The Wonderful, Absolutely Fabulous Norcal 40A

N6KR – Wayne Burdicks QRP Masterpiece – the Norcal 40A

The weirdest thing was unplugging my ICOM IC-7610 and plugging in the Norcal 40A. Talk about going from one end of the spectrum to the other! Three QSO’s later, and all I can do is sing the praises of this little QRP rig! Its sound is amazing, and the built in KC1 Keyer is great and the accuracy of the CW based frequency readout is dead nuts on. I will add a 10 turn knob and maybe add decals for the three KC1 controls – just so it looks “finished”.

Reg Olson did a beautiful job building this rig . . .

I built an SST – another one of Wayne’s little masterpieces, and so I am somewhat familiar with this design – its like an SST on Steroids. In fact – you can hear this same sound in the KX2, KX3 and K3. But the filtering is even just different enough – that the signals just pop out of the noise – which is kept at bay so you don’t get fatigued listening to CW.

I’m going to pick up the Collins 75A-4 receiver in a few hours, and also have several other reports that I will share this coming week as my shack reorg and Ham Radio reorg become into clear view.

So far, I think I am on to something here – and yeah, I really am finally done with DXCC. Now – QRP County Hunting using only QRP CW – and a Fratelli J-36 Bug – hmmmmmmmmmmm.


3 Comments on “The Wonderful, Absolutely Fabulous Norcal 40A

  1. I built an SST30 a while back, and a Norcal40 or Sierra is still on my bucket list of projects, even though I’m now rusted on to Arduinos, si5351s and digital displays. There’s something about the simplicity and purity of these rigs that is timeless.


    • Yeah, they really do have character. Its funny to think of the NorCal40A and SST and other 90’s QRP rigs as “Vintage” – but I guess they really are – heh heh. It was just by luck that I used to go to the Livermore Swap at Las Positas and then the California Burger QRP lunch meetings. I didn’t realize how historic that time was in the QRP world. Doug Hendricks, Jim Cate, Wilderness Radio, etc




      • It was all a bit distant from down under in VK, but some of us were on the qrp-l list Usenet (or was it an email reflector?) list back then, watching all the developments in varactor tuning! And repurposing computer crystals into IF filters. Heady stuff! Interestingly, SOTA has revitalised QRP here. 72 VK3HN.


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