Tuesday, March 16, 2021

QCX-Mini and a Keyer

So after a club member teased us with a great demonstration on QRP CW, I ordered a QCX-Mini from QRP Labs. It took awhile to arrive (was out of stock and had to wait for the new batch to be manufactured) but once it got here, I was pumped! Spent about three nights putting it together, taking my time to make sure everything was correct. And it tuned up wonderfully!

Next, it was time to find a key. I prefer iambic keyers but the only one I own is chrome Bencher set of paddles. It's just too heavy for a backpack radio like the QCX-Mini. So, I cruised the web and found a nice design on Thingverse. I fired up my 3D printer and went to work. I used the "mini" version which is very small. After a couple of days of fiddling with the fine-tuning, the keyer seemed to work well. I used magnets instead of a metal spring and it has a fairly nice feel. I built a 40m End-Fed Half-Wave antenna and picked up a neat 3Ah 12V Lithium-Ion battery pack recommended by a guy on Reddit. 

This past weekend, I took it along with the QCX-mini out on the trail during a trip to Arkansas. We got caught in the rain, so I didn't have a lot of time to use it, but I did send CQ for a little while and was very pleased.