The NorCal 38 Special


Several years ago my job relocated to Maryland. This didnít set well with the family as you can imagine however we werenít about to toss away 28 years towards my retirement and start all over again. I rented an apartment and traveled the 5 hour drive each way between my work in Maryland and my family in New Jersey every-other weekend. This lasted 7 years before I retired. As you can see I had lots of free time on my hands after work and the weekends I was staying in Maryland. One day I was talking to a fellow ham friend of mine and he was telling me about this kit he was about to order and suggested that I place an order with him. It was a kit being put out by a QRP club in California called NorCal. The kit was called the 38 Special and was a 30 meter CW QRP kit. The kit could be ordered with all board mounted parts and a high quality printed circuit board with plated through holes, silkscreened legends and solder mask or just the printed circuit board alone. We opted for the board with the board mounted parts version. There was also an amplifier circuit that could be added which brought up the output power from 2.5 watts to a full 5 watts. Another add-on was a ďTicĒ keyer.

The construction was straight forward and I must say NorCal designs a very nice kit. Apparently there club has a contest and the winning design gets kitted and put up for sale by the club. The 38 Special won the design contest that year.

In the pictures below you can see my project. If you donít recognize the case I mounted the circuit board into it is an old computer A/B switchbox. They make nice project cases for projects of this type. If memory serves me correctly the entire project cost me about $35 after scrounging the additional parts required for the project..



Steve, N2WLH