Monday, 25 June 2012

Back to basics, minimalist QRP

I have many great memories of taking part in numerous local QRP contests and events where I normally would use my trusty self built Elecraft K2 transceiver or the tiny commercial HB-1A CW only transceiver.

The K2 is a full blooded super radio and it almost feels like cheating when I use it. The receiver rates amongst the very best of commercial receivers. The transmitter is superb on CW with it silent break-in switch over.

On the other hand using the diminutive HB-1A, powered by a few AA sized batteries, especially when used outdoors, sitting under one or other tree has a certain sense of magic about it. The entire station hardly the size of a paperback and it weighs next to nothing.

I am now thinking of taking this a step further. It might be great fun building simple crystal controlled QRP transmitter and using that instead of the K2 or HB-1A. It will almost like my early days, with separate transmitter and receivers with a manual T/R switch. We are so spoilt now with semi break-in and full blown QSK, that it is hard to imagine that we used to throw a switch to change from receive to transmit and vice versa.

It would be even more fun, if other locals did the same. It would be interesting to see how we deal with being rockbound; we have become very spoilt with our ultra stable and accurate VFO’s.

There was a time when one could call CQ on say 7020 and get a reply from some station on 7030. We actually used that big knob on the receiver. I know it is weird, but true……

I now must look for simple reliable circuits I can use. Something like the Tuna Tin or the NS-40

73 de Pierre ZS6A