andre kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Fri Feb 22 15:50:39 CST 2008


The Homebrew Challenge (HBC) <> was
announced in the August 2006 issue of QST and on the ARRL Web site.
Entrants were encouraged to submit a home-constructed voice and CW, 5 W
minimum output radio by August 1, 2007. The radio had to be reproducible
from no more than $50 of new parts.

In October of 2006, by popular demand, HBC organizers at ARRL offered a
second category to the competition that allowed a PC to be used as part
of the control, display or processing function; it could also be used to
program a microprocessor.

QST Technical Editor Joel R. Hallas, W1ZR, found four entries that
passed the documentation and price confirmation check. These entries
also went through an ARRL Laboratory evaluation to make sure that they
met all the ARRL and FCC technical requirements before being subjected
to a thorough operational evaluation by ARRL staffers. 

The judges announced two winners in the HBC, one in each category. The
PC-supported winner was Jim Veatch, WA2EUJ, who gathered the most points
in the evaluation by our judges; an article describing his radio will
appear in the May 2008 issue of QST. In a way, Hallas said, Veatch's
radio could be considered a contender for the other award as well, since
he has agreed to provide his firmware onto builders' processors at no
cost if they don't have programming capabilities. 

The winner with a radio totally without use of a PC is Steve Weber,
KD1JV, who came in close behind in overall scoring by the judges. His
radio will be described in a subsequent QST article.

In addition to these winners, entries were received from Dave Cripe,
NM0S, and Doug Pongrance, N3ZI. Hallas said the judging panel enjoyed
exploring and operating each radio; each radio had its strong points and
unique features, making selection difficult. The judges spent many hours
operating, comparing and scoring the radios based on their technical
proficiency, as well as operating features and reports from distant

Hallas thanked the judges for contributing their time to this effort:
W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q; ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI;
Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, and QEX Editor Larry Wolfgang,
WR1B. Hallas also served as a judge. Almost all the judges have
considerable experience operating low power (QRP) radios in contests and
other venues. Hare has served as a judge for various QRP equipment
contests sponsored by the QRP Amateur Radio Club International (QRPARCI)
and noted these entries stood well in comparison to many he has judged

Hallas also thanked ARRL Lab Engineer Michael Tracy, KC1SX, for fitting
in HBC testing between product review evaluations and his other
responsibilities, as well as for helping set up the operational
evaluation suite in the newly renovated W1HQ/W1INF Headquarters
Operators Club shack.


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