Assembly order placed!

Well, it’s taken some time, and I thank you profusely for your patience, but finally I have negotiated the first batch assembly and placed the order. The parts are winging their way to Wales for assembly. Finished units are due by December 15 for delivery assuming my assemblers can deliver on time!

We can now turn to distribution. I am looking at the fairest way to do this, but it will be on a first come, first served basis. I will also be limiting the maximum number of dongles to two per person, and it will be personal orders only.

I am minded to do this via my PayPal account so we can keep track of the orders, but before I do I just need to make sure that I can organise this correctly and fairly, bearing in mind different P&P across the world and that in the EU we’ll need to include VAT but not for countries outside the EU.


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34 Responses to Assembly order placed!

  1. Hi Howard,

    I’ve been following the progress closely and pleased to see the units are nearly ready to be ordered by us all! I’d just like to raise a bit of caution with Paypal that an influx of ££ in a short space of time might get your account frozen due to a possible fraud threat.. so you might want to prepare yourself for a bit of hassle with them 🙂

    Looking forward to placing an order!

    Peter, 2E0SQL

    • admin says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your comment. I was caught by that myself earlier this year during a shack clearance – Paypal sat on several thousand pounds of my money for some time. Most irritating, and Paypal don’t help themselves in the slightest as it’s completely arbitrary. There is no reasoning with them either. A nice way to make money on the money markets by holding funds. The problem is I haven’t yet thought of another way to do this so that it really is on a first come, first served basis. If I did it via email I’d innevitably have to battle with spam filters, and there’s no money transferred anyway. If I have the money credited direct to my bank account then that would make payments from outside the UK difficult.


  2. Randy K7AGE says:


    I have been following the Dongle. I think this is a really neat device. I want one! I always though an interesting educational bird would be one that sends down SSTV, pictures, data text as image and so on. Then a cheap scanner, simple antenna and MMSSTV would all that would be required for the earth station. The Dongle will be nicer with the freq control and other goodies that I am sure you will be adding. Looking forward to some Fun with the Dongle.

    Count me in!!!!


  3. David Florence says:

    Great news.
    Put me down for one.
    Let me know when I can order.


  4. Okay, and what will be the price of one dongle? Incl. P&P to Germany?
    73 de DB6EDR

    • admin says:

      Hi Dirk.

      I’ll be posting the pricing structure soon, the detail is yet to be worked out.

      Many thanks for your patience, Howard

      • David says:

        Why not add £10 to the cost of every Pro version sold to sponsor the free supply of an Education version to schools and colleges?


  5. Mike says:

    Hello Howard,

    That seems fair – indeed I think limiting to one per person initially may be best. I will if given the opportunity, set an example by only ordering one at this stage.

    I realise you probably need the funding up front.


  6. admin says:


    There will be a healthy donation to AMSAT-UK for the purposes of launching FUNcube already included in the price.

    The AMSAT-UK committee have already discussed the educational outreach Base version pricing to some degree and our conclusion was that if we just give them away they will not be valued and will sit in treachers’ drawers never to see the light of day, which would be a travesty. The precise pricing of the Base version has yet to be finalised. We have plenty of time, the satellite has a few months left yet before launch.


  7. Chris says:

    Howard, can you get get AMSAT-UK to sell them on your behalf, they already have the shop set up to pay our membership? As you say their is a donation going to FUNsat and I agree with others initial batches of the Dongle should be limited to one per person, the educational base version could be limited one per school prior to Christmas and early next year before the Satellite goes into orbit. Not forgetting there are other AMSAT amateur radio satellites going into orbit around the same time, KiwiSAT is due launch next year too.

    Please put me down for one dongle Howard, once the second or third batch of the dongle is made, I will order and pay for an educational version so I can get the local school or educational colleague interested. The more we support FUNcube, KiwiSAT and other amateur radio satellites, the more interest we can gain adults and younger people encouraged to take their radio amateur license to keep our hobby going into the future.

    Great watching you develop the dongle and thanks for the tip on the SMD resolder station, mine arrived Wednesday from Hong Kong, great tool for developing my own SMD, Satellite and HPSDR projects.

    Best regards

    • admin says:

      Hello Chris

      Thanks for your note. It is possible that AMSAT-UK will sell these units in the future, and it’s already been discussed, but for a whole bunch of reasons it made sense for me to take sole responsibility for the first batch at least.

      We are already in discussions, not only within AMSAT-UK, but also with other organisations regarding the educational outreach models, so watch this space!

      One thing I may not have mentioned before on this blog is that one of the benefits of the approach we have is that the volume pricing we hope to achieve on the Pro will have a direct postive impact on the pricing of the educational outreach device.

      Regarding that SMD rework unit, it’s honestly difficult to understand how I ever managed without it. Certainly I would have had three of the eighteen FCDs so far built being landfill without it!


  8. Maurits says:

    So you need pay pal .Can I not pay with Iban and Bic code ?

    • admin says:

      Hello Maurits

      Many thanks for your note.

      In trying to make the fairest way for everyone Paypal is currently the front runner for a number of reasons, including being able to offer a true first come, first served service, and also automatic co-ordination of orders with delivery addresses.

      I did consider using my bank account as, as a seller, I am not the best of friends with Paypal for a number of reasons, not least their arbitrary withdrawal freezing and the 3.9% I’ll be swallowing! We felt using a direct transfer was not the fairest for overseas orders as payments can take some time to reach the account.

      For my own sanity, the last thing I want is mutiple means of payment as it will make collation and the first come first served very difficult to manage.

      I hope that you understand, we’ve looked at a number of options, but so far for this first batch it looks like Paypal will be the way.


