Home‎ > ‎

Kits-Homebrew

List of KIT Suppliers:
http://www.qrpme.com/ Rex Harper W1REX has a number of kits, including the Tuna-Tin kits and he's taken over the Rockmite kits from K1SWL. He also has a line of Manhattan supplies.
http://www.radio-kits.co.uk/mkars80page.html 80 Meter SSB Transciever based on the now famous BITX design
http://www.4sqrp.com/kitIndex.php This is the current roundup of kits from the 4SQRP group, yes, I'm a member of this group.
http://ae9rb.com/ This site has several kits the best known, of course is the Peaberry SDR, unique because it does not require a sound card, it's on board. A pretty serious kit.
http://www.kitsandparts.com/  Diz has some kits, lots of parts and he is the Toroid King - best place to get toroids.
http://www.qsl.net/k/k5bcq/Kits/Kits.html This guy has several kits. And I've built several of them. Probably not good for a beginner. Most are SMD. Nice looking attenuator kit.
http://fivedash.com/ This dealer is selling the famous "Softrock" designs. The Peaberry is based off this design (he added the onboard sound chip). These two would not be good beginner kits. Requires some work and SMD parts. But very good stuff if you know what you're doing.
http://www.foxdelta.com/ This is a line of kits from a great Indian ham. I've built several of his kits and I'm finishing up an antenna analyzer now. The analyzer is called the FD-AA-0713A. It works from 1-35 MHz, uses a PIC chip, DDS & return loss bridge and in standard form connects your PC via USB for power and connection to the software that runs it. Software is included. He also sells a graphics LCD display kit (no PC required then) or a Bluetooth interface to run it from Android devices (again software included).
Here’s a screen shot of it running on my PC scanning my antenna (click to enlarge):
https://sites.google.com/site/cenoisarc/home/kits-homebrew/aaz.jpg
I’ve got the cursor held over the dip and you can see that the SWR is 1.24 and that my antenna SWR is less than 1.5 for the whole band (the light green vertical lines).
http://www.qrpkits.com/ This guy was one of the founders of the once famous NORCAL QRP club (they marketed dozens of kits over the years). He's had some issues the last year or so with delivery (due to some personal goings on).
With all these kit manufacturers - most are either club based or work out of their home. Sometimes you have to be a little patient.
http://www.hamgadgets.com/ Home of the Pico Keyer, has several small kits.
http://www.etherkit.com/ Interesting looking kit lineup, plus this guy is an excellent designer.
http://www.pongrance.com/ N3ZI kits - digital dials, frequency counters and DDS VFO's.
http://vakits.com/ Nightfire - not strictly ham related but they have lots of kits and parts kits too. Active on eBay. I've bought several items from them over the years.
http://www.elecraft.com/  Elecraft is like Heathkit on steroids. Superb kits but a little pricey. 
http://www.nostalgickitscentral.com/ ---- Interesting site with information on old kits - might be dated but you can always Google to zero in on stuff...
http://stores.ebay.com/PCB-Laminates-Copper-Clad/_i.html -- fantastic eBay seller ABC Fab who sells all kinds of PC board, single, double sided, all sizes, weights & thicknesses. Best place on the web to buy copper clad board. Excellent prices and quick ship.

Crimp vs. Solder
This is a nice article from Davis RF.

Here's a list of QRP clubs
No, I'm not advocating you join, that's totally up to you. The reason I list it here is because, #1 several of you have asked for al list of QRP clubs and #2 QRP groups / clubs tend to be much more active in kits, selling kits, designing and homebrewing. That's the number one reason for my interest in QRP. Plus when you think about it - it's a whole lot easier to design and build a 5 watt transceiver then it is a legal limit transceiver. And it doesn't hurt quite as bad when you get shocked either! :-)
http://www.qrparci.org/  QRP Amateur Radio Club International: has a great quarterly magazine, active contests, and awards programs. Probably more balanced operations & building. QRP-ARCI also sponsors a convention called 4DIM, four days in May, that is held in conjunction with Dayton (at a hotel there in Dayton). 
http://gqrp.com/  GQRP club, publisher of SPRAT magazine. SPRAT is mostly about building and designing. This is  a UK based club but has members all over the world. Easy to join via PayPal and they do have a US member representative. Always has a both at Dayton as well. Club Sales even has some kits that are quite nice.
http://www.4sqrp.com/  Four States QRP Group, no formal membership - very informal. The kit side of 4SQRP exists solely to support OzarkCON an annual QRP convention held in Branson, MO. It is awesome.

