HB-1A kit building Wiki

This space host a Wiki for building the Chinese HB-1A QRP transceiver kit (designed by BD4RG).

10 sets of the kit were available at Ebay in October 2009, and as far as I know most builders managed to end up with a working transceiver.

The main purpose of the wiki was to document the building process of the HB-1A in order to make up for the missing instructions as of October 2009.

The discussion section is now closed and this site is up only for historical reasons.

Anders SM0HPL


Jim Hurwitz, W1FMG, 2009/10/10 12:43

I have an HB-1A that I bought on ebay. I'm interested in following development done by others. I would like to boost the audio output and add an internal speaker. I would also like to add an internal antenna tuner. However, any major additions would probably bump the battery holder.

Bruce Beford, 2009/10/10 13:08

Hi Jim. I have a kit on order, and do plan to do some “hacking” on it. Once I get a look at the unit, I should be better prepared to comment directly. I have looked at the schematic, and expect that things like increased audio, sidetone volume, etc should be fairly easy. As for the internal tuner, I am thinking about the possibility of replacing one battery pack with a Li-Poly pack, and use the space from the other pack to install the board from an Elecraft T1 tuner. It should fit. I don't plan to add an internal speaker, due to space constraints, and the number of holes to drill, etc. But, we'll see what develops once I get the basic unit built. 72/73, Bruce N1RX

Jim Hurwitz, W1FMG, 2009/10/10 13:50

Bruce, I have the assembled version, which is almost totally surface mount. I don't know how it compares with the through hole kit. I assume it is probably close, but have not seen the kit schematic. I own the T1 and KX-1 with internal KX-AT1 tuner. So far, the HB-1A and KX-1 seem to be pretty close. The display on the HB-1A is much better than the KX-1. I'm tempted to sell the KX-1. Jim

Bruce Beford, 2009/10/10 14:06

Jim, The kit I ordered is also the SMT version, though from the pictures I see, it does still have several through-hole parts. I expect that it will be very close, if not identical to what you have.

I also have a KX-1 (and K1, K2, K3). The HB-1A appears to be a somewhat simpler design on the RF side. It does have some clever stuff however, like the method of setting the voltage on the varicap diodes in the IF filter. I also don't know WHY some things are done the way they appear to be. Like the reported constant relay switching while on 40M. This sounds to me like the LPF capacitor relay is being switched out on RX. I can't imagine why. It will be interesting to investigate that.

I have no plans to sell any of my Elecraft rigs. This one will be fun to tinker with, and examine. Looking forward to it. Just need to make the time once it comes… 73 Bruce N1RX

Esteve Llaurado EB3EPR, 2009/10/12 18:39

Hi, I have the assembled version and I am very happy with the transceiver, the only thing is the internal AT will be great if the radio come with it. Another thing is the CW memory, 3 times the call is to long better if we can record a complet messatge. 73 Esteve EB3EPR

Bruce Beford, 2009/10/12 22:24

Hi Esteve.

One of the things I will probably do eventually is completely replace the keyer chip with a more capable one (like the Picokeyer by N0XAS). Unfortunately, every other keyer chip I have looked at so far uses the pins differently. This means that modifications will have to be made to the PC board to do this.

I will save this mod for later, but I will do it eventually. 73 Bruce N1RX

Mack WB4MAK, 2009/11/17 04:33

Please help with final calibration. I've gotten this far in the alignment. Please help get me over the hump.

My lab test equipment is calibrated and have all the necessary test equipment.

1. I have no clue what the instructions refer to in term of adjusting VC to 4.193 MHz. I'm clear on where the variable cap is to do this but where do I sample the signal?

2. On T2 it shows a tapped winding. I can find no resistance reading to indicate that either winding is tapped. I have the two pins soldered to the circuit board on the three pin side. On the two pin side I have the appropriate pin connected to the pad leading to Q4. Am I to ground the other lead on the two pin side? Logic would tell me this is correct but it's not clear in the schematic or photos.

The DDS calibration is fine. I can receive a signal on 7.050 MHz and T3 has a definite peak. Voltage calibration was successful.

If someone can help clear up points 1 and 2 I'm confident I can make a QSO tomorrow. Everything seems to be working normally.

Thanks for any help in advance.


