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Bill Brown

QRPp Transceiver -- Simple Kit -- Pixie

QRPp - Transceiver


QRPp Transceiver - Simple Kit - Pixie

The Pixie is a small, direct conversion CW QRPp transceiver using just a handful of common parts and is a retail kit for $10. Most people should be able to build it. This is a Fun little kit. However it might be harder for a first timer, but with some help you can make a working Radio. It is a cheap kit – However the $10 price is not completely correct. $10 for the PCB/Parts then $3 for the Crystal (Plus shipping). Then you have to buy connectors/Wire/Sockets/Solder/enclosure. I would guess in a box with the connectors/Switches you will be closer to $20. But worth the money just based on the learning experience.

The Pixie 2 is an HF CW transceiver, with a standard two transistor transmitter. It's a Colpitts oscillator, left running, and a keyed power amplifier. There is no external mixer used to feed the audio amplifier. The mixing is done at the final amplifier itself with the audio taken off the emitter. Depending on the PA device chosen, RF power outputs of between 100mW and 500mW may be achieved (I had to cherry pick transistors, but you can get about 400 mW with a 9V Cell). The only components which are band critical are in the TX PA output, so modifying for different bands (40M to 80M) can be done. On receive, the TX PA is used as a mixer which feeds the LM386 audio amplifier. This is a bare bones transceiver there's no RIT, a simple switch and cap in parallel, between the crystal will work as an offset though and there’s no volume control for the audio. The whole idea here was to make a tiny rig that worked, with room for improvements, using a minimum of parts. In some cases you may also have Hum with an external Power Supply – I’d recommend a Battery and you might also hear some BCI (Broadcast interference).

Hams have made many contacts many of them have been over hundreds of miles away. It takes some skills to make contacts, but it can be done. Not a great primary rig, but you will have some fun building and playing with it.


You need to be able to solder and trouble shoot a little, but it’s worth the time. Also you need to know a little about reading a schematic as some of the instructions could be clearer.

You will need a low wattage soldering iron with a small tip, some rosin core solder, solder wick (for removing parts), small wire cutters, needle nose pliers. Use Eye Protection, while cutting leads.

All the components, except for U1 the LM386, are mounted vertically. I’d recommend to start at one end of the board and work to the other. There are no coils to wind, no alignment either. Once you apply power you should be able to hear the oscillator start up by listening on a near by receiver. Then check for audio at the headphones. If you run into noise/oscillation check the power. Use a new alkaline battery.

Parts kits for the Pixie 2 are available from

HSC Electronics, 3500 Ryder St., Santa Clara, CA 95051. The cost is $9.95 + $2.00 shipping and handling for the PC board and all board mounted components except the crystal. Chokes will be provided for both 40 and 80 meters. Phone 1-800-4HALTED. http://www.halted.com/

You will need the following additional items (not supplied in the kit): 2-RCA jacks, or 3.5mm jacks for key and antenna 1-3.5 mm mono or stereo jack, depending upon your headphones 1-short piece of RG-174 for antenna connection 1-crystal socket or pair of mini-alligator clips - http://www.amqrp.org/kits/crystals/index.html

Also there are a lot of good resources on the Web:




Bill - KA6KBC