Topics

Current Bitx kits


vince adams
 

Group
Would this be a good online store to purchase  https://amateurradiokits.in/store/easy-bitxqrp-tvrbitx20bitx40/
and what would you select/recommend just getting start with a Ubitx kit for a Newbie, such a New "General Lic Ham? I am very familiar with Kits. So not a problem ASSY this kit. But new to a "CW" kit per se. Which kit would you select for me?
Easy Bitx Kit Mono Bander SSB Qrp TCVR Kit
amateurradiokits.in


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73, Vince KD7TWW


Evan Hand
 

Vince,
I am reluctant to give a specific recommendation as I do not know what it is you want to do, and the price point you are willing to pay.  Following are my ASSUMPTIONS about the EasyBITX, as I do not have one.  In general, I can say that the components supplied by AmatuerRadioKits have been of good quality, with no damaged goods. The instructions for the AmatuerRadioKits uBITX cases supplied for the HFSignals boards have been cryptic, to the point where I have had to rewire a couple of times until I could get it to work as I thought it should.  I did review the instructions that have been provided for the EasyBitx, and they do seem clearer.  Again, I have not built one of these kits.

- I am confused by the CW comment.  The EasyBitx does not have CW capability, as far as I can tell.  The HFSignals uBITX does, though it is a compromise with only SSB filtering width (2.7kHZ vs 400Hz). 
- The EasyBITX is a monoband SSB transceiver, the uBITX covers all us ham bands from 3 to 30 MHz as supplied.
- I have not yet seen any performance information on the EasyBITX, as far as the receiver goes.  The uBITX has very good sensitivity, with some measuring 0.1uV.  The uBITX SSB filter is made up of 8 crystals instead of the 4 in the EasyBITX.  This is supposed to provide a flatter response with steeper skirts.
- The major weakness of the uBITX has been the mic audio.  I see that the EasyBITX has gone to an op-amp to help with this shortcoming.  I do like that change.  I got around it for my uBITX builds by adding an amplified mic that solved the low power/volume issues.  That could add $25 to $30 to the cost.
- Depending on the band, the uBITX can put out 15 watts, though it does have issues on the higher bands (10 meters) where I have measured 3 to 4 watts. On 40 meters I am getting 7 to 8 watts depending on the mode and which version board I am testing (CW is lower than SSB constant tone).
- The EasyBITX is a through-hole kit you will need to solder together.  The uBITX is now an assemble kit, no soldering required if you purchase the complete kit.
- There is no track history on issues for the EasyBITX.  It is still too new.  I have not seen any reports on this reflector.  There may be a different group for it.
- The EasyBITX is about 1/2 the cost of the complete uBiTX kit.  $95 vs $209

For me, the uBITX would be a better just starting rig for a Technician class for sure, as it has CW to allow access to the Tech code bands, 10meter phone, and then can grow with the general ticket.  I think it is the better choice for a general too, though that will depend on the desired learning.  There is no soldering on the uBITX.

For a true QRP CW only kit, you cannot go wrong with a QCX+, and if you want portable operation, there is the new QCX Mini coming out.  Both do require coil winding and soldering like the EasyBITX.

Again, I cannot stress enough that these are my opinions, based on what I have experiences with assembling 3 uBITX, a QCX+, a Hermes HL2 SDR, and other kits like linear, antenna SWR meters, tone generators, and others I cannot think of right now.

Good luck with your search.
73
Evan
AC9TU


Curt
 

Vince

In general, cw kits tend to be more common. QCX plus is an amazing single band cw transceiver. Qrplabs also has other kits.

In the US, qrpguys, qrpkits, 4stateqrp also have kits. Also kc9on and w8diz. Look around before deciding what you will build first.

Bitx and ubitx were offered as preassembled boards, now just ubitx is offered. Unique now to have a simple ssb rig. Many customize their ubitx with fancy displays, processing and other mods.

Amateuradiokits.in supplied enclosures for many of our earlier version ubitx. their bitx seems new.

Do look around at all the kits available. All modes can be a blast, but cw is rather special.

73 curt wb8yyy


vince adams
 

Evan Curt
thank you

Evan AC9TU:
I am sure I am going to have further questions. But>>
if I could have the best of both worlds. Voice and CW in a small unit that would suit me for now and with experimentation purposes. I am a General Ham. As I said for a newbie and new to CW. What unit would you PICK to start with and what accessories would you choose from the same website you order from?? For a good result thinking, HE'S A NEW general Ham person he should get this unit and it will work for the mean time to get him started out????

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73, Vince KD7TWW


From: BITX20@groups.io <BITX20@groups.io> on behalf of Curt via groups.io <wb8yyy@...>
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2020 4:54 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io <BITX20@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Current Bitx kits
 
Vince

In general, cw kits tend to be more common. QCX plus is an amazing single band cw transceiver. Qrplabs also has other kits.

In the US, qrpguys, qrpkits, 4stateqrp also have kits. Also kc9on and w8diz. Look around before deciding what you will build first.

