Microwave Journal
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QSO Today Expo Announces Virtual Live Kit Building Workshops

February 12, 2021

The QSO Today Virtual Ham Radio Expo scheduled for March 13-14, 2021 announced that it will offer an exciting “buildathon” of four live virtual kit building workshops.  Workshop instructors will take participants through building a variety of different kits.  Kits will be available for purchase and delivered prior to the Expo so attendees can build from the convenience of their homes.  Attendees who are unable to participate during the Live period on March 13-14 can order and build kits by watching the workshop videos during the on-demand period following the Expo through April 12, 2021.

The workshop kits are practical and fun to build!  Kit prices range from $15 to $30 and are targeted to newer hams / beginners as well as experienced builders. Early bird discount tickets and links to purchase kits can be found at the QSO Today Expo website. Since there is shipping time to get kits to attendees, hams that want to participate should purchase their Expo tickets and kits immediately.

Details of each of the four workshops are as follows:

Build it!  The NS-40 QRP Transmitter
Instructors:  David Cripe, NM0S; Virginia Smith

The NS-40 is a 'No-Simpler' design, only 14 components, yet delivers 5 W of RF at 7.030 MHz from 12 V.  This is an ideal first kit for budding homebrewers and will also appeal to the seasoned QRPer due to it's innovative design. Just because this is a simple transmitter, doesn't mean that there is a compromise in performance. The transmitter incorporates a two transistor master oscillator-power amplifier circuit, with a 2N7000 crystal oscillator driving the IRF510 Class E final. Both are keyed for a clean, click-and-chirp-free signal. The innovative low pass filter provides harmonic rejection to greater than -50 dBc. The signal is a clean >5 W into a 50 ohm load. Using the rugged and low-cost IRF510 MOSFET this transmitter utilizes a Class-E final amplifier for maximum efficiency and reliability. 

Learn to Solder
Instructors:  Rex Harper, W1REX; Stephen Houser, N1SH

This workshop will introduce wannabe kit builders to the basic tools and techniques of building electronic kits. Participants will build a custom, self contained  20 m transmitter kit, called the 20 Meter Sender, designed specifically for this workshop.  It includes a built-in key and 9 V battery.  This 20 m QRPpp transmitter kit is a fairly simple build.  It has enough components to perform a useful function but not too many so it becomes a difficult project. Traces and pads are large so the kit is largely “bullet proof” in order to endure the untrained skills of beginner solderers. 

Build a Kit!  Building the Cric-Key
Instructor:  Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB

The Cric-Key is a simple CW keyer with paddle, well suited for not only use at home, but in the field as well.  This kit is designed to complement 4SQRP's popular CRICKET series of QRP transceivers with a useful and easy-to build keyer circuit. High-quality, double sided printed circuit board construction is used, with solder mask and silk screened component reference designators. All components are through-hole for easy assembly. The CRIC-KEY can be constructed by beginners as well as experienced builders. Construction time is approximately 30 to 90 minutes, depending on experience level.

Let’s BUILD Something!  (The Mini-Sudden Receiver)
Instructors: Rex Harper, W1REX; Stephen Houser, N1SH

Participants will build the Mini-Sudden, a pocket and mint tin friendly direct conversion 20 m receiver. It is a time tested direct conversion receiver that just simply WORKS!  The Mini-Sudden receiver is mint tin friendly and comes complete with a pair of 20 m crystals. While it is more of an intermediate level kit due to the density and close soldering tolerances of the parts, it can still be built by beginning builders who exercise care while soldering.

Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, QSO Today host said, “at this Expo we decided to have a series of exciting virtual group buildathon kit building workshops that will be fun to build as well as practical to use in the ham shack. It’s the first time that anything like this has been done in a virtual format.  We will then use the feedback from workshop participants and instructors to offer many more workshops at future Expos. We are committed to improving every Expo to ensure that our attendees continue to get a world-class user experience and our Expo buildathon is another step in that direction.”