Listen to Latest SolderSmoke Podcast

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Amazing New Geostationary Amateur Satellite -- LISTEN ONLINE!


Wow, quite a step forward in the amateur satellite world.  Qatar and AMSAT-Germany have collaborated to put an amateur radio repeater in geostationary orbit.  That's pretty amazing.  Read more here: 

https://hackaday.com/2019/03/18/eshail-2-hams-get-their-first-geosynchronous-repeater/

Read about a group of Norwegian students working on a satellite station for this bird: 

https://www.la1k.no/2019/02/20/getting-ready-for-e%CC%B6s%CC%B6%CC%B6h%CC%B6a%CC%B6i%CC%B6l%CC%B62%CC%B6-qo-100-part-2-how-we-did-it/

And this is really fun:  LISTEN TO THE DOWNLINK LIVE VIA WEBSDR! 

We can't hear this thing from North America -- it is flying over the Congo.  But stations in its footprint are putting their receivers online -- you can listen to the 10 GHz downlink via WebSDR: 

UK WebSDR:   https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/

Brazil WebSDR:     http://appr.org.br:8902/


Sunday, March 17, 2019

DISAPPOINTED! No Takers on Mechanical Filter Question! SAD!



So, in our last podcast I asked the group to take a look at two pictures of a mechanical filter that I had recently taken out of its case.   These pictures appear above and below. After a discussion of magnetostriction,  I asked the group if they could spot anything unusual about this particular device. 

I expected many responses.  What did I get?  CRICKETS!!  What is wrong with you guys?  Are you spending so much time with software and FT-8 and lines of code that you can't deal with a simple analog question like this?  SAD! I guess I will have to answer the question myself.  Scroll down. 


The diagram below presents the conventional Collins arrangement for a mechanical filter.   Note that at the input and at the output there is a coil.  This coil creates from the signal a varying magnetic field.  Because of the principle of magnetostriction, this field causes the resonators/rod assembly to flex and vibrate, much like a musical tuning fork.  At the output, this means that inside the core of the output coil there is a piece of metal vibrating at the signal frequency.  This will produce an output signal.  

But take a look at my little mechanical resonator.  Where are the input and output coils?  
THERE ARE NONE!  See those little rectangular things at either end?  Those are piezo-electric crystals that are MECHANICALLY connected to the disc/rod assembly.  So when the signal comes in, it is applied electrically to the piezo material which then physically vibrates. This vibration passes through the filter and to the piezo device at the other end. There the mechanical vibration results in an electrical signal at the output.  


So, I think it is time for you all to hang your heads in shame. Perhaps go to the doctor to see if you still have The Knack. Ask for forgiveness from the radio gods.  








Wednesday, March 13, 2019

We have lost our spiritual leader: George Dobbs G3RJV, SK


Yesterday we received the very sad news that George Dobbs, G3RJV has died. 

I think it is no exaggeration to say that with George's passing, we have lost our spiritual and  philosophical leader.  The founder of the G-QRP Club and Editor of our beloved SPRAT journal, George took his strong technical skills and his talent for writing and combined it with the wisdom about life that came from his religious vocation. He was a prolific writer and speaker, and in all his work you will find a unique combination of the technical and the philosophical.  Not only did he teach us how to build our own rigs, but he taught us why we should build them.  

We talk a lot about tribal knowledge -- George was definitely the source of much of that.  But he went beyond that and also became a major source of what we can call tribal wisdom.  He was one of our tribal elders. Instead of speaking to the tribe around a roaring fire, George spoke to us through SPRAT, through articles in other ham magazines, through his books, and through his talks at rallies and hamventions, many of which have been preserved in YouTube videos.  George's friend Tony Fishpool sent us the one embedded below. 

We are of course very sad to see George go, but we can all take comfort in the fact that he will -- through his writings and through his recorded talks -- remain with us. For years to come people who feel a strange urge to build their own radio equipment will find themselves reading George's work or listening to recordings of his melodious voice.   They will find there not only the needed technical information, but also the encouragement and tribal wisdom needed to carry on.  There will be a bit of George Dobbs in all their rigs.  In that way G3RJV will stay on the air.  And I know that George would be delighted by that.  

