Pixie Project Completed Last Night

Last night, NCRC wrapped up a three meeting long Club Build Project of a 40-meter QRP Transceiver “Pixie” kit.

We packaged the inexpensive Chinese QRP kit with sockets for the crystal and final transistor, plus two additional crystals (7.030 and 7.040) to go along with the stock Extra Class-only 7.023 crystal.  About two dozen of them were purchased by members.

Over the past three meetings, we set up multiple assembly and test/rework stations. All but four kits worked immediately after assembly.  Two had cold solder joints.  One had a solder bridge.  The only “mystery” turned out to be a LM386 that was on the high-side of its maximum current spec, which caused its power source to collapse.  Everyone managed to get the right components into the right locations and there were no missing parts.  All of the kits produced from 300 to 400 milliwatts of output power.

Willy, W1LY, and Bob, WB4SON, have been messing around with improvements for the Pixie kit for several months.  Most of them have been documented on Bob’s website; you can see them here.

The Club wishes to thank our gracious host, KVH, for assisting us with assembly stations and space for the project, along with all the club mentors that were involved.

What might our next Club Build project be?  Something Arduino-ish, perhaps?

Club Meeting Monday April 10 @ 7 PM

In addition to a short business meeting 7 PM Monday April 10 at KVH Manufacturing (75 Enterprise Drive Middletown RI), we will have our final Pixie build/test night.  Four assembly stations will be available with mentors to help you complete your Pixie kit.  Then we will have at least two test stations that can verify transmit and receive function or help debug your assembled kit.

We hope everyone has enjoyed this project and appreciate KVH for giving us so much support the past three months.  Many folks have embarked on more ambitious QRP projects as well.

See you tomorrow!


New England QSO Party May 6 & 7

The NEQP is a great time to check out antenna systems and offers a moderately paced opportunity to work new states and countries.   You’ll find a wide variety of participants, from newcomers to experienced contesters, all interested in making contacts with New England stations.

We’re working to make sure that all of the New England counties are active again this year and would appreciate your help.  Get on for at least an hour or two and join in on the fun.  Please let me know if you can put in any time at all so we can work on activity from the rarest counties.   Will you be QRV?   Let us know which county you’ll be on from with a message to info@neqp.org

Oh yes, the NEQP is also lots of fun when mobile.  Every time you cross a county line the action starts over again.   It’s amazing what a 100w radio and mobile whip can do.

The QSO Party is 20 hours long overall, in two sections with a civilized break for sleep Saturday night.  It goes from 4pm Saturday until 1am Sunday, then 9am Sunday until 8pm Sunday.  Operate on CW, SSB and digital modes on 80-40-20-15-10 meters.   For each QSO you’ll give your callsign, a signal report and your county/state.   Top scorers can earn a plaque and everyone who makes 25 QSOs and sends in a log will get a certificate.

Last year we had logs from 179 New England stations and 300 more from around the country and world.

The full rules are here ->  http://www.neqp.org/rules.html

Raspberry Pi Net 1st & 3rd Monday at 0230 UTC on REF038C

Now that the W1AAD DSTAR repeater is back on the air, there might be some interest in participating in (or listening to) the Raspberry Pi Net which meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the Month on Reflector 38C.

You can change the link over to 38C by keying your rig and pressing the “*38C” DTMF keys, or by adding a “REF038CL” to your UR list.

Please be aware that the repeater will automatically relink to Reflector 69C after 25 minutes of inactivity, or you could put it back there when you are done by sending “*69C” or using “REF069CL” from your UR list.

There is also a rather active Facebook Group called “Raspberry Pi Amateur Radio” with almost 3,000 users. https://www.facebook.com/groups/251260325054240/

W1AAD Software Updates Complete

The W1AAD repeater software upgrades have been completed.  We now have full G3, DPLUS, and ircDDBGateway features.  The new G3 features are pretty obscure and don’t operate without purchasing the latest Icom gear like the ID-51APLUS2, so the repeater not usually be in that mode.

The repeater will normally be in the ircDDBGateway mode and connected to Reflector 69C, which services CT, RI, and Western MA.

You can tell what mode the repeater is in by viewing the “Dashboard” status screen, or by the voice announcements.  A female voice means ircDDBGateway, and a male voice means pure Icom G3.

W1AAD running ircDDBGateway Mode

W1AAD running Pure Icom G3 mode