The Mountain Topper MTR2 kit arrived yesterday. It arrived all nicely packed from KD1JV. I also ordered an SMD rework station from Ebay which arrived today, so when I get some time the build can start! Only 150 of these were made, so lucky to get in before they all went.
I will go with the 40/30/20 metre option as this will suit the typical stuff we do here in Australia and 20 for some long haul stuff. This radio is really compact.
I had a little time and couldn’t resist loading the resistors on one side.
I just used solder paste from Jaycar and the second smallest hot air tip set to 320 degrees C. The air flow was kept pretty low. The parts pulled into place as soon as the paste melted.
The Ebay SMD workstation was only $69 and the hot air gun seems to work OK. The soldering iron has fairly stiff cable which makes it a bit uncomfortable to use, but you get what you pay for. Might replace the cable with some flexible silicone stuff.
The ICs and passives are now loaded with the exception of the microcontroller as there is an update to the firmware on this. All the parts went down well although a couple of the capacitors tombstoned.
Now the leaded parts are installed with the exception of the inductors. Once the flux is cleaned off, it should look fine. Using the high resolution photos to check out the joints and part placement.
One annoying thing was during soldering the 100uF leaded cap, I wasn’t paying attention to the barrel of the iron melting the switch 😦 .
I had an email from Uli, DL2LTO, who had seen an error on the photo in this blog. Resistor R1 had the incorrect value. This was quickly corrected, thanks Uli!
I had to do a work trip for a week and came back to find that the replacement processor had arrived from Steve, KD1JV. I tacked it down with a fine tipped iron and then ran solder paste along the pins. Hitting it with the heat gun resulted in a reasonable soldering job.
The board was then mounted on top of the metal case as per Steve’s recommendations and the various connected wired up. I opted for a BNC connector instead of the RCA socket that came with the kit. It is going to be a bit tight though.
After power was applied it drew about 30 mA or so, close to what is expected.
Pushing the outside push buttons resulted in a cyclic display of digits on the display, so it is showing signs of life.
After peering at the photo, it looks like Q1 might have dislodged slightly when reflowing something else.
Did some more tests and everything is functional. Luckily there were no shorts or solder bridges.
The alignment was very straight forward with power output around 2.5W on 9V and 4.5W on 12V. It is all screwed together now and ready for an on air test.
Will have to brush up on the CW now.