Glance in the shack
I use "only" a QRP station and the appropriate equipment for it.
The major part of the equipment are developed from kits, some are also really and truly homebrewed.
Only a very small section consists of ready-made devices.
Sometimes I would like to use also a fullsize beam for 80 m, but it works amazing also with smaller antennas. If you don't believe me and dreaming further of the ideal antenna (which you never build), so consider: Any antenna is better than no antenna!
At this webpage you will find transceivers, antenna tuners and antennas.
QRP-Plus, Index Laboratories
The first transceiver, which I used, was a ready-made device. It delivers an output until 5 W and can be used for all bands from 160 to 10 m.
I used this transceiver (#0815) so far only in the operating mode CW, although he is meant for SSB also. Its simple operation surprised me much. No key too much and no useless junk. Unfortunately this transceiver is not any longer manufactured. The manufacturer was Index Laboratories.
The photo here comes from JH6RTO, since I sold my transceiver sometime but had not photographed it before.
Green Mountain 15, Small Wonder Labs
My first self-builded CW transceiver was a single-bander for 15 m. By the structure as superhet it is not neccessary to use a high working frequency of the VFO. Thus a good temperature-stability is attainable. The crystal filter with 900 Hz wide permits a good separation to neighbouring stations. With an output of 2 W and a tuning range of 100 kHz one can operate well on the whole CW area.
The transceiver let me collect as ZS/DK3RED my first experiences on the other end of a DX connection. Unfortunately this transceiver kit is not any longer manufactured. The manufacturer was Small Wonder Labs.
Modifications: Since the monitoring tone was too loud for me, I made a modification in the AF section. Since the transceiver possesses from house no frequency counter, it was re-tooled by me with a counter without current.
Green Mountain 10, Small Wonder Labs
Fast a second single-bander for 10 m followed the first built CW transceiver. By the structure as superhet it is not neccessary to use a high working frequency of the VFO. Thus a good temperature-stability is attainable. The crystal filter with 900 Hz wide permits a good separation to neighbouring stations. With an output of 1.5 W and a tuning range of 80 kHz one can operate well on the whole CW area. Unfortunately this transceiver kit is not any longer manufactured. The manufacturer was Small Wonder Labs.
Modifications: Since me the monitoring tone was much too loud, I made the same modification in the AF section like by the Green Montain 15. Since the transceiver possesses from house no frequency counter, it was re-tooled by me with a counter without current.
NorCal40A, Wilderness Radio
This transceiver is a compact device for the 40 m band, which was optimized for portable and battery operation. It has a very small current consumption of for instance 15 mA in the case of receipt. As another characteristics the RIT, the gentle transmit-receive switching is to call the check of the output signal and the variable power output of up to 3 W. A tuning range from 35 to 40 kHz is sufficient for the CW area. It's no problem to reach with this transceiver Japan with 3 W output! The manufacturer was Wilderness Radio. This transceiver was also buyable from QRPproject.
Modifications: In the first step I replaced the simple potentiometer for the "VFO Tune" with a 10-turn potentiometer. Thereby you can turn the frequency more delicate than before. For the transceiver Wilderness Radio offered a combined keyer-frequency counter named KC1, however I replaced simple the normal knob in the second step with a counter without current.
NorCal40A, Wilderness Radio (modified)
I did not create it so far yet to structure this transceiverds. It is still situated as pile of electrical elements in a box in the shack. The necessary modifications for the operation of the 40 m basic version to 80 m are specified in the owner manual. The manufacturer was Wilderness Radio. This transceiver was also buyable from QRPproject.
On May 10, 2000 a new K2 by Elecraft was "born", which take notice of the name #01118 and which is usable in the basic version for CW on all bands from 80 to 10 m with until 10 W. This transceiver is also buyable from QRPproject. In the meantime are now installed in the transceiver an internal battery, an 160 m modul, a second RX input, an AF filter and an internal automatic tuner. Additional in the meantime I solved some modifications for it, to upgrade it's performance and to adapt it to my requirements.
Peter Solf, DK1HE, styled in the year 2002 for the German QRP club CW monoband transceivers. This transceivers for 80 until 17 m was buyable from QRPproject. It should got really a ceramic resonator in it's VFO, but it existed strong and not to master drift problems, so a DDS VFO was inset. Thereby the transceiver received features, which been not realized before: RIT, XIT, keyer, variable tuning steps. The DDS VFO was designed by Steve Weber, KD1JV. The name of the transceiver is the German word for the bird sparrow. The receiver own a sensivity of 0.3 µV and a 8-pole crystal filter with a band width of 400 Hz. The robustly power amplifier of the transmitter can handle 5 W, which can one reduce. The current consumtion is during receiving 80 mA and during transmitting with 5 W output power only 630 mA.
