Elecraft K2 Building Tips

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

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