Saturday, August 4, 2018

Beginning construction of MiniKits 80m-630m transverter

UPDATE: Construction on hold awaiting replacement parts from MiniKits.

My 630m antenna is down for the thunderstorm season and won't see RF again until October. In the meantime I have received my transverter kit from MiniKits in Australia and have decided to begin construction despite not having an antenna for the finished product.

The plan is to use it with my Apache Labs Anan-10e for WSPR, JT65 and other digital modes once winter arrives.

Even without an antenna, I'll be able to test the finished transverter's receive and transmit capabilities with test equipment and take my time in getting it housed in the aluminum enclosure. Plus I like building kits and it's nice to have something to build that results in a unique product rather than yet another QRP rig. Been there, done that - times 20 or 30...

12v DC cord, circuit board and optional case & SMA connectors


The EME223-630M (a confusing name if there ever was one) is offered with an optional Hammond case and a pair of SMA connectors. I ordered both and the total with shipping to the US was ~ $150. One watt in on 3672-3679 kHz provides five watts out on 472-479 kHz. Full specs are on the MiniKits website.

Leaded components

A 9-page guide accompanies the kit and includes a detailed description, theory of operation, circuit diagram, parts list, bottom & top overlays, testing/alignment procedures and generalized construction steps. By "generalized" I mean that each individual component does not constitute its own step in the assembly procedure as with Elecraft, Heathkit, etc. Instead, it's more of a "install SMD components; now install leaded components; now wind the toroids" type of guide. More specific info is provided where necessary such as with the toroids, teflon spacers, tweezer use on SMD parts, etc.

Hardware and semiconductors

The kit consists of about 130 parts to be installed onto a high quality 2-7/8 X 4-1/4 inch glass-epoxy board. Among these parts are 3 toroids and 3 transformers (two bifilar; one trifilar) that must be wound. Detailed photos and descriptions of the transformers should remove any anxiety some beginning builders may have regarding these parts.

Capacitors and SMD parts

There are also 13 SMD parts. As with anything else, the proper tools ease what may otherwise be considered a daunting job - the proper tools for these parts are a steady hand, good lighting and an appropriately sized soldering iron tip. I'll be using my regular Hakko 936 soldering iron with a small tip and have no doubts about its suitability for this job.

And now to warm up the iron; more in the next few days...
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5 August
After a bit over two soldering hours later:


There is a discrepancy in the parts list. A quantity of one is listed for the 100uH inductor and only one was included - but that value is listed as needing to be installed in two places: L5 and L16. An email to MiniKits has been sent.


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