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Saturday, May 28, 2016


Rex, shortly before questioning by authorities
Wow, Rex Harper W1REX deserves some sort of big award.  I hereby grant him the coveted Brass Figlagee with Bronze Oak Leaf Palm, but that is clearly not enough.  Rex spent a month of 20 hour days putting together kits for the Four Days in May QRP event at the Dayton Hamvention.   The results were spectacular:  246 hams succeeded in building QRP transmitters, and they all did it in under 70 minutes.   

Just as impressive as the results were the ways in which Rex overcame the technical and organizational hurdles prior to the event.  You can read all about this in Rex's excellent write up:

The OFFICIAL SolderSmoke Correspondent at Dayton was once again our friend Bob Crane, W8SX.  Bob caught up with Rex and somehow managed to get him to stand still long enough to do this interview:

And it was very nice that Rex did this as a tribute to Dave Ingram K4WTJ whose magazine articles about simple QRP rigs inspