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New uBitx 6 up and running!


Jamie Anderson
 

Over the weekend I picked up a uBitx 6 in the Huntsville, AL Gigaparts store and assembled it fairly quickly at the kitchen table the following day.  It is a very straightforward assembly!

I found a small 12v supply in my junkbox with the right voltage/current and connector and hooked it up to my 80m doublet antenna in the attic and was listening to the bands right away.  The audio sounds very good to me through the stock speaker and the user interface is really straightforward in a way my Yaesu rigs are not.

I can hear lots of activity on the bands without making any changes to the alignment of the radio from the factory settings. 

Next, I switched my MFJ tuner to the dummy load and tried briefly transmitting on the bands.  On 80, my meter shows about 10 watts and drops to 5 for 40-15 meters with about 4 watts showing for 10 meters.  This isn't a really accurate test, just using the built in cross needle meter on my old MFJ Versa tuner II on the 30 watt scale.  I plugged in the supplied hand mic and set the radio to CW, set the speed to 1 WPM, then keyed the mic and had really slow dahs to watch on the meter.


My use case for this radio is to be able to keep something in the car for HF that can be easily used through the UI and doesn't have some crazy display that will fail in the heat of the car, so I think it is up for that task maybe.  If the display has issues I think I could easily and economically replace it, unlike my FT-857 which developed lines almost right away when left in the car during work for a few summer days.

This thing is tons of fun.  Next, I need to take it up the hill in the woods behind the house to get away from neighborhood noise and tune around some more and maybe get a contact!

BTW, a local motorcycle shop became a Royal Enfield dealer recently and I think The V6 uBitx would fit nicely in the saddle bags on a Royal Enfield Himilayan for some motorcycle camping radio fun!  The bike costs a bit more than the uBitx, however so that isn't exactly an easy impulse buy...

Anyway, thanks for this great radio.  I have a V4 kit from a few years ago as well and knocked up most of an enclosure for it, but need to 3d print a front panel (trail radio format in a small water tight plastic enclosure with all controls, jacks,  and the 2 line display facing up).  I will have to rework some of the V4 board first (spectral purity changes), though, so I have had that project on hold for a while.

Jamie - KM4WYO


Clay Nicolsen
 

Thanks for the report!

Given all of the posts regaling us with problems, failures, no receive, no transmit, display issues, etc., etc., I was wondering if anybody had one that worked "out of the box."

Glad to read about your success!

Clay NF7X


 

Clay,

Probably thousands or tens of thousands were sold. The problematic ones are ones you read about here and
rest would have worked out of the box.

Raj, vu2zap

At 25/02/2021, you wrote:
Thanks for the report!

Given all of the posts regaling us with problems, failures, no receive, no transmit, display issues, etc., etc., I was wondering if anybody had one that worked "out of the box."

Glad to read about your success!

Clay NF7X


W6LKB
 

My v6 worked perfectly as delivered and I was immediately able to set up CAT control and use it for digital contacts on 20 and 40 meters. It is working so well I am afraid to try Reeds software or change to a Nextion display for fear of breaking something! 


Evan Hand
 

W6LKB,

Congratulations on the contacts!  My saying is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  That does not include adding features.  Do think through what you want before deciding on an "upgrade" path. 

From what I have read, IF you are serious about CW, then Reed N's software is a good choice.  IF you want to add CW decoding, band scope, and a lot of other graphic features, starting down the KD8CEC path makes sense.

One of the key features of the µBITX radios is that they are hackable.    With that in mind though, I would be hesitant if it was my only radio for operation.  The choice for me would be to go forward in most cases.  This is because building and learning are the most important aspects of the hobby to me.

You should also be aware that if you use the original Nano as a backup, and add a new Nano for the upgrades, then all of the settings for calibration will be in the original Nano, and not the new Nano.  This means you will need to calibrate the rig.  I do not know of a way to save the settings or to even read what the current values are.  The stock software resets the starting point to a generic default, NOT the final settings as received from the factory.  Both the software from KD8CEC and Reed N do have a way to read the values, so going the route of Reed N software in the original Nano to read what the calibration points are would be my recommendation.

I now own 4 µBITX radios from HFSignals; 2 v4, a v5, and now a v6.  The first two were bought as my first two rigs after getting back into the hobby after 20+ years away from it.  I bought the first, then soon after bought the second when I realized that there were updates needed and the options that I wanted to add.  I could update one while experimenting with the other.

