Sunlife Amateur Radio Club

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                                         Kit Building, Home Brew, and Experiments

The Moderator for this page is Doc WA3VVC 

Build something, a Kit!

December 2, 2011 

This blog post was contributed by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, an amateur radio operator for 40 years and an experienced EE.

A couple of years ago, a group of local hams were talking on the club repeater, and the talk got around to building stuff. One of the guys said, “You can’t really build anything anymore.” I almost fell out of my chair. That’s simply not true. There are still many companies out there selling kits that are not only fun to build, but are useful additions to the ham shack. There are even reports that Heathkit plans to start selling kits again.

Here are a couple of sources:

  • Elecraft ( In my mind, Elecraft has become the premiere ham radio kit company, if not the premiere ham radio company, period. The new K3, for example, outperforms just about anything on the market by many accounts. Personally, I have built the KX-1, which is a real blast to operate from a park bench or to take on vacation. I also have and use the W1 wattmeter.
  • TenTec ( While perhaps known more for their ready-made rigs, they also sell a line of single-band transceivers and receiver kits.
  • QRP Kits ( sells kits that cater to the QRP crowd,  that is hams who like to operate low power. They offer many different radios and accessories.

Below are some other companies whose kits have good reputations, but with which I have no personal experience:

QRP clubs are also a good source of cool kits. QRP operators are natural builders and tinkerers, and many of their designs are quite unique. They also like sharing what they’ve done with other hams. Check out the offering of the American QRP Club ( ), the Four State QRP Club (, and the Arizona SQRPions (

Ready to rock and roll? Here are a couple Web sites that you might want to check out before you dive in:

I hope that I’ve whetted your appetite for building a kit or two. They’re a lot of fun to build, and you really do get a rush from operating a radio or using a piece of test equipment that you built yourself.

If you know of other kit sources, or if you’ve built a kit lately, I’d like to hear about it. Leave a comment below or e-mail me at

For more on ham radio, see: Ham radio in the 21st century.

Posted by Suzanne Deffree on December 2, 2011 |

More links from readers of the column.

Our QRP club, NJQRP, also has a number of kits - the NUE-PSK modem is great, and their are some new SDR rig kits being offered. 73 

                                                              KIT BUILDING

The history of Ham Radio is based in hams building  and modifying their equipment. Receivers, transmitters, gadgets for the shack are all favorite items to build.  In this day of ready to run gear some say that hams don't build any more. This site hopes to show that is not so.  Projects for the shack will be featured and you are encouraged to submit your ideas or projects for posting.  This page will be used to provide content on these topics with postings and links to greater information.  In addition, as available, reviews on kits available or on "neat" home brew projects will be found on this page. 

Inclusion on the page or a commercial or non-commercial project does not carry any endorsement of the product or company and the moderator and Sunlife ARC are not responsible for your project not working.  Every effort will be made to assure all suggestions are real and workable. 

In addition to projects, some basic electronics experiments and circuits will be presented in downloadable "White Papers".  Topics planned are DC power supplies, op amp circuits, simple measuring instruments, etc.  This feature will evolve over the next year (2013-2014).

The Sunlife ARC website is . 


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