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The completed Warbler

September 10, 2010

Finished Warbler in box

Finished Warbler in box

A few weeks ago I finished the box to mount the Warbler.  The connectors are all soldered directly to the pcb board so the alignment of holes had to be done carefully.  When doing such layout and drilling I am always grateful of the ‘O’level in metalwork that I finished back in high school thirty years ago now.  (As a sidenote I am currently reading ‘Shop Class as Soulcraft’ by Matthew Crawford which covers the recent decline of school shop classes).

The box is aluminium (showing my British origin with the spelling) and made by Hammond.  To give it a nice finish I spray painted it with a couple of coats of  Rustoleum Universal hammered spray paint and it came out rather well.

The painted surface showing the 'hammered' finish.

The painted surface showing the 'hammered' finish.

The box size is 4.5″×3.5″ so it makes quite a nice compact unit.

I need to look at the final output power of my Warbler as I think it is a little low, but it is performing well and I have made 80m PSK31 contacts out in Wisconsin, Illinois and North Carolina. As previously reported I have also used the Warbler for an Olivia contact.  A great kit and I am looking forward to using it over the Winter when 80m conditions should be better than they are now.  Unfortunately, it looks like Small Wonder Labs have dropped it from their current product line.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2010 9:05 am

    Hi Alan, nice to see your blog update very nice job on the enclosure. How did you get the square holes in the enclosure I have often wondered about that? I have some Elecraft assesories I have built that I would like to do the same for. Looking forward to more reports with your wobler.

    • va3stl permalink*
      September 11, 2010 9:15 pm


      Thanks for the feedback. As for the square holes, they are first drilled with an appropriate size bit then filed to size. I have a set of needle files and the use the appropriate one for the job, in this case one with a flat edge. The aluminium is at least easy to work with. After doing this type of filing make sure to clean all the filings out of the box as you do not want a short in the circuit.

      For the larger serial interface aperture I drilled more than one hole and then filed away. It can be time consuming but work carefully and check for size regularly.


  2. Graham VE3GTC permalink
    September 11, 2010 4:29 pm

    Hey Alan,

    Looks very good.

    I took all of the classes available when I was in high school 35+ years ago. The skills learned then have served me very well over the years and still practice a bit of metal bashing myself. Very handy for building projects.

    Mr. Benson frequently consolidates his offerings as newer better kits are created. The PSK-20/30/40 are superior (my opinion) to the earlier warbler series but are more expensive. I had seriously considered one of each not too long ago. But now I have my new radios and will be on the digital modes very soon without having to resort to using my old TS-520.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc

    • va3stl permalink*
      September 11, 2010 9:26 pm


      Yes the shop classes were fun. I enjoyed working with the lathes and especially the milling machine. A good friend of mine went on to do an apprenticeship working for a precision machining shop that made parts for nuclear subs.

      In later years I did regret dropping woodwork though, which I have dabbled in since school.

      You are right about the PSK series being superior. I have an unbuilt PSK-20 here in the shack. That may be a Winter project, so that I can have it ready for next Summer. Good thing about the PSK series is they do not need the serial port for T/R switching. One less cable to require and forget when running portable.

      Thanks for the comment about the appearance. I was really surprised how well the paint’s hammer finish looked.


  3. September 12, 2010 7:15 pm

    Thanks Alan for the info.

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