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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: 

Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column