Construction finished on ATS-4B

Last night and this morning were spent putting the finishing touches on my ATS-4B kit.

As I’d hoped, the smoke test was uneventful, the display came on and followed my band changes and there was noise in the headphones.

Freq changes and other button functions are working as well.

Phew…!

To tell the truth, I’ d been anticipating the moment with a bit of dread thinking that, as careful and meticulous with each part’s soldering, what if something didn’t go right with first power-up? There would be nothing to look at that I hadn’t already examined numerous times as I proceeded through the build.

Fortunately, no troubleshooting seems necessary at the moment.

I still have to do the alignment and, the more I think about it, I believe I’ll wait till I return home for that so I can do it with a real oscope and sig-gen. Steve KD1JV included a neat little program called Audio Generator by WD6CNF which I have installed and will tinker with but since I’ll eventually need to inject RF on each of the ATS-4B’s five bands and have no way of doing that here, I’ll just do the whole alignment after I’m home.

About the build:

  • As can be seen from the photo, I made the uppermost band for 17 meters rather than 15. With solar conditions being what they are, there is always more activity on 17 meters and I enjoy that band quite a bit.

    On 17m. The wire at the bottom is for alignment only, then removed.

  • All parts were there right down to the last washer and locknut.
  • My ability to install SMD parts improved significantly as I proceeded through the build. The last SMD part I installed looks better and was placed faster & with much less fuss than the first – so now I’m really ready to build an SMD kit…NOT!
  • Although these ATS-series of kits are known as SMD kits, these tiny parts comprise maybe only 1/2 of the total parts count. And here’s the amazing part – for what the kit offers, there are surprisingly few parts. Progress in building the kit went (or would have gone) rapidly once the SMD parts were installed. I skipped many evenings due to not wanting to finish and then not be able to get on the air easily…my only antenna here (I’m temporarily in Oklahoma City on a biz trip) is a poorly performing whip for 20 meters that offers no incentive to rush.
  • Fit/finish and quality of the circuit board and both halves of the silk-screened metal case is Elecraft-good. Buttoned up, the ATS-4B is a good-looking little rig, especially with the backlit LCD.

Still a bit longer to go in OKC – now that this kit is completed distractions include (and have included) some really good ethnic restaurants (Ethiopian last Friday, Iranian a bit earlier) with my classmates, a fantastic book that I’ll be sorry to finish – every bit as good as the Amazon reviews say it is, building the FunCube Dongle HF converter kit, the Index QRP+ with HamStick whip and my ongoing exploration of this state.

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  5 comments for “Construction finished on ATS-4B

  1. March 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Congrats John. I’ve been wondering how the project was going. Fantastic! Jim W1PID

  2. March 26, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Looks great John. It’s going to work fantastically at home on that nice high dipole of yours.

    Oh – and Jim – good working you on 20 yesterday. It was quite a thrill hearing your QRP sigs send my callsign all the way from NH to CA!

  3. March 26, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Great job and looking forward to your on air reports and also how the alignment goes as well.

  4. March 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Thanks guys – I am looking forward to getting on the air with it.

    Dave, have you given up blogging?

  5. Larry W2LJ
    March 26, 2012 at 8:53 am

    See, John? I knew you’d do a great job. Congrats; and again – many years of fun QSOs with it.

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