I may have not actually made an on-the-air QSO in months, but I still follow what is going on, especially in QRP circles.
So, I was excited to see the latest NORCAL kit offering, the NC-2030. It’s called that because it’s capable of being constructed for either 20m or 30m. It’s also one of the first major offerings using SMT parts, so it will be very compact.
Another cool thing is it uses the Tayloe detector, a type of quadrature detector that lets a direct-conversion receiver offer single sideband reception with very high performance. No more worry about tuning to the wrong side of a signal. This may sound minor to an appliance operator, but the design of the detector is revolutionary and was something that only became practical with modern ICs. It’s also a whole different animal getting high performance in a receiver in a rig with unlimited power available. This is a QRP rig and designed for very low power consumption while maintaining specs that rival or exceed many commercial receivers. All while drawing only 11ma.
I remember the discussion of the Tayloe mixer on the QRP-L mailing list a few years ago. Dan Tayloe, N7VE, the designer of the NC-2030, came up with the design and posted about it to the list. He let others pick it apart and try to prove hime wrong. The design is clever in it’s simplicity and offers amazing performance. I remember Dan’s explanations of how it worked and they were simple enough that even I could understand them!
So, when the club announced the kit, I had to order one. Should I build it for 20m or 30m? I already have small, single-band QRP radios for each of those bands (An NC-20 and a MFJ 30m rig.) The MFJ was not a kit, so I was inclined to build it for 30m. But 20m is a great band too, what should I do? Simple, order two.
So, I did and I’m waiting for them to ship. At this point, they are kitting the parts and have built the first proof kit from the final design. It’s to be raffled off at Pacificon, which I believe is this weekend. So, I expect that after that, the ship day will not be far off. I see they have added a ship date column to the order status page, so it must be near. Looking at the names on the list, it’s a virtual who’s-who of the QRP world. No doubt a few names missing because it is a surface mount project, but many prominent names in the community are listed. It’s good to see they are not scared off by the tiny parts.
I’m looking forward to receiving my kits and building them. I’ll post here on my progress.