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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Flip-up Workbench Build -- Possible Application for Our Test Gear

Interesting workbench build.   While his tools were all for woodworking, this got me wondering about using this technique to store bigger pieces of electronic test gear that are not in use every day.  


Monday, June 27, 2022

Pete N6QW's Hybrid Wireless Set -- A Thing of Beauty, with Thermatrons

Pete Juliano is amazing.  He is admirably carrying a very heavy load of family responsibilities.  But  he still can build some really unique and innovative rigs.  He tells us that getting up at 3 am and only sleeping 5 hours per night allows him to do this.

Pete also blames Grayson Evans KJ7UM for this rig, what with the thrematrons and all.  Pete has a 7360 mixer in this rig, something that Grayson had in the 3rd edition of his Hollow-State Design book (get yours here:  https://www.ermag.com/product/hollow-state-design-2nd-edition/).  Pete reports that he first built the chassis for the tube (I mean thermatron) portion of the rig in the 1970s -- it has been in his junkbox ever since.  Grayson admires Pete's compact construction and point-to-point wiring.  

I too noticed very poor conditions on Field Day this year.  

Three cheers for Pete Juliano!  

Thoughts on Homebrew, Makers, DIY, and Hams -- from Lex PH2LB

Sometimes we get a comment that is so good that we elevate it to the main blog page.  That was the case with Lex PH2LB's comment on the blog post of Owen Duffy (yesterday). 


When I started the hobby, it arose out of technological curiosity, the interest in understanding things and the will to make things myself (designing myself was not my main goal). It doesn't matter to me whether it is 100% DIY or a kit (such as Heathkit, Elecraft, QRP-Labs etc) which is modified or not after construction. Just having fun with the hobby and pushing boundaries. And yes I also have some off-the-shelf transceivers (I'm super happy with my FT817ND) and my QO-100 uplink is also a kit (which is then already soldered a little more than average). As far as new tools are concerned: here at home are 2 types of 3D printers, various tools for SMT assembly, and I have a nice workshop equipped with tools and equipment for metal / plastic / wood processing. And every day I try to learn something new, because I stand by the IBEW moto : If you know stuff, you can do stuff.

Am I a maker then? I wouldn't call myself that. Just like I don't call myself a hacker because I'm quite handy with computers, technology and have certain skills. I'm just a hobbyist who wants to do and make things after work.
Lex is a true member of the International Brotherhood.  He is the one who took our beloved stickers onto the European continent and into a Netherlands pub.  He is the one who -- unforgettably -- saw the parallels between ham shacks and the "pleasure room" of "50 Shades of Gray" (See below -- apropos of his current message, we labeled his meme "50 Shades of Homebrew") For more on Lex see: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=PH2LB

Lex's web site (Shack on the Internet):  https://www.ph2lb.nl/blog/index.php?page=hamradio

 Thanks Lex! 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

ZL2BMI Double Sideband QRP Transmitter in SPRAT #191

Very cool that SPRAT had a Double Sideband (DSB)  transmitter article in its current issue (#191 Summer 2022). The author is DSB guru Eric Sears ZL2BMI,creator of the famous ZL2BMI  DSB QRP transceiver. 

I think DSB is a great way to break into homebrewing for phone.  Building a DSB transmitter is a LOT easier than building an SSB rig.  The DSB transmitter can then be converted into a DSB/Direct Conversion transceiver.   

Here is a link to 75 SolderSmoke blog posts about DSB (keep on scrolling, keep on hitting the "older posts" button): https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search/label/DSB

Here are a bunch of blog posts that mention ZL2BMI: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=ZL2BMI

Thank you Eric, and thanks to G-QRP. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Australian Homebrew: Owen Duffy ex VK1OD now VK2OMD. Are Hams Makers?

This week I stumbled upon this amazing blog from Australia.  I had to check with Australian friends to find out more about the author.  Owen Duffy has for many years been a rigorous homebrewer who has documented his findings on his blog:  https://owenduffy.net/blog/

For example, Owen asks the question, "Are hams makers?" https://owenduffy.net/blog/?p=122

There is a lot of great material on this blog.  It goes back to 2013.  Peter Parker notes that an earlier version of the blog (before Owen was forced to change his callsign from VK1OD to VK2OMD) goes back even further and is accessible via the Way-Back Machine:  https://web.archive.org/web/*/vk1od.net

Check it out.  Lots of really useful and interesting material there.   Thanks Owen.  And thanks to the Australian friends who provided background info. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

W8ZAP on 40 AM with a Collins 20V3 Broadcast Transmitter

I was on 40 AM yesterday morning and I talked to Jerry W8ZAP (great callsign) out in Michigan.  Jerry was running his Collins 20V3 (above on the right), which was originally an AM broadcast band transmitter.  FB.  