73 G3RJV.     






Friday, March 8, 2019

Viking Rigs Save the Day!


I attribute the success to the Times Sequence Keying.  And, of course, to the analog VFO.  
Thanks again to Jeff Murray. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

SolderSmoke Podcast #210 Boatanchors, Magnetostriction, VFOs, AM, CW, SSB, Mailbag

2 March 2019 

SolderSmoke Podcast #210 is available: 

http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke210.mp3

Alexa, Marie Kondo, berets, and ham radio

Bi-Coastal Boatanchors
BATTLE CRY: The Vintage SSB Preamble! "We are NOT ashamed!" 
Bill's HT37 and Drake 2B 
Pete's National National NCX-3  TRGHS
Mechanical Filters
Magnetostriction
Why did Collins go with mechanical vice crystal filters? 
The foam deterioration syndrome in mechanical filters.  Sad. 
Please send any unwanted Mechanical Filters to Bill. 
BONUS QUESTION:   Look at the filter below.  What is different/special about this one?

Pete's antenna trouble
Pete's FB amplifier troubleshooting
Recent improvements in the uBITX finals
Pete's design for a VFO for Bill (and an indoor antenna tuner!)

Bill's VFO for Pete:  HRO dial and gearbox driving a rotary encoder

Guido PE1NNZ puts the QCX on SSB
"The Secret Life of Machines -- Radio"
HB HRO dial from DL6WD
WA1QIX's USB D-104
"The High Frequency Oracle" 
DeMaw's LC filter receiver
Godzilla and Ham Radio
Bill's poor quality SSTV images from space (what happened?) 
Listening to AM on an SSB receiver
Mixed feelings about CW 

MAILBAG
M0KOV's mom took him to the doctor due to THE KNACK. 
M0JGH getting married (ALWAYS LISTEN TO PETE!) 
Jac's FB Receiver


What is different/special about this one?





Sunday, February 24, 2019

An Update on Jac's Homebrew Receiver



About four years ago we posted a report on the FB homebrew receiver of Jac KA1WI     Here is the original report:
https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2015/09/jacs-homebrew-receiver-video.html

As most of us do, Jac has continued to work on his creation.  He sent me an update:

Bill:

Basically I have finished it, from a tentatively working model to a more definitive set. For example there are three IF filters, LSB, USB and CW switched by relays grounding the un-used filters.  The AGC was optimized for a good sound. So was the multistage audio circuit, avoiding unnecessary filtering which in my opinion masks the sound of some very good sounding transmissions, not to mention the terrible ones.

The front end works very well, with a SBL-1 DBM terminated with a low noise 2N5109. You notice it when a strong signal is nearly covering the weaker one you are listening to and it remains readable without loosing strength! No many receivers can do that, either because poor front end, noisy LO or bad AGC or all of the three. Not with this receiver!  

The BP filter bank is not my design but removed from a German receiver from the early 1970’s I had to align it to specs and it works pretty well, although I would have preferred  to use a tunable pre-selector. I am planning another set with three IF 9mHz filters which will include a pre-selector for optimum image rejection. I hope. 

In general I am happy with the set, despite the birdies of the DDS, most of them well under the level of most received signals. I wsh I could build a simple PLL to clean up the DSS LO signal. It is worth exploring issue as I see new VCO designs are available. I could try at least one ham band for starters, a PLL covering 350 kHz locked to the DDS,  instead of 2-30 mHz covering, should be feasible. 

Have more videos of the set I will send to you. 

73s de Sac

KA1WI






Note how well you can hear the band's noise floor when the antenna is reconnected in the third video.  

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive


Dig out those old tapes and make a contribution to the archive. Lots of good stuff in there.  The Sandinista recording from 1979 was quite something.  Radio Moscow's Mailbag brought back Cold War memories.    Check it out: 

https://shortwavearchive.com/
Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column