Pixie CW Transceiver

Here’s a quick review of the Pixie CW Transceiver, built for 40m.  I ordered two identical kits from China via ebay, one for myself and another for a friend.  The kits arrived and appeared to be well put together;  the PCB (5cm sq) seemed of a good quality with clear printing and the components (even a dummy load resistor) were supplied in individual bags.

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The Pixie Kit

The Pixie took approximately 45 minutes to assemble.  During this time I noticed some pads were reluctant to hold solder. I’m unsure why this was – visually they looked great, but solder just wouldn’t flow and ‘bond’ in a satisfactory manner.  I haven’t seen others mention this issue so perhaps it’s my fault for not cleaning the PCB first.

Once assembled, I connected a speaker and CW key, applied 12V and … nothing. I could see some minimal current being drawn on the PSU so disconnected the speaker and attached some headphones.  Success!  It seems the LM386N isn’t up to the job of driving a small loudspeaker but it’s more than happy with headphones.

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The Assembled Pixie

Attaching the Pixie to my 40m dipole I could hear several very clear CW transmissions.  Of course, without filters on a busy band – this could be a problem. Still, I hit the key and monitored my transmission on the FT847;  current draw increased on TX and a clear tone was heard on the 847.  Plus, an added bonus – despite learning and practising on a paddle key, I managed to send some CQs with good (IMO!) timing on a straight key.

Future plans:-

1. Measure power output
2. Hold an actual QSO!
3. Mount the Pixie in an enclosure (with 9V battery?)
4. Order and build a ‘Frog’

In summary, well worth the money.  I not only enjoyed the construction (despite the problem pads!) but have a working CW XCVR 🙂

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