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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

M0XPD Goes 3D with Boxed BITX with Digi-Hinge!


Paul, MOXPD, has put his BITX-based rig in a proper box.  In spite of his recent collaboration with famed miniturizer Pete Juliano, Paul used a BIG box.  It is not quite milk carton size, but it is getting there. Well done Paul.   I really like the way Paul kept the digital and analog elements in different dimensions.  The digi bit is sort of floating above the main analog board (almost in a "cloud"!).  In SolderSmoke 163 Pete Juliano mentioned a downside of this kind of stacking:  it makes it hard to get to the main board.  Paul ingeniously solved this problem by putting the digital board on a hinge.  Excellent.  This will prevent you from becoming "unhinged" when the time comes to fix or modify the main board.    

Here are all the details on Paul's project: 
http://m0xpd.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/boxing-clever.html


Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Saturday, July 26, 2014

SolderSmoke Podcast #163 Pete Juliano! Tribal Knowledge Part 3 "Sideband Sidecars"


Crystal Filters built by WA7MLH

SolderSmoke Podcast #163 is available: 

http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke163.mp3

Saturday July 26, 2014

Part III with Pete Juliano:  Tribal Knowledge -- Sideband Sidecars

-- Moxon Update "A Thing of Beauty"
-- Pete is Building Peter Parker's Knobless Wonder
-- Ladder Filters
--Construction Practices for SSB rigs
-- Essential Test Gear
-- Junk Box development and parts storage

Next time:  Tubes, Valves, Termatrons, Firebottles. 

Thanks to Bob Crane and the FDIM musicians for this episode's musical opening. 

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

EXCELSIOR! Jean Shepherd's Birthday



Bob Crane (and, I think, Garrison Keillor) alerted us to this important birthday:

It's the birthday of humorist Jean Shepherd (books by this author), born in Chicago, Illinois (1921). He's remembered for the autobiographical stories he told on the radio about a boy named Ralph Parker growing up in Hohman, Indiana. One of his stories was made into the movie A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated. It's about a boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas, even though every adult in his life says that he'll shoot his eye out.
The stories Shepherd told on-air were always improvised, but he later wrote them down and published them in collections like In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash (1967) and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters (1972).
Jean Shepherd said: "Some men are Baptists, others Catholics. My father was an Oldsmobile man."

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

My Moxon on Hackaday!



I was really pleased to see my Moxon on Hackaday.  Their write-up was a lot of fun.

http://hackaday.com/2014/07/23/fishing-for-radio-signals-with-the-moxon-antenna/ 

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WA7MLH's RD16HHF Amplifier


OK, so now that I have the MOXON in the air, my thoughts are turning to amplifiers and a possible winter project. Hey, even QRP guru Doug DeMaw conceded that every once in a while a fellow needs a few more db. And the sunspot count will be dropping.  

On the BITX group there has been an interesting discussion of using RD16HHF MOSFETs in place of our familiar IRF-510s.  I thought these devices were new, but some Googling this morning led me back to the wonderful website of QRP giant (hey, he is IN SSDRA!) Jeff Damm,  WA7MLH.   Jeff has been using these devices for quite some time.  As with all of Jeff's projects, I find his EXTREME UGLY building methods to be inspirational and reassuring.  Even if you have been there before, you should visit his site:


Even his QRZ.com page makes you want to build something:

Thanks Jeff! 



Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part III with Pete Juliano this Saturday

 

It looks like Pete Juliano, N6QW, and I will be able to do Part III of our discussion of homebrew SSB gear this Saturday.  We might start out with ladder filters.  Other possible topics include construction practices (shielding, decoupling, the handling of heat, etc), junk-box practices, essential test gear and, time permitting,  tube (or, as Grayson would say, "thermatron") gear. Speaking of which,  here are some pictures that Pete sent me of a 20 meter CW rig he is working on. 

"Here is a 20 Meter station that I recently got working and hope to have it on the air soon. The Rx is something I cobbled together and it does have a Crystal filter. The Tx is an amalgamation of several Handbook radios – one feature it uses a bandpass tuning network from the oscillator to the final. The screen voltage has a separate regulator. Each unit  size is 4 inches high, 4 inches wide and 8 inches long. There is still some work needed for the control and TR."  


Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Moxon Aloft!



We put it up on the roof this afternoon.  I think it looks great!   The neighbors have not yet risen up in opposition to the new skyhook.   My family thinks it cool that I can spin it around.   I have it pointed at Europe and I notice a big difference.  I've worked F5LIW, OT4A, YL2BJ,  F5BBD.  Lots of fun. 



Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gravity Light -- A Potential Power Source for QRP Ops in the Field


Nice idea.

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our First Listener: Brad Smith, WA5PSA


I got a nice message yesterday from Brad Smith, WA5PSA.  Brad told me that he had listened to both of the Pete Juliano podcasts...TWICE.  As a result, he is planning to build a phone rig.

In the message Brad reminded me that he was the source of the very first feedback that Mike, KL7R, and I received about the SolderSmoke podcast.   I remember it very well.  We had uploaded SolderSmoke#1, and were wondering if ANYONE had listened.  Then came this message from Brad (was it an e-mail?) saying that he'd listened to the show AS HE JOGGED THROUGH TULSA, OKLAHOMA.  Wow!  Tulsa!  Our voices from London and Juneau had been heard in ear-buds by a jogger in Tulsa, OK.   It was a bit like when you were a kid and you ran into the kitchen to tell your mom that you had just talked to a guy in TULSA.  Somehow, that day, Tulsa seemed as exotic as Tokyo.

Thanks Brad!  Good luck with the phone rig.  Hope to work you on 17.

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

VK2SJA's Minima in a Realistic DX-100 Case


Steve, VK2SJA, is doing to a Realistic DX-100 what I have been thinking about doing to a Heathkit HW-101.   With this kind of encouragement, who could blame me for making a Minima-101?  I've been planning on keeping the 6146s and all the final (and perhaps driver) circuitry.    

Here is Steve's very nice description of his project thus far:

http://www.hfsignals.org/index.php/UnRealistic_Minima

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scrap wood, some wire, four fishing poles and an old tripod: Moxon Update

 
It is not up on the roof yet, but we are getting close.   Above you can see he center "hub" -- just some scrap plywood and 8 u bolts.


 
Here is how I handled the corners.  The coil thing is from the end of a bungee cord. It makes for easy disassembly. 

 
 
 
Here is how the mast connects to the hub.  I had some 1x1 scrap wood. The 1x1 will be U-bolted into the rotator.  


 
 


 
Made of wire and fishing poles, Moxons are not very photogenic.  But I think mine looks great.  The 17 meter version is quite small. 
 


 
A bit of a balun.  Just to keep RF currents off the outside of the braid.
 



 
That tripod was last aloft in the Dominican Republic (1992-1996!).  Two spray cans of flat black paint have been applied.  Stealth!  

 
Four 16 foot "crappie" telescoping fiberglass poles purchased from Amazon.   

 
The only thing holding me up at this point is a safety concern.  The roof has a somewhat steep pitch, and I am not at agile as I used to be.   So before I install this magnificent sky hook I'm getting one of those roof safety harness systems that roof workers are supposed to use (but rarely do).  This sill also benefit the poor fellow who comes to clean our gutters.  



Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Crazy Joe May Have THE KNACK


http://www.crazyjoe.org/studio.html

Check out Joe's VERY long-running audio studio project.  It appears to be mostly appliance/commercial gear, but look closer and you will discover that most of it is homebrew.


Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thomas's Magnificent Minima


Wow, Thomas's page makes me really want to build a Minima.  Note the Manhattan style with Rex Harper's Me-Pads.  Excellent.   Thomas provides a really great stage-by-stage description of the project with the kind of candid descriptions of mistakes that SolderSmoke listeners are so fond of!  


http://www.sarfata.org/ham/minima/

Thomas himself has an interesting "international brotherhood"  personal history:

http://www.sarfata.org/about.html



Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ISEE-3 Recovery Hiccup



Now that's a McDonald's that you would want to work in!  That's the headquarters for the ISEE-3 recovery effort. (Is it also the place where they recovered the long-lost moon photos from the 1960s?) 

This week the ISEE-3 effort hit a bump in the road.  Getting old gear to work properly is never easy.   Be patient fellows! 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/us/in-effort-to-shift-abandoned-nasa-craft-a-hiccup-or-burp.html?action=click&contentCollection=Science&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finally! Dis-Intergrated Circuits! Discrete Component Op Amps!


That, my friends, is a discrete component version of the 741 op amp chip.  I like it!  No more mysterious miniature black boxes -- here's a "chip" that you can understand, troubleshoot, and modify.   Seven Forty Fun!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1208645775/open-analog

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jason's WBR Regenerative Receiver


Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20
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