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Author Topic: Yet another RockMite thread  (Read 7072 times)

vwflyer

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Yet another RockMite thread
« on: August 19, 2014, 09:41:35 PM »
My 20 meter RockMite has arrived! This will be my first transceiver kit. I'd been talking to my wife about getting one for some time and I finally ordered one without telling her. It came pretty quickly. When she saw that I had gotten it she said that she was planning on buying it for me for my birthday. Now she says I can't build it until after my birthday which doesn't come along until the end of November. We shall see who will win this one.  ::)
I ordered it with the $10 accessory kit which comes with two pots for volume and keyer speed controls, transistor for increased power output, heat sink, on/off switch, power indicator LED, and a bunch of resistors (one for the LED and one for the power mod, not sure what the others are for). The funny thing is that the optional transistor has identical markings to the one that came with the stock RockMite. I think that both transistors are the more power ones. The stock kit also came with a heat sink and green LED so I'm not sure why the accessory kit duplicated those.
This RockMite also came with a ten pin SIP socket and short crystals. I'm assuming I'm supposed to cut the SIP socket into three pin sockets and put the crystals in them but the instructions aren't explicit about it. They probably just assume I know that I can cut the socket to the desired length and don't have to tell me to do it. It will be nice to be able to easily switch between 14,050 and 14,060 though.

NWARadio

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2014, 07:50:03 PM »
Good luck with your kit. I'm pretty sure I got a bad chip and abandoned mine for the summer to build an electric guitar. Please keep this thread updated and remember: without pics, it didn't happen!
So long, and thanks for all the fish

RadioRay

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2014, 06:10:22 PM »
Rockmites are a lot of fun.  I just got off air, having some fellow in France answer my CQ and pull out the 1/2 Watt signal. I recently re-packaged mine into an Altoids tin.  I had it in a tobacco tin, but that just seemed to be TOO LARGE!

Scratch and sniff (or click) for a larger image.

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 06:11:54 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

cockpitbob

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2014, 08:41:45 PM »
Ray, I like your paddle.  Can you post a close-up of it?

vwflyer

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 09:05:07 PM »
I was about to say the same thing about the paddle. Did you make it?
My rockmite is on hold for the moment. I got the board populated pretty quickly but then life got busy and work picked up. I really want to put it in an altoids can but I also want to include the volume and speed  pots and I'm sure I can fit it all in the little can. I'm thinking that my best chance of fitting it all is to push the board to the back and put the pots on the front corners but it still might be too tight.

KK0G

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2014, 10:17:16 PM »
Request number three for a close up of Ray's paddle.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

RadioRay

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2014, 11:46:06 PM »
This Paddle Design Was Smuggled Out From Behind Enemy Lines!  Use it WELL!




Actually, it's just something I threw together to get the Rockmite operational until I build a better one. I used PC board material for the paddles, soldered one to the contact for the tip and one for the ring and the 'common/ground is the center. It's delicate, but got me on the air.


73 de RadioRay ..._  ._
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 11:48:13 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

vwflyer

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2015, 12:54:22 AM »
Well I'm stoked! So I'm going to write a long post about my rockmite in case anybody is bored enough to read it. The board has been sitting in my shack, finished except for the connectors for months. I just couldn't decide on its enclosure. I really like the altoids tin but I wanted to use the volume and speed pots and they wouldn't fit. So while it sat there due to indecision, I bought a telescoping fiberglass 20' fishing pole, enough wire for a 20 meter efhw, 4 feet of rg-174 and built a sota tuner. I was now ready to deploy but it was still waiting on the rockmite. Finally I decided to put it in a international coffee tin. It is big enough to mount the pots and I could put a 8-aaa cell battery pack inside it cutting down on the clutter of my portable station. So I laid out the position of the pots, switches and connectors, drilled the holes and soldered the connectors to the board. Before stuffing it all in there I did a smoke test on it yesterday. I plugged some headphones into it and turned it on. I got an ear peircing buzz from it. It would go away if I turned the audio gain al the way down but if I got over about 1/4 volume it would come back with a vengeance and its tone would drop the more I turned the pot up. I went to bed a bit frustrated. Next day I took it into my office/shack and plugged it into my antenna. It would hear some signals but I couldn't turn them up to hear them well without that squeal coming back. Even worse, in my shack it had a thumping sound in receive mode that would increase in volume with more audio gain. On the plus side, the keyer was working and it seemed to be transmitting. My Kenwood could hear it very well even though the kenwood didn't have the antenna plugged into it. The antenna was plugged into the rockmite. But with the rockmite in recieve, it produced a pretty loud tone in the kenwood just above the transmit freq.  so I took the rockmite back out of the shack because it didn't have that thump the night before at the dining room table and sure enough the thump went away. I then I replace my over-the-ear headphones with some cheap earbuds and the squeal went away too. It seemed to be working normally. So here comes the exciting part. I take it into the back yard, still without an enclosure. String up my 20 meter efhw for the first time on my fishing pole in a kind of inverted-v shape and plug the sota tuner into the rockmite. it was skcc wes day so I knew there'd be plenty of CW activity on the air. At first I didn't hear anything. Then it tuned the sota tuner and signals started to pop out. None were super strong and I had the audio gain all the way up. Now and again I'd hear s signal strong enough to copy but I would respond to their CQs but they would not hear me. I'd send a few CQs myself but got no replies. Without an s-meter and not having listened to signals from this rig before I had no way of judging the signal strength of the stations I was hearing. Then I heard a strong signal boom in so loud I almost took the earbuds out of my ears. I figured if he doesn't hear me no one will so I answered his CQ and he came back to me! He gave me a 449 rst. Come to find out he was in Indiana, exactly 1388 miles away! The 20 meter skip must have been perfect for our stations. It will probably never work again but it's cool that it worked even just once.

KK0G

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2015, 11:33:47 AM »
Awesome, good job. I like your enclosure choice, it's not overly large but it appears you have plenty of room to work within, I'd be trying to stuff a touch keyer inside there myself. I need another QRP rig like I need another hole in my head but I may just have to order a Rock Mite. Let me know if you want to try a sked.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

vwflyer

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2015, 11:41:21 AM »
Thanks,
Yeah, a sked is a great idea. It's probably the best way to make contacts with a rockmite since they don't put out an overly strong signal and of course are rockbound. I'd do one now but I have to run off to church and then the inlaws for lunch. I will definitely take you up on it soon though ;D

vwflyer

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2015, 06:19:05 PM »
RockMite is now in its home and on the air. If I enjoy using this, and I think I will, my first contact on it had me super stoked, I'm sure I'll want to get a more flexible QRP rig. I'm thinking MTR, weber tribander, or youkits HB1A or EK1A.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 07:59:06 PM by vwflyer »

KK0G

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 08:28:32 PM »
I'm thinking you have enough room inside your enclosure to fit a touch keyer and a SOTA tuner with touch pads permanently mounted to the outside, then wrap the antenna and ear buds around the outside of the enclosure. Since you already have a power supply inside you'd then have a completely self contained system. What can I say?........ I like total integration in my rigs. 8)
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

vwflyer

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Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 10:14:18 PM »
I definitely like the idea of putting a touch keyer in it. I'll have to open my sota tuner and try and gauge the room for it as well. Thanks for the ideas!

Radio Preppers

Re: Yet another RockMite thread
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 10:14:18 PM »