Note: the website requires the use of Chrome browser in order to see the graph that is necessary for the BFO calibration.
Before the calibration, it was difficult to tune stations as they often appeared to be on the wrong sideband. Afterwards, the radio operated as expected.
There is nothing in the assembly or set-up instructions on performing this calibration. That, and the fact that so many builders (myself included) are reporting missing parts - and extra parts in some cases - gives me the impression of poor implementation of this kit's introduction.
Its performance on CW adds to that impression - first characters are not transmitted. In fact, the rig does not even switch from receive to transmit until several Morse characters have been sent. Compensating for this, I sent several V's, then initiated a CQ which was spotted by several stations on the Reverse Beacon Network.
Fortunately, no one answered my CQ - a CW QSO with the necessity of sending jibberish before beginning with the actual content of the QSO would be comical at best and make one sound like a lid on the air.
My first SSB QSO was moments ago with special event station W2T in Trenton NJ.
Receive audio sounds great. Transmitted audio was reported as less than good, which is to be expected in a radio of this price - I think of it as "room for tinkering".
I am not that charitable for the earlier criticisms such as the CW keying, missing parts (which were minor hardware parts) or poor documentation. These are fair criticisms regardless of the rig's low price.
Here's the SSB QSO on 20 meters:
With the rig's price and shortcomings, it provides a great basis for tinkering and the learning that comes with that. But prior to buying one I think people need to know what they're getting:
- Those who are expecting all the features (few that they are) to work as we've come to expect commercial rigs to work will be disappointed.
- Those who want to learn about transceiver design without having to build one from scratch will see the uBITX as a great starter platform.
If you buy one, I recommend that you do it with this in mind.
My buddy Thomas K4SWL is also in the process of building, learning and using a uBITX (v6) and will be reviewing it in an upcoming issue of Radcom. You can read about his results here.