Friday, November 20, 2009

The Whys & Hows - Dixie Pixie

The "pixie" is a QRPp transceiver, it is a minimalist rig using the minimum components. It is fun to build and has a variety of mods to enhance its performance. Output power is in the range of 250mw to 500mw depending on the transistors. As you would expect from a rig like this it does have its problems and limitations, but there is lots of info on the web regarding mods and fixes for this rig. It can be made in an evening and can be an ongoing project for anyone interested in building and I am sure it will give anyone interested in home-brew QRP projects hours of tinkering time.

In this blog I will capture the steps needed to build the DIXIE PIXIE 2 via Manhattan Style and we will take the time to understand the various parts of the radio.

The PIXIE 2 It is available on the web as an inexpensive kit, my goal here is different, my goal is walk a newbie through through the process of creating the radio from scratch, and not just stuff components into a pre-fabricated board.

In preparing this course I researched the origins of the pixie dating back the former Soviet Union's Oleg Borodin RV3GM  and his "original" design The Micro-80 and the subsequent UK version FOXX Transceiver by George Burt GM30XX featured in SPRAT Magazine, and many others.

Follow this LINK to read about the origins and over 30 year history of this radio, as chronicled by UK's premier QRP magazine SPRAT.

The radio is an example in brevity, every parts in the design works double duty, truly a QRP classic and worth our study. In my design (click the image above) I selected the most FUNDAMENTAL parts, many designs you can find on the web are ... well let's just say "embellished heavily by what whatever components were handy at the time." -- Since we are starting from scratch and you don't any components, let's use the best we can find from some of the QRP's and Electronics suppliers, no need to start deviating too soon, although experimentation is allowed and encouraged, I will try and follow and lead you down the middle path.

In some ways the history of the PIXIE reads like a dime-store spy novel, in addition to the BEHIND IRON CURTAIN and UK versions there are also INDIAN, SWEDISH, GERMAN and dozens of AMERICAN versions, each the design is redone to suite the needs of new groups of builders adjusting for part availability, etc. For example many of the mid 90's US versions featured RADIO SHACK part numbers, well guess what fast forward a brief dozen years later (now - late 2009) and those parts are no longer available at you your local mall outlet.

So if you are new to electronics, new to HAM radio, or an old hand but always wanted dig deeper into how radio really work, here is your chance, book-mark this spot and come on back about once a week or so. I will add more and more layers until we have a  complete working radio.

72 ki4SGU

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