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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Notes From the Dominican Republic on possible uBITX mods

It was really great to have the multiband and CW/SSB capabilities of the uBITX with me in the Dominican Republic.  And even with my large wooden box, the rig and all its accouterments fit into my carry on baggage (and there were no problems with airport security). (In the picture above you can see the cloth case that held the whole station, including the antenna.)  

As I used the rig, I thought about possible mods for future operations.   Here are some ideas: 

-- Filter for CW?  Definitely.  Farhan suggested switching in a more narrow 12 MHz IF filter for CW operations, but that seems like a bit too much work.  I am going to try to use an audio frequency filter.  I've ordered the active CW filter from QRPguys.  I've long been intrigued by these kinds of filters, but they didn't seem very wirthwhile with a DC receiver.  With a superhet like the uBITX they make a whole lot more sense. 

-- Sidetone volume control.   Need it, especially with fellow vacationers trying to sleep nearby.  Should be easy -- just a pot on the side-tone line.

-- Low impedance mono headphones.  Need them.  

-- An LED light for logging.  Would help. 

-- Switch to turn off the 16X2 display to save power?  I thought about this but I checked after we got back and the whole display pulls only about 20 ma.   So it probably isn't worth it to put in a switch. 

-- Internal protective cover for the uBITX board.    I used the extra space in my big wooden box to store the key, the mic, the battery, the tuner, etc.    They all bounce around a bit and could damage the uBITX board.  So I will try to build in some internal physical shielding, perhaps from a BITX plastic box. 

-- Brass contacts for my homebrew CW key.   I think brass is better than the copper foil I am currently using.  I already did this with some brass bolts from the local hardware store.  Mush improved.  Pounding brass is better than pounding copper tape. 

-- I installed an additional stage of microphone amplification but I have this stage running even on receive.  But I checked and the amount of current pulled by this stag is so small that it is not even worth changing the power supply line. 

--  Reduce output to below 5 watts on CW.   To make the rig "QRP Compliant."  

In the pictures you can also see my homebrew straight key, the QRPguys EFHW tuner, my mic (the original SolderSmoke podcast mic!), the 3 amp-hour LiPo battery, the additional stage of mic amplification.   The little relay that you see just above the mic amp allows for the keying of an external amplifier. 


  1. Fine business.
    A plastic food storage container might work for the internal cover.

  2. SSDRA pg 82 has a nice 1k low pass audio filter, it uses 5 transistors and it is on the larger size, but it works well, has no ringing, and some gain to boot. I love mine. Ed KC8SBV

  3. The W1FB DC rx circuit i started with had a TL081 op amp 1kh low pass filter with so much attenuation, and I couldn't hear any filtering. I junked it. The SSDRA filter was a life saver. Ed

  4. I have tried the HyPerMite audio CW filter on my Heath HW-8 (DC receiver) and found it performed nicely.


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