Here is Jerry's QRZ.com page: https://www.qrz.com/db/W8ZAP

Thursday, June 23, 2022

WIRED on the Dangers of another Carrington Event, Solar Cycle 25, Capacitors Could Save Us All

This Wired article has some really interesting info on competing theories about the solar cycle, about the danger to the Earth from solar flares, and about what a flare like that of the Carrington event could do to the transformers we are currently using.  The article points out that large capacitors could protect these transformers from the effects of the flare.  But the power companies are not installing the capacitors. 

I think one of the scientists Pete mentioned in SolderSmoke podcast #238 is mentioned here: 


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Hammarlund and Homebrew Heroine: Janis AB2RA, HQ-100 Filter Cap Question


I was searching for Hammarlund HQ-100 wisdom when Google pointed me to the Electric Radio articles of Janis AB2RA.  They were in  ER #380 and #381 (February and March 2021).  Lots of good stuff  in there.  

This morning I happened upon a 2014 SolderSmoke blog post (as you do) about my Tuna Tin 2. Turns out that Janis was my first contact with this rig.  And she too was running a homebrew rig. TRGHS. 

I continue to work on my HQ-100.  The AC hum is getting worse so I have ordered a replacement capacitor can from Hayseed Hamfest.   But I was a bit confused about which cap to order.  Hayseed has two caps listed for the HQ-100 -- one (it seems) for the early model of this receiver and one for later models.  Is that right?  Did Hammarlund update the power supply to add filter capacitors?  Take a look: 

Dean KK4DAS is getting ready to work on his dad's HQ-170A.  He too will find lots of wisdom and tribal knowledge on Janis's wonderful web site.  

Her main page: http://www.wireless-girl.com/  (with a vast amount of technical info available through the links on the upper left side of this page) 

About Janis: http://www.wireless-girl.com/AboutMe.html

Thanks Janis!  

The Original Wireless Girl

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Summer Solstice -- EITs. Solar Tsunamis. Strange Falcon 9 Spirals Seen in New Zealand


Forbes has an interesting article that may help explain the poor Cycle 25 propagation that were talking about in SolderSmoke podcast #238: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2022/03/28/an-increasingly-active-sun-is-now-producing-solar-tsunamis-and-sending-flares-our-way/?sh=613e1dd1fbfd 

And Space Weather website has an interesting piece about some really strange SpaceX Falcon 9-related phenonmenon: 

Monday, June 20, 2022

QRP Labs HQ Tour

Really cool to see Hans describe his QRP Labs workshop in Turkey.  Lots of soul in that worshop.  Thanks Hans.  

 And here is a 2022 Turkish media interview with Hans and his team in the workshop:  

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Great Book on Oscillators (Analog LC Oscillators) by John F. Rider (Free!)


Thanks to Peter Parker VK3YE for alerting us to this wonderful 1940 book.  John F. Rider -- a real hero of electronic literature -- does a great job in discussing the practical aspects of oscillator circuits. 

This excerpt from Rider's foreword gives a sense of the approach taken in this book: 

The book covers a lot of material.  In addition to the standard oscillator circuits, he discussed multivibrators, relaxation oscillators and much more.  There is a chapter on magnetostriction in which he shows that this property is the basis for crystal oscillators AND the mechanical filters that we are familiar with.  In fact he seems to take what we would consider a mechanical filter and put it in the grid circuit of a tube to make an oscillator. 

He discussed the modulation of oscillators. He describes the Heising modulator that caused young Jean Shepherd so much teenage heartache.  

Download the book here: 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Video of SolderSmoke #238

For details and audio podcast see: 

SolderSmoke Podcast #238 -- SolderSmoke Shack South, Cycle 25, Chiquita Banana Radio, RCA, HQ-100, Mate Mighty Midget, Sony SWL RX , Mailbag

SolderSmoke Podcast #238 is available:  http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke238.mp3


Cathartic decluttering:  Bill preparing for future winter travel to Dominican Republic.  Will build SolderSmoke Shack South.  Dividing everything up:  Rigs, parts, tools, supplies, antennas, test gear.  Everything.  

