Christmas came a couple days late when DHL pulled up in my driveway this afternoon and delivered a new solid-state transceiver "kit". While this is not an "AM" rig, my plan is to make it the control center of my entire HF AM station. That said, an explanation is in order, but first I will share some details about the product. The rig is called uBITx, (Micro-Bit-x) by the QRP hacker community. The brainchild of Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE, It is based upon open-source code (GitHub) and a large community of QRP enthusiasts. Visit http://ubitx.net/ for a wealth of information. Everything in this post is based upon what I have learned while reading forum posts and studying the schematic and source code. The transceiver operates on CW and SSB from 3 to 30 MHz. It is a synthesized rig based upon the Arduino "Nano" microcontroller. Three variable frequencies are generated by the SI-5351 DDS chip, providing mixer and BFO inputs for double-conversion on both receive and transmit. Transmission is enabled on the standard amateur radio sub-bands, however receiver operation is general coverage throughout the entire HF spectrum. When transmitting in CW, a single DDS oscillator is used, no mixing is involved. Power output is nominally ten watts, although somewhat lower on 15 meters and above. The output circuit employs a pair of IRF510 MosFets in push-pull, driven by four 2N3904's in push-pull parallel. There are absolutely no unobtanium parts used in the rig, therefor it should be easy for any ham to repair or modify, as desired. A tag line on their web site reads "....just waiting to be modified." I have reviewed the source code, all written in C for the Arduino, and it is well structured and documented, such that feature additions and other mods are practical. I originally ordered version 5.0, which is a semi-kit, priced at $129 plus optional DHL 3-day delivery for an additional $10.. In this version, the main board and the controller/DDS/display were pre-assembled and tested, and the builder need only wire connectors and controls, and provide a suitable enclosure. They advertise shipping within 7 to 8 business days, which apparently is true. On the 6th business day after placing my order, I received an email, announcing the opportunity to upgrade my order to version 6 if desired. While version 5 employed a two-line, sixteen character display, version 6 uses a graphical TFT touch-screen, and all connectors and controls are soldered on the main board, with the exception of the speaker and rotary encoder for tuning and menu cruising, which are wired with plugs that mate with the main board. Total cost of the version 6 product is $199.00 plus $10 if DHL shipping is desired. It is available for $30 less if you do not desire the enclosure. The product was shipped five working days after I upgraded my order, and DHL delivered from India three days later! The input signal is first up-converted to 45 MHz and passed through a crystal filter. The second mixer converts to 12 MHz, using an array of 8 matched crystals in a 6-pole filter arrangement. Version 6 altered the second IF to 11.059 MHz to avoid spurs from the micro-controller. By the way, both versions include a CW keyer, implemented by the Arduino. A single port supports either a straight key or a paddle. Using a couple resistors and a single analog input port, the voltage generated by either paddle or key is decoded and automatically enables the keyer. PTT from the microphone connector automatically puts the rig in side-band mode. There is no mode switch, per-se, and USB vs LSB is automatically selected based upon frequency. It is possible, through the menu, to over-ride the standard side-band mode. Upon receipt, I did a careful visual inspection of the product. Fit and finish of the enclosure is excellent, much better than the typical home workshop would produce. The double-sided board is well-organized, silk screen is clear, and soldering is high quality, with no trace of rosin residue. Most of the bottom layer provides a ground-plane. The controller is a separate board that plugs into the main board with right-angle pins, while the display module and Arduino plug into the vertical controller board. Viewing videos on the web, I noticed that the menu response performance is not stellar, but it is certainly acceptable considering the limited power of the Arduino Nano performing all functions. Several hams have upgraded version 5 to use the intelligent "Nextion" display instead of the LCD character display. The Nextion has an embedded processor, compact flash receptacle for uploading code, and a high-speed serial interface to the Nano processor. This makes a very professional display and user interface, rivaling those seen on the big three at HRO. This mod is accomplished with a software update to the Arduino, but absolutely no mods were required to any of the hardware other than replacement of the display panel. Some folks have interfaced multiple Nextion displays to the rig. So back to the original question, how does this apply to my AM station? For quite some time I have been working on an Arduino-based control center, primarily as a frequency source using a DDS module. Most of the software is written, but none of it is packaged or integrated. My plan is to use this transceiver as the VFO for all my AM rigs, leveraging the CW mode. Plenty of power to drive a Valiant , Viking II, or my home-brew exciter for the big rigs. Transmitter selection could be automated, in the same manner the Arduino selects the appropriate bandpass filter when changing frequency. For receiving, I could pick a signal from either the first IF at 45 MHz, or the second IF at 11.059 MHz and send it to the SDRplay RSP-2, for true transceive operation. Another option is to build a separate 11.059 filter, not quite so narrow as the six-pole filter in the transceiver, and feed an infinite-impedance detector, or possibly a synchronous detector. I ordered and received a batch of crystals for the low IF filter at five for a dollar! So much of what I envisioned building from scratch is already completed in this hardware and software package! I will post some pictures of the kit as-received, and a couple from the web showing the un-modified version 6 TFT display, as well as the user-mods ting the intelligent Nextion display. As I move deeper into hacks and feature additions, I will post them in the future. Front view of main board with the controller and display attached. Modules separated showing connection method. Top view of assembly. The Arduino NANO is plugged into the back of the controller board. This combination of modules is known as a Raduino.