To see if I'm on the air right now click here

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Sunday, January 7, 2024

 Some entries on this blog link to information on may be broken. If so, try going to

Thursday, January 4, 2024

QRPKits / Pacific Antenna 40 mtr EZRcvr

Looking over my shack I see a lot of two tube homebrew receivers, mostly regeneratives.  It's time for a two IC receiver. 

 I've been a fan of direct conversion receivers for some time. Unfortunately most of them have left the market but recently my search found the QRPKits / Pacific Antenna 40 mtr Easy Rcvr. While only covering 75KHz of 40 meters the $25 price tag made it sound interesting. If I don't actually use it on the air maybe I can recommend it to a friend of mine as a learning tool and cheap way to listen in to ham QSOs.

My $25 (plus tax and shipping) got me a small plastic bag with all of the parts plus knobs, antenna connector and a 9V battery connector. A battery, antenna and ear phones/buds were all that was needed to put it to use.
I really liked the available on-line manual. It had check-off steps taking you though construction component by component along with construction tips and a troubleshooting guide. It reminded me of some of the Heathkit projects I've built in the long past.
The first step was to inventory the parts. Many of the parts, while discrete pin-in-hole, are really small. In some cases I had to use my phone's camera to blow up part markings in order to read them. I also made use of my digital multimeter to confirm what I was reading.
While an "Easy" receiver, this one still takes care in building. The component locations are all clearly marked but the solder pads are pretty close together in order to all fit on the 3.5" x 2" printed circuit board. I needed to get a sharper tip for my solder iron before I felt I could do a good job without any solder bridges. On the plus side the solder mask was effective. 
My Easy Receiver worked when I first powered it up. All I needed to do was set which part of 40 mtrs I wanted to cover. While marketed as half of a QRP CW station I found it works fine as a SSB phone receiver, not as good as a modern transceiver but certainly usable. 
The final Easy Receiver packaging is left up to the creativity of the builder. The QRPKits website mentions stacking it with the matching transmitter for a complete 40 mtr QRP station. For now I wanted more of a stand-alone receiver for listening to SSB.
For the "enclosure" I used a scrap of 4x1 as the base with a piece of aluminum attached to it for the front panel. Next, the stock Easy Receiver comes with no power switch. I added one to avoid wear and tear on the 9V battery connector. I also changed out the small knobs provided by QRPKits in order to make it easier to tune SSB signals. Finally, I added a more generic antenna connection. I wish I could have added some sort of bandspread, vernier tuning or a 10 turn pot as suggested by QRPKits. As it is now tuning SSB takes patience and a steady hand.
I've uploaded a demo to you tube. View it here.

I'm pretty happy with my 40 mtr Easy Receiver. It makes a good loaner that allows someone to get a feel for ham radio. It is also easy to shift down to the CW band so that I can pair it with a similar transmitter and head for a park.

Friday, December 29, 2023

National Radio Product Listing

I have a listing of ham radio products introduced by the National Radio Company. Each entry is linked to a catalog style description of the item. Click here to view it.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Summer QRP => Portable Antennas

Summertime is QRPxpedition time here at W0VLZ. After a winter of playing with boat anchors in the basement I'm ready to get out to a park with my KX3. With any rig I always have to think about an antenna. Looking back on my blog and website I see that I've gone through this before.

Here are some links: Construction details and experiences using a 20 meter endfed halfwave wire "tuned" by 14' of TV twinlead. A portable 20 meter vertical Building and using a C-Pole Vertical My quest for a stand-alone 20 mtr portable antenna A 30-10 meter "clothes line" dipole

See you next time from a convenient park.

73, Niel - W0VLZ



Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Shack Tour

This past winter I finished setting up my new ham shack. It has 10 operating positions but (reflecting my ham radio interest in vintage technology) only one antenna.

See it on YouTube at

Friday, March 25, 2022

Building and Using a Push-Pull TNT Transmitter

My first '29 transmitter was a push-pull TNT. I built this transmitter in 1989 based on an article in the Nov 1930 issue of QST. I have web pages about this transmitter but those pre-date this blog. Here are links to those pages: 

- A 1930 TNT transmitter:

- Operating a late 20s/early 30s ham station:

Friday, March 18, 2022

Winter 2022 Vintage Radio

As of last Sunday my winter 2022 vintage radio season is history. Along the way I was on the air in five different events using 5 receivers and 5 transmitters. Three of these events are sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association ( ). One other, Straight Key Night, is sponsored by the ARRL ( ). The fifth was the Novice Rig Roundup ( ). These events allowed me to get comfortable with my new QTH and were low key enough that I could identify any hidden station quirks without feeling rushed or having to worry about keeping QSOs as short as possible. Each of these events was more like a saunter through the bands rather than a sprint.

The Novice Rig Roundup was my favorite. Its nine day operating window let me work around stormy weather, other contests, family obligations and propagation while still having fun.

I did find that I really like my Drake 2NT/R4B station. The 2NT operates break-in well with the R4B and its delay/timing circuit allows the crystal oscillator to run between code character elements. This minimizes chirp, even for the laziest of crystals. The R4B has KHz frequency readout and great filtering options. This pair is a keeper.

With almost 40 years of radio technology between my '29 transmitters and the 2NT it is not surprising that my '29 station is the more unique (and challenging) to use. Challenging, though, does not mean unusable. While unique and challenging my '29 station is still usable. Depending on conditions I can switch between an SW3, an early 30s National regenerative receiver, and my early 80s Drake SPR4. Once and a while it is good to go back and experience ham radio roots.

We've already had temperatures in the 60s this year. With spring arriving the snow has melted here in southeastern Minnesota. Now I'll start thinking about my QRP in the Park plans.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

On The Air Again!

 After almost a year off the air I'm finally back with a working antenna system.

Before my move I started thinking in terms of a trap vertical at the new QTH but I had safety concerns. My backyard butts up to a public golf course. For many reasons this is a great location but how can I keep a golfer from straying through the yard and, possibly, leaning against my ground mounted vertical as he is searching for a ball? A vertical would not work. I needed something up in the air.

The layout of the yard, safety and the need to keep my installation as unobtrusive as possible led me to an inverted L using insulated wire. I have almost always used some sort of end fed antenna, both for portable/QRP operation and for the main station. An inverted L would be no exception and a 66' wire would easily fit.

I installed my 66' inverted L over a south facing half circle field of 22 40' radials, all terminated at a DX Engineering Radial Plate. This easily loads up on 80 and 30 but presents a very high impedance on 40, 20, 15 and 10 where it is a half wave (or voltage fed) antenna. The solution on these bands is a 49:1 wideband EFHW matching transformer. This allows the high impedance (2.5K-3K) inverted L to be transformed down to 25-100 ohms, a load my transmitter and/or antenna tuner can easily handle.

My shack is just behind the radial plate/hub. I mounted the 49:1 transformer on the inside wall here. I can easily bypass this transformer for operation on 80 and 30. In addition, everything is out of the weather.

Does it work? The Reverse Beacon Network says that my KX3 at 10 watts is covering the US on 40, 30 and 20. On 80 it appears to be working as a NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antenna as expected . I'll find out for certain starting in November as we move into the winter vintage radio contest season.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A tour of W0VLZ

 Last Sunday Phil, WE0K, stopped by. I'm lightening my load in preparation for a move and Phil was acquiring a heavy load.

While Phil was here he did a video tour of my shack including many of my vintage operating positions. You can view it at