Amateur Radio WB3GCK My RockMite
Craig LaBarge, WB3GCK

I've been a big fan of Dave Benson's rigs ever since I bought one of his SW-40 transceivers years ago. When he announced the release of the RockMite kit, I had to go for it.

If you haven't heard of this neat little rig, the RockMite is a crystal controlled transceiver with a direct conversion receiver. Dave's clever circuit design provides for operation on two discrete frequencies and even includes a built-in keyer. Operation couldn't be easier; there are no knobs. A single pushbutton switch allows you to toggle between the two frequencies and to set the keyer speed. When powered from a 13.8V power supply, my rig puts out about 500 milliwatts, give or take.

My RockMite was built stock with no modifications added during construction. When I started looking for a case to put it in, I couldn't find any commercial enclosures that suited me. So, I decided to try my hand at building a custom enclosure from copper-clad, printed circuit board material.

The material I had on hand was single-sided, fiberglass PC board stock that I had acquired at a hamfest a few years back. After working out the design on paper, I used a large pair of tin snips to cut out the pieces. A hand file was used to clean up any rough edges. I drilled the necessary holes in the front and rear panels before assembling the case. After soldering the pieces together, I used some epoxy putty to fill in some of the joints. After sanding, it was ready for painting.

On the air, the receiver is surprisingly hot. I've also received reports that the RockMite has an excellent CW note. It sure has been a fun little rig to operate.

For more information on the RockMite, check out the Small Wonder Labs website.

The accompanying photographs were taken by Ron Polityka, WB3AAL, during an EPA-QRP Club meeting in September of 2002.

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Front View

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Front Panel

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Rear Panel

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Cover Removed

© 2003 Craig A. LaBarge

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