Mack de WB4MAK

Mack, 2009/11/17 14:24

I can now report that my receiver works perfectly. I'm going to offer a few tips that may help others.

1. T2 on the side with two pins one pin is connected via a jumper to the pad leading to Q4. The other pin is connected to ground via a jumper.

2. To adjust the 4.913 MHz oscillator I temporarily connected an 8 pf cap to pin 7 of IC2. I then used by frequency counter to adjust the variable cap to exactly 4.913 MHz.

3. My receiver reading on my calibrated test equipment are: 7.050 MHz -114dBm (450nv) sensitivity 10.1 MHz -125dBm (128nv) sensitivity 14.1 MHz -115dBm (128nv) sensitivity

I didn't do all the other receiver tests that might be run but will not put it in the case, connect Q9, and adjust the final output power.

Thank you to all who blazed the trail before me. Your tips and pictures were invaluable.


Mack de WB4MAK

Mack, 2009/11/17 15:36

I can report that the unit generates 4W output power.

Is there a means to place the keyer chip in Iambic A mode instead of B? Otherwise I guess I'll have to use an external keyer since I send horribly in Iambic B.

Now for a QSO.

Mack de WB4MAK

Anders Wandahl, 2009/11/23 21:37

Great work, Mack! I do agree on the iambic A/B issue. Usually I'm also horrible in Iambic B, but somehow it seems to work fine for me with this rig, and the Palm paddle that I have magnetically attached to the chassis. Don't know why :) I have now started to hunt down SOTA with the HB-1A - works surprisingly well! I didn't do any alignment whatsoever after finishing the kit (except for tuning T2/T3). It just worked “out of the box”. I call stations and they reply - you can't ask for more…

Good luck!

Anders SM0HPL

Mack, 2009/11/24 12:37

The December 2003 QST magazine has an article, “The PicoKeyer— An Ultra Low Power CW Memory Keyer”, that uses same 12F629 PIC chip. It is switchable from Iambic A to B so I may try replacing the chip in the HB-1A with this chip. You can order his kit here http://www.hamgadgets.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=89 for $17.99 though I will contact him to see if he still offers the programmed chip separately. I'll try replacing the keyer chip with this one and report back. 73, Mack de WB4MAK

Peder, 2009/11/24 20:12


On the HB-1A group on Yahoo, Dominic M1KTA suggested that the sourcecode for K1EL's free keyer could be changed so that a new processor could be pin for pin compatible with the one that is original in the HB-1A.

The original K1EL-code is written for PIC12C509 witch is a type of processor that is only able to be programmed once. (no room for mistakes here…) Instead it could be possible to convert the code for another type of PIC, the 12F629 which can be programmed over and over again.

I have now tried to put the original code into the 12F629, but unfortunately I am not able to get it to work. I now must carefully read the manuals (many 100's of pages) for both PIC's to be able to understand what the difference is. And since I am not a programmer, it will take me some time to investigate this.

But if I will get it working, the the new keyer will be an replacement of the old one. No need for any modifications.

I think I will have to do much testing and reading during christmas…

73 de Peder, SM0GNS

Bruce Beford, 2009/11/24 21:46

The main issue with replacing the keyer chip in the HB-1A is it's use of the I/O pins. Most keyer chips only provide a single keyed output. The one in the HB-1A uses two different outputs. One keys the TX chain and mutes the receiver, the other sends a signal to the main PIC chip, telling it to shift the DDS frequency. The output to the main PIC must change state BEFORE the other line (by a few milliseconds), to insure you are only transmitting on the proper frequency. I have not find another chip that does this “out of the box”. You cannot simply take the PicoKeyer chip (or any other for that matter), and simply replace the original with it.

As I had stated before, one option would be to leave the original keyer in place to provide this timing function. Then force the internal keyer chip into straight key mode with a jumper. At that point, you could use another keyer chip (mounted internally, or external) to provide the keying functions you desire.

Bruce N1RX

Peder, 2009/11/25 16:53

Bruce, yes I know about the different I/O pins, but if I am able to compile and program it on the 12F629, I might be able to get the pins and the timing working OK.