On 30 January 2009 the K1 with the name #2682 saw the antenna plug to the world after a problem-free building. This transceiver by Elecraft is usable for CW with an output power until 5 W. The production of the K1 was now been discontinued. I have builded my K1 with the 4-band filter board (KFL1-4) for 40, 30, 20 and 17 m. The K1 is also available as 2-band-version, whereat two bands are selectable between 80 and 15 m. In the meantime I have installed the antenna tuner (KAT1). This transceiver and the option are also buyable from QRPproject.
In March 2017 I acquired with the Elecraft KX3 (#09479) a transceiver, which was as an exception not a kit. This transceiver by Elecraft allows CW, SSB, AM, FM and Digimode with an output power up to 10 W on all band from 160 to 6 m, including 60 m. If you want you van add also modules for 4 an 2 m. I acquired the transceiver and the options by the QRPproject. They also took the installation of the desired options. I have just equiped my KX3 with an internal wide area ATU (KXAT3) and a pass-band-roofing filter (KXFL3). Also, I have ordered the small hand-held microphone MH3 − I have enough of Morse keys.
QRP Automatik Tuner, LDG
The QRP autotuner by LDG Electronics is a full featured auto or semi automatic antenna tuner designed for RF transmitters (1.8 to 30 MHz) using 0.1 to 10 W (30 W at 50 % duty cycle CW or SSB).
The tuner use a switched configuration with 8 capacitors (256 variations), 8 inductors (256 variations) and Hi/Lo-Z settings to provide over 131000 tuning combinations. The network works great with just about any coax feded antenna (dipole, vertical, beam, etc.). It can be optimized to work with balanced line feded antennas (and random wires) with a 4:1 or 6:1 balun (not provided). It is possible to tune impedances from about 6 to about 800 Ω. This corresponds to an SWR of about 8:1 for Low-Z and 10:1 for Hi-Z.
Tuning time has been improved to between 0.1 and 3 seconds with an average time of 1.5 seconds.
Operation of the tuner is auto or semi automatic. In auto mode, the tuner will seek a 1.5 match anytime the SWR is above 3. In semi mode, the tuner will only seek a match when the tune input line is grounded. Both modes require that more than 0.1 W of RF power be present. Up and down input lines are provided for fine tuning the inductors and capacitors an can be used in either mode.
Four outputs to LEDs provide an indication of SWR an status. It is possible to indicates standing wave ratio lower 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 and greater 3. The fourth LED is a tuning indicator. It is lit when the tuner is trying to find a match.
Result: Easy to built and easy to use. Good for QRP!
In the meantime I still made a few modifications for the QRP Automatic Tuner, which facilitates the work with it.
As follower there was the version Z11 with latch relais, so that the tuner consume after tuning next to nothing current. In addition the tuning algorithm was modified, so the tuning process is quicker.
The ZM-2 by Emtech tunes unbalance fed antennas (for example long wires, windowms, short wires) and balance fed antennas (for example dipols, loops, verticals) and tunes out coax fed antenna mismatches. It was also buyable from QRPproject. Does all the above at 80 thru 10 m, and usually much faster then other ATUs until 15 W maximal. In the ZM-2 there is visual SWR indicator. It is usable for output power until 15 W and from 80 until 10 m.
You can use the ZM-2 in the field and at home in the shack. An evening project for many, maybe two evenings for others. Two big knobs for vernier tuning because the ZM-2 tunes so sharp. One large and one small toroid to wind. Very easy construction via pictorial drawings. All parts furnished, including a stick-on panel layout. Wire is furnished. Kit is complete, no other parts to try to find. Size is 13 × 7 × 4 cm.
Tuner for multiband Fuchs antenna, Frank Lamprecht, DL7AQT
The Fuchs Antenna got its name from the Austrian radio amateur named Fuchs, who first decribed it in 1928. It was a monoband endfeed half wave dipole. The length of the antenna should be a ½ λ or a multiple of it. For 3.5 MHz you need about 41 m.
These tuner for a multiband antenna was design by Frank Lamprecht, DL7AQT, and published 2002 in the QRP-Report. You can match any endfeeded antenna wire there development on all bands between 10 and 80 m! A short description of this from QRPproject buyable antenna is available.
ZM-4, Peter Zenker, DL2FI
The antenna tuner ZM-2 by Emtech do not matchs antennas with a low feet point impedance. In addition it is practical unusable for 160 m. Hence Peter, DL2FI, looked around in the WWW and make some experiments. Based on the informations by Charlie Lofgren, W6JJZ, and Lloyd Butler, VK5BR, the ZM-4 originated from the ZM-2, which is buyable from QRPproject. It is usable from 160 until 10 m and matchs also antennas with a very high and very low feet point impedance. However the mechanical design (wiring by the ZM-2) was simplified by courtesy of a printed circuit board.
Multiband vertical using the Fibreglass Telescope Tower FTT, Walter Spieth, DK9SQ
I live in a multi-family house with 3 floors. Since I do not have the possibility for the use of a constantly structured antenna, I use a diagonal vertical antenna on my balcony.
