Sunday, June 07, 2009

Absolute frustration with QRP Kits

After lunch today I decided to take a look at the SWR meter kit that I ordered from QRP Kits which arrived a few days ago. Several people had posted on the dc40kits Yahoo! group that the Weber Dual Bander kits had missing parts, so I thought it would be a good idea to check the inventory, though as the SWR meter kit has so few parts I thought I'd have to be pretty unlucky for something to be missing.

I downloaded the manual from the website and printed it off, and then opened the box to check the parts. I was surprised that I couldn't see the ferrite core for winding the step-up transformer, so I cut open the sealed polythene bag to take a closer look. The parts supplied bore no relation to the kit I ordered! When I looked closely at the PCB it appeared that I had all the parts for a completely different kit, the N7VE battery state indicator, even though the slip of paper in the bag clearly states "N7VE SWR Indicator Kit."

I have of course sent an email to QRP Kits to inform them of the error, but as Doug and his XYL are taking a long-awaited holiday following her illness and have closed the business for two months I'm not expecting anything to happen until August. Which is a bit frustrating.

Some readers might wonder why I bothered ordering such a simple kit. The reason is simply that you often can't get all the parts you need from a single mail-order supplier. Unlike in the USA, many of the professional component suppliers here don't sell to hobbyists, you can only order parts in quantities of 10 or 100 off. With minimum order charges and postage and packing costs on top it's usually more expensive to buy parts for a project like this than it is to buy a complete kit.

I have a box full of new parts that I'll probably never use, which were bought just to make up an order to a minimum level. But of course there are always some things you need that aren't in that box! Plus, of course, when you buy a kit you get a ready-made PCB. So it is normally both easier and cheaper to buy complete kits, where available.

However, when it comes to buying from QRP Kits I seem to be jinxed!
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