Kit Building for the Radio Amateur – AD#39

Kit Building for the Radio Amateur – AD#39

What kits are all about and how to decide if one is for you. Subscribe: Ask Dave Playlist: Tip Jar:

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Twitter: @dcasler


  1. sewashburn0529 on November 23, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Now you make me want to get my Ten-Tec shortwave radio that I built out and see if it still works!

  2. Clifford Pace on November 23, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    David thank you so much for the info. Prices for radios are too high for me. This is the way maybe for me.
    I think I will well a lot more by doing this. Again you soo much, you are great!!

  3. K7AGE on November 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Dave, lots of good information. Have fun with your ZZRX-40 kit. Randy

  4. Harvey Ellis on November 23, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Great video…..don’t be shy of SMT components. Very good results can be achieved with flux, solder braid, practice, & patience

  5. Ron Thompson on November 23, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    I want to build a am tube radio kit except no one sells them anymore

  6. A Wild on November 23, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    No way. I like doing things where I can see what is wrong. I can see getting something all soldered together, only to have it not work and me having no idea which part(s) were put in backwards, etc. No, I will be buying finished stuff.

  7. Angel Help on November 23, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Dave. Reminds me reminds me of hearth kit I heard they are coming back and they doing saw the less you don’t need to solder to the boards

  8. Adam R on November 23, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    you know dave, i never thought of antennas and others as kits. i have always dreamed of building a hw-100 or hw-101 as a kit. you have pointed out that i have and others have built kits. antennas are the most common for me as i have been through a few when upgrading but never thought of it as a kit. that makes sense. thank you for another great informative video. i will have to see if i can find a good question for you to use on ask dave videos. keep them coming. I am also curious as to if you have any recomedations to any test equipment kits. i would love to build a multimeter for sure as i do have a good reference one to use to calibrate from work. and any other ideas you might have that would be beneficial to a ham workbench. i love to build and would love to have homebuilt equipment to service along with that. 73, ad0am

  9. Classick Genetics on November 23, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I’d take a Heathkit or any build your own kit verses these newfangled radios that are coming out these days. not those new radios aren’t really cool but a ham radio shouldn’t be a smart device and do all the work for you that’s the whole point of being a ham radio operator it is to operate your equipment not have your equipment do the operating for you and you have simply just become a talker and listener. We all know how smartphones made us all a little stupider so let’s not go through this with our radios LOL. 73’s everyone!

  10. Dix Pears on November 23, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Please see my transmediteranean contact on 23 cm

  11. Brettany Renée Blatchley on November 23, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I have wonderful memories of sitting with Dad as he built several Heathkit projects. I have built a few kits through the years and "in another life" a few decades ago, I used to prototype and component-level repair computer hardware. I earned my tech license but never did anything with it and let it lapse…

    A few years ago I gave away my wideband Tektronix o-scope and my trusty DMM to an engineer in need, thinking I would never touch hardware again at my age.

    …But now the "bug" has bitten and I want to refresh my toolkit, learn code, build a qrp rig and earn my license back. AND I finally have a few $$ I can toss at it.

    Goodness, I haven’t burned my fingers & hair, nor torn my fingertips with cut-leads in years! Wish me luck!! 🔌🎛🎧💙

  12. Michael Lloyd on November 23, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    I’ve been on a kit building binge for the last few months. I built three OHR100A’s 80m 40m. and 20m (love these kits. They are nice rigs and not hard to build) I also built Marshall’s Digital dials and QRP wattmeter. I built an Elecraft KX-1 (not for the beginner). I built a couple of Rcokmite ][‘s. I’ve built numerous QRP Labs kits. All in the last couple of months and I had a blast. 73 NE5U Mike

  13. Michael Thompson on November 23, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    I was chatting with some folks about kits, and wouldn’t you know here is about the best video I’ve seen on the subject and It’s Dave Casler..again! 😀
    Shared with thanks!
    73 de N2NLQ!

  14. Stephen Williams on November 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Yes om! A three knober will work just as good as a ken wood. It’s not just the rig, but the operator that knows his stuff. And keeps his rig in band limits. Once got a letter from a OO for my image being out of band. That is,I had to tighten up the filter on final amp.contacted the OO and test. Revealed no harmonic . 73 om tks for your work de kv4li

  15. keith martin on November 23, 2020 at 9:14 pm


  16. shamrock1961 on November 23, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    The improvement in technology has allowed manufacturers to charge more as if they had hired a team of experts. Its still the hobby of privilege.👎

  17. Neal Daugherty on November 23, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    I built an HW 101 while on alert in the 80s; loved it!

