The Wilderness SST - A Fresh Perspective (long)

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From: Richard Arland (rarland@earthlink.net)
Date: Sat May 26 2001 - 08:17:44 CDT


Gang:

Recently I had a burning desire to try another Wilderness Radio SST.
Thanks to Mike Gipe, K1MG, I ended up with a 30 meter unit. After
building it and doing some creature comfort mods, I started playing on
30 meters. What a gas! Despite it's simplicity, the SST is a fun rig.
Don't know why I never came to that conclusion prior building and using
this particular rig (I previously had both a 40 and 20 meter SST).

Flushed with success, I ordered a 20 meter SST from QRP Bob at
Wilderness. After construction, I modified it using a 2nd Xtal and dual
varactors. Coverage is from 14.039 to 14.065. I further tried the filter
mods, including some experimentation with C-7/8 and C-6/9 but decided,
after viewing the Spectragram plots of each filter configuration, that
the stock filter was best. Adding a larger diameter tuning knob helped
with the tuning. Patience is the solution to the critical tuning
problems voiced by many (including myself). Learn to tune slowly and
listen.

On a whim, I decided to put the SST-20 on during the CQ WPX CW contest,
currently in progress. In 46 minutes I worked 20 stations including:
OK1CF, OH0B, UV5B, F6ENO, NV7A, F5RKL, RM6A, OM6T, WL7E, YL8M, YL2SM,
OZ1AA, DL5AXX, W5WUM, OK5W, HK5N, UA3ABJ, SN2B, OH6NIO and OE2BZL. Not
bad, considering I was running 900 MILLIWATTS !!!

Although I've heard complaints from some regarding the "hard" sound of
the SST keying, I actually think it helps getting through, especially
during crowded band conditions. With the exception of only four Qs, all
the stations contacted during this 46 minute "run" on 20, answered me on
the first call!

The point of this posting is to stir up some interest in using these
Minimalist Rigs. Get on, play some radio with your SST. Do something
really outrageous, like enter a major contest using milliwatt power
levels. It's a fun rig and you will be amazed (as was I) at what can be
done with such a simple little radio.

My thanks to QRP Bob Dyer, KD6VIO, of Wilderness Radio, Wayne Burdick,
N6KR, the designer, Russ Carpenter, AA7QU, of the Adventure Radio
Society, Zack Lau, W1VT and Ed "The Head Lab Rat" Hare, W1RFI, from HQ
Lab, for their inputs.

73 Rich K7SZ

PS: You say you don't have an SST. Don't let fear hold you back. The SST
is a great little kit, especially for beginning home-brewers and the
cost is minimal (after all it IS a Minimalist Radio). Cruise by
Wilderness Radio: www.fix.net/~jparker/wild.html and check it out. (NO
this is NOT an ad for Wilderness....I just like their gear!)


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