at the front of the rig, but the coax
is always in the way. It would be
much better to place it at the rear
of the rig.
(I). Although the instructions
don’t say to do so, I placed a two
amp fuse on the positive power
line. This is especially important if
you plan to power your rig with a
The BITX40 isn’t difficult to
operate; it’s similar to most other
QRP rigs. However, if you’re not
accustomed to using the BITX40
VFO, then be aware that it might
take some getting used to.
When the tuner reaches its
upper or lower kHz limit, the VFO
begins to increment automatically
at 10 kHz steps. I found this to be
quite disconcerting at first. After I
became familiar with the way it
works, I didn’t have as much of a
problem with it. Just be aware that
the automatically incrementing tuner can be pretty
annoying when you first begin using it.
This feature of the VFO has generated a great deal of
discussion on nets and user groups — both pro and con —
so I expect to see a fix for it very soon.
Remember, the BITX40 is a low power transceiver
which means that the operator will usually have to work a
little harder and perhaps a little smarter for contacts that
might be easier to make with more powerful equipment.
Making contacts with low power is the challenge of
working QRP, and it’s also what makes it fun.
Since I first went on the air with my BITX40, I’ve made
contacts up and down the US west coast and I even made
one contact that was 800 miles away in Vancouver, BC —
all on seven watts of power.
My technique is simply to mention that I’m calling CQ
from a QRP station. The thinking here is that when other
operators hear I’m calling with low power, they might
make just a little more effort to contact me, whereas if
they think I’m just another weak station, they might take a
pass on my signal.
My usual CQ call goes something like this:
CQ, CQ, CQ this is QRP station (call sign) calling CQ,
CQ, CQ and standing by for a call.
I will repeat this three or four times while waiting for a
I ordered my first BITX40 after hearing my QRP
friends talking about how much they enjoyed their rigs.
Being an inveterate tinkerer, I found it hard to say no to a
radio that is not only an effective transceiver but is one
whose designer encourages modifications and
The BITX40 brings to amateur radio the kind of
experience I’d envisioned having when I first entered the
ham radio hobby. Don’t get me wrong! I love my Icoms
One of my amps will put out a thousand watts of
power, and I’ve had a ball using it to work the world.
These are great pieces of equipment, but they’re also very
complex and expensive. Even the most intrepid tinkerer
will pull up short when it comes to experimenting with a
transceiver which represents hundreds and perhaps even
thousands of dollars’ worth of investment.
The BITX40 is different. It’s inexpensive and it’s built
for tinkering. Farhan wants us to experiment with the
BITX40, dig into it, modify it, learn how it works, and —
most of all — have fun with it. He’s made sure that all the
documentation and source code are available.
As a result, websites and user groups are springing up
all over the Internet, and are dedicated to advancing and
explaining the BITX40 radio. It’s exciting to be part of the
Farhan himself is excited. He’s been all over the Web,
hanging out with QRP groups, sharing information, and
talking with his fellow radio operators about their BITX40
experiences. His enthusiasm is infectious.
Listening to him talk about the BITX40, I’m reminded
of Woz in the early days of computers. With the BITX40
transceiver, Ashhar Farhan has made amateur radio more
fun and exciting for all of us. NV
I removed the bubble wrap, but this is the way the
BITX40 looks just after the box is opened.
Mic made from
November 2017 39