QRP PSK31 - no kits?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by N1KTJ, Jul 28, 2012.

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  1. N1KTJ

    N1KTJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Okay I am trying to find a kit for under $100 to start out working QRP PSK31 and guess what? None are available. When I go to various order pages they are either only available randomly (one hobbiest only posts at random times), or in development for months.

    Am not interested in a $500 to $800 FT-817 radio to start off in this hobby.

    Does anyone know of:
    1) Tunable QRP PSK31 kit
    2) can do QPSK, and CW, and RTTY
    3) can be set up with the typical PSK31 bands (is that 20M right now?)

    thanks for any help.
  2. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A friend of mine has a FT-817 and he asked me to configure it for PSK31. It was rather simple and worked great. At the time I was using it with an end-fed antenna but 1 watt worked great. They couldn't believe that I was running only 1 watt. If you could get one cheap, it would be the way to go.

    A section for PSK31 is available on almost every band. I have also used my HTX-100 in the 5 Watt mode for PSK31 on 10 Meters. You can pick up a used HTX-100 for about $100. You could also use a HTX-10. There is no direct CW keying on a HTX-10, but that is pretty easy to get around. While 20 Meters is great for PSK31, it's also very crowded and all the other bands work fine, when they are open. And, if it works for PSK31 it will work for RTTY.

    For CW operation, I prefer to use a USB to Serial Port Converter, plus a small transistor circuit, to key the transmitters directly. That way I don't require a transmitter that is running SSB. All of my CW only rigs (HW-8, HW-7, HX-1681, etc.) work fine using a very simple interface.
  3. N1KTJ

    N1KTJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Martin all good ideas. will need to think on them, and search for solution combinations. The $500 radio is just way too much for a multi-hobby person like myself.
  4. N1KTJ

    N1KTJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    was just looking over the my privileges and noticed that I really only have 10 meter privileges for data, and a technician. Unless I do CW mode for QRP. Your suggestion of the HTX-100 is best.
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Small Wonder Labs offered their PSK-series for 20, 30, and 40 meters, BUT were discontinued.

    A replacement kit was "in the works"
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  6. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    As a Tech, you are a bit limited. When 10 meters is open, I often do hear people on 28.120 doing PSK and JT-65HF on 28.076. You can check PSKReporter online to see if any of the 10 meter monitoring stations are reporting openings. http://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html The solar index is rising again, so we may see some 10 meter openings in the next few weeks. Last fall, it was fairly good, with frequent DX openings. Eskip usually goes away in the fall, and returns briefly in mid-winter, before disappearing again in early spring and peaking in early summer, but Eskip can happen at any time.

    If you want to do CW, there are lots of kit options available. I'd suggest trying 40 meters first, particularly in the daytime. Small Wonder's Rockmite is a 1/2 watt crystal controlled rig that is also cheap, but that's really low power for a newbie. I'd look for a used rig in the 20-50 watt class. Ten Tec has offered a number of all-mode low power HF rigs over the years, and most of those are still serviceable. The Argonaut and Argosy are two such models.
    There are quite a few Ten Tec Scouts out there, but look out - the RB's always want to sell the plug-in band modules separately from the radio, and the radio is worthless without the modules. But, you can start with one or two bands and buy the other modules as you can. Even the ancient TT Tritons can be had very cheap and they are fine radios.

    If you're intent on doing digital modes, an upgrade to General will help enormously. Computer CW works, but not that great unless you're working someone that's also using a computer. I wish we could establish a 'watering hole' for people who want to try computer CW.
  7. PD7MAA

    PD7MAA Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can also look at somewhat older HF radios in the $2-400 class, like older Ten Tec Tritons or Argonauts.

    Also, consider that if you buy a quality piece of radio gear, it should last you many years, perhaps decades.
  9. KH2G

    KH2G Guest

    Any radio that can be modulated on SSB can be used and the software can be free. The interface between computer and radio can be had for a hand full of RS parts. I suggest you also upgrade as quickly as possible so you can really get around the bands. Lots of activety. Flea markets are good starting points.
  10. N0WUE

    N0WUE Ham Member QRZ Page

    can you psk31 from a softrock?

    I mean, is it possible? 1 watt though, but cheap... a kit... I know.
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