I have an on-again, off-again love affair with beacons. I spent many a day monitoring QRSS beacons on 30m, and have built a series of different beacon transmitters. Most of my work has been inspired by Hans Summers, G0UPL, so when I found he was selling something called the Ultimate QRSS kit for a mere $20 U.S., I decided I had to have one. I ordered it a bit back, and was beginning to wonder if I should shoot him an email, but yesterday some overseas mail was on my doorstep, and it had arrived!
The Ultimate QRSS kit is cool for a couple of reasons: first, it includes an LCD display and two button interface. It supports a wide variety of modes, including QRSS, Hellschrieber and WSPR. And, from my perspective the most cool feature: it can time and frequency lock with a GPS source to stay on frequency and will autosynchronize time and gridsquare. For this purpose, not all GPSes are considered equal: you’d like to have one with a 1PPS (one pulse per second) output. Luckily, I have an old Garmin 18 LVC lying around, which will fit the bill nicely.
The kit is very simple, it’s basically his tried and true “LED as varicap” design, driving a power amplifier which consists of a 2N7000, generating perhaps 180mw. It should take me just an hour or two to assemble. Stay tuned.