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Starting - - Version and pcb?


Jeremy L
 

Hello, 
I'm new to bitx and have a few confusions -
Id love to add this to my project lineup but I'm unsure of whether it's even possible to build this from scratch - - 
Is it possible to get a bare pcb? I see people with them, but I'm not sure if it's an older version or something? I ask because my appeal is to build the project, not to buy it. Is this possible? I already have probably all of the passive smd parts, so ideally I'd like to just buy a set of boards. 
Thanks! 


Arv Evans
 

Jeremy

To the best of my knowledge, Farhan has not sold bare PC boards for
the uBITX series.  Earlier BITX series transceiver can be purchased
in bare board, or board-plus-parts kits.  Some of these are older designs
and some of the newer ones may be relatively modern designs.

Several hams have built one-off BITX units using Manhattan or "Ugly
Construction" methods. 

One obstacle to building your own hand-wired version of uBITX is the
programming of your Raduino/Arduino for the control and operating
system.  However Farhan has made that software available on GitHub.


There are other versions of software for various BITX systems. 

Arv
_._


On Sat, Feb 20, 2021 at 7:57 AM Jeremy L <jlaratro24@...> wrote:
Hello, 
I'm new to bitx and have a few confusions -
Id love to add this to my project lineup but I'm unsure of whether it's even possible to build this from scratch - - 
Is it possible to get a bare pcb? I see people with them, but I'm not sure if it's an older version or something? I ask because my appeal is to build the project, not to buy it. Is this possible? I already have probably all of the passive smd parts, so ideally I'd like to just buy a set of boards. 
Thanks! 


Jeffrey Benedict
 

There is a version of BITX for 20 and 17 which is marketed by Pacific Antenna.  However, they have it listed as "out of stock" but it will become available.

This is probably more for reference than anything else since it is listed as "out of stocke" but you could check back later.

https://www.qrpkits.com/bitx20a.html

73

Jeff, K7AIL


--
Jeff, K7AIL  CN87

raoul@...


Arv Evans
 

Pacific Antennas purchased the whole company and product line from
QRPKits (KI6DS, Doug Hendricks) about 3 years ago and has had the
BITX20 kit marked as Out-of-Stock since that time.  Due to the long
out-of-stock period my guess is that their interest is in antennas and not
in marketing transceiver kits.

A great many of the BITX20 kits were sold so you could probably find a used
BITX20 (many were assembled for 80, 20, 40, 30, and 17 meters, plus other bands
in the LF through low VHF range).  The BITX20 kits are single-band and do not
use a microprocessor for control and operation.  FYI:  I wrote the assembly and
operation manual for the QRPKits BITX20 units.  Dan Tayloe N7VE did some
circuit tweaks and the PCB layout. 

You can find the QRPKits BITX20 assembly manual here.  There are versions
in US English and in Spanish.

Arv
_._




On Sat, Feb 20, 2021 at 1:55 PM Jeffrey Benedict <raoul@...> wrote:

There is a version of BITX for 20 and 17 which is marketed by Pacific Antenna.  However, they have it listed as "out of stock" but it will become available.

This is probably more for reference than anything else since it is listed as "out of stocke" but you could check back later.

https://www.qrpkits.com/bitx20a.html

73

Jeff, K7AIL


--
Jeff, K7AIL  CN87

raoul@...


Evan Hand
 

Jeremy,
There are at least 2 scratch-built µBITX that I am aware of from postings on this board.  Here is one of the threads from Gerard who has built a board from scratch:
https://groups.io/g/BITX20/message/77385

That was started from this link:
https://ubitx.net/2018/07/02/homebrew-ubitx-with-through-hole-components/

So those may be places that can point you to what you are looking for.

73
Evan
AC9TU


Evan Hand
 

Jeremy,
also, there are these boards that are available:
https://amateurradiokits.in/store/printed-circuit-boards/

They are not true HFSignals boards.  the design is different.
73
Evan
AC9TU


Curt
 

At least one scratch builder used a reflow oven. While he was a EE student with unique needs, I don't see a huge difference in obtaining an assembled board, its still ripe for mods. If you want a build experience, add a Jackal board and assemble it.  

