I'm pretty happy with the way that the CRX1 turned out, but understandably I haven't sold a ton of them because 1) they are a SMT kit and 2) the tuning range is a bit limited. However, it's a stable and sensitive CW receiver and it's pretty fun to build as well.
There are still PCBs and a fair number of components left to kit another batch of CRX1s, but I would need to order more components in order to complete a 2nd batch of kits. I'd hate to see these parts sitting around, so I have a potential proposal that I'd like to use to gauge interest for ordering those other components.
I believe these would be great as a group build project for those who have built through-hole kits in the past but want to try their hand at SMT. The circuit board is not cramped and the passives are almost all 0805, so they are not too small. So of there are any of you interested in ordering a batch for a group build (whether for a few friends or for a club) then email me at milldrum at gmail dot com. I can arrange for a bulk discount over the current $30 retail price. The discount will be based on the number ordered.
Finally, wanted to show you a very quick demonstration of the receiver to those of you who haven't seen it in action before. Take a peek at this video to see it listening to 40 meters.
I could probably work out something on the OpenBeacon as well, if you think your group would prefer to do that instead. Just send me an email to the above address.
Last week, I was informed that everyone in our company would be receiving a temporary (but indefinite) 10% reduction in pay. To make matters worse, it looks like we will be taking more mandatory shutdown days in the current quarter; we've got five coming up over the next few months. This is also another open-ended cost cutting measure; there is a possibility of more shutdown days in the upcoming quarters. As might be expected, my first reaction was anger and frustration, but I've cooled off a bit since then and let rationality replace emotion. The truth of the matter is that they economy sucks real bad, and only appears to be getting worse at the moment. I believe the company leaders when they say that this was done to avert more layoffs. Given the choice between a 10% reduction in pay and a 100% reduction in pay, it's pretty obvious what the best option is. I still can't say that I'm terribly thrilled, but this wasn't entirely unexpected either.
So now the belt needs to be tightened a bit more at our household. Given my personal theories about what's going on in the world, I seriously doubt that this is the worst that we will see. Let's just say that I will be extremely grateful if I still have this same job in a year from now. With that in mind, I have been giving serious consideration to getting into the kit-selling business. Not that I expect to ever get rich selling kits to hams, but I really enjoy design and it would be nice to at least be able to supplement my income now that it's taking a pretty big hit.
Along those lines, one of the reasons why the technical content has been light around here lately is that I have been working on a kit for a well-known QRP club. I don't know when I can spill the beans or how much I can say about it, but I think it should be an interesting and fun kit for a lot of builders. Keep an eye on the blog for more details about the kit when I'm able to release them.
Furthermore, I have some other kit ideas that sprang from this original design. Those are the ones that I would like to bring to market under my own banner, along with some other unique designs that aren't currently on the market. At best, it will still be months before you see anything commercial coming out of my lab, but I'm going to do my best to get the ball rolling very soon since I've now got a fire lit under my butt. I'm still going to post other technical content when I can, just don't be surprised if that category is a bit light for the next few months while things spin up over here.