N5ESE's Version of Norcal SMK-1 Kit

(More pictures follow the narrative)

NOTE: 'N5FC' is my former call.
This project was constructed while that call was valid, and you may observe references to it.

At our May 2000 Austin QRP Club meeting, John Fisher K5JHF was kind enough to take pictures of my recently completed Norcal SMK-1 Kit. I thought I would post them here, along with two postings I made to the QRP-L maillist.

Also included are my own pix of the SMK-1 installed in the NJQRP enclosure kit, made from printed circuit board and soldered into a rather nicely fitting enclosure. I coated mine with clear acrylic paint inside, and painted it Krylon flat black outside. The keyer connector shown is not stock as supplied by NJQRP, because I wanted an RCA connector at that position. I also fashioned my own front and rear panel appliques. To do this, I printed on sticky-back paper using my trusty ink-jet printer, then covered it with self-adhesive laminating film (both available from any office-supply house).

Those with sharp eyes will notice that one of the SOT-23 transistors was replaced (rather crudely) with a TO-92 package. I did this erroneously, while troubleshooting a mute-circuit problem I had after assembly. You can read about it in the QRP-L posts below.

Performance? Well, considering that this was intended as a "training project" for surface-mount techniques, the performance is not too bad. The output is clean, keying a tad clicky (but tolerable), and no noticeable chirp. The direct-conversion receiver is adequate to the task, given a reasonable antenna. 1/4-watt output is always going to present a challenge, but I've managed at least one QSO every night I've tried to put this on-the-air. By the way, my best "DX" to date (5-16-00) is Ken N4SO in Mobile, Alabama at 577 miles. I was running on a worn 9V battery (8.5V) which gave me 130mW out... thats 4000+ miles/watt. It wasn't a pretty QSO, but we were able to exchange QTH and name. Thanks for visiting!

Pictures and Postings:

SMK-1 Top View, annotated [for high-res screens, 124 Kb]
SMK-1 Top View, not annotated [for 640 x 480 screens, 54 Kb]
SMK-1 operational but before enclosure [for hi-res screens, 59 Kb]
SMK-1 operational but before enclosure [for 640 x 480 screens, 20 Kb]
SMK-1 in NJQRP enclosure (cover removed) [for hi-res screens, 182 Kb]
SMK-1 in NJQRP enclosure (cover installed) [21 Kb]
SMK-1 in NJQRP enclosure: Front Panel (29 Kb]
SMK-1 in NJQRP enclosure: Rear Panel (29 Kb]
My posting to QRP-L mail list, concerning building techniques, a problem I encountered, and measured performance
My posting to QRP-L mail list, concerning my first QSO with SMK-1

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