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KD1JV Survivor 75m SSB transceiver
Your first question might be why did they name it the "Survivor". Well that comes from several years ago when Jim Cates and I were running Norcal. Many people have asked me what my favorite Norcal kit was, and they were usually surprised when I told them it was the Epiphyte. The Epiphyte was a ssb transceiver that was designed by the late Derry Spittle, VE7QK. It was a marvelous design, and worked fabulously. Several people were able to work all 50 states with it, and Vern Wright probably worked well over 100 countries with his. I kept a daily schedule with Derry and Vern for over 9 months, never missing a day of making contact. So? We were using dipoles up about 30 feet, and Derry, Vern and I were all running Epiphytes with 5 Watts of power!! Derry was in Vancouver, BC, and Vern and I were in California.
The only problem with Derry's design was that the parts were basically obsolete when he finished the design. He use a Murata filter that is no longer available, and neither is the round 8 pin driver IC. Norcal kitted 100 of them, and I was finally able to find the filters on my trip to England. The 100 kits were sold out almost overnight, and there was a clamor for more. But we just could not source the filter, and we were never able to do another run. George Dobbs did do a smaller run for the G-QRP Club, which also sold out very quickly. I have always wanted someone to design a radio similar to the Epiphyte, but using parts that are available. I wanted it simple, easy to build, yet capable of making reliable contacts on 75 meters. Last year at Dayton, Steve Weber and I were talking, and I asked him to design a modern version with the Epiphyte as the model, but using parts that I could source. Steve agreed and the Survivor is the result. Now how did we come up with that name? Derry used to take his Epiphyte with him whenever he went on camping trips in the back woods of British Columbia. In fact, one time he used it to get rescued. Derry would take a 130 ft. dipole made out of magnet wire and RG 174. He would string the dipole on bushes, about 3 or 4 feet above the ground. He ran the short length of coax into his tent, and used that setup to check into a British Columbia SSB net at 8:00 every evening when he was out. The setup was a perfect NVIS system and Derry had reliable contacts out to about 200 miles. He often said that the Epiphyte was what gave him the confidence that he could survive any situation in the woods, because it worked so well. So to honor Derry, and to illustrate one of the great uses for the rig, we called it the Survivor.
Ham radio has been used many, many times for rescue. But 2 meters doesn't always reach a repeater in the woods. Many hams want to talk with their wives back home while they are hunting or camping, but many of the wives don't know CW. The Survivor is the perfect rig for taking camping. With a battery, simple dipole antenna or end fed half wave only 4 feet off the ground, reliable communications with SSB are available.
We also think that groups and clubs that like to build will find this a perfect club project. Hams love to talk and hams love to build. Think about how much fun a round table of locals will be with radios that you build yourself. It is a great way to get club members involved and motivated to operate.
KD1JV Survivor Construction Manual (2-29-2016)
KD1JV Survivor Construction Manual (Spanish version) (3-12-2013)
Revised Assembly instructions for the Bail
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