  9. Andy says:

    Hi Howard,

    I’m unsure from your comments whether you are making a list at the moment, I would certainly like to purchase one so if there is a list then please add me.

    I think Paypal would be the easiest way to go, just bump on the 3.9% so you’re not out of pocket.

    All the best Andy, G1JVY

    • admin says:

      Hello Andy.

      Thanks you for your note.

      The way I see it working at the moment is that the “list” will be Paypal itself. This greatly simplifies things for a number of reasons. It means that I don’t have to collate and co-ordinate payments between a list compiled from various sources, and the payments themselves, and it makes it as fair as possible when it comes to “first come, first served”.

      I am already in the process of setting up a new Paypal account that will be separate from my personal account to keep the accountant happy. As you may or may not know, Paypal has a bunch of hoops to pass through before you can do anything, and apparently having had a personal Paypal account for nearly ten years counts for nothing.

      The cost of the Dongle itself will be £99 as promised including packaging. Regarding postage, Paypal’s cut and VAT etc, these will be completely transparent in the pricing model. I’ve also just discovered also that certain postal transactions will attract VAT from January 2011 which will confuse things.

      Because of the way I don’t have to add VAT to non-EC exports, rather crazily it looks like it will be cheaper to purchase from the outside the EU than within it even taking into account postal charges. As a bit of trivia, your best bet will be to move to the Channel Islands where I can still mail at domestic UK rates but I don’t have to add VAT!

      For UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands I will be using 1pm Special Delivery, so 99+% of the UK will recieve the device the day after I send it.

      For the rest of the world I will be using Royal Mail Airmail International Signed For with additional compensation cover.


  10. Frank , DB8BS says:

    Hi Howard,
    very nice and interesting project. I’m looking forward to buy one.
    Will there also be a way to buy one without having a Paypal account?
    Please let me know.
    Vy 73’s Frank, DB8BS

    • admin says:

      Hello Frank

      Many thanks for your note.

      Currently I am only looking at Paypal I am afraid. I am aware of some issues of purchasing from overseas via Paypal from Germany, that is one of the reasons for me switching to a corporate Paypal account. As I understand it, German Paypal buyers have to authorise payments with their bank/card issuer, but yesterday, Paypal informed me that I will receive notification at the point of payment initiation prior to the authorisation anyway so the “first come first served” queue hopefully will work.


  11. Howard_G0VTL says:


    sounds good, I shall resurrect my paypal account to buy one. Many thanks


  12. lemmy says:

    Like to have one, and please keep us informed when the ordering can begin.


  13. Ronen says:

    Hi Howard
    Is there any Email i can reach you concerning Order of ther Dongle ?

    Thanks Forward
    Ronen – 4Z4ZQ

  14. Andy says:


    Regarding VAT and the post, you need to charge VAT on the postage price whether or not the service is exempt else you will be out pocket.


    • admin says:

      Hi Andy

      Thanks for your note. I have a list of questions for the accountant, and this is one of them.


  15. Ralph says:

    Hello Howard,
    very interesting project.
    I’m looking forward to buy one.
    Please let me know when it’s time for activities.

  16. Tracey Gardner G5VU says:

    Hello Howard, I’m not clear as to how you are forming or going to form your order list? Will enquiries/orders made here be fulfilled before any others? I’d be grateful if you could clarify the situation. 73s Tracey

  17. Jan says:


    This is a great project! Is it possible to be informed when one can order or is there already a waiting list? I would really love to have one!

    Greetings from Switzerland,


  18. Olivier MEHEUT says:

    Please take note of my interest to acquire one module

    Keep us posted…

    73, Olivier F6HGQ

  19. admin says:

    Folks, I will be posting the details for ordering in the next week or so. On Saturday I received confirmation that my Paypal account is set up correctly, after several delays with Paypal not reviewing paperwork that I’d submitted.

    Once I receive and successfully check out the first units (I believe this time next week), I will publicise a link for orders. Please bear in mind that I have a small amount of rework to perform on these first units in the form of a high pass filter.


  20. Bart ON7BV says:

    Very interesting project.I Think it’s a nice thing to put behind my µW transverters to see the signals on the band.Can you tell me if there are some minimum PC demands?
    It runs fine with the DVB-T usb receiver.

    • admin says:

      I just about had it working with Spectravue on a 233MHz Pentium 64MB RAM on Windows 2000. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it did work.


  21. admin says:


    Today I had some bad news from the assembler. I originally placed the order with them on 18 November after submitting the technical drawings and PCB Gerbers etc prior to that. Unfortunately I had an email from them today stating that they are unable to make the device owing to difficulties in placing the 0402 parts, although they were originally confident that they had the capabilities to do it.

    At this stage in the game the only option I have to fulfil orders before Christmas is to make them myself. Hopefully the parts will arrive back home tomorrow and I will be able to get started. Wish me luck, I have 9,600 parts to place, and at 1.5 hours/board on a good day, I’ll leave you to do the maths yourself. Still, you will have the satisfaction of a personally hand built unit!

    As a backup, I also took the opportunity to use another manufacturer although this batch is not due to deliver to me until early January.


  22. Rob says:

    Hi Howard
    ah! sad news, they left it a little late in the day to let you know.
    Well good luck with the hand assembly,and at least you had a backup plan.
    73 Rob

  23. Eric says:


    I really want to order a funcube pro. I look at the FAQ every day to hear the news.

    We look forward to your information.

    73 from France.


  24. JOSE says:


    I really want to order a funcube pro. I interest to acquire one module.
    73, Jose