Date   

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

Torbjorn Skauli
 

Thanks for responding, Hans. I just wanted to add that my suggestion should not be read as disapproval.  I actually like the QCX+ for being easier to build, and thereby accessible to more people. And I am awed by your accomplishments in design, logistics and keeping the business running.

I can mention that I have been involved in bringing the joys of coding out to kids in Norway through clubs and schools, and I am preparing to promote ham radio through the same channels. The QCX will be a great tool in that work, consistent with its origins.

Thanks again for all the fun,

Torbjorn


Re: Update QCX Firmware to v1.05 notes (Linux command line, breadboard programmer) #firmware #qcx

Jacques - ZS1PL
 

Thanks Jonathan, this really helped me to get my QCX running again with the latest FW. It is worth noting to others that you need to use this method to reprogram an existing QRPLabs chip to make it work. Using a new blank 328 chip will not work unless you also set the fuses to their correct value, and also burn the EEPROM default values. For these values you will need to email Hans.

73 de Jacques ZS1PL


Re: Concerns about the QCX+ for ultra-portable operators

Hans Summers
 

Hi Luc

Please refer to my post in the other thread. I understand the concerns and I will find a solution and update you all in a couple of weeks. 

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



On Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 10:13 AM ON7DQ Luc <on7dq@...> wrote:
I also hate to see the 'QCX Classic' go ... didn't Coca Cola have to put their Coke Classic back on the market after a lot of protest ?

Volume of the QCX+ would be  851180 mm³
My QCX 20m measures 105 x 90 x 35 = 330750 mm³ , that is only 39% of the volume of the QCX+ !
(see details and pics on my blog 
https://on7dq.blogspot.com/2018/03/my-build-of-qcx-5w-cw-transceiver.html )

And yes , mine has a DC input jack, ON/OFF switch, extra cooling for the 7805 and for the finals, all in that small box.

As for batteries inside, I prefer them outside, because I may switch packs between different rigs, and I have small and large battery packs, depending on what activity I need them for.

So yes, one vote to keep producing the QCX Classic !

73,
Luc ON7DQ


Re: Concerns about the QCX+ for ultra-portable operators

ON7DQ Luc
 

I also hate to see the 'QCX Classic' go ... didn't Coca Cola have to put their Coke Classic back on the market after a lot of protest ?

Volume of the QCX+ would be  851180 mm³
My QCX 20m measures 105 x 90 x 35 = 330750 mm³ , that is only 39% of the volume of the QCX+ !
(see details and pics on my blog 
https://on7dq.blogspot.com/2018/03/my-build-of-qcx-5w-cw-transceiver.html )

And yes , mine has a DC input jack, ON/OFF switch, extra cooling for the 7805 and for the finals, all in that small box.

As for batteries inside, I prefer them outside, because I may switch packs between different rigs, and I have small and large battery packs, depending on what activity I need them for.

So yes, one vote to keep producing the QCX Classic !

73,
Luc ON7DQ


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


Re: Does it work ?

KEN G4APB
 

Ah but Reg, if you are running mW levels and your signal is down in the noise and borderline discernible, then a few more mW might make the difference between a contact/spot and none. You are looking at QRO (5W=QRO hihi) signals with guys trying to burn each other’s front ends out. I would bust a gut (and do) to get the max smoke from all my QRP rigs...adds to the fun and physiologically a nats extra power makes you feel like you are running QRO.

best 73 Ken G4APB
stay safe, keep your fingers out of the antenna socket...


Re: Questions about QSX radio (by QRP Labs)

Andy Brilleaux [O.B.E. pending] <punkbiscuit@...>
 

I used to work Larry K1IED on most bands, usually ssb.

Then one day we were on 29Mhz AM with my
FT817 and a wire up a bamboo pole down the
beach.

My 1w was 57 to him, that's 3000 miles away.

I think that's my best miles per watt in AM.


QCXP CAT

Tony McUmber
 

Here I am like a kid awaiting a box top prize (anyone remember those?).  Down to the end of the driveway to check the mailbox every day;  Alas, I begin to think that IT WILL NEVER COME.  But, deep in my juvenile heart, I know that it will -- they always have, eventually.

To pass the time I want to collect what I need to complete the assembly and get the new toy on the air.  Can someone tell me what I will need to use the CAT function with the new QCXP?  I have a Laptop running Win 10, and a logging program which can utilize computer control.  What will I need to connect the two machines?  Please answer as if you were addressing an ignoramus but not an idiot.

Thanks for all help, and thanks to Hans for a wonderful QRP rig which brought me back to hamming a couple of years ago.

73, Tony  N0BPA


6 Band U3S Revisisted

Curt M.
 

Back in October of 2018 I built up a 6 Band U3S. It worked well but 20m was always disappointing because it only put out 100mW, maybe just a little less. I enjoy watching propagation on 20m but my WSPRLite always put out 200mW without any problems so I set the 6 band U3S aside.  

