G3VGR Norcal NC20      

NC20 in hotel The NC20 was a Norcal Kit project designed by Dave Fifield, AD6A. This project was unique in that for every kit sold, a free kit was sent to an Amateur in a third-world country to encourage QRP CW. Unlike many QRP transceivers which use the ubiquitous NE602 ICs for RX mixers, the NC20 was designed for strong signal performance by utilizing a TUF-1 DBM. This results in higher current consumption, so makes the rig less desirable for portable operation. The transceiver never really lived up to its hype, although I have been quite satisfied with mine and it provides a clean 7 watts output with nice keying.  Dave started his own company, RedHot Radio , and supplied NC20 kits, (renamed as RHR20) and also a 40 metre version, the RHR40.

The last kit I built was a Heathkit SB101, back in 1967, which used valves. Also my eyesight was a lot keener then. The NC20 kit arrived in February 1999 and I really enjoyed building it. The only problem encountered was a defective keyer IC, so I substituted a K1EL keyer IC instead. Apart from this minor issue, everything worked first time. Alignment was easy and the overall performance is very satisfying. However, I attribute this success more to the supplied documentation than my constructional expertise! Shortly after completion, various mods were published for the rig, most of which I have also incorporated on my NC20. The picture on the left, taken during a business trip in Westboro, Mass, shows the NC20 with a Whiterook paddle. The antenna used was a Hustler mobile whip fixed to the window-frame with a home-made clamp & 2 radials run around the room. To see an inside view of the rig, click on the picture.

After being neglected for many years, I fired the rig up again in March 2015 and it's being used temporarily as my main rig (everything else is packed away as we hope to move house later this year). I had forgotten how pleasant it was to operate. With 5 watts output into an end-fed halfwave wire, the NC20 is providing me with many QRP contacts throughout Europe.
Links to NC20 resources