Re: How about an ultra-portable "QCX mini" version? #qcx


Hans Summers
 

Hello Torbjorn and all other people involved in the discussion on continuing the original QCX... 

Many thanks for all the feedback which is very valuable to me. 

I am confident that the QCX+ http://qrp-labs.com/qcxp offers significant advantages to most constructors and will be a very popular continuation of the QCX. It has the same circuit, firmware, operation and performance but is easier to build, modify and experiment, and has a beautiful enclosure option, plenty of space, and other options the Dev board kit and TCXO. 

However... yes, I can see that the larger size is a possible disadvantage for those wanting extremely portable operations. 

I had not planned to continue the original QCX kit production. So please give me a few weeks to contemplate this and find a solution that is practical to me and desirable to all you. 

Note that though we say QCX+ is "just a bigger PCB" for QCX... in fact there are a lot of details that changed. Connectors and hardware, primarily. Producing a QCX is not a simple matter only of making some PCBs. There are the other changed parts which need attention too! Manufacturing and procurement are expensive, risky and time-consuming... bear in mind that the reason the QCX kit price to you, costs less than the sum of its parts (if you buy them from Digikey, Mouser, RS, Farnell etc) is mostly because I am buying these parts in very large volume and the price drops considerably. It takes a lot of planning to get this all to work out avoid the risk of losing money on it. Until you actually tried producing a kit like these QRP Labs kits I don't think people can possibly understand all the issues involved :-D   Designing some hardware that works, and some firmware that works, and that they work together, is hard enough. But turning it into a production batch of kits at a nice price... well, that's a whole new ball game!

So I will find a solution... perhaps a smaller board (maybe SMD), perhaps a continuation of the original QCX, perhaps a way of enclosing QCX+ more compact... let me think on it... and I will let you know in due course. 

73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com

On Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 12:19 AM Torbjorn Skauli <tskauli@...> wrote:
Hans, I don't think you will have time for this, but here is a suggestion: I sympathize with the thread discussing the larger size of the QCX+. Given the quality of the QCX, many will want the radio more than the building of it. How about a "QCX mini" where the majority of components are pre-installed SMD, on a smaller PCB than the original? The design could aim for minimum size to achieve an affordable true pocket size HF rig. The builder could add only the band-specific parts, and other parts that would be costly to pre-assemble, and an enclosure of his choice. Controls could be installed on a break-off part of the PCB for flexibility in enclosure design. This version could also be more accessible to beginners since it will have far fewer parts to install. Apart from the effort to redo the design (again), hopefully the economics could work out through simpler logistics, smaller board area, lower component cost, and an expanded market?

I say this based on my own experience with the original QCX, which I have fitted into a rater cramped minimum-size 3D-printed enclosure with battery and paddle (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3668177). This rig, and a wire dipole, actually fit in the pockets of my jacket. I have been able to use my QCX in odd time slots and spaces such as flight departure halls and family outings, and thereby actually get on the air in a busy life. The favourite location is on the top of the local ski jump, the destination of my exercise bike ride, with an "inverted vertical" wire antenna suspended from the tower in the picture (loaded by a pinecone in the end). From here, the QCX WSPR beacon has hit seven continents (and G0UPL) in half an hour.

I am sure many people will want to have these possibilities in pocket size, at the price point of the QCX, and with only a minimum of assembly to do. For my part, I would certainly want one, and would be happy to design an even smaller 3D-printable enclosure for it.

After the QSX is finished, perhaps, Hans?

Anyway, thanks for all the fun,

  Torbjorn, LA4ZCA

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