Posts Tagged ‘pixie’
Yesterday I found my rechargeable 12V battery and charged it up. I also checked the Pixie I built as a kit for dry joints and shorts. As all looks good, I hope to test this on the air over the weekend or early next week.
There are a couple of locals I’d like to test with initially, although I am expecting to suffer from AM breakthrough mainly from broadcast stations very close to our 40m band. Probably there would be less breakthrough in the daytime? My antenna is short and low on 40m (a Par triband end-fed covering 10m/20m/40m) so any contacts will be good!
I can test it first on a signal generator and then a power meter. If it works, I’d expect a sensitivity of around -100dBm and a power out of around 200mW on 40m. We’ll see. Even -80dBm and 100mW would be enough to work locals as long as AM breakthrough is at a manageable level.
|Completed 40m Pixie assembly
This evening, I completed the build of the 40m Pixie PCB assembly. It will get checked over for dry joints or shorts in the morning and air-tested shortly.
A very half-hearted attempt at the 6m UKAC this evening was aborted because of my poor voice but I only worked 3 locals in the short time I was on with my V2000 vertical.
I really wanted to crack on with the Pixie build, although I was not expecting to finish the built today. The small PCB based kit does represent very good value.
|40m Pixie kit
|Pixie kit – being built
After carefully unpacking this kit today I checked all the parts were there and measured all values for correctness. The kit was very well packed and everything was there. Even at the price I paid ($10 with shipping by air included) it represents very good value.
The kit comes with a nice silk screened and well labelled PCB, crystal, all parts, schematic and a parts list. It would be hard to buy the bits for the price I paid. G1KQH paid even less!
I now realise that for close-up work I need better glasses! Fortunately I have a small assembly aid that includes a magnifying glass. I am taking the build slowly and it is quite exhausting for me. However, the actual assembly is going well. Last year, for me, this would have been impossible. I can still solder – big steps, HI.
Although the Pixie will be tested on the air, the important personal test is the building. It proves that, with some effort on my part, the world of experimental amateur radio is still there for me. You have no idea what this small step means to me.
Before too long I want to get out in the countryside and try again with my VLF and optical tests. It has been a long long long time.
Tomorrow I am going to try to build my little 40m Pixie kit that I bought for just over £7 from China. This build is an attempt to see if I am “up to the job”. I know the limited performance the Pixie is capable of and on 40m BC breakthrough may be a major issue here in the UK.
I really really miss doing real building and truly experimental amateur radio. This is a step on a long road. My health has been so poor in the last 16 months or so that there was no way I could have attempted this before. People have been very kind and offered me building help and help with antenna erection. These offers have come from all over the world – the world is filled with good and very kind people. There are far more good and kind people than evil ones.
By normal standards a little Pixie build would be trivial. For me it is a major step and test of my current abilities. I do so hope I can manage this! Please don’t laugh – to me it is a major step.
My low cost 40m Pixie kit – although G1KQH only paid about 60% of what I paid – is on its way from China but has not yet arrived here. I assume, with free shipping, this comes by sea. I am in no great hurry. As I mentioned before, I very much hope to build this unit as I have not built much in ages because of my brain bleed.
UPDATE 1600z: My kit arrived in the post today. Still to open the package, but judging by the speed this must have come by air. It looks well packed.
From my bank statement I see my 40m Pixie kit from China, that has shipped, cost a little over £7. This includes all parts including crystal and PCB. At this price it would be hard to buy the individual parts. I very much want to build this as it will be the first amateur radio construction here in a very long time. It is sufficiently simple and low cost that I should manage it, even if I am a little clumsy still with the soldering iron.
No doubt Andrew G6ALB (3km) will help with a first test.
Yet another variation on the Pixie arrived by email today from Sverre Holm in Norway who has LM386 mods to reduce BCI, provide mute and add sidetone.
This looks a very useful mod to this simplest of circuits. Sverre also added a much wider tuning range that helps to get contacts. Low power does not seem to be the main handicap.