Nice Oscilloscope Tutorial 
https://www.youtube.com/user/w2aew  Alan Wolke, W2AEW, an expert electronics engineer (Tektronix) - this is his YouTube channel and he has may great how-to / tutorial videos. Of special interest is his "Scopes for Dopes" video.

SMD / Surface Mount Soldering Tutorial 
http://kd5ssj.com/solderpaste/smt-tools-and-process - This is  a neat way to solder multiple parts onto a board at one time. Read his page closely, near the bottom of the middle column, "Process", he has a link to a longer video that shows the whole process. This method requires solder paste (not the normal kind you see - that is junk), a cup warmer or candle warmer and a small lower velocity heat gun (Hobby Lobby - used for embossing).
http://youtu.be/3NN7UGWYmBY - Very good YouTube video showing how to solder SMD parts by hand.

I have done several SMD projects and I have a few well gleaned tips for you:
  • You want enough heat to melt the solder and join the parts. I think most people err on the side of too little heat.
  • A little flux goes a LONG way. I almost never use flux. In the video link above he says a good rule of thumb is - if you're not directly applying the solder to the joint you need flux. I would agree but still add the caveat to use as little flux as possible. It goes everywhere and is impossible to remove from below soldered parts. And will corrode over time.
  • I like to think too much solder is better then too little. With solder wick it is very easy to clean up SMD joints.
  • You must use something to hold the part down. I've seen all kinds of fixtures and some guys use the 3M stuff you can 'tack' pictures to walls with (like clay). Tape will work as well as small hold down tools or x-acto knives.
  • Always, ALWAYS check your soldered parts afterwards with a loupe or some other magnification. You can't see how well you've done by eye or see shorts or 'no-solder' joints.
  • The Radio Shack 0.015 silver bearing solder is great for hand soldering SMD parts. And obviously it will go a long, long way! I think the silver solder makes a little cleaner joint as well.

Arduino Stuff 
I will start listing some links for Arduino stuff here. This won't be a complete list. Just some common ones or really unique ones.
http://www.arduino.cc/ - This is the MAIN Arduino site. Keep in mind Arduino is not just the device - it's a total concept of open source easy to program micro-controllers and other devices. Since it is open source and community developed there are countless applications and a world of resources - literally!
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/everything-you-need-to-know-about-arduino-in-a-video/ - A great resource page and link to a video (long). MakeUseOf is a fantastic site for all kinds of technology...
http://tronixstuff.com/tutorials/ - This guy, John Boxall, has created a MOUNTAIN of tutorials, with a wealth of information. This is my favorite tutorial site.
http://learn.adafruit.com/ - This is my second favorite tutorial site. They've upped the ante a little and brought on a educational writer to improve their site (didn't really need it). Ladyada (Limor Fried) is the queen of this little kingdom. Her hardware selling site is: http://www.adafruit.com/
https://www.sparkfun.com/categories/103?page=all - SparkFun is the other "biggie" when it comes to hardware, kits, modules, etc. for the Arduino (and other platforms as well - as is Adafruit).
Note: most of the modules, breakout boards and other goodies are open-source (hardware & software) which means - careful shopping on eBay can often net the exact same designs shown on any of these sites by Chinese sellers. Meaning they are cheap and the software libraries to support them are readily available. Just be cautious. Like many things sometimes you get what you pay for. The greatest module/breakout board is pretty much worthless without a library to support it - that is unless you can write your own library!
http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/HomePage#.UyHNbvldXTo - Arduino language reference site. Essential to know what the program language means - even when you don't program from scratch.
http://forum.arduino.cc/ - "Official" Arudino forums. A wealth of information here and a great place to get your questions answered.
http://playground.arduino.cc/ - Arduino "playground" site - lots of examples of what is being done and what you can do.

Comments