Sunday, August 23, 2009

SW PSK-20 done

Built a nice piece of equipment from a superb kit: the Small Wonder Labs PSK-20.

The kit was perfect, no missing parts, quality p.c.b., well packed and sorted bits and pieces, clear instructions...
Compared to what I built earlier, kits, homemade, homebrew etc. this is one of the easier ones. The layout is not as busy as in many other designs, this is reflected in the total build time of something like 6 hours.

The building instructions are good. Not too long, but still enough detail. The advice on the installation order seems logic most of the time. Sometimes I just wondered but did not further care. At rare instances I severely deviated from this advice however.
The author is aware of essentially all difficulties one can face and gives good instructions how to overcome said difficulties.

I missed the progess tests/checks à la Ten Tec Kits. Not that I would do all of them, however, I do some. And so I did in the PSK-20 project. I think this would be a nice addition which would prevent the less experienced builder to continue the installation of parts when a section of the built went wrong.
In the middle of the solder session, when the receiver was completed, I wired the project up to 12V and an antenna to "hear" if everything works sofar. Yep, it did.
Additional tests in earlier stages could be, for instance, checking if the L.O. and the B.F.O. are functional by listen to the carriers with a general coverage receiver.

One erratum is corrected (indicated on a sticker on the instructions CD's cover), another one slipped through, I will mail it to Dave.

After a quick alignment, searching for cables to wire up a computer, finding a computer, realising that it had no PSK31-software on it, installing said software, firing up everything, I managed to have a qso with SV-land. :-))