I assembled and aligned this radio in one day. Well, I did all that, took the pictures, and did the web pages in one day! So, if all you're doing is assembling the radio, it should take only a few hours.
I set up the soldering iron late this morning and turned on the computer. Before I sat at the bench I cranked up a whole list of Soldersmoke podcasts. I had been so busy lately that I had fallen behind. I'm still not caught-up, but I got through eight of them today. They made an excellent backdrop to my own bench work.
I picked one of the worst days of the year to test the radio, though. The 40m band is filled to the brim with RTTY contesters. This does not make a very good environment for checking out the sensitivity of a new receiver!
I did not mention these items in the web pages but I'll add them here. Elecraft make some Mini-Module Kits that are very helpful for breathing life into a new radio:
- DL1 Wideband 20W Dummy Load -- I used this to test and align the transmitter.
- N-gen Wideband Noise Generator (100 kHz - 500 MHz) -- Peaking the filters in a radio is tedious work but this device provides a steady and extremely wide-band signal source. Just keep fiddling until the noise is loud, louder, loudest!
- XG1 Receiver Test Oscillator / S-Meter Calibrator -- I have the original one that is a single band. Luckily, the band happened to be 40m. Elecraft has a new one that works on 3 bands (80m, 40m, 20m). Tune the radio to 7.040 and set it to 1 micro-volt. Can you hear it? If you can, that is good news indeed.
None of this helped me in my planning or packing for the St. Kitts trip. But, I love to build things and it had been a very long time since I'd built a significant kit. Melting solder is good! Tomorrow I'm back to St. Kitts planning. But tonight I'm going to play with the new rig...