go after DHL. (Im guessing )

Chris KF4FTR

Ian Reeve
 

The inductors on the pcb are fragile and the vendors take a lot of effort to pack well for its trip to the purchaser.Likely to receive not so gentle handling in the post or courier so unfortunately there will be some that arrive damage.That is my experience over the years, I have had items trashed despite more than adequate packing. The courier is responsible and for that reason I always sign unexamined. or make them wait whilst I open the parcel.Today's automated post and courier systems are very unkind to parcels as are sadly some postal and courier employees


From: BITX20@groups.io <BITX20@groups.io> on behalf of Christopher Miller <djmalak2k6@...>
Sent: Sunday, June 2, 2019 4:22:29 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] HFSignals poor business practices
 
You could always just wind the inductor yourself for much less than it would cost to ship one around the world. The manufacturer isn't responsible for damage during transport, so you could go after DHL. (Im guessing )

Chris KF4FTR

Ashhar Farhan
 

Our support is via hfsignals@.... the same as our paypal id.
- f

On Sun 2 Jun, 2019, 8:12 PM , <ke6bgn@...> wrote:
They also state on their webpage, the email address of the only place you can get support. My bitx40 board arrived with 1 of the toroids ripped from the board. I emailed them about it at the provided email address, and to this day, months later, bupkis........nada, zip, nothing, no reply. That type of support from the vendor excites me in the wrong direction, so much so, that I refuse to recommend their services to anyone. It also really drained my enthusiasm for the project I was going to build.
I understand that the vast majority of folks have a good experience dealing with this vendor, but it does seem to me that if something goes wrong with your initial purchase, the experience is not handled well by that same vendor most of time.
As always, your mileage may vary, but my gas tank is on fumes now from their underwhelming support.

73 de RC.....KE6BGN