I did a nc2030 transceiver once with smt parts, soldering them one by one. I think only about 150 of us did this adventure. I suggest you might have more to do with your time when the factory of fine folk in India are at our service.

73 curt wb8yyy


Jeremy L
 

Thanks for all of the responses and sorry for the delay -- university has been pretty heavy this week!
I appreciate all of the ideas, tips, and links. I think what I'm going to end up doing is taking a deeper look to see how much better the latest release is compared to versions available with bare pcb and then make a decision whether I need the latest features or if the older ones will suffice. Maybe I'll try both, eventually when I have a little bit more time.  
I was also thinking -- and I'm not sure if anyone has tried, but it shouldn't be hard for the creators to get bare PCBs, so maybe if a group of people were interested and committed, a small order could be made (20-30?) with the next inventory purchase. Perhaps if the creator(s) do see this, let me know what you think! 


Jeremy L
 

First time I've heard of the nc2030 -- I just looked it up, looks interesting. That pcb sure has a lot going on!
Another project to check out is the uSDX, and the DL2MAN version is smt. I just finished building one and it works nicely, although the project is still in the earlier stages. 
I do have plans to build a reflow oven from a toaster oven, but at the moment I do everything by hand, as long as its not QFN or BGA. 


Arv Evans
 

Sounds like you are preparing to clone the intellectual property
of the original designer?  This is problematic  because many
clone sellers try to say the original designer is responsible for
maintenance of their own non-compatible product.  This is unfair
to the original designer because the buying public usually has no
idea whether their brand-x transceiver is an original or a clone.

Arv
_._



On Mon, Feb 22, 2021 at 10:24 AM Jeremy L <jlaratro24@...> wrote:
Thanks for all of the responses and sorry for the delay -- university has been pretty heavy this week!
I appreciate all of the ideas, tips, and links. I think what I'm going to end up doing is taking a deeper look to see how much better the latest release is compared to versions available with bare pcb and then make a decision whether I need the latest features or if the older ones will suffice. Maybe I'll try both, eventually when I have a little bit more time.  
I was also thinking -- and I'm not sure if anyone has tried, but it shouldn't be hard for the creators to get bare PCBs, so maybe if a group of people were interested and committed, a small order could be made (20-30?) with the next inventory purchase. Perhaps if the creator(s) do see this, let me know what you think! 


Jeremy L
 

"Sounds like you are preparing to clone the intellectual property
of the original designer?" 
Excuse me? Please enlighten me where you got that out of my post! 
I literally mentioned that if the creators of the ubitx see this post --that I (and probably others as well) would be interested in purchasing bare pcbs from them. In my first post, I specifically mentioned that my appeal is to build the project rather than buy it, as I'm in university and enjoy building the circuits as it enhances the learning experience.
I have no idea where you got the idea that I'm cloning this, nor why you would think I would do such a scummy thing to the creators.


Arv Evans
 

Jeremy

Okay.  I apologize if I misunderstood where you were going with this. 
You might want to ask Farhan if he is interested in selling bare boards,
or even bare boards with the parts in a baggie so you could build your
own uBITX as a real kit.  I have no idea what his answer might be.

Several have built their uBITX using dead-bug or Manhattan construction.
Prior to the uBITX there were few, if any, BITX that were not built from
scratch or from a kit of parts.

Arv
_._



On Mon, Feb 22, 2021 at 1:39 PM Jeremy L <jlaratro24@...> wrote:
"Sounds like you are preparing to clone the intellectual property
of the original designer?" 
Excuse me? Please enlighten me where you got that out of my post! 
I literally mentioned that if the creators of the ubitx see this post --that I (and probably others as well) would be interested in purchasing bare pcbs from them. In my first post, I specifically mentioned that my appeal is to build the project rather than buy it, as I'm in university and enjoy building the circuits as it enhances the learning experience.
I have no idea where you got the idea that I'm cloning this, nor why you would think I would do such a scummy thing to the creators.


Jeremy L
 

No problem -- if my post did somehow present that idea, that is definitely not the intent! I just want to learn and gain experience while also doing something I love to do (radio)
I'm actually a biology major in university (last year), but I'm very interested in electronics and spend a lot of my free time learning about EE. In the absence of formal education in electronics, I find that building the circuits myself aids greatly in learning about them as it adds practical experience in addition to what I am able to read and watch. Add that to my love of radio, and it's natural that I'm drawn to rf-related projects, like this and the uSDX. 

