Official release of VU2ESE’s Antuino


Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE, the designer of the BITx range of kit transceivers marketed through HF Signals has launched his next design: the Antuino.

The website states that:

“Antuino is an accurate instrument that can be used in the field to measure SWR, field strength, modulation, etc. In the lab, it can be used to sweep filters, measure gain, distortion, frequency response, etc. It works upto 150 Mhz. On the third harmonic, it is usable on 435 Mhz band as well (with reduced sensitivity).

“The Antuino, unlike simpler instruments is based a superhet architecture that measures the response of the antenna or circuit at exactly the tuned frequency. It is based on Analog Devices’ Lograthmic Amplifier, the AD8307 to provide accuracy of 1db in your measurements. It is tuned with a crystal locked PLL based on Si5351 oscillator chip.”

Ashhar has confirmed that this is not a kit, but rather is a fully tested unit in an all metal case. It has an internal battery case to hold 6 AA cells. It comes with two SMA connectors.
Steve G1KQH has opened a support group for the Antuino:

What sort of soldering iron/station should I use to wire up my uBITx?

Richard WB8YXF asks what sort of soldering iron or gun should be used to wire up his uBITx.   The answer is pretty much anything.

Doug Wilner responded as follows:

“Kind of like asking what car you should buy or shovel or rifle or whatever.  We can be much more helpful if you know your goals.  Are you on a limited budget and this is the only thing you plan to ever build and need the cheapest way to just get this done or do you have so much spare cash you light Cuban cigars with $100 bills and want the best tools that will last for generations?

“Personally my go to iron is a supposedly 60w adjustable pencil type iron that I keep planning to upgrade but I like it and it gets the job done.  I have this one  that was around $15.  It isn’t available anymore but there are tons of similar Chinese ones on Amazon.  While you’re at it I would suggest picking up one of the copper scrubby looking tip cleaners.”

Perhaps not a soldering gun (first seen in the 1950’s).   You have to press the trigger and wait for them to heat up.  A soldering iron with a thermostat and adjustable temperature is a much better option.

These soldering guns were a source of wonder to the editor in his youth, because his Elmer had one and swore by it.   Of course, said editor earned an income from mowing lawns around the neighbourhood and this meant he simply couldn’t afford it – it was around NZ$60 even then.   Joe KD2NFC said, “I used to watch my grandfather repair tube TV’s with this one.”

The Weller 853D shown at the top of this news item is a full rework station as well and on special can be around US$70.

Chris, KF4FTR, makes the observation, that “Having a hot air gun available for tighter pitch work is important.

“Spark fun has an old multi page tutorial on SMD work located at .

“Is it possible to use just an iron? Sureand again it depends on the work that will be done. However, if you look at the page for removing multi pin SMD ICs you can see the results of trying to this without hot air. You can try and physically force them out of place or use an xacto knife to try and cut the pins. Both are bad because just flexing the part can rip a pad out which means you will need forceps and wire to fix it, or you can cut traces with the knife.

“The best thing to do if any rework or SMD parts need to be placed is to get the right tool for the job which is a hot air rework station. I have seen people suggesting 100$ irons. Well, if you spend the 70$ on a rework station you wont have that problem… This again is all based on the assumption that this person will need to work on the UBitx or mods or possibly other kits. Sure its another 50 bucks or so, but it will save hours of frustration for a person who hasn’t even used an iron in a long time.”

Rich WB2GXM also points out, “There are two very good Youtube videos by Dave Cassler, KE0OG, on soldering irons, accessories and techniques”: