Saturday, June 16, 2018

QRP Labs QCX 5W CW Transceiver Build

CQ CQ CQ....  In the "olden" days, Morse Code (or CW) was a requirement for a Ham Radio license.  That is no longer the case, but for some reason CW seems to have a new interest with those in the hobby.   After seeing more and more discussions about CW we decided to give it a try.
Three things are needed:
1) An FCC Amateur Radio license; it's not hard get and it is an extremely interesting hobby.
2) A radio that can transmit/receive CW signals.  We chose the QRP Labs QCX Kit.
3) You have to know Morse Code; how to send it and how to decode it.

The first two are easy.  The third one not so much, but there are a host of tools and advise on the web to help.  Just search google.  We have only been at it 30 days and show progress, but still have a long way to go.
Back to the QCX kit.... We wanted something cheap, small, and portable.  We read great reviews about QRP Labs QCX Kit and decided to give it a go.  After asking around about the best band for CW newbies we decided to configure for 40 meters.  This page was originally going to document the build process, but really there is no need.  The instructions and documentation provided with the kit are AMAZING.  Really, they are!   Great images, diagrams, etc.  There are lots of solder joints and some toroids to hand wind, but follow the directions exactly and you will be fine.
Here is the whole enchilada in a niffy 3D printed case purchased from W4KHZ / Mike.  At $25 shipped it is a great value.

The QCX is very battery friendly.  It seems to run 'forever' using one of the many low cost car jump start battery bricks.  The video below shows the current (mA) profile using a Keithley 2450 Source Measure Unit.

All in all we are very pleased.  Now back to CW practice.  Thanks for the visit and maybe we will hook up on 40m.