So here are the steps that most of us on this board agree is the best strategy to follow:
1 - Get the rig working in the stock, as delivered from the factory before making ANY major changes.
2 - Use the rig to see what things you would like to enhance or change
3 - Do one change at a time, so you know what causes any failures
4 - Document settings and changes

I just received my v6 within the last week and have been busy fixing rigs for others so that I have not yet had time to assemble the new v6.  When I do, these are what I have planned:
1 - As above get it working with minimum changes, only those needed to make it operational.
2 - Use it for a while to see what others have been saying are potential issues
3 - My first upgrade will be to install Reed's software into the original Nano
4 - Document the settings (wish I could do that with what is received from the factory)
5 - Repeat starting with 2 above.

Since I now have 3 µBITX with the KD8CEC software with Nextion screens, I do not plan on making that upgrade to the v6.  I will be looking at other upgrade paths, like the Teensy or maybe a Raspberry Pi Pico upgrade to explore more of the software options.

The above are my thoughts and opinions.  Others may have different views, and any feedback is always welcome.

73
Evan
AC9TU

.


Clay Nicolsen
 

Great post, full of helpful details. Saved for future reference!

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 07:32 AM, Evan Hand wrote:
So here are the steps that most of us on this board agree is the best strategy to follow:
.....
1 - As above get it working with minimum changes, only those needed to make it operational.
What changes are needed to "make it operational"?

Clay NF7X


Evan Hand
 

Changes would be things like calibration or mike replacement. 


HB9FIH
 

GM...

For me, (most QRP-CW operating), where following enhancements important:

- Nextion 2.8 - CEC Firmware

- SOTABEAMS VARI Audio Filter

- Kits&Parts AGC

- own enhancements for audio

- Sidetone other connection

These all now is nice in function.

The keyer has some delay..maybe I use straigth mode with an add on keyer.
--

QRG drift after abt 15 Min warm up abt 30 Hz down, then abt 10/20Hz accuracy

I am vy satified now...
---
73 de Erich

HB9FIH

HS0ZLS


W6LKB
 

Thank you for the thoughtful response.

I have two questions. If I replace the Nano in the V6 with a spare and then load up Reed's code and calibrate everything, should something go astray I can reinstall the original Nano and be back where I started?

Second, I've seen posts about Nanos from various sources like AliExpress and Banggood but was wondering if this version had a reasonable chance of success? I know it is slightly more expensive. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NG1MFKV/ref=cm_sw_r_sm_apa_fabc_SBE6V7G160Q4AGBAHGGC?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Thanks again for your help! 


Arv Evans
 

The Approach of having a reserve Nano should work. 

Some older Nano devices use the old FDDI chip which makes them
a little more expensive.  The newer CH340 USB-to-TTY interface
may require finding and installing a CH340 driver in your PC if you
are running Microsoft on the PC.  If running Linux, the drivers are
already installed.

Many Nano boards require use of "Old Bootloader" if you use the
Arduino IDE to install new code. 

Arv
_._


On Mon, Mar 1, 2021 at 1:37 PM W6LKB <lbon@...> wrote:
Thank you for the thoughtful response.

I have two questions. If I replace the Nano in the V6 with a spare and then load up Reed's code and calibrate everything, should something go astray I can reinstall the original Nano and be back where I started?

Second, I've seen posts about Nanos from various sources like AliExpress and Banggood but was wondering if this version had a reasonable chance of success? I know it is slightly more expensive. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NG1MFKV/ref=cm_sw_r_sm_apa_fabc_SBE6V7G160Q4AGBAHGGC?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Thanks again for your help! 


Evan Hand
 

On Mon, Mar 1, 2021 at 02:36 PM, W6LKB wrote:
have two questions. If I replace the Nano in the V6 with a spare and then load up Reed's code and calibrate everything, should something go astray I can reinstall the original Nano and be back where I started?
Yes, the calibration values are stored in the Nano, however, they are actually settings based on the Raduino and Mainboard.

Second, I've seen posts about Nanos from various sources like AliExpress and Banggood but was wondering if this version had a reasonable chance of success? I know it is slightly more expensive. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NG1MFKV/ref=cm_sw_r_sm_apa_fabc_SBE6V7G160Q4AGBAHGGC?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
No, these will only work if you remove the header pins and place them on the other side of the Nano board.  You need to buy Nanos without the headers soldered.:  Here is one that does not have the header pins soldered, but provided.

73
Evan
AC9TU