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Author Topic: The New Rock-Mite Radio Transceiver from QRPme.  (Read 3169 times)

gil

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The New Rock-Mite Radio Transceiver from QRPme.
« on: July 20, 2014, 08:53:01 PM »
The Rock-Mite is one of the smallest CW (Morse code) transceiver kit on the market. Being crystal controlled, you get only one frequency. Well, two really, but very close together. It fits in an altoids mint box! There is even a built-in keyer. It has a cult following, and for good reasons. The receiver is hot, albeit not selective, and the sidetone is a square wave. It works really well! I have built two before, a 40 and 20m model. I sold the RM20. My RM40 usually plays music on top of the CW :o I have to use my magnetic loop antenna to filter unwanted broadcasts. People like them because they are cheap, fun to build and use. Power is 500mW but most change the transistor for up to 1 or 1.5W. I use a 2SC799 as Q6 with a 2 Ohm resistor for R18. My RM40 outputs 1.5W.

Tonight I started a Rock-Mite 30 from http://qrpme.com. It only took about three months to get it... A honest mistake I was told. I was surprised to find that for $40 you also get the connectors. Previousely that option was an extra $16 on top of the $29 kit. I proceeded to solder all the capacitors first. Unfortunately I am missing four (103). Strike two. There also seems to be a few mystery extra resistors in the package. I am afraid of what else could be missing... The surface-mount mixer chip has been replaced by a through-hole model, much easier to install.



We can only be thankful that someone took over Dave Benson after his retirement. Losing the Rock-Mite would have been a shame. I hope QRPme will be a little more professional in the future. Maybe taking on the Rock-Mite kits production was a bit more than they were used to...

From a prepping perspective, the Rock-Mite is great but suffers from its inability to tune around. You choose your frequency, and that's that... You can't browse the bands to listen. So it has to be considered more of a transmitter in that regard. You would probably easily find someone if you were calling SOS, since soon or later a ham operator would tune in on your signal. However someone could be broadcasting vital information on another part of the band and you would have no idea. I could see however how members of a group spread over the country could each have a Rock-Mite with the same custom crystal and be abble to contact each-other with a cheap tiny transceiver. But let's not dream too much. It is hard enough to get anyone to use a radio, trying to teach Morse code sometimes is like trying to bring a kid to the dentist. Another advantage is its very low current consumption. The Rock-Mite can run a very long time on eight AA cells. Range can be thousands of miles.

So, get a kit, buy some Altoids, and soon you will be able to "talk" to the world* while enjoying a minty fresh breath ;)

I will be posting updates, so stay tuned ;)

Gil.



* You need a ham radio licence to transmit...

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