I posted on Twitter about starting a RockMite build, with a photo. I’d acquired a QRPme case from a ham who’d lost interest in his RockMite after struggling with the, frankly, confusing instructions.
I was gifted the broken RockMite along with the case for spares.
I know the RockMite like the back of my hand so with a bit of TLC and a few jumpers over the damaged tracks, I was able to get the broken board working, but that’s another story.
RockMite 17m built into the gifted case.
In response to my Tweet, I saw a comment from a ham stating that he’d missed out on the RockMite kits and now there’s none for sale in the UK after Kanga Products had changed hands a couple of times. I replied by PM that I could probably help, so I agreed to build one of my home brew RockMite clones for him.
I finished building the rig yesterday but upon power up, everything worked apart from the receiver was exceptionally quiet. Doh! That’ll teach to to build first and then test! After a bit of thought, theory and testing, I decided that the SMT mixer chip must be faulty. Thankfully I was able to get in a change the mixer chip without having to disassemble the rig.
After I’d changed the mixer chip, the rig burst into life and I was able to show a 790Hz frequency shift between RX and TX, using my FT-817 as a reciever and the ‘Spectroid’ app on my smartphone. I saw a very typical 330mW RF output on TX from a 12v supply.
I always like to test drive a new build into an actual antenna and since I don’t have an antenna at home, it usually means going out for a SOTA activation.
Today is International QRP day (held on 17th June each year), so there really isn’t a more fitting day to test a QRP rig!
Whernside is probably the easiest summit to get to from my QTH, it’s about 15-20 minutes in the car and around 30 minutes on foot - I can be at the top of Yorkshire’s highest mountain in around an hour!
The wind was quite strong but I guyed the pole and the antenna stayed up. The little QRP rig worked like a charm, it seems to be a good build (these rigs seem to have their own character!). I worked 16 stations in around 20 minutes before I had no more callers. I consider the rig ready to go to it’s new home.
An enjoyable little outing!
Happy QRP day!