One of the best parts of QRP radio operation is being able to build your own QRP radio transceiver and show it off to your friends and family. Building a QRP radio can be a complicated and tedious process but it is often necessary if you want to build the most efficient QRP transceiver. While many QRP enthusiasts choose to build their QRP transceivers to their own specification others decide to purchase pre designed QRP kits. If you think that building your own QRP radio set is something that you would like to do the first thing that you need to do is decide where you want to start. Do you want to start from scratch and build it from the ground up or do you want to buy a kit and work from there. Building a completely custom QRP radio can be fun and rewarding but it is generally only something that you should attempt to do if you are an experienced QRP radio operator and have had practice working on them in the past. If you are unfamiliar with the basics of a QRP radio it will probably be best if you start out with a kit so that you can see how everything is supposed to work and go together in an organized way.
When building a QRP transceiver of any sort one of the things that you need to be prepared for is experimentation. Even with a pre manufactured kit it helps to experiment with different settings and functions so that you can find the best possible combination for your QRP set. While it may be tempting to go big when you are building a QRP set in most cases a simple CW transmitter will be the easier option. If you are building your first QRP radio just remember that smaller is better. Smaller sets are easier to put together and are generally easier to operate though they may not offer the functionality afforded by large QRP transceivers. The “Michigan Might Mite” transmitter is popular within many QRP circles because of its simplicity and effectiveness. The MMM is so easy to build that most established QRP operators can build one out of the parts that they have laying around. Even if you don’t have the parts needed to build such a simple transmitter you can easily rectify that situation by making a trip to your local RadioShack.
Simple transmitters like the Michigan Mighty Mite often use less than 2 watts of power, the MMM actually only uses 500 milliwatts. These types of transceivers, often known as minimalist because they use only the minimum required materials, are popular with both beginners and more experienced QRP operators; mainly because they are simple to use but still pose a challenge if you are trying to transmit over long distances. The great part about starting with a simple CW transmitter is that plans and diagrams showing you exactly how to build them can easily be found on the internet through a simple search.
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