Sunday, July 14, 2019

25 years ago - the Norcal Sierra (new availability)

One of the QRP transceiver kits designed by a pre-Elecraft Wayne Burdick N6KR was the Norcal Sierra in 1994.

The rig used plug-in band modules for 15-80 meters and was quite popular, as were its brethren, the SST and Norcal 40. After a few initial runs by Norcal (Northern California QRP Club) sales were handled for many years by now-defunct Wilderness Radio.

Nostalgia is a key component of our hobby - at least for those who've been in it long enough - and, to satiate those so inflicted, the Norcal Sierra's key components are now available from Germany.

From Stefan DM5TU:


Hi all,

With permission of Wayne Burdick, N6KR, OM Dirk, DH4YM and me - sTef DM5TU / VY1QRP are able to provide industry quality pcbs for your SIERRA project build.

The SIERRA Mainboard pcb is based on the Rev. B from 1994 as shown e.g. in the ARRL Handbook 1996/7/8. The band module pcb is good for all SIERRA versions, the original 1996 ARRL Handbook version as well as for the later version sold commercially by WILDERNESS RADIO.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Flex and Elecraft

Before news of the K4, Elecraft and Flex were not directly comparable - each company's radios used very different architecture. Now that the direct-sampling K4 is scheduled for delivery sometime around the end of the year I find myself wondering which company I'd go with if I were in mind to upgrade.

My main transceiver for the past 5 years has been a Flex 6300. Before that it was a K3. Throughout the whole time, I've been a daily reader of each company's online mailing list and it's hard not to weigh the pros and cons of these American makers of first-rate gear, each still with very different philosophies despite new similarity in the equipment they produce.

In Flex's favor:

I've only needed tech support once and it was made available to me immediately. The technician TeamView'ed into my PC, found the set-up problem and fixed it while I was on the phone with him. It took less than 10 minutes, was handled promptly and I've never had any other issues with my Flex, its software or the many 3rd party programs that work in conjunction with it. Despite Windows and despite what some naysayers spew, my Flex has been a solid performer - and I say that primarily as a CW DXer who dabbles in FT8.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Web page now available for Lab599 Discovery transceiver

Details of this soon-to-be-released SDR transceiver are here.


Monday, July 1, 2019

41 dB step attenuator kit from QRPKits

Last week I ordered a step attenuator kit from QRPKits and received it 4 days later. This afternoon I spent 45 minutes putting it together and am happy with the result and overall quality of the kit.

Two years ago I built the "Damn Reliable Attenuator" from Kees K5BCQ and have used it periodically. So why another step attenuator?

Monday, June 24, 2019

Upcoming: "Organic 5Watter QRP Transceiver" kit

Very small circuit board for 5Watter (3.5" square)
As a follow-up to his popular 1Watter kits first offered for sale about 3 years ago Diz is now in the process of developing a monoband 5 watt transceiver kit available in your choice of 20, 30 or 40 meters.