QRP: Looking for feedback on NorCal kits

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From: Ken (K.E.) Harker (kharker@bnr.ca)
Date: Thu Oct 21 1993 - 06:27:00 EDT


Howdy!

     I am considering getting into QRP. My main reason for this is that I am
on a student's budget and can't afford my own HF gear any other way, and part of
it is that I'm looking to learn a lot more about electronics and building usable
devices. I thought I would get into QRP by first building a 40m cw transceiver.
I have an MFJ practice keyer that I think I can use, and I can probably find
a place for a home-made dipole antenna.
     What I am looking for is a _complete_ kit. I have never built anything
more complicated than a couple of different 2m antenna designs, and I'll be
doing this at school in New Hampshire where there aren't a whole lot of
electronics stores around to go get knobs and cases and whatnot...
     I've heard good things about the Northern California QRP Club's kits,
and I've got the information for their 40m version selling for $75. Has
anyone had any experience with this kit? I'm looking to see if this is a good
choice for my first building experience.

     On more general topics, are most QRP kits crystal controlled? Are there
any that cover the entire 40m band? Or that have digital tuning? Also, I
don't have an HF SWR-meter - how difficult or expensive would it be to make
one? What sort of tools should I be investing in for building a radio? I've
got a soldering iron, wire cutters, and such, and I can get a multimeter. Are
there other tools that I would find helpful?

     Before I start on anything, I'm busy reading parts of the ARRL Handbook
and the book _Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur_ which seem to be the
definitive works for a beginning builder. It's amazing how much electro-
magnetic physics I have forgotten sincce high school! I'm also looking to get
a book entitled _The "Grounds" for Lightning Protection_.

      OK, I know these are a lot of questions for a newcomer to ask all at once,
but I would really appreciate any answers that I can get for any of this. BTW,
if you haven't gathered yet, I'm a relatively new ticket whose only experience
so far in VHF...

72's and tnx,
_ken/n1pvb


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