These days, with dirt cheap kits from China often with free airmail, it is sometimes a wonder that any USA or UK kit companies exit at all. One of these I have mentioned before is Hendrick Kits, which always has a good selection on their website. These are best value if you live in the USA. Several kits are shown as “retired” which I guess means they did not sell well or they had problems with reproducibility. One favourite is the derivative of the BitX SSB design from Ashlan Farhan in India. This uses easily obtainable parts and has been a well proven design. Hendricks sell versions for 20m or 17m.
See http://www.qrpkits.com/bitx20a.html .
It looks like they have just moved so there might we a little delay until early May.
The power out, around 10W, should ensure plenty of contacts. These 2 bands are usually good even when the sun is quiet, so make a good choice. You have to choose either 20m or 17m SSB. I am sure Western kit companies would really value our business. “Use it or lose it”, is a phrase often used about bands. In this case it apples to amateur radio kit suppliers. If we don’t buy from them they will close their doors and cease trading. I am as guilty as anyone having recently bought a 40m Pixie kit from China.
From the Hendricks Kit website:
“The BitX20A and BitX17A are complete SSB kits with board, all parts, digital display and custom powder coated and punched case that is based on the BitX20 that was designed by Ashlan Farhan. The original version was built ugly construction, and you had to source all the parts. I discovered the BitX20 site on Yahoo in 2007, and decided that the BitX20 would be a neat kit for Hendricks QRP Kits. The problem was that it did not have a pcb. A team of Dan Tayloe, Jim Kortge and Arv Evans have worked countless hours making sure that the pcb version was stable and would meet United States F.C.C. Specs. We had to go through several revisions to get it right, and we are happy with the result, even though it took a long time. Some things just take time. The kit includes a commercial quality plated through, silkscreened, solder masked board, and all board mounted parts, plus the polyvaricon tuning capacitor, digital dial, custom powder coated and punched case, knobs and controls. Everything you need to build the kit is provided.
I encourage you to check out the BitX20 users group on Yahoo. They have agreed to provide support for the kits. There are hundreds of messages on there about the history and development of this kit. Our kit puts out about 10 watts, features dual IRF510’s as finals in a push-pull arrangement. The schematic is available at the Bitx20 site on Yahoo. Cost of the kit is $180.00 plus shipping and handling.“
The BitX looks a nice, useful radio. For a beginner it is just about all you need to get started.
There is a vendor here in the States, Quicksilver Radio, that just sent out an advertisement for a 40m Pixie kit. They bragged that due to a volume purchase they could sell the kit to us for only $22.73! I had just bought the exact same kit from China, with free shipping, for less than $5.00. With that kind of mark-up some businesses should expect to see sales fade.
I have noticed Quicksilver Radio gets most of there products from China and marks them up considerably. Mini DC 0.1-30V LED Panel Voltage Meter from China
Quicksilver wants $11.97, buy it from China for $1.55
The mark up is insane, I can see making a profit, they will loose all the smart Ham shoppers, I’ve seen it for $5.oo in the U.S. on ebay
Yes, they definitely have to make a profit but 350% to 700% is excessive and doesn’t make them competitive.