OUR SPONSOR:  Parts Candy.  
https://www.ebay.com/usr/partscandy  Premium quality test leads! Hand cut, hand crimped, hand soldered, these will become your new favorite test leads GUARANTEED!


-- Cycle 25 better? – Out here on the left coast – it is not evident
-- Chiquita Banana and the US Navy in early ‘wireless” operations.  Why RCA was created by the US Navy in 1919.
-- Update on the MAX2870 –someone has written the code to make it work with the Raspberry Pi and the QUISK SDR software
-- Field Day prep

Bill needs your help:  
-- Please watch his YouTube videos.  The longer the better!  Success based on hours watched. Great to have on while you are working in the shack. Just go to YouTube and search for the SolderSmoke channel. Or:  SolderSmoke - YouTube
-- Please put links to the SolderSmoke blog on your websites and blogs. 
-- How to USE the SolderSmoke Blog: Propagation, shopping, other sites... 
-- Please put comments under the articles on the SolderSmoke blog.  We like comments and dialogue. 


-- Repair of the Sony ICF SW1 shortwave receiver.  Bad electrolytics.  Number Station receiving device? 
-- HQ-100   Q-Multiplier. BFO Switch. AVC.  Noise Limiter limitations.  Dave K8WPE: Old Radio Lessons.
-- MMMRX: Detector circuit. Alignment. Muting. On the air (40 AM with DX-100) 


-- Bob Crane W8SX -- Great interviews at FDIM. On the SolderSmoke Blog. Thanks Bob! 
-- Dave Bamford W2DAB -- Stickers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  FB Dave! 
-- Farhan VU2ESE:  LADPAC software now available through W7ZOI' site.  
-- Lex PH2LB: Stickers in a Netherlands pub.  
-- Dave K8WPE Michigan Mighty Mite links.  Old Smoke idea. On the SolderSmoke blog. 
-- Rich WB4TLM was in the electronics class of CF Rockey W9SCH. FB. 
-- Dean KK4DAS Working on  his dad's HQ-170A. VWS maker group on mixers. 
-- Grayson KJ7UM -- Mixology article in ER. 
-- Pete Eaton -- Farhan's new analog rig: Daylight again!  Standby for more info from Farhan. 
-- Will KI4POV New HB Al Fresco single conversion superhet.  FB. 
-- Alvin N5VZH. Shep's "I Libertine."  Yes.  I laughed, I cried,  It changed me. 
-- Chuck KF8TI.  Mr. Wizard!  
-- Steve N8NM on the mend after some routine maintenance. 
-- Ben AB4EN is listening and likes the podcast -- Thanks Ben. 

May 1939 QST

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Watch Mr. Wizard! 1952 Program on Electromagnetism. And more! (video)

Wow.  This is a very thought provoking program.  It is kind of like "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," but with science. The lessons provided by Mr. Wizard are really good, but one shudders to think about doing the these experiments with kids (or even with adults!) in today's world.  Here are a few of things that would cause trouble today:  

-- Liquid mercury.  
-- A big power supply. ("Here Willy, you hold the positive terminal.") 
-- Even the sprinkling of iron filings would probably require masks at a minimum.  
-- In the end, letting poor Willy drop to the floor when Betsy turns off the electromagnet that was holding his swing in the air.  
-- And of course, poor old Mr. Wizard's affinity for the kids would stir suspicions. 

We also see a sad and very early example of the influence of advertisers and what they call today "product placement."  Note the fairly obvious plug (via Morse Code!) for breakfast cereal.  In the credits you will see that the program was sponsored by "The Cereal Institute."  What next kids?  Cigarettes? 

But there is a lot of virtue in this program:  The development of the telegraph key, Morse Code,  CW sidetone.  Unlike many of the Box Top Extras of today, young Betsy was not afraid to wind a coil.   

We should all embrace the spirit of Mr. Wizard.  We are, after all, the International Brotherhood of Electronic WIZARDS!  These experiments reminded me a lot of the Trivial Electric Motor that my son Billy and I made when he was around Willy's age (thanks for the idea Alan Yates).  

Thanks to Chuck KF8TI for alerting us to this show.  Chuck says this program was an early influence on him, and was one of the things that provided a connection between the theory he was learning in college and the real world of electronic devices. 

Many more great programs like this can be found on Mr. Wizard's YouTube Channel: 
https://www.youtube.com/user/MrWizardStudios   Please let us know if you find other videos (on this channel or elsewhere)  that will be of special interest to the IBEW. 

Finally, color TV in 1952?  That seems a bit early for color.  What do you folks think was happening here? 
Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column