This consists of a 10 m long fibreglass telescope pole FTT by Walter Spieth, DK9SQ (since 2008 avaiable at WiMo). The pole could be fastened with a few clips very well on the balcony. Slipping away the base of the pole is prevented by two narrow steel strips, which connect the base of the pole with the balcony lattice inside. The pole protrudes 8.9 m over the balcony lattice. Around the free end of this pole are wound 10 m wire.
An automatic tuner at the feed-point (in a weatherproof sheet metal chassis) permits a use of this antenna for all bands between 80 and 10 m. As ground system thereby the metallic balcony lattice serves. The feed-point of the antenna is "only" 4 m above ground.
If I am not "on air", the antenna can be pushed together within 1 minute and disappears then almost completely behind the balcony lattice. A description of the vertical antenna on the balcony is available.
MP-1, Super Antennas and follower HF-P1
You don't have enough space, in order to transport and/or develop an antenna? Then the MP-1 by Super Antennas, Vern Wright (SK), W6MMA, is exactly the correct antenna for you. The antenna is as HF-P1 with metric threads also buyable from QRPproject. This multi-band antenna can be stowed away problem-free together with the Transceiver in a bag and simply developed. It's maximum length in dismounted condition amounts only 27 cm (37 cm at the HF-P1, due to its longer metal rods).
For the development it requires only a point, to attach it. And this point can be e.g. already the table, at which you sits. After one attached a coaxial cable and put the provided radials to the baseplate, you can kick-off. The antenna can be tuned from 40 to 10 m simply by shifting the metal cylinder. The cylinder serves thereby at the same time as tapping for the coil and as condenser. If a perpendicular development is not be possible, the antenna can be installed also tilted. A telescope at the upper end of the metal cylinder improves its effectiveness. The scope of delivery include belong the antenna with the baseplate, the radials from flat ribbon cable and and a small fastening clamp. I have already reached the other side of the Atlantic with this antenne, but one should not expect miracles from it.
In the meantime a ham in my hometown produced for me two additional alumnium rods with non-metrical threads at its ends. These are as long as the coil, so the transport together with the coil is not a problem. When it is in use a better match is to achieve − but I haven't measured it. The HF-P1 is avaiable always with two long rods.
Can antenna, Arthur Wenzel, DL7AHW
The MicroVert by Jürgen Schäfer, DL7PE, based on foreign sources was described briefly in different places. But his version could not inspire me, since the necessary pipe lengths in the lower amateur radio bands become very fast unmanageable. After Arthur Wenzel DL7AHW read the description in the antenna magazine AntenneX, he improved the original. In order to build also such an antenna, read the description of the construction of the can antenna. Where can you buy this antenna? In the bottle store next to you. The photo on the right is the antenna version by Peter, DL2FI, which is named "Cudgel of Berlin".
18m fibreglas telescope mast, Spiderbeam
Especially QRPers should not be stingy with the antennas. At the beginning of August 2006 me reached via a mailing list the first news of the existence of an 18 m long telescope mast by Spiderbeam. The tip towers above the sixth floor of a house! Up to this time I used only the 10 m long mast by DK9SQ for a multiband vertical or other antenna constructions. With the new mast antenna constructions move closer now, which were unattainable so far because of tie points lacking. The mast is well transportable. How would it be to set up with theses mast a vertical antenna for 80m or an wire pyramid? Look at my experiences with this mast.
Multi-band antenna to use out and about
Questions raise again and again, if someone want to be select the right antenna for an activity outside the domestic radio station. I looked for example a suitable antenna for my transceiver Elecraft K1, which is usable for 40, 30, 20, 17 m and comprise an internal antenna tuner. Developed a multi-band antenna, which can be adapted to the respectively found locations.
10 m GFK Mast Mini, DX-Wire
Particularly who goes on journeys with his radio station, who has again and again problems with the antenna transport. The standart length for 10 m long telescope masts is about 1.15 m (independently of the fabricator). Such a long thing fits usually no longer into the suit-case, so it is necessary to check-in the mast e.g. with an travel by air separately as bulky luggage. A transport length of only 67 cm possesses 10 m GFK Mast Mini by DX-Wire. Regardless the mast is uncompressed 10 m long. The 17 segments have diameters from 4 to 48 mm. It weights 1.3 kg and will supplied with a fabric bag.
6 m GFK Portable Mast, Lambdahalbe
If you still looking for another shorter and lighter mast than the 10 m GFK Mast Mini, then there also the 6 m GFK Portable Mast by Lambdahalbe. It possesses a transport length of 57 cm, uncompressed 5,85 m and weighs only 650 g. The 12 segments have diameters from 1.5 to 38 mm. The mast is delivered with a slip-resistant coat, which makes it relatively sheltered from damages if compressed. As indicated by the dealer, it is a fishing rod used by fishermen. I stripped the coat off one mast. There is a rod of Geologic inside. If you want to erect the mast vertical you should keep away the mast from lateral wires with large forces. However the mast is the best way suitable for a vertical antenna. And it even still fits into a backpack.