QRP on the club 80m net with tiny transceiver

In the city 80m is a very noisy band but here in regional Victoria the situation is much better. The club’s regular Wednesday night 80m net on 3685kHz attracts a good group of stations mostly running 100W or perhaps more. Signals are generally very good (except when our wires come down due to strong wind or bird attack).

At the start of February I saw and ordered an amazingly small 10 band 5W transceiver from QRPver called the Minion. I am sympathetic to the wartime disruption in Ukraine but eventually the radio turned up and I used it on the weekly net.

Signal reports were surprisingly good with S9 reports from most stations including a listener in Shepparton. Here’s some of the net:

(You can gauge the size from the PL-259 plug sitting on top).

Unfortunately my radio arrived with a broken rear panel. Inspired by last meeting’s talk about metalwork from Ralph, VK3ZZC, I made a replacement rear panel. I used a punch, drilled pilot holes and finished edges and burrs with a bench grinder.

The radio is incredibly tiny for its features. Receive audio is excellent. I have tried to take it apart but it’s not easy – the case is only accessible from front or back and the power transistor and speaker are screwed to the bottom and top of the case and I’m mystified about how I would put it back together if these screws were undone.

The tiny size is achieved by not having low pass filters for each band. I read that one of the other transceivers has only a low pass filter at 30Mhz and it looks like this one is the same.

Wow, first harmonic when transmitting CW on 80m is down just 4.3dB! I transmitted on the net into a resonant 80m dipole which would provide some bandpass filtering but clearly an external bandpass filter is required. Some antenna tuners provide band pass filters – (I think z-matches work well).

Story by Peter, VK3TPM