  18. David Jacobowitz on November 23, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Don’t fear the SMT! It took me awhile to get over my aversion to SMT, but once I did, it opened up so many more options. You need slightly better tools, but the investment is not too bad. I know you have a new solder station, Dave, which is more than up to the task. And there are plenty of videos on the Internet to help you get a handle on the technique. There are tricks! A good temperature-controlled iron, squeeze-bottle of flux, some fine solder, some desoldering braid, a pair of tweezers, and a magnifying lamp will get you very far! Also, once you get a little practice you may find that SMT is actually _faster_ to do than through-hole.

    Not all SMT is the same, either. I am happy to solder 1206 and 0805 devices all day long, but avoid 0602 or 0402. Similarly, I can do devices with 0.5mm pitch or more, but when it gets tighter than that, I have to bow out. Some devices have thermal pads on the bottom, and that requires special technique. The one type of device I cannot touch with my current technique is the BGA, though I know a lot of home amateurs that have had good luck soldering such devices in skillets on their stoves! For a bit more money, there are kits to build reflow ovens.

  19. RobMacKendrick on November 23, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Great video! I just built my first kit, the ZM2 ATU. Sadly it’s not working to spec and I don’t know why or how to find out. But I’m still fighting. In the end the diagnosis and repair experience will probably be the most valuable thing about the project. Very encouraging to know that your stuff doesn’t always work, either! Thanks, Dave.

  20. greentoothpaste on November 23, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Great video!

  21. jmm1233 on November 23, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    This awesome presentation , love it

  22. Idontneednostinkingchannel on November 23, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    We never had the $$$ back in the 50’s & 60’s. Now the best companies (Heathkit) have all made their millions and closed their doors.

  23. Mark Tosiello on November 23, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    My first kit was an Elecraft KX3 and PX3. Built both last year over 2 days. Fantastic manuals, and much information online. I’ve built many PCs in the past…The Elecraft kits were no more difficult, and in some ways easier. Be sure to have a static mat and wrist strap, and inventory all parts and screws (I contained them in multi-section hardware storage cases), and you’ll enjoy the experience! 73!

  24. Ham4Ham on November 23, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Dave as always very good coverage. Software highlights on importance are absolutely correct. I think that we will see in the near future pick and place machines for the home for hobbist level and pricing. Finally, TRXBench and Mr. Carlson’s Lab channels have excellent coverage on dealing with small surface mount components.

  25. Matthew Holevinski on November 23, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    What do I gotta do, where do I gotta go to find a work up for my first radio in like a breadboard format. Something like 1930’s technology, so that I can treat the assembly not as just a kit to be assembled but as a foundational start for an electronics education. Something with entirely discreet components that I can meticulously go over with something like an oscilloscope junction by junction so that I can actually visualize what is going on. No amount of reading books, taking classes, or watching youtube is going to help me visualize these currents, ohms, voltages, sine waves, amplitudes and frequencies. I can read the books, I can recite the knowledge I’ve acquired front to back, but I’m never going to gain the wisdom until I can find that perfect radio design and/or kit that will help me teach myself. So that when someone says something like well this diode has this particular effect that isn’t very good and if you changed it out for that diode this other such thing would be improved, I can actually witness that knowledge and learn from it.

  26. webtv42 on November 23, 2020 at 9:31 pm


  27. Sam Iam on November 23, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Kits can be fun but some can be very frustrating if a component or part is missing from the kit. Some act as if your calling them to get this or that doodad for free, as if you enjoy going out of the way just to complain or rip them off for a 25cent part. So now I buy mostly assembled things if possible. Thumb up good topic Dave.

  28. Rick S on November 23, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    kits can be fun. but, without the right test equipment they can be difficult to calibrate. especially when the kit requires winding inductors and toroids.

  29. Dale Atkin on November 23, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    10101010101010101 looks like LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL to me. Great video! I love your channel. Cheers!

  30. mylowproject on November 23, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    thank you so much for the information on safety

  31. Mike Petroff on November 23, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Very nice presentation – incidentally did you memorize it – if so congratulations on that as well!

