Si5351A Breakout Board with TCXO Back In Stock

We are pleased to report that we once again have stock of the Si5351A Breakout Board with TCXO reference oscillator. Unfortunately, we were unable to stock this variant for a little while due to there being no availability of the new TCXO that we recently switched to from any of the standard distributors. However, more of these parts finally made it into the supply chain and we can now resume manufacturing this board. Thank you for your patience!

Spring 2016 Vacation

Hello everyone!

A few quick items to note. First, our family will be taking what is becoming our annual Memorial Day vacation from 21 May 2016 to 1 June 2016 and I will be unavailable to fill Etherkit orders during that time. The storefront will stay open (with a notification at the top of the homepage) during the vacation and I will fill any orders accepted during that time when I return on 1 June. Thanks for your understanding!

Once I’m back, I’ll be doing a deep analysis of a few different new product options for Etherkit. It’s a bit early to promise anything yet, but if I can get things sorted here, there may be some kind of crowdfunded campaign for a new product (or perhaps products) some time in June. Stay tuned for further details.

Si5351A Breakout Board Now Available Assembled

We’ve got some excellent news to report! Etherkit has started to branch out into partial kits; where all of the SMT components are assembled onto the PCB here and the product is tested for functionality. We understand that not everyone is comfortable with assembling SMT kits, especially those with fine-pitch components such as the TSSOP Si5351A.

Naturally, our first partial kit will be the Si5351A Breakout Board, which you can now purchase here. Currently we only have the TCXO variant available for sale assembled, but we will have the standard version stocked soon as well. There is a small stock of the standard variant kit left (and slightly marked down to $9). Once those are gone, we will no longer be stocking the Si5351A Breakout Board as a kit.

We are also hard at work developing new products, so stay tuned for more developments on that front in the near future. Thank you!

The Si5351A Breakout Board is Here!

Si5351ABB-Assembled-Large

It has been a very busy previous few months, while we have launched and fulfilled a very successful Indiegogo campaign to fund a new Etherkit product: the Si5351A Breakout Board kit! Now that the campaign is over, I’m pleased to announce that you can now purchase the Si5351A Breakout Board kit directly from the Etherkit store, along with the matching SMA female end launch connectors.

You may have also noticed the radical redesign of the Etherkit storefront. This is due to me inadvertently destroying the old shopping cart installation during an upgrade. However, I believe this turned out to be a good thing overall, as the new shopping cart that I am using is cleaner, less buggy, and handles mobile browsers much better.

As we gear back up, we’ll be launching more new products this year. Keep an eye on this blog and etherkit.com for future updates.

Endings and Beginnings

Yes, it has been a long time since this blog has been updated! As some of you may know, Etherkit is currently a one-man operation, and so my time in juggling all of the different aspects of the business is sometimes limited. When I focus on some aspects, then some others have been a bit neglected. I am not happy about my performance, which has left Etherkit stagnant over the last year. I haven’t had anything to post here, because unfortunately there has not been any significant news that I could tell you about.

I have been working on a few different projects in parallel behind-the-scenes that are intended to move Etherkit forward into a bigger and brighter future. The time has come to commit to one path, and I feel that I can make the first public announcements about the future of Etherkit.

First off, the life cycle of OpenBeacon and the CRX1 are winding down, and I plan to end-of-life both of these products once stock runs out. I do have a limited supply of OpenBeacons left for sale, and I’ve reduced the price to $29 to encourage those who haven’t tried one yet but may be interested to give it a go. I am currently out of stock on CRX1, but as I mentioned on my blog, I would be able to make a special kit run for groups who are looking for a project to work on together. I may also be able to sell some PCBs for each project if there is demand for it.

I do have some exciting and interesting new products in the development pipeline. Not all of them can be currently mentioned, but I can tell you about some highlights. First off, I am still working on long-awaited CC1 CW transceiver. A new prototype is being actively developed, this time including an OLED display, more capable microcontroller (with USB connectivity), and improved RF performance. Watch my personal blog for more timely updates on that projects. I’m also considering a refresh to the OpenBeacon which will add a Si5351 with TCXO reference oscillator (for much better frequency stability and accuracy), GPS connectivity for stand-alone timing accuracy, and operation across all of the HF bands plus 6 meters. I can’t guarantee that product is coming, but it’s definitely something I would like to explore in the near future. I’ve also got a handful of cheap and cheerful small test & measurement products that will be helpful to the RF homebuilder.

Finally, I know that Etherkit has been spotty in the communications department. I’m still working on a comprehensive response to this problem, but I want to assure you that I understand that this area needs improvement and I plan to commit resources to do so. Watch this blog for another update in this area in the near future.

I would like to thank each and every one of my customers! It has been a pleasure to provide you with a few fun little kits. Now I’d like to take Etherkit to the next level and get more serious and professional across the spectrum; including our product lines, pricing, and customer service and support. Please stick around as more changes are rolled out in the near future.

Jason Milldrum, NT7S
Proprietor

CRX1 Specifications Change

We wanted to let you know that we have slightly changed the advertised specifications for the CRX1 receiver. The original measurements were taken on a beta CRX1 receiver, which was slightly different from the production receivers. In order to provide the most accurate measurements possible, we did our measurements again, along with a few new ones. Most only changed a few dB, but it is significant to note that the minimum discernible signal now measures at approximately -133 dBm (as opposed to the old measurement of -123 dBm). We have now also added measurements for the input 3rd order intercept and opposite sideband rejection. You can see a recap of the new measurements below, or visit the documentation page.

Thomas LA3PNA kindly did some independent verification of the CRX1’s specifications, which are in line with the measurements made at Etherkit. You can see his report here.

Frequency Range: Approximately 7.030 to 7.034 MHz (at +13.7 VDC power supply)
IF Bandwidth: Approximately 400 Hz
Current Consumption: 25 mA (at +13.7 VDC power supply)
Power supply: +9 VDC to +14 VDC
Minimum Discernible Signal: -133 dBm
3rd Order IMD Dynamic Range (20 kHz spacing): 82 dB
Input 3rd Order Intercept: -5 dBm
Opposite Sideband Rejection: 49 dB
IF Rejection: 74 dB
Image Rejection: 67 dB
PCB dimensions: 70 mm x 100 mm
Antenna Connector: BNC
DC Power Connector: 2.1 mm barrel jack
Phone Jack: 3.5 mm stereo
Key Jack: 3.5 mm stereo
Reverse polarity protection
Muting, sidetone (user enabled), T/R switch, full QSK operation, external VFO port included