YouKits HB1A – Adjusting the battery level indication

The HB1A is an awesome little rig with many hidden secrets.

Mine was reading a little higher than the actual battery voltage I was using. While it was open, as it often is nowadays, I noticed a trimpot (UR1 Bat) more or less in the middle at the back of the PCB


Adjusting this trimpot, I was able to get the correct battery voltage indication on the LCD display.

The next mission – Power output issues need to be resolved ….

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

YouKits HB1A – Replacing the LCD module

With my plans for minimalistic, CW only, RaDAR activities I managed to swop unused equipment for a YouKits HB1A 3 band (40m/30m/20m) QRP trail style radio but needed to give the LCD screen some attention. I considered this to be “bonding time” between myself and the rig. There is not much information on the Net so I decided to document the steps I took to do the replacement an operation that took a nerve racking four hours to do.

I needed to remove the back cover, the control knobs, the PCB retaining screws (2 of) , the nut and screw holding the power transistor in place for heat sinking and also the coax connector.

The module’s connector pins needed to be unsoldered (12 of them) but it was a mission and using a solder sucker didn’t help at all. This is generally a difficult operation as many of us will know.

I was hoping for a dry joint somewhere although the symptoms didn’t agree but I tried anyway as a first line repair without success.

I had to eventually use my Dremel drill with milling bit to cut the module away and use a sharp wire cutter to remove the left over PCB sections from the pins.

I had some coffee before continuing.

The pins needed to be cleaned before they could fit into the holes of the new LCD module. I also used a scribe to try and slightly increase the wire holes sizes on the LCD module thanks to a suggestion by my friend Daryl ZS6DLL. I soldered them lightly into place (Thinking of the next guy that may need to unsolder again one day!!!)

I was wary of applying power but things need to be done and I was relieved to see the new module worked!!!

Unfortunately, once all was reassembled the rig wasn’t putting out any power and not receiving any signals either. But, that’s for the next bonding phase. Fortunately this is a rig that can be repaired by yourself with a little patience and ingenuity, lots of patience!

I suspect (hoping) the problem lies in the vicinity of the BNC coax connector …. I’ll need to redo the PCB to connector connection using a short flylead.

SMD devices are so tiny but fortunately it wasn’t necessary to go to that level, not yet anyway.


The RX / TX problem was caused by a damaged L4 inductor that was damaged during the LCD replacement, a tiny scratch on the component.

If you zoom in on the picture you can see it. (Top left) I temporarily replaced it with a 1.1 uH inductor and the receiver was it’s awesome self again!

Hope someone finds this information helpful one day!

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

RaDAR – Redundant radio equipment

For years now my focus has been RaDAR.

APRS and high power 2m FM communications was also high on the agenda but sadly not many people are active using such modes in my little town. Mostly limited to built up areas like Gauteng and Pretoria.

We did have a high activity rate using packet radio once, our club even ran two packet radio BBS’s! (ZS0LTG and ZS0TFK).

I bought an Alinco mobile rig, the DR135 a few years back and installed the optional built in Packet TNC. This enables the rig for APRS / Packet radio use and can be used to talk to the ISS too, not only on voice but using the AX25 digital modes! The rig has also been configured (Link) for monitoring the AM aircraft band, receive only.

So this rig sits unused in my shack, it would be great if I could swop it for an HB1A QRP rig or some similar QRP gear. That’s more down my alley.

Here in South Africa we’re working on a CW proficiency badge system to promote the learning and use of CW as an adventure activity like RaDAR, SOTA and POTA

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE


RaDAR – Snapshots in time

Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio is about to be acknowledged once again in an incredible way and I felt it good to browse down memory lane to the very beginnings of the acronym RaDAR. Most of the timestamps come from the South African Radio League’s website, the SARL Forum.

The origins of RaDAR are from another acronym, SiaS, short for “Shack in a Sack”. The call for a better name came from a man by the name of Hans ZS6AKV. It was discussed with Eddie ZS6BNE while having supper after a day’s work at the Cape Town RTA, “Radio Technology in Action”. On the 24th of August 2009 a hint was given that SiaS was to see a name change and a few hours later the acronym RaDAR was presented to the readers of the forum which was quite active at the time.

Plans went ahead to host the first RaDAR excercise for the following month on Heritage day the 24th of September 2009.

About ten months later notes were made of Elmar PD3EM and his team doing a RaDAR expedition promoting the ideas of RaDAR.

Around March 2011 the RaDAR logo was embroidered in orange on a high quality but tough T-Shirt with collar. A few were donated as prizes during later contests to those who excelled in the RaDAR contests which followed.

RaDAR presentations were done at the SARL’s AGM in May 2011 and also at the RTA in Cape Town. Shortly after, the following RTA took place in Port Elizabeth. RaDAR promotes many means of communications, voice, morse code, digital modes and satellite communications.

and finally before the final RTA in Johannesburg, the RTA in Durban on the 30th July 2011.

Now almost six years later, RaDAR has seen many highlights and changes to finally become an internationally accepted method of practicing amateur radio through movements which makes it a unique activity.

Watch this space.

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE