Well, it took a super-human effort on my part as a result of my extreme fatigue (brain bleed issue) but today I bench tested the little 40m Pixie kit I managed to build earlier this week. It is hard to explain just how exhausting this simple task was for me currently. I now need to recover my energy!
On receive a 1uV signal was perfectly readable and I could detect carrier on/off down to at least below 0.5uV. On TX it was putting out about 250mW into a 50 ohm load. On my antenna it was suffering some AM breakthrough, but less than I was expecting. I was using standard Walkman stereo headphones and a rechargeable 12V sealed lead acid battery. On a small 9V battery I'd expect about 100mW RF out, although this was not tried.
Overall, these results exceeded my expectations: it is more sensitive than I was expecting and the breakthrough of AM broadcasters is certainly OK in the day time. This is of course with no casing at all and no ATU. Using the fitted pot and fitted 1N4001 as a varicap it is easy to get the TX frequency and RX frequency to correspond, often an issue with very simple QRP rigs.
Next stage will be some on-air tests, but it most definitely works. Working the locals should certainly be possible. Sked with G6ALB (3km) arranged for 1000z Sunday on 7.023MHz CW.
UPDATE 2120z: There is a contest in full swing and several Russians and Asiatic Russians copied on the little 40m Pixie. I did not stay on long but there was no apparent BC interference noticeable. So, on a quiet night I should able to use the rig in the evenings. The main issue on RX seems to be the lack of AF filtering, so one has to use "the filter that is between the ears" i.e.the brain.