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Homebrew portable equipment


Hi All,

Just thought some you might want to see the CW transceiver I’ve just finished. I starting building this rig in March 1999! I’ve recently been putting the Sparkford in an aluminium box to allow me to use this rig for SOTA. I bought the PCB from Walford Electronics. The Sparkford is no longer available, but G3PCJ (Tim Walford) does make a very similar kit called the Brent, which I presume is an updated design. Website:


I can really recommend Tim’s kits, they are good quality and the instructions are very clear. The price is also reasonable, although of course kits from the USA can be cheaper due to the strength of the Dollar.

My next portable rig will hopefully be a Rock-Mite 20. I have an Altoids tin ready and waiting. My rig has been ordered, but there is a backlog.

Pic of my Sparkford here:

73 and hope to work someone from the Summit with the Sparkford very soon!

Colin M0CGH


In reply to M0CGH:

Looks like a nice job Colin I hope you can make good use of it on the summits. I have just ordered a couple of SoftRock RxTx Version 6.2 (Software Defined Radio), one for 80 and one for 40m. I will just need a PC that will fit in a matchbox then I can use them on the hills. ;0)

Regards Steve GW7AAV 73


In reply to GW7AAV:

I will just need a PC that will fit in a matchbox
then I can use them on the hills.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mm0fmf/2483108545/ and dump the 817 if you have 2x Softrocks



In reply to M0CGH:

My next portable rig will hopefully be a Rock-Mite 20…
Hi Colin

I’ve built and boxed (and used) a RockMite 40 and I’ve built a RockMite 20 (not boxed or used yet)

It was great fun and went together in an evening. I have only used the 40 from home and to be honest it’s “interesting” with just the 500 mW (thank goodness for CW) although I have had a couple of reasonably solid QSO’s with OK land. I still haven’t used it for an activation as I’m a tad concerned about the QRPp power.

In the meantime I have an ATS-3B (from KD1JV) to build and I’ve ordered the new PFR-3 (from Doug Hendricks at qrpkits.com)… which looks like a useful SOTA type kit for reasonable money.

Good luck with your next one!

73 Marc G0AZS


In reply to G0AZS:

Hi Marc, ok on your concerns about the low power from the Rock-Mite. It would only be a bit of fun anyway, I’d also probably take the FT817 or handy along too on a SOTA activation, just to make sure I qualified the summit. Of course I’m stuck to 2 ‘channels’ around 14.060 MHz too, so that will make a QSO challenging also.

It seems that the power put out by the Rock-Mite is unique to each rig. Ive seen output quoted as low as 375 mW on some websites.

I like the building of rigs more than the operating, but it would be nice to have at least one QSO from each rig to prove it works!

Ok Steve on the SoftRock, I’ve had a look at these rigs in the past, but I consider PC’s as a neccessary evil! I wouldn’t want to lug a laptop up a summit! Andy’s laptop looks quite portable though. I’ll stick to dials and switches I think!

Good luck with the SoftRock, I’ve heard they perform very well.

I’m looking for a 7MHz kit now for CW, but I’m yet to come across one I like enough, apart from the TenTec 3w TCVR, which comes with hardware too. I don’t know whether I can justify the £90 ish though!

73 Colin