Your idea about changing the internal keyer to straight key mode and using an external (or internal) keyer is of course simpler, but for me, I will be a challenge to try to fix this “the hard way”. And this also includes learning assembler programming :(

Peder, SM0GNS

Gerhard Wiegand, 2009/12/12 16:04

After a few hours of operation my ready to use HB-1A(3) receiver in SMD technology is totally quiet. Does anyone have an idea where to start locating the fault? Kind regards Gerhard

Anders Wandahl, 2009/12/12 22:25

Hi Gerhard,

Does totally quiet mean that you have no AF at all? I had some problems myself, having a pretty deaf (but not entirely quiet) receiver, and found a faulty NE602 by measuring the voltages on my rig and compared those to the voltage chart provided by N1RX; please find this chart in the left hand menu of this wiki. Can you give some more details about your problems and I'm sure we will be able to direct you further.

Best wishes,

Anders SM0HPL

Gerhard Wiegand, 2009/12/13 09:44

Hello Anders, mni tnx for the hint. In the meantime I have also identified the 1st Mixer with the NE602 as faulty. I just asked yanjiewang7678 to put me one NE602 as SMD type in an envelope. I get only the DIL version here in Germany and this is a little bit tricky when posisioning on the SMD-board! Kind regards Gerhard

Anders Wandahl, 2009/12/15 09:27

I think I have one spare NE602 SMD. Do you want me to send that to you to speed up your repair work? The delivery time between Sweden and Germany is probably shorter than China - Germany.

73's Anders SM0HPL

Gerhard Wiegand, 2009/12/15 20:25

Hello Anders,

mnx tnx for Your kind offer. Would be really great if You could do that and I could have the rig functioning again during christmas holidays. How can I pay for it or do You any other favour?

Kind regards

Gerhard (DK1AO)

Anders Wandahl, 2009/12/16 19:06

Hi Gerhard,

I put it in the mail today - no payment or favours required! Only glad to help. Next time it's me :)

73 Anders SM0HPL

Gerhard Wiegand, 2009/12/18 13:42

Hello Anders, the postman just delivered the letter with the QSLs and the NE602. It is already mounted on the board and the HB-1A runs like brand-new! Thank You very much for Your kind help!

Best season greetings from snowy Germany and lots of QRP-DX on the bands!!

73 Gerhard DK1AO

Anders Wandahl, 2009/12/18 21:27

Great news, Gerhard! The spare NE602 wouldn't be of any use to me anyway! A success story! Lots of snow in Sweden as well. I'm considering bringing my HB-1A to some hill top around the turn of the year and work some SOTA chasers. I will report how it works at -10C :-)

Best seasons greetings to all!

Anders SM0HPL

Dr. Gerd Koester, 2010/05/22 19:04


HB 1a is offered by the company TEN TEC as R4020 and R4030 as 2 band version 40 m + 20 m or 40 m + 30 m. Here also the manuals R4020 and R4030.

73 Gerd, DM2CDB



Dr. Gerd Koester, 2010/05/23 12:02


Here are the first pictures of the new one band transceiver HS-1A from BD4RG which allows a simple cartridge change by engine swap.

Further the 11.06.2010: The power consumption without backlight is 40mA with backlight 100mA. The mass is about 200 gr. and the proportions are 120 * 80 * 34 mm. The development is completed in 1-2 months.

73 Gerd, DM2CDB

(Click on images for close-ups)

Dr. Gerd Koester, 2010/06/16 15:31


There is a new kit for a SSB CW transceiver TJ66A- HB-1A. Here the link to the manual, unfortunately without schematic:

http://www.Hanzi.ca/?page_id=2116 or tj6a-e1.pdf

Pictures and description appear yet.

Added the 26.06.2010: now available the TJ6A than 6 band SSB/CW transceiver. The TX bands 10.1 - 10.15 MHz and 18,068 - 18,168 MHz have been added. Also a diagram of the transceiver and the PA has now been published.

73 Gerd DM2CDB

Dr. Gerd Koester, 2010/06/22 09:00


You can get an overview of the current and future activities of BG5RG with following link

http://www.youkits.com/ .

73 Gerd, DM2CDB

Anders Wandahl, 2010/07/19 21:11

Schematics of the transceiver, PA, and DDS as well as BOM of the TJ6A - courtesy of Gerd/DM2CDB





BOB AF2Q, 2010/12/14 13:32

Hi Gang, Any word on when the 4 band CW rig will start selling here i the United States? Thanks BOB AF2Q

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