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.
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.
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.
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 🙂