Ham radio kits bring the greatest sense of accomplishment there is ... well, OK, working DX on QRP is highly satisfying too!:-)
Yes! Amateur radio kits do indeed provide double-action pleasure.
I built my first kit in 1973, a Heathkit Morse Code Practice oscillator.
(The no-morse-code license did not exist back then!)
Then, I graduated to building the Heathkit HW-101 transceiver in 1974, just in time to go on the air with my newly obtained ham radio license.
I was hooked on kits by then ... and I still am!
There is an added bonus to the advantages already mentioned in the introduction above.
That extra feature is worth money! It is also an extra source of satisfaction that commercially built equipment can never bring.
In short, you get a lot of value for your hard earned money by building your own equipment from professionally designed and engineered amateur radio kits.
Nowadays, ham radio kits are easier to build and more reliable than ever. The most critical and hard to assemble parts are pre-assembled and tested. An example are the modules that use surface-mount components.
Make sure you learn how to solder components properly before you start building your first kit! There are many soldering tutorials available on the Web. Only a few are worth recommending. Here are three of my favorites. Each of them cover soldering from a different point of view.
Start with a simple kit, like an accessory for your ham radio station. Then, if you like the experience, don't be afraid to graduate to more complex projects.
Why not plunge into the wonderful world of Software Defined Radio (SDR)?
Worthy of mention here is the new Elecraft KX3 10W XCVR which is available in "modular" form. It allows operation on 160 to 6 meters in the following modes: SSB, CW, Data (RTTY, PSK), AM, FM.
Even if you do buy commercially made, factory assembled and tested equipment later on, you will find that you will always have a special attachment - a "soft spot" - for the ham radio kits you built yourself.
This is especially true if your commercial rig breaks down and needs repair by a specialist.
In the meantime, you can always fall back on your "old reliables" to get back on the air! :-)
Most of the manufacturers listed below produce kits of low to moderate complexity. They come with generally clear instructions. Therefore, anyone - able to handle a soldering iron adequately - should have no trouble assembling them.
PO Box 296, Tracyton, WA 98393-0296 USA
65 Moul Rd., Hilton, NY 14468-9535 USA
Their products are in space (Intl Space Station and satellites). For the more technically inclined.
Home of the famous SoftRock family of software defined ham radio QRP RCVR and XCVR kits.
Bliss Radio QRP Kits
Sean Gordon, KA7MWL, PO Box 3141 Sedona, Az. 86340 Phone: 505-469-8109 and 928-300-2599
PO Box 160, Limerick, Maine 04048 USA
Rex, W1REX, is a one-man part-time business operator. He offers QRP transceivers, receivers and transmitters and fun accessories. Home of the "The 'Rock-Mite ][' Transceiver " - A Simple CW transceiver for 80,40,30 or 20 Meters.
Makers of electronic keyer kits since 1997.
Makes the Pixie II CW QRP Transceiver Kit (10-160 Meters).
Radio Kits Co. UK
Makers of the Hunter - SDR Receiver / Panadapter and MKARS80 Transceiver kit.
Located at 12 Weatherbury Way, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 2EF, England
A source of unique kits for amateur radio. Worth investigating.
2866 Deer Hound Way, Palm Habor, FL 34683 USA
They offer RF toolkits that are designed to be electronic building blocks. Think of these small kits as a "QRP Erector Set".
North Country Radio
PO BOX 200, Hartford NY 12838-0200 USA
An "astonishing" number of electronic project kits for all kinds of purposes.
PO Box 6935, BISHOPS STORTFORD, Hertfordshire CM23 4WP UK
Almost 300 kits to choose from. For hobbyists, education and industrial applications.
89 Victoria Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3JA, UK
They make amateur radio antennas and kits "for the great outdoors".
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73 de VE2DPE
7, Rue de la Rive, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Québec, Canada J6E 1M9
QTH Locator: FN36gb
Is a member
in good standing