Club Construction Project Ideas

On the qrp-l mailing list, Brian KB9BVN writes:

I belong to a local ARC and we, like most clubs, are shrinking, and most say it is do to boredom. So I suggested we do a group build….half of them said, but “but we don’t know how to solder”. I’m guessing half or more of our 40 person membership is Tech or General…mostly no CW experience but they have a lot of interest in it.

So what I am looking for is a kit, that produces a useful doo-
hickey, and can be assembled by anyone with beginner level soldering skills. I think I will have about 16 people doing the build. I am guessing we will need to keep the costs to about $25 maximum, a lot of these folks are retirees and on fixed incomes.

There have been several suggestions already:

  • PicoKeyer. This was my suggestion based on our experience building this as a club project a couple of years ago.
  • Pixie2. This is a cute little kit, and only ten bucks. There are versions for every band. I’m not sure that these are really for novices, though. I’d be worried that the receivers aren’t very good, and at 200-300 mW output, it would be difficult to make contacts.
  • MKARS80. At $90, this QRP SSB rig is a little expensive, and maybe a little complex, for everyone to build, but it looks like a very cool project.

More as other ideas are posted.


  1. Here are some of the ones I have personally built. Any of them would
    seem to be a good club project.

    Small Wonder Labs SW-40+ (CW transceiver, currently available for 80m, 40m, 30m, 20m)
    USA $55 plus maybe $20-30 (Radio Shack prices) other miscellaneous
    parts you’ll need to finish the kit; you provide your own enclosure.
    SWL now seems to be offering their enclosure for sale again (separate
    purchase). Best of all, there is an Elmer class on building the SW-40+
    out in ‘netland:

    Small Wonder Labs Warbler (80m PSK-31 transceiver)
    USA $49, you provide the enclosure; free DigiPan software available.
    For a little more money, you can also get the PSK-20, PSK-30, and
    PSK-40 units.

    NorCal FCC-1 frequency counter
    USA $35, fits in Altoids tin (you provide)
    The one I built is good up to about 40MHz, someday I’ll get a chance
    to fool with a prescaler.

    New England QRP Club’s NEScaf (Switched Capacitive Audio Filter)
    USA $31, connector kit $4, you provide the enclosure.
    Quite helpful for operating CW. I haven’t tried the optional chip yet.

    AMQRP KMMT (Koch Morse Method Trainer)
    USA $15, you provide enclosure
    Generates practice code per Koch Method

    My apologies if some of the above are not currently available, that’s
    just the nature of the beast. Sometimes, if you don’t buy when the
    kit first becomes available you just miss out.

    73, Jim N9GTM

  2. Dan KB6NU says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, Jim. I know what you mean about availability, so no apologies necessary.

    73, Dan KB6NU

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