Norcal 40A

(shown with optional kc1 keyer)

The NorCal 40A

What Others say about the NorCal 40A

The revision B NorCal 40A is a third-generation 40-meter QRP transceiver kit, designed by Wayne Burdick, N6KR. The rig covers any 40KHz portion of the CW band, with a very stable VFO operating in the 2MHz range. The receiver is a superhet with crystal filter, AGC, and RIT. The frequency coverage can be increased up to 150kHz with one capacitor change. Since varactor tuning is used, a 10-turn potentiometer can be substituted for the supplied 1-turn unit if better tuning resolution is desired. (If you make this modification, we suggest using the KC1 Keyer/Frequency Counter for keeping track of your operating frequency.)

The first batch of NorCal 40A's had significantly better performance than the original NorCal 40, having more AGC range, a more stable VFO pot, and a more sensitive receiver that would drive a speaker directly. The Wilderness kit (revision B), besides having a painted and screened enclosure, has a number of additional refinements. These include improved receiver image rejection, better-sounding AGC and QSK, and a bit more power output (around 3 watts with a 14V supply).

Receive-mode current drain is VERY low--about 15mA--leading to long battery life for portable operation. The transmitter puts out 1.8 to 3 watts, depending on supply voltage, and has full QSK.

Physically, the rig is very small (2.25"H x 4.5"W x 4.5"D), about one-half the volume of an OHR Explorer. One double-sided, screened and plated through PC board is used. There is NO chassis wiring: all controls and connectors and even the case parts themselves mount directly to the board, resulting in an uncluttered interior. The custom .060 case is quite rugged, and is designed to allow the top and bottom to be removed easily for alignment or test. Long-life plastic latches are provided on the top so no screwdriver is needed to access internal controls.

The '40A has plenty of empty front- and rear-panel and interior space for your modifications. Wilderness Radio encourages you to customize the '40A, and will continue to provide support, even if you put it on 80 meters or some other band! The rig comes with a professionally-written, 30+ page assembly and operating manual.

Inside NorCal40a

(shown with optional kc1 keyer)

What others say about the Norcal 40A

"Most of all, however, it was the quality of the kit--board, silk-screening, and case--and the excellent manual, that really made this a great FIRST kit for me. Wayne and the NORCAL gang really deserve an enormous hand for their efforts...kit building has been something I always wanted to get my feet wet in, and this was a fine, encouraging introduction." -- Matt, KN6CR

"I continue to be amazed at the receiver...I often put a separate 40m antenna on the NorCal and on my Yaesu 990, then stick one earphone from each rig on my head. The NorCal is much, much quieter than the 990. Weak signals are far easier to copy on the NorCal. I've told friends of this phenomenon, and they just don't believe me. I think you have to hear it to believe it." -- Bruce, AA6KX

NorCal 40A compared to similar kits:

-By far the cleanest construction of any low-cost kit.

-Much lower receive-mode current drain than the OHR Explorer and most other kits.

-Rock-stable down to a battery voltage of 9.5V.

-Compared to the SWL NE40-40, you'll get much higher performance, plus all the controls and connectors, no chassis wiring, and a custom, painted/screened enclosure

-Proven highly stable in the field due to its ultra-low frequency VFO

-KC1 Keyer/Frequency counter is tailored to the '40A, providing much more functionality than Curtis 8044-based keyers

NorCal 40A Pricing

  • The new Wilderness NorCal 40A is $150
        plus shipping ($10 U.S., $14 Canada/Mexico, $21 DX).

  • Missouri residents must add your local state
        sales tax.

  • Please make out checks to Wilderness Radio.
        We'll also need your name, call, address,
        phone number, e-mail address.

  • Send U.S. funds only (checks drawn on US banks,
        or an international money order) to:

      Wilderness Radio
      P.O. Box 3422
      Joplin, MO 64803-3422

      For more information, call:

                (417) 782-1397
    Wilderness Radio


  • The Electronics of Radio by David Rutledge

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