Oh - the joy of SMT. With the Softrock 6.3 kit, theres a few more interesting hours of soldering ahead. The double sided board, has al lthe smt on the bottom. Here the board is taking shape, wiht the PSU and some initial smt components, including the VXLO in place.
Here the board is nearing completion with the LPF inplace and all the components in place. The bottom has a few more smt's added to the mix.
A few headers make the external connections a breeze. This way you can work on the boad, make corrections without worrying about damaging the external wiring already soldered in place.
And so the first day on-air arrives. With things wrapped up and headers all wired, the radio can get on the air. This time with a 20m quaterwave vertical (wire) antenna no higher than 20ft. Sitting on the antenna tuner, one can easily watch for smoke, while ensuring there's a nice match.
Given the space limitations at my QTH, I choose to make sure things are matches by adding the antenna tuner. The Softrock earning it's place in the "shack with a view".
Here goes with a few CQ's on PSK31 (20m)
What do you know -the signal makes it over to the east-coast. Software: Rocky, Antenna = wire vertical at sea level.
And after a few hours of calling CQ - the results look like this.