Most hams who know me, know that I love to tinker and work on projects. Sometimes they even work out in the end. So begins this one. I’m an avid follower of the Soldersmoke podcast and website. Bill Meara N2CQR and Pete Juliano N6QW host a monthly podcast all about QRP and radio homebrew. Their inspiration has given me the courage to begin and successfully complete several projects. The Michigan Mighty Mite is a good example. One of their homebrew heroes is Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE who invented the BITX transceiver 14 years ago. Last year they reported that he’s selling the board fully constructed and tested. All you need to do is find a suitable enclosure and attach the peripherals. At the $45 price point it’s hard to beat as a development platform. The basic radio can be upgraded to stabilize the analog VFO or even improved by adding a DDS or PLL VFO quite easily. Low pass output filters can be added to take it from a 40m monobander to all band operation. I couldn’t resist!
With the circuit fully complete, this amounted to a one day project to get the basic assembly done. I found a suitable Christmas tin for a cabinet. The majority of my time was spent laying out and marking holes for the board standoffs and all the jacks and pots to be connected. It’s not exceedingly elegant but I was able to accomplish it all with a hand drill, pliars, and a couple wrenches. I chose the metal enclosure because I thought It might provide good shielding. Eventually I’ll probably add a small fan and punch some holes for ventilation. There should also be enough room to add an Arduino, DDS or PLL board, and cool LCD display. I think it would make a perfect radio for portable operation with a battery and 40m dipole at the park.
I wanted to include a couple shots of the innards. Everything came included with the kit, including the wiring pigtails to attach to the board headers. Pretty straight forward assembly. The HF Signals webpage has all the technical info, assembly
instructions, reference materials, and purchase info. The product is sourced and shipped out of India and constructed by a local women’s collective that helps provide skills and jobs. They typically arrive in less than a month. Not bad turn around time. Easy ordering with Paypal.
So here it is with a couple knobs out of the junk drawer. I trialed it on the bench and it plays great, minus the drift. Even that settles down after about 15 minutes. Crisp, clear analog audio…but you have to ride the AF gain what for having no AGC. I bet you could probably hack that into the circuit pretty easy, too. I could generally hear just about anything I could copy on the Flex-5000, so that says something about the sensitivity. This was a fun and functional one day project with only minimal soldering required. Looking forward to doing some more hacking on this one! Will try to produce a companion post with a little video production for everyone playing along at home. 73 all.