K2 field test construction news

Mon, 8 Feb 1999 07:54:50 -0500

I am almost done with the RF (final) board. Just have the transistors and the toroids left to do. I spent about 16 hours this weekend, working on the RF board. I am a very careful builder, and my caution and double-checking paid off. The rig came up with all calibrations in the center of their ranges during the first of the three intermediate test sequences that acknowledge your need to see the rig power up and play with it :-). I did have one problem (turned out to be a shorted trace on the PCB, which looks like it might have been my fault...a scrape across three traces on the bottom of the board). The reason I mention this, is that within an hour, I had an email from Eric, which led me to the solution. We field testers are getting incredible support from the Elecraft guys. A nice touch, is the heat-strippable magnet wire for the toroids. All it takes is a few seconds and a ball of solder on the end of an iron to strip and tin the toroid leads. The other nice touch, is the great drawings of the toroids in the manual, which help you to orient the leads correctly. I can't tell you how many times I have wound them the wrong way, so they don't line up with the holes on the board! Folks, this is a challenging kit. You need an excellent soldering iron, fine solder and good eyes. some of the components are small. I have been using a 10x loupe to check my work. The quality of the whole kit is superb. If you have built the SST or the Forty-9er, you'll be fine. It's just a lot more components! I have about 25 hours into the kit so far. A comment on the mechanical engineering. The fit on this kit is superb! Everything lines up perfectly! The highlight of the weekend was when I connected the antenna for the first time, to adjust the 40m input filter. I had to switch the attenuator in, the signals were so loud! I hope to be able to hunt the fox with the K2 on Tuesday night. Sorry if this sounds like an ad for Elecraft, but I did spend a lot of money on this kit, and I feel the need to validate my expenditure :-). Seriously, I'm a fairly critical customer, and I really am impressed by the quality of this kit. I was willing to lower my standards, given that this is a field test of a prototype kit, but I am glad to report that, as I approach the end of the building phase, the overall quality of the kit and documentation exceeds my expectations. 72, Peter, KA1AXY

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