Sunday, May 07, 2017

This is May?

For the 7th of May, I would be expecting warmer temperatures. The last week has been on the chilly side and rainy, not very May-like at all! This time of year normally fills my head with ideas of heading out to a park and setting up the station in the nice, warm sunshine.  Today, I was happy to stay indoors, where it was nice and warm.

I purchased one of those 4 States Crickets and am looking forward to building it and getting it on the air. However, I need to do something about a transmatch first.  The KX3 has the built in autotuner, and while I have an Emtech ZM-2 tuner, that stays in my portable ops backpack.

A while back I had purchased, also from the 4 States Group, one of their 4-S Tuners.

I realized I needed a good QRP antenna tuner for my various QRP transmitters and transceivers; and this seemed to be a very good little unit that would fit my needs, nicely. Today was a good day to sit down at the bench and do some building.

It's not a difficult kit to assemble, but at the same time it might surprise you.  This is a kit that's a hybrid between "standard" kit building and homebrew.  I say that, because while the kit comes with a printed circuit board/top cover, it's a bit different from what you might be used to.

There are no through-holes, just pads that are reminiscent of Manhattan style construction.  But since the pads are not hard wired together, but are connected by circuit board traces, the 4 States Group refers to this as "Pittsburgh Construction".

The first step was building the main inductor. It looked more complicated than it turned out to be.

The rest of the components went on easily enough. It kind of reminded me of my old days at Sinar Bron when the first SMD circuit boards came out in the studio strobes that we sold. At the time, we had no SMD devices to repair them with, so we took regular discrete components and just soldered them to the SMD pads. You do what you have to, right?

In just a couple of hours, most of the work was done. 

This photo doesn't show it, but I got the two polyvaricon capacitors mounted and all that's left for me to do is construct the rest of the enclosure, which are pieces of circuit board material which will solder together. The final steps shouldn't take too long and then it will be on to the Cricket.

This little unit will get a workout. Besides the Cricket, I have various other monoband QRP transceivers and transmitters that will now be able to be hooked up to the W3EDP.  The plan is that this unit will stay in the shack and the Emtech will stay in the backpack.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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