Rodney Amateur Radio Club - NZART Branch 71

RARC Club Article

What Is uBITX?

Traditionally, HF rigs and handhelds were mainly the work of the Japanese, who dominated the electronics world from the 70's onwards. Lately the Chinese with their cheap, mass produced, products which have taken a strong grip at the frugal end of the VHF/UHF market. But there's another player in the market that's moving quietly along and gaining an almost cult following.

That player originates in India and has been producing HF products for several years now with the emphasis on the hobbyist who wants to build and experiment. So who are they?

HF Signals is the company that produces the uBITX which is a 10m-80m 10W SSB/CW QRP transceiver kit with a physical footprint of about six inches square. The uBITX is the latest in their line and follows on from the BITX40 and BITX20 singled banded transceivers. These are the creations of Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE and his idea was to create a transceiver to encourage radio operators to build, experiment plus share ideas (modifications etc) in the community.

The product is Open Source so experimentors and developers can modify both the hardware and software to suit their own needs. The front-end user interface is Arduino based and is driven by embedded software (firmware). Being open source, this has spawned alternate versions of the firmware to be made availble which provide advanced features and functions normally found on more expensive equipment. Ian Lee, KD8CEC provides one alternate source of the firmware with Jim, W0EB and Ron, W2CTX providing another. Ian Lee's firmware now includes native WSPR functionality.

The latest hot modification for this device is to replace the stock LCD display with a Nextion colour touch screen. The touch screens come in a variety of sizes (2.8, 3.2 and 7 inches) and, combined with the firmware update, will give you a kind of poor mans Icom 7300.

The uBITX providing up to 10 Watts may not set the power hungry amongst us alight but there are modifications out there to give 25 Watts (or more) from the device itself or you could build yourself a 2KW linear amp!

The kit comes with everything you need except for the case which you can purchase separately. Other items you need to source are a power supply, microphone case and a small speaker. You can build this with the case for around $300 NZ. Base price for the kit is $109 US.

Being hobbyists, many people have made their own cases - examples here.

The uBITX is a versatile piece of engineering that can have many uses. Personally, I can't wait to see what their next product will be.

By ZL1FABDate 13/09/2018 - 11:01