With superior dexterity, perseverance, dumb luck, and a lot of help from Don
W3FPR my K1 is complete and working on 40 and 20 meters. This is my first
kit rig, my first QRP rig, and my first CW only rig.
When I set out to buy a QRP rig, I looked at everything I could find on the
Web. What sold me on the K1 was the owner's manual, the fact that no
expensive test equipment was needed, and Elecraft's reputation. The K1 is
everything I hoped it would be and more. It's a true pleasure to be able to
build something this well designed. And it's made in the USA.
As the saying goes, "You may not be impressed that I built this radio, but
it impresses the hell out of me."
> ...my K1 is complete and working on 40 and 20 meters.
It's a great radio. I built K1 s/n 175 12 years ago and it remains my
favorite QRP rig.
I hope you installed the LCD back light option. That is so useful that
no K1 should be sold without it. It can be a real pain to back fit
later into a K1 that has already been built.
No K1 should be sold with a two-band filter board either. The four-band
board offers, of course, twice the bands. Almost as importantly, it has much
sharper filtering for performance that is superior to the two-band model.
A four-band board with 15 meters is ideal for the next few years of the
solar activity cycle...that's the best QRP band when open.
> The K1 is everything I hoped it would be and more.
Unfortunately, it is a "mature" product for which it is unlikely that new
accessories will ever be introduced...such as high-band four-band filter
board for 17/15/12/10m, which would be ideal at this point in solar cycle 24.
Congratulations on the K1 build, Bob. The K1 I bought a few years ago was my first Elecraft acquisition and my first kit since a Heathkit power supply many years ago. I've had a blast using it in portable field operations. I predict you'll build the 4 band board next. Even though I've moved up the rig ladder since, I still have the K1 and doubt I'll ever part with it.
> Unfortunately, it is a "mature" product for which it is unlikely that new
> accessories will ever be introduced...such as high-band four-band filter
> board for 17/15/12/10m, which would be ideal at this point in solar cycle 24.
> ...what do you guys think of the usefulness of the noise blanker?
For years, I thought the KNB1 was only marginally useful, because only
rarely did I find a noise source for which it was effective. But in
the past four years I've encountered in several locations, including
my home that an odd digital-type noise is present on some bands. The
KNB1 has been very effective for that, and I've been very happy to have
it. I stay away from using the noise blanker at its most extreme
setting (which is LO, meaning it triggers on a low signal threshold).
That can dramatically reduce receiver dynamic range.
> By the way, I just converted my 2-band board to 80/17, but the 17 side
> does not work, darn! I must have messed-up somewhere because the board
> worked before on 40/20.
I converted my original 40/20m board to 80/17m after I built the
40/30/20/15m board. It works fine, with a little better power output
on the 17m side than the 80m side.
I'm sure that you must have a simple problem on 17m, like maybe poor
solder connections to any of the six 17m band toroids (L2, L3, L7, L8,
L11, L12). Does it receive? The first thing I'd check is that a nearby
receiver can hear the 17m heterodyne crystal oscillator, which should
be heard about 26050 +/- 5 kHz when the 17m band is selected.
> By the way, what is that RF choke that came in the 80m kit?
It's a small 100 uH choke that installs in place of the jumper installed
at manual page 30 (upper right paragraph), which says:
"Locate the component outline for RFC8, on the bottom of the RF
board in the transmitter area. Install a short wire jumper at RFC8,
formed from a component lead or solid hookup wire.
Note: an RF choke may be supplied with the 80-meter band kit (2-
band Filter board only) for use at RFC8. This RF choke can be
installed at any time, and will have no effect on K1 alignment or
testing on any band. Its function is to improve stability on 80 meters
when the K1 is used with poorly-matched loads or an ATU."
Also specific to 80m use is C78, from manual page 45 (right side):
"Make sure that all component locations on the RF board have
been filled, except for two: J1, which is supplied with the noise
blanker option kit (KNB1), and C78, which may be supplied with the
80-m band kit for the 2-band Filter board. If you have the 80 meter
board, install C78 at this time on the bottom of the board near the PA
and 12V labels with the (+) lead oriented as shown on the outline.
Fold C78 down flat against the board before soldering."
I think that RFC8 and C78 should be supplied standard with every K1,
but for some reason they never have been. Sometimes RFC8 is not even
supplied with an 80m parts kit, though it should be.