The QCX – a Nifty Little Gadget

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 10:40 am in



So yesterday (it was a Sunday) I had a lot to do, but nothing more important than to cut open the wrappings of the 20m QCX kit that I purchased from QRP-Labs a few months ago. Yes, it was still lying in its protective wrappings after all this time. Work is seriously interfering with my hobbies.

At first when I shook out all the packets with all the little parts into a tray (standard practise), it was a little intimidating. It wasn’t just a small Ultimate3S kit which I can build with my eyes closed in less than an hour. Instead of taking shortcuts (which the documentation warns against) I decided to follow the manual. That in itself was the best advice ever – the 138 page manual is clear and laid out in logical order.

I did take a few shortcuts, purely because I have one of those cute assembly rigs where you can insert the components, hold then in place with a foam block, then flip it over to solder all the leads at once. I did all the caps in the first round, and all the resistors second round. I have a habit of checking each solder joint when I snip the wire and in this case the unit worked first time.

The slowest part of the construction was the toroids. Not because it is difficult, but because my eyes are not so good any more and I have to work under the magnifying light which restricts movement a little. Each one of the 8 wires must be inserted in the correct hole with a tweezer or small longnose.

My PCB is a version 1 so I did the two recommended modifications.

All-in-all a very viable kit and very enjoyable to build and use. I particularly liked the idea of the little microswitch “hand-pump” which gave me no end of giggles.