BITX20 by Hendricks Kits
This little board should have been a ‘work first time’ too…but it isn’t.
The BITX20 was originally designed by Ashar Farhan VU3ICQ, and the aim was to use common, low cost parts. This would mean that radio amateurs in poorer countries could build a working SSB transceiver and work the world on 20m. His website is here.
Sunil Lakhani VU3SUA, made available some PCB’s, so those who didn’t want to build ‘dead bug’ style or make their own boards, didn’t need to. Here is Sunil’s website, but he sometimes sells on eBay too.
I opted for the version by Hendricks QRP Kits in the states; details here. At that time you could buy just the PCB and components kit for about $60…now, you have to buy a complete kit including case and frequency counter; $180 before carriage and UK import taxes.
I found the board quite fiddly to assemble…I don’t really know why, it just was. Some of the semiconductors supplied did not match the manual and I had to look up which one was the equivalent; not a major hardship but they could have listed the options in the manual.
As it is now, I have the receiver working but deaf as a post with the bandpass filter in circuit; thankfully my spectrum analyser will help with that. There are no incorrect parts or bad joints…so who knows.
The transmitter PA also takes off when you try to set the bias current…apparently there’s a mod for this. Would I build another? No, I’d go for the ILER-20 which is cheaper and almost certainly a ‘work first time’.