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QCX-mini manufacturing update


Hans Summers
 

Hi all

Quite a lot of people have been asking about QCX-mini. 

QCX-mini manufacturing has slipped a couple of weeks longer than my estimated "4 weeks". But all is going well now...

I had some trouble with component sourcing, mysteriously Digikey... made me very angry actually... Digikey trade compliance were asking questions about why I want to ship a reel of 2500pcs Si5351A to Hong Kong. Even though I'm not a new customer it's, it's not the first time either, I've made the same order to the same recipient many times before! "Who is the recipient",  "what are they for," blah blah. I explained they're for ham radio, and they're just going to be assembled on a PCB in Hong Kong then shipped to Turkey and US for distribution. Despite answering all questions within 1 hour, and 5 calls to digikey customer service, compliance asked similar questions 3 times, in all three cases never acknowledging my answers... though customer service said they'd received them so it wasn't a comms problem. I don't have any objection to questions. Fine. But the sheer inefficiency and lack of response was staggering. After 10 days of messing around and still no end in sight, I told them to cancel it, and bought the reel from Mouser instead , who shipped it promptly without issue. 

We also had to get a potentiometer custom manufactured and the yellow/green LCDs custom manufactured too. 

Latest problem is apparently my 5-in-1 top PCB design... normally PCBs are panelized and SMD'd in a set of 6 (or more) like that, then separated later. But the top PCB design is such that the amount of cut away material is too much to be able to break apart the boards without damage. So the factory had to come up with a different method for manufacturing it. I tried to understand what they are doing but I gave up, anyway in reliably assured all is well.

The 1000 enclosures are all finished, cut, CNC'ed, drilled, laser etch printed, packed. 

Current estimate is that the PCB assembly (SMD soldering) will be completed on 17-Nov-2020. It's the last step in the manufacturing process, everything else is done... then the boards will ship to me. 

So, still on track for 1,000 Christmas stocking goodies. 

73 Hans G0UPL 


Jean-Marc Meessen (ON4KJM)
 

Thanks for the updates from Santa's Elves, Hans.

It gives me an idea of how much effort goes into making this. Sounds like building a new house (or managing a software project in a Financial Institution...).
I hope you are not managing this together with moving QTH as I think I understood (but probably wrong).

/- Jmm
73 de ON4KJM


Hans Summers
 

Hello Jean-Marc
 
It gives me an idea of how much effort goes into making this. Sounds like building a new house (or managing a software project in a Financial Institution...).
I hope you are not managing this together with moving QTH as I think I understood (but probably wrong).

Yes, you are not wrong... the forthcoming QTH move is only a few hundred meters but that doesn't help much. And first, we have to finish, er, building the new house... hey at least the babiest lab tech builds himself. As long as he is fed every few hours :-/   Zzzzz

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


Mike Berg
 

Hans,
The owner and founder of DigiKey is a ham named Dr. Ron Stordahl AE5E.

He is very customer orientated and a great person to deal with.
I have his email from a few years ago when we were discussing a packet radio network that I could PM you.

Regards,

Mike Berg N0QBH


Julian Rolfe
 

Getting very excited to see the launch Hans👍


superDIYer
 

On Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 11:00 PM, Hans Summers wrote:
Digikey trade compliance were asking questions about why I
I have to deal  with a lot of US export control BS in my day job. I immediately went to the Digikey pages for these devices to see what they're categorized as per the Commerce Control List. Often you can get clues for why theyre asking certain questions by how that is classified. Digikey has a section on the detail page for each part that labeled "Environmental & Export Classifications" but mysteriously it doesn't list the export category that we'd be interested in for this. Most parts would be considered EAR99, meaning not specifically controlled under anything else. I'm gonna guess that this part is showing up in one or more specific categories based on the capabilities of the chip. Its probably not a "0Axxx" part used for nuclear industry, but it could very well fall under anything from "3Axxx" (electronics) to "9Axxx" (aerospace and propulsion). Each one of those categories (and the "xxx" are meant to show that there is a pile of options under each big area) has its own restrictions applied. And to complicate matters even more... it doesnt really matter if the part was made elsewhere and imported to the US. Once its here, if you want to do anything with it (including HANDING ONE TO A NON-US CITIZEN), thats an export and all these rules come into play. A decent entry point for people who need to learn this stuff is here: US Commerce Control List

So.... while you're dealing with Digikey, you might prompt them that they should make sure the detail part page shows the export classification as teased. 

Good luck!
Jason


Richard
 

Looking forward to the 60m version to augment my MTR3b!


Hans Summers
 

Thanks Jason, Mike

I already ordered from Mouser, and the products are already at the PCB assembly house, assembly should be finished in the next day or two. 

Mouser confirmed to me that these Si5351A ICs are not classified on any kind of restricted or controlled list. 

At Digikey: even if they are on a controlled list, and even if questions needed to be asked (EVEN though I have ordered this same 2500pcs Si5351A reel item, from this same account, to this same delivery address many times before) - it's not the point. Questions are fine... the point is, I wasn't able to get anywhere with it. For 10 days. No amount of emails or phone calls helped me make any progress. It appeared inefficient to me, and Digikey aren't the only ones to hold this part... so I just ordered elsewhere and it was fine. 

I don't want to appear grumpy about Digikey, I have ordered tons of stuff from them over the years and generally everything has gone well. They have an enormous range and good prices. I'm generally happy. But this time I ran out of patience... I mean, look how many people are waiting for QCX-mini! 

Mike if you have contact details for the Digikey owner I'd be happy to pass on this feedback to him. 

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

On Thu, Nov 12, 2020 at 5:00 PM superDIYer <jnlzawodny@...> wrote:
On Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 11:00 PM, Hans Summers wrote:
Digikey trade compliance were asking questions about why I
I have to deal  with a lot of US export control BS in my day job. I immediately went to the Digikey pages for these devices to see what they're categorized as per the Commerce Control List. Often you can get clues for why theyre asking certain questions by how that is classified. Digikey has a section on the detail page for each part that labeled "Environmental & Export Classifications" but mysteriously it doesn't list the export category that we'd be interested in for this. Most parts would be considered EAR99, meaning not specifically controlled under anything else. I'm gonna guess that this part is showing up in one or more specific categories based on the capabilities of the chip. Its probably not a "0Axxx" part used for nuclear industry, but it could very well fall under anything from "3Axxx" (electronics) to "9Axxx" (aerospace and propulsion). Each one of those categories (and the "xxx" are meant to show that there is a pile of options under each big area) has its own restrictions applied. And to complicate matters even more... it doesnt really matter if the part was made elsewhere and imported to the US. Once its here, if you want to do anything with it (including HANDING ONE TO A NON-US CITIZEN), thats an export and all these rules come into play. A decent entry point for people who need to learn this stuff is here: US Commerce Control List

So.... while you're dealing with Digikey, you might prompt them that they should make sure the detail part page shows the export classification as teased. 

Good luck!
Jason


Ricky
 

Thanks for the update Hans
So looking forward to getting my hands on  building es using the 20mtr Qcx mini.
Keep up the great work 😀
73
Ricky (GM0VUY)