When I was building my 20m QCX there was a lot of talk going around about a bad batch of capacitors which were causing low power out on the QCX. I decided to order all new caps for the filter circuit on the QCX before I even started to build it. When I was finished it put out nearly 5w so I’ll never know if the ones supplied with the kit were bad but the ones that I ordered from Digikey were evidently fine. At that time I ordered 4 spare capacitors and thought maybe I would swap out the caps in the U3S 20m filter just to see if they made any difference  

So tonight nearly two years later I put the U3S on the bench and tested the output power on 20m. It was just about 100mW but not quite. I swapped the caps out and tested the output power and I’m happy to report that it now puts out 250mW.  I’d always thought that the chances of me getting bad caps with that kit were probably slim so I was never in a hurry to change them out. I can finally throw away those two bags away that I marked, “Save for U3S 20m filter”. I’ve moved those things all over the bench for the last couple of years and I’m glad that they solved the problem. It’s now like I have a new toy. 

None of that was Han’s fault and he quickly discovered the problem and it’s not a current problem, I just glad that my U3S 6 Band is now up to spec.


Curt M.


Re: Cannot send automated CQ from 1st memory

wfcaston@...
 

Many thanks for the good suggestions.  I think I am on the right track now.  This will take some time, but I am retired now and have time for this. :)

--
Anson
WV4C


Re: Cannot send automated CQ from 1st memory

 

Hi Anson, welcome back to ham radio.

I'll answer your message editing questions, but first, you have a very early firmware release, and I strongly suggest you update to the latest, v1.05, which has quite a few bug fixes and improvements.
So in the manual for rev 5 of the circuit board (which you certainly won't have, but it doesn't matter in this case) in section 4.18, page 79, which relates to editing messages (menu 2), you'll notice two important characters: one is the solid left-pointing triangle (not the left-pointing arrow), which deletes the entire current message, no matter where the cursor is; and the empty vertical rectangle, which clears the remainder of the message to the right of the cursor. One of those should do what you want when you turn the encoder control to that character and press the encoder button. Later versions of the software have interval and repeat controls as items 2.1 and 2.2, but the manual hasn't yet been updated to reflect that, it seems.

On the subject of antennas and power amps.... you might want to do the antenna first and see what that gets you before you invest in the PA. You may find that it improves things a lot. If you remember your antenna theory, the minimum radiation angle of a low horizontal is quite high - a good 5 degrees above the horizontal - which give you a bounce a couple of states away and with QRP and 20m, you're not going to get a lot of distance. Others here are more knowledgeable than I on that subject, and will likely give better and more detailed advice, but height is might, they say.

When you say "open" around here, you awake the slumbering knights of old, who will tell you in no uncertain terms that the band is "open" when anybody presses a Morse key and somebody else hears and responds to the CQ. Your mileage may vary, but there is always somebody out there within reach.

Oh, lastly, SWR meter would be good, of course, bu t you might want to look up the NanoVNA: as the name suggests it's a small vector network analyzer, very economically priced, and remarkably capable; SWR is the least of what it does. Several of us around here - including I - have one, and have been very happy with it.

Hope that helps,

Good luck :-)
--
Julian, N4JO.


Re: Cannot send automated CQ from 1st memory

wfcaston@...
 

Ted and all,

Answers to questions:

QCX band: 20 meters
On power up, there is a 1.00G 2019 displayed.  I presume that is the firmware version?
The qcx was built by another ham from whom I bought it.
I have only had it for several weeks.
It is attached to a QRP trapped dipole which I constructed for portable use and is only a few feet above the ground.
I keep the unit connected to an antenna or dummy load when transmitting.
It receives signals ok, but not too loudly.  The 20 meter band does not seem to be hot now.  Maybe due to the sunspot low? Is it correct that 20 meters is not extremely open?
I have not yet made a qso.
I am now connected to a much better power, 20 amp power supply.  

I connected the QCX to the new power supply and now the memory does not erase any longer!  Many thanks for the suggestion that a voltage drop on the power supply could be a problem.  However, after my recorded message is completed it sends a series of seven dits, maybe left over from a previous recording.  I cannot wait for the recording to end because of the extra dits.  Maybe this is left over from a previous recording.  Is there a way to clear this memory location to start over?

I realize I need a much higher antenna for this QRP rig.  I am also planning to order and construct the 50 watt amplifier, but that will take some time.  I am ordering supplies for a permanent dipole for 20 meters, and as soon as I get that installed at 30 plus feet in the air, I can give this QCX a fair test.  Meanwhile, I am going to buy an SWR meter (probably in kit form), an alternate rig, and order more connectors.  I have had a 20 year hiatus from amateur radio, and want to get back as a cw operator and use the QCX rig for camping.  Many thanks for the very helpful suggestions!  If I could just get a suggestion on clearing the memory to start fresh on a new recording, I can then get the automated CQ to loop, and when I get a better antenna installed can start making QSOs.
--
Anson
WV4C


Re: Questions about QSX radio (by QRP Labs)

ajparent1/KB1GMX
 

Bill,

I had WAC and WAS using 3W on 11M...  Never had power just a 
decent antenna on the roof.   I also have a TRC30C modded for 10M
and its a really nice AM radio its about 3.8W carrier but modulates well.

