Most of us remember the golden age of kits when EICO, Knight, and Heath sold kits. Well, if you take the time to look on the internet, there are still many electronic kits available. As a matter of fact, we are in a second golden age of kits. Look for kits that feature “thru hole parts mounting” unless you feel comfortable with surface mount technology. Also look for kits that can provide support if you run into problems. Most kits have it, but with some offshore-sourced kits you may be “on your own”.
Recently I purchased a US made kit from eBay.
It is called the WSPR-AXE and sold for around $60 including the plastic project case. The completed kit is a WSPR net beacon transmitter that can be built for 10, 20 or 30m. I ordered the 20m version and provided the seller with my call and grid square which he pre-programs onto a chip. It comes from the middle of our country and arrived in less than a week. Jay W5OLF, who developed and sells them is a really nice guy who helped me on the phone when I had some questions.
Basically, after about an hour or so doing the assembly and another hour drilling the plastic case, double check your work and make sure there are no solder bridges. Then you hook it to a 20m antenna (with low SWR) and then hook up the power. There is some minor alignment needed but it is quick and simple. You then monitor WWV and when it is the beginning of an EVEN numbered minute, you push the start button. Then turn on the PA switch. Wait about 10 or so and go to wsprnet.org and press the MAP button at the top of the page. Then choose 20m, put your call sign in, and press update. You will start to see how far your beacon transmitter can get on 1and a quarter watts.
The output transistor gives off quite a bit of heat so definitely use a heat sink and it runs cooler with the lid off of the case. It is really a kick to work the world on just over 1 watt.
73 Mike KF6KXG