Posts Tagged ‘qrp labs’

QRP Labs kits

Recently I enjoyed a rare day out at the National Hamfest in far away Lincolnshire. Whilst I was subjected to a culinary travesty with a plate of something advertised as lasagne for an exorbitant price that bore little resemblance to the traditional dish. It was the only low point.

Meeting with a few fellow hams was great (no names mentioned but a couple of the were Lids) there was also really short conversation with Hans Summers, G0UPL who some might know through his kits and bits at QRP Labs. He was being mobbed by ‘gentlemen’ who were hell bent on smashing my knees and shins with their walking aids as a way to push me out of the way. I’ve bought a few bits and pieces from him in the past and really enjoyed building them. Most of which I have done with ease but not really understood exactly what is going on in every case. The most recent I bought a year or so ago at the Norbreck rally. The signal generator / vfo kit.

This time around it was the GPS receiver. I still don’t really know how the circuit works but it is something that I should really get my head around.

How am I going to do that? well one thing would be to ask the original designer. The other way is to increase my knowledge and chances of getting a better understanding of other designs by trying to work out how they work rather than to just build them and rarely use them. I’m doing a bit of both. I had a great chat with Hans but have completely forgotten what we spoke about owing to the beating I was getting. It was general chit chat rather than mind blowing stuff. Luckily there is a group on that help to fill in the gaps.

The plan is to combine the 2 to make a natty clock/sig gen. The plan is currently working. Here is the evidence.

So what I hear you cry. You can follow some instructions. True. But I also flashed the Atmega with an upgraded .hex file using Xloader (a nice utility I found). Not done that before. This brings the score to learning stuff to 2. Eh? what else did I learn? Well I read all the docs and found out that you can combine inputs on an AND gate and do some level conversion. Just don’t test me on it! Perhaps not leaps in terms of learning but now I am slightly more competent.

Onward and upward people. Onward and upward.

QRP Labs Ultimate 3

Some months ago I was planning an afternoon at our local Fab Lab, partly to help raise their profile and partly to introduce some club members to the easy to use laser cutting services they have. We designed an profiled a case for the QRP Labs Ultimate 3 WSPR transmitter.

It occurred to me that I haven’t really shared the experience having been enjoying myself at the 24 du Mans race, celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary and having a birthday. None the less, its time for a catch up.

The U3 is a fairly simple build, in its basic form takes about and hour and a half to build and test. Start adding the various extras like a switchable band pass filter (for 5 bands!) and a gps unit and the time to build, well builds up. The kit isn’t complex and doesn’t use smd’s (although I’ve never understood the fear of them – whilst my eyes are still ok) and there’s only 4 coils to wind for the basic version.

The biggest issue was how to box it up. After trying various configurations we settled on a very simple front and back panel design, Others, like the desktop version or ones with castellated fixings either looked a bit cheesy or were hard to put together and prone to breaking. A simple 2d CAD sketch is loaded onto the machine, plonk in the materials and you’re away. It couldn’t be simpler. Anyway here’s the semi finished product. I need to do something about the spacers as they look awful but its nearly there.


U3 small

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