The first years on 6M max power was 4W worked nearly 24 countries
before moving to 10W.  Considering the beam was a 2 element build
it was good.  Been at 100W to 200W for a lot of years, next jump is
500-600W.  However a design I built and wrote up for QQ back in
maybe 06 was typically 800-900mW, every time I fire it up it finds
a new country.  Doesn't hurt that the beam is 5 elements!

An old friend now SK W1OG worked EU using one of the first
transmitters with transistors maybe 100 or so mW, now its at
ARRL museum.

Its the antenna.

Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No private email, it goes to a bit bucket due address harvesting


Re: Clock Alarm with Speaker within Case #clock #case #mods

collinschip2@...
 

Thank you, Ryan.  CC


Re: Clock Alarm with Speaker within Case #clock #case #mods

collinschip2@...
 

In the interest of sharing options,  we opted to purchase these speakers.  We have not yet decided whether or not we will install this amplifier circuitry.

Chip

8-ohm Speaker
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0177ABRQ6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Small amplifier board
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LODGV64/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Re: Clock Alarm with Speaker within Case #clock #case #mods

Ryan Flowers
 

TIN. Please do not harm anyone named Tim. 
--
Ryan Flowers - W7RLF
MiscDotGeek - QRP and More


Re: Clock Alarm with Speaker within Case #clock #case #mods

Ryan Flowers
 

Just Tim the capacitor lead and the exposed pin, then solder them together. Keep the warm hot so you don't have to hold the heat on too long. Pick any ground connection. The electricity doesn't know the difference :)


On Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 5:30 PM <collinschip2@...> wrote:
Good afternoon.  Does anyone have technique suggestions for connecting the 47uF capacitor to IC1 pin 15.  We have already assembled the circuit boards.

should we somehow solder directly to the exposed edge of Pin 15?  It seems like a tricky connection to assemble. This will connect up a small speaker for the audio chime.

What grounding connection would be good for the speaker?

73's,

Chip Collins,
N4CHP


--
Ryan Flowers - W7RLF
MiscDotGeek - QRP and More


Re: Clock Alarm with Speaker within Case #clock #case #mods

collinschip2@...
 

Good afternoon.  Does anyone have technique suggestions for connecting the 47uF capacitor to IC1 pin 15.  We have already assembled the circuit boards.

should we somehow solder directly to the exposed edge of Pin 15?  It seems like a tricky connection to assemble. This will connect up a small speaker for the audio chime.

What grounding connection would be good for the speaker?

73's,

Chip Collins,
N4CHP


Re: Concerns about the QCX+ for ultra-portable operators

Gwen Patton
 

I got a nice LiFePO4 battery from Talentcell recently. It's a 12Ah model, chargeable with a standard lead-acid charger because of a built in charge management system. It's going to go into a lovely little battery box I have, with a small but serviceable charger, and a Power Pole distribution box. The price is reasonable. If I were much wealthier, I'd consider the 24Ah, or even the 100Ah batteries on the same page on Amazon. For smaller uses, I have other Talentcell packs, and USB-C PD power banks and the associated sink boards to use them. (I already posted about my project using them, so I won't post it again. I can only toot my own horn so much before I get embarrassed.)


On Wed, Jun 3, 2020 at 7:40 PM Dave <VE3GSO@...> wrote:
I had the opportunity to talk to the fine Bioenno people at Pacificon 2019, and I’m impressed by the quality of their batteries. I had to fly home so carrying a Lithium battery on board an aircraft was out of the question. I’ve heard that Canada now has another dealer, so I hope one of their batteries is in my future.

Dave


On Jun 3, 2020, at 18:50, Troy - K4JDA <troy.davis@...> wrote:

Use this and make a hole in the case with a 3D printed grommet to hold the charging jack in the hole to make it accessible from the outside.

<B062FBB1-74F5-4CC6-8818-92AF57A74C8B.jpeg>


Re: Concerns about the QCX+ for ultra-portable operators

Dave
 

I had the opportunity to talk to the fine Bioenno people at Pacificon 2019, and I’m impressed by the quality of their batteries. I had to fly home so carrying a Lithium battery on board an aircraft was out of the question. I’ve heard that Canada now has another dealer, so I hope one of their batteries is in my future.

Dave


On Jun 3, 2020, at 18:50, Troy - K4JDA <troy.davis@...> wrote:

Use this and make a hole in the case with a 3D printed grommet to hold the charging jack in the hole to make it accessible from the outside.

<B062FBB1-74F5-4CC6-8818-92AF57A74C8B.jpeg>