Scratch building is definitely an option, although the pcb route would be preferable for me (especially given my lack of formal education in electronics and lack of experience designing rf circuits; I know they often require careful placement/layout to avoid noise and efficiency issues)

Of course, I wouldn't expect to be getting it for free or getting over by getting a pcb bare/vs populated -- I expect to pay for the pcb and all of the work, time, and knowledge that went into it just as I would the finished product -- as you mentioned, it's the intellectual property that matters here. For me, it's really less about the actual product than it is about the knowledge and experience I get out of building it. Considering that the ubitx has been around a while and seems to be designed and made really well, I figured it would be a really great project that I could count on learning from. 


Evan Hand
 

Jeremy,

I understand your confusion.  What you may not know is that the only part of the HFSignals µBITX that is NOT open source is the board layout.  A bare board can be copied much easier than even one that is already populated, simply photograph the layout and use a board layout program to duplicate.

We, on this board, are protective of what HFSignals has done for the hobby.  It is difficult to find a radio with the same specifications for the current $209 price. 

There are a number of single-band boards and or kits that do not have all of the features or specifications of the µBITX that can serve your needs.  They are in my prior post, or on this web page:
https://amateurradiokits.in/store/easy-bitxqrp-tvrbitx20bitx40/

Good luck with your search!
73
Evan
AC9TU


Curt
 

Jeremy

You got the straight scoop, and we can be a little surprised an HF rig can be challenging to lay out, yes we know of a bright EE student that did not achieve complete success creating a board in version 1. If you can account for a little more size consider a modular layout using multiple boards. QRP Labs offers a similar better PA but the rest you must free lance.  I didn't realize the jackal add on comes pre-assembled. Virtue of the ubitx is open source firmware and everything above the board. There are ham radio kits around but nothing like the ubitx. The QSX on the horizon will be amazing when it arrives on the market. Same supplier qrplabs has some nifty single band transceivers for cw, or maybe a busy student  might be interested in an amazing little transmitter that can do wspr without a pc. That nc2030 was an unobtainium example. QCX does same thing better. 
73 curt


Jeremy L
 

Thanks, everyone. I totally understand being protective of the creators design, especially with a project like this. I can't imagine putting so much hard work and dedication into a project for it to just be copied and sold on aliexpress or amazon.. I know I would be furious. If the creators don't wish to sell any bare boards, then I totally respect that, and no reason or explanation is necessary as it is theirs and their decision to make. Do understand though, that many people value putting things together themselves, whether for learning purposes or just to feel accomplished, without any kind of nefarious intentions. I personally just genuinely enjoy building things (I know some people may think I'm nuts to enjoy soldering smt parts by hand) and learning in the process. As has been mentioned, I also have a lot of appreciation (especially as a student) for radio projects that bring quality products to a hobby where things are normally over a thousand dollars, and I'd be happy to support the project regardless. 

As a side note: I know nothing about cloning (although I would imagine it takes place in a decently-equipped lab in China) and this is totally aside from the ubitx creator's decision whether or not to sell a bare pcb, but if someone were trying to make a clone, would it really matter whether they have a bare vs populated board? I'd imagine that all they'd have to do is desolder the components (if that is even necessary?). I did see on the HFSignals website that the actual board isn't open-sourced, but I assumed that there wasn't a difference between a bare vs populated board for a cloner. I wasn't aware of any software that turns pictures into pcbs, though, but I would still think that the same idea applies. I'd also imagine that if someone were going to take up such a task, they probably would have the proper tools to go about doing that somewhat efficiently. As I said, I don't know a thing about how the cloning process works other than what is common sense, so perhaps I am completely wrong about this, and I respect their decision regardless as the reason is their business only. 

Anyway, I appreciate all the help, ideas, and links to different options. The easy bitx 20m kit looks like it may be a good way to go for me! 


Jeremy L
 

Thanks, the QSX definitely will be on my build list! 
The uSDX is actually a spin-off of the QCX, with SSB implemented. I agree the ubitx definitely seems to be in its own league compared to whats available right now at that price point, though. I would love to add one to my shack, that's for sure!