Bitx and ubitx were offered as preassembled boards, now just ubitx is offered. Unique now to have a simple ssb rig. Many customize their ubitx with fancy displays, processing and other mods.

Amateuradiokits.in supplied enclosures for many of our earlier version ubitx. their bitx seems new.

Do look around at all the kits available. All modes can be a blast, but cw is rather special.

73 curt wb8yyy


Evan Hand
 

Vince,
A lot of what I would suggest would be based on what you mean by experimentation.  Do you mean learning how to fix and modify hardware?  Are you interested in software or digital modes?  What test equipment do you have now, and what do you plan to purchase going forward?

For ANY rig that you go with, the most challenging area (at least for me) is the Antenna!  This will be the case for all rigs you could buy.  This is especially true if you are in an apartment, condo, or other HOA restricted living area.  You will want to save some money for this area if you have any restrictions on outside wires.  If you have a big yard with trees, then you are lucky and can skip this requirement.  Throwing up a dipole or EFHW will solve this requirement.  I did not have the room and am restricted on what I can put outside.

IF you first off want to get on the air with a reliable rig, AND have minimal test equipment and skills, then I would really look to the Xiegu G90.  It is $500, but does have all of the bells and whistles and will handle all the modes.  It also has a 20 watt output.  This is a rig that I wish was out when I first got back in.
https://www.amazon.com/Xiegu-Amateur-Transceiver-0-5-30MHz-Structure/dp/B07PQQVPDD#customerReviews

If you think that you will want to play in the hardware, then the uBITX is a good choice.  I would go with the full kit, and if after trying it with CW you find that you like that mode, then add an audio filter.  The audio filter mods do not require any test equipment beyond a DMM.  You do need a DMM regardless, even with a commercial ready to go rig.  You will also need an SWR/Power meter for antenna work.
https://www.hfsignals.com/
So with shipping, you are down to 1/2 the price of the G90, however, there are some risks and learning opportunities.  This can be a good rig, with either a compressor mic amp added or a simple amplified mic like this one that I use:
https://www.amazon.com/Amplified-Loud-Power-Microphone-Radios/dp/B0077PS0UI/ref=sr_1_14?dchild=1&keywords=radio+power+mic&qid=1600759831&s=electronics&sr=1-14
There is another less expensive one that I have not tried:
https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-M77-Highgear-Noise-Cancelling-Microphone/dp/B00006JPEW/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=radio+power+mic&qid=1600759831&s=electronics&sr=1-13

This will get you started, and then allow you to purchase test equipment for what was the next step planned for me which was a linear amp to get it to 100 watts.
Test equipment:
at least a 100 MHz oscilloscope
https://smile.amazon.com/Siglent-Technologies-SDS1202X-Oscilloscope-Channels/dp/B06XZML6RD/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=siglent+oscilloscope&qid=1600763387&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFDSTdUVTA4UVgxVFYmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA0NjIxOTIzTjVXM0lYUjZVRDMwJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1MDc2OThEQ1NKVFUwOUJINDgmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

Another receiver and or spectrum analyzer (I started with an RTL-SDR  That did not work for me, the RSP1A did).
https://www.sdrplay.com/rsp1a/

40db tap (I built this see included PDF)

step attenuator bought on eBay
https://www.ebay.com/i/283898527212?rt=nc&_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D225086%26meid%3Da7468583db5b42918d2feb738d54b4ec%26pid%3D100677%26rk%3D15%26rkt%3D30%26mehot%3Dnone%26sd%3D312772298892%26itm%3D283898527212%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2386202%26algv%3DDefaultOrganic%26brand%3DUnbranded

I would recommend getting a TinySA and a NanoVNA. for test equipment The NanoVNA for filter and antenna work, the TinySA to verify signal purity and diagnostics of RF stages.  This is if you are going to mess with the RF power sections.

The most used test equipment for me:
1 - DMM
2 - SWR/Power meter (left in line with my rigs)
3 - Oscilloscope
4 - RSP1A (as a radio to hear transmitted signals)
5 - NanoVNA for filter and antenna testing
6 - Tone/signal generator
7 - TinySA for signal purity and RF detection

To get into the digital mode, with either rig you will need a sound card interface.  I bought a cheap USB dongle that worked well (less than $10).  That particular model is no longer available, however, there are may equivalents that will.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B08F98WSWH?pf_rd_r=23EM6GBNCCMT2TN4G1BP&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee

I also bought an EasyDigi audio interface that did solve the matching issues with the uBITX, however, a couple of 600ohm audio transformers was really all I needed.  CAT control is part of the uBITX, and I believe the G90 has an adapter.

So I have thrown a lot of information at you.  What it really boils down to is do you want to spend time and money on digging into hardware?  If so,  go low cost with the rig, and start purchasing test equipment, you will need it.  If you mainly want to operate, then put more money into the rig and focus on the modes you want to try.  Both will require antennas, so start planning that aspect, as it is the most critical to successful operating.

Feel free to bounce back with any questions.

Hope this helps, and these are my opinions based on my experiences to date.  Others may have a different point of view.
73
Evan
AC9TU