The $21 QRP Antenna Tuner Kit

It’s dirt cheap. Heat up your soldering iron, because you have to assemble it yourself. Capable of handling 15 Watts (probably not for too long) and usable up to 30 MHz.

Great fun for almost nothing, just what QRP fans love. One drawback: you better start practicing on winding toroids (my favorite pastime… NOT).

You can order one here, shipping is free.

tuner-1tuner 2tuner 3tuner schematics

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Time on your hands? Build a BitX20.

Once upon a time in the West, there was a ham building everything himself. It was me. Now, many decades later, all I do is repairs. Only little gadgets, such as a remote controlled timer for a repeater, are designed and built here. That’s about it.

Since this morning I’m keeping an eye on the blog of Edwin PA1ED. Just like Alex PA1SBM, he’s involved up to his ears in the BitX20 project. When I read their blogs, all that BitX20 building sometimes seems a bit of a masochistic way to kill time.

One thing is for sure, they are probably better at it than I am. I just got old and rusty. Darn.

BitX20

Edwin’s BitX20 Project. Note the salvaged CB radio parts.

It’s time for me to do something similar, but can’t make up my mind yet. One of the candidates is the Youkits TJ2B. Seems like fun, and we have a Dutch distributor.

youkits TJ2B

Suddenly your QRP station looks pathetic

The two Voyage spacecraft have had an amazing track record. They were sent to photograph planets like Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune and have just kept on going past the outer edge of the solar system. Voyager 1 is currently over 7 billion miles (about 11 billion kilometers) away from Earth and is still transmitting — it takes about 10 hours for the signal to travel from the spacecraft to Earth.

voyager1

The Voyager spacecrafts use 23-Watt radios. This is more than the 3 Watts a typical cell phone uses, but in the grand scheme of things it is still a low-power transmitter. Big radio stations on Earth transmit at tens of thousands of Watts and they still fade out fairly quickly. Seven billion miles away, 23 Watts output – this equals to 304.347.826 miles per Watt…. beat that!