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SW+ 40
40-Meter QRP Transceiver
from
Small Wonder Labs

 

This is the latest addition to my collection of QRP rigs -- the Small Wonder + , SW+ 40-meter QRP transceiver from Small Wonder Labs (SWL ).  SWL also makes the RockMite QRP rig and the FreqMite frequency counter that I describe elsewhere on this site.

Small Wonder Labs

The SW+ series rigs are available for 80, 40, 20, and 30 meters.  Dave Benson at SWL sells this rig as a kit; he also sells an enclosure kit that includes a silk-screened, pre-drilled enclosure as well as all controls, jacks, and connectors needed to mount the SW+ in the enclosure.  (UPDATE:  As of late 2010, Dave no longer sells the enclosure kit.  The aluminum box that he used is a TenTec model TG-24 enclosure.  The TenTec TBP-19 is also suitable.)

Here's a link to the SWL website: http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/

On the left side of the SWL front page  you will see several links -- click on the link to SW+ Series to see the SW+ and the enclosure kit.

My Experience with the SW+ for 40 Meters

I ordered my SW+40 on 19 January 2010 and received it two weeks later, on 30 January.  The kit arrived in the mail at the beginning of a HUGE snowstorm.  When I went to the mailbox, the wind was blowing from the north -- across the Potomac River -- at 20 MPH with gusts to 30 MPH and snow was falling at the rate of an inch an hour.  I brought the kit into the house, ate lunch, then started assembling the rig.

Assembly was straightforward.  Dave includes with the kit a CD that has the latest version of the assembly instructions.  Also, you can print the instructions from his website.  I printed extra copies of the parts list and the parts placement diagram to use while building the rig.  As I placed parts on the PC board, I checked them off on the parts list and the parts placement diagram.

Total construction time from opening the box and dumping out the parts to putting the rig on the air was six hours, including an occasional break.

I had no problems in building or tuning the rig -- it worked perfectly the instant power was applied.

Here are some photos

First is a picture that I copied  from the Small Wonder Labs website showing a close-up view of the PC board.

Note the four crystals lined up from right to left down the center of the board.  Three of these form a crystal filter for the receiver that makes it quite sharp and knocks out most interference when the band is crowded.

Here's a picture of my SW+40 laid out after I tested and tuned it.

Here is the SW+40 with all connections laid out on my operating table.  The red and black lead from the left is power.  The red-yellow-orange leads that go to the small knob on the left are the volume control.  The big knob in the front center of the photo is the tuning control.  The small PC board is a FreqMite frequency counter from SWL -- this is a separate item, not part of the SW+40; I wired it into the SW+40 to give me an audible readout of the operating frequency.  The green-yellow-orange lead on the right goes to two jacks -- key and headphone.  To the upper right of the SW+40 is my KK-1 straight Key from American Morse Equipment.  To the right of the key is a big silver connector -- this is the antenna connector.  The tiny silver object to the right of the FreqMite is the switch that activates the FreqMite.  I laid out the rig in this configuration to test it and tune it. 

Tuning took only a couple of minutes.  As soon as it was tuned, I made two contacts with the rig, one in central Tennessee and one in New Hampshire.

Here's an out-of-focus close-up photo of my SW+40.

Specs for my SW+40

Frequency coverage:  7026 - 7068 KHz.

Power output:  1.25 watts.  The rig is capable of putting out 2.5 watts and output power is adjustable from under 1 watt to 2.5 watts.  I set mine at 1.25 watts.

Tuning:  Tuning is accomplished by varying the voltage across a varactor diode.  The big knob in the photo above is attached to a 100K ohm potentiometer, which is the tuning control.

Here are more details from the SWL website:

  •  Single-board transceiver, 2.8 x 4.0" (7 x 10.1 cm)
  •  Commercial-quality board, masked and silkscreened
  •  True VFO: 35-40 kHz coverage
  •  Superheterodyne design, with crystal filtering
  •  Quiet solid-state T-R switching (QSK)
  •  Output Power Adjustable- 2.5W max.

Conclusions

Although I have had the rig on the air for only a few minutes before preparing this article, I can tell that I will enjoy this rig and it likely will be my main QRP rig.  The receiver is very sharp and sensitive; the rig is small and has low power requirement; and, all-in-all it's an excellent piece of equipment.

More photos and modifications

Go to the next page to see more photos and modifications I made to my SW+40

 

 

Member, North American QRP CW Club
NAQCC #3938

Member
American Radio Relay League

Member
QRP Amateur Radio Club International
QRPARCI # 14145

     

Member, Straight-Key Century Club
SKCC #7954

 

Member, FISTS
The International Morse Preservation Society
FISTS #15405

 

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