  32. Gwen Patton on November 23, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    I’ve built a number of kits, including an Elecraft K2. But a favorite was the digital VFO version of the Small Wonder Labs QRP 20m rig, the DSW-20. I have a couple of plastic bins full of unbuilt kits. This is usually because I buy some kits on Ebay, and the prices are so low that the shipping is actually a large percentage of the cost…so I’ll buy 3 or 4 of the same kit because it doesn’t increase the shipping charge. I am very fond of QRPGuys kits, especially their travel antennas for QRP operation. I also don’t mind winding toroids, I find it somewhat relaxing.

    One of my early rigs was an 80m QRP transceiver, a variation on the venerable Pixie called the Tixie. The main difference was the incorporation of a TICK keyer chip, hence the Tix in Tixie. I have an unbuilt 80m PSK31 kit called a "Warbler".

    The K2 was a real challenge. My partner and I built it very slowly and carefully, and it’s still alive and kicking to this day.

  33. Firtina Beyi on November 23, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    is this a 2 meter kit? ı want to recieve signals from ıss which is around 145mhz

  34. David Hefner on November 23, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    If kits worked then they should work now. I’m not interested in computer run ham radio.

  35. Laggger Engineering on November 23, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    6:40 That flawless checkmark!

  36. Roger Parrett on November 23, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Great video, and Happy Thanksgiving… 73…Roger / NQ8RP

  37. Stephen Williams on November 23, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    At 68 I do mine In jumps. Caps, restors, and transistors. In sortes. Tks de kv4li

  38. War Planner on November 23, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    Dave, this is an absolutely superb preparatory video that should be required viewing for any new ham contemplating kit building. Also, in addition to the basic tools a beginner would need, he or she should plan on getting test equipment and I would suggest a decent DMM or VOM and an inexpensive frequency counter. Down the road, an oscilloscope would be invaluable for those who get serious about kit building.

    New hams who engage in kit building for several years will find their "electronic theory aptitude" increasing and they will appreciate and enjoy the hobby a lot more. For example, there are few things more scintillating than working someone across the country or across the ocean with 5-watt radio you built yourself!

    Tangentially, wonder what ailed your OHR-100. I must have built four of those and they semed pretty simple. However, they *did* have idiosyncrasies but I have found the support by Marshall Emm to be superb! (incidentally, my first OHR kit was purchased when Doug Demaw owned the business, my second when Dick Witske was the owner.)

    Sincere thanks for your efforts with these videos (I subscribed and am becoming a big fan) and keep up with the great work.


    de Bill, k6whp

    dit dit

  39. Ron Thompson on November 23, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    If you no of any tube am radio kits ,I no of a few disabled vet ,s who would love to make those kits,anyone please let me no .

  40. Bill Ashby on November 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    I once purchased a Transverter (2m->6m) that had parts that I just Could NOT see/make out the values on!
    I sent it to my Brother-in-Law who, promptly put it together with No Difficulty at All! His eyes were Much better than mine, but I don’t think the Transverter ever made it “On the Air”!
    Many years later, I’m looking for a kit to build an HF Rig, but as of this time, I haven’t been able to locate a company from which I can obtain a Kit…I’ll keep looking and, One day, hopefully sooner than later, I’ll find a kit and build it and get it on the Air!

  41. Bill Stewart on November 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    This is very sad! This "spirit" was why I got my amateur licence this summer, but after getting it I am finding that "making money using overseas" has decimated this "spirit". So I am now trying to find information on homebrew and even that is falling of the edge of the earth.

  42. Leech Little on November 23, 2020 at 9:48 pm


  43. Jorge Medina on November 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Dave, congratulations, you just got on the spot.
    Thanks for your wise advice in connection with assembling kits. It requires lots of patience more than skill. This one might be learnt, but that means very deep and frequent breathing while puzzled

  44. PS Gary on November 23, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    I just earned Extra-Class and I still don’t know that much yet. I’m hoping to put together a rig before too long.
    I appreciate the tips that will help me going into the job.
    AJ6AE formerly KJ6VSR

  45. Ron Thompson on November 23, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    I will thanks

  46. TheMountainRN on November 23, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    I started to do some kits. Last one I had to trouble shoot but didn’t have the proper equipment. What would be the components for a beginner beyond the multi meter?

  47. Robert S on November 23, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks Dave. I learned electronic kit building is not for me.

  48. WHEATS on November 23, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    hey great video !! Very informative and encouraging. I THINK I WANT TO BUILD A HAM RADIO ! I was wondering if I would be patient enough, and i believe i surely am

  49. jack002tuber on November 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    One more safety tip: When soldering, have a fan on to blow the fumes away so as not to breathe them in. Good video, Dave.

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