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 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.
Start with a simple kit, like an accessory for your ham radio station or a simple quartz crystal controlled QRP transmitter such as the Genesis Q5 designed by YU1LM and produced by VK1AA.
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.
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! :-)
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73 de VE2DPE
7, Rue de la Rive, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Québec, Canada J6E 1M9
QTH Locator: FN36gb
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