Where to buy stuff

Written on 19 June 2019

Unfortunately there isn’t a single place to get all the tools and components you will need for home construction. These are the sites I have used and recommend:

G-QRP Club Sales is a great source for a lot of components such as crystals, ICs, transistors and toroids at very good prices. They are also a source of QRPMe MePads and MeSquares for Manhattan style construction. You have to be a member of the club to buy from them but it is very reasonable and includes the quarterly Sprat magazine that all constructors should be reading anyway.

Bitsbox are a hobbyist supplier with a reasonable range of the main things you will need. Many of the items are very well priced e.g. they seem to be the cheapest supplier of NE5532 opamps and their Arduino clones are at good prices. They also seem to be the best place for battery boxes and power connectors. Shipping is a fixed £1.75 per order and delivery is within a couple of days.

CPC don’t have a huge range of components but I have found them useful for tools and connectors. The great advantage of CPC is that you only have to spend £8+VAT for free delivery. They ship same day and the delivery takes a couple of days.

RS offer free next-day delivery on all orders. This makes some of their stuff expensive but if you are in a hurry for something then it is actually good value. Some items are very keenly priced and you wonder how they can make money when a pack of resistors costs £1 including next day Parcelforce delivery. Then they send you a receipt in the post a couple of days later!

Mouser and Farnell have much wider ranges of components but you need to spend £33 or £20 (both +VAT), respectively, for free delivery. Although Mouser are US based payment is in Sterling and there is no duty to pay. Delivery is quick too.

Rapid have a limited range of components but are good for some things. £30+VAT gets you free delivery.

Qubits are good for toroids and other ferrites if you don’t want anything else.

Sotabeams don’t sell many components but for building antennas they are excellent (and not just for SOTA or portable operating). They also have plenty of modules such as DSP filters and they also sell component testers.

Beer ingredients

For brewing beer I usually get everything from The Malt Miller who have an excellent (and ever expanding) range of malts, yeasts, hops and equipment. Their next day delivery is very reliable.