OK so I decided to buy the base K2 kit and build it along with my son.
Choosing Elecraft is a no brainer, but any of the other kit manufacturers would be fine also. The point it to give a young man an opportunity to see something start from a box of parts and become a higher level assembly.
We are also considering the Elecraft KX1 as a good starter kit. We have already built several of the other smaller Elecraft kits.
Here is a summary of our current situation…
- I have read the various FAQs, tips, etc.
- I am not new to kit building.
- We have a good soldering station.
- If the K2 works out well we will use it on CW for a while and then add
enhancements: SSB first then others (perhaps DSP, 160M, 60M-Xvrter,
- Are there tools or tips I am missing before I drop the coin?
The summary of the very helpful answers are…
- Think ESD for the parts (no worries there… I am the ESD promoter at our electronics lab at work)
- No parts in non ESD foam
- No parts in cardboard, etc.
- Small anti-static mat with wrist straps, etc.
- Keep active parts in their black ESD foam
- Seriously consider the re-work eliminators and other nifty things from http://www.unpcbs.com/
- Consider a good Cap/Inductance meter
- Seriously consider using flush cutting snips
- Certainly use a thermo controlled soldering iron with good assortment of tips
- Use small diameter solder
- Get a new #1 Phillips screwdriver
- Seriously consider an illuminated magnifier or, perhaps, a mag. visor
- On the same topic, have good lighting
- Reference the example toroid images available from the K2 community
- Use headers where possible
- Dental pick and other assorted fiddling tools
- Reserve a good amount of table space for the project
- Consider pre-wound toroids
- When inventorying parts, leave the resistors in their tape
- Seriously consider starting with the XG2 and DL-1 dummy load to spin up on soldering skills
- Seriously consider making the XG2 because it will be handy during the K2 build
- Consider building the N-gen noise generator. Simple to build and helpful to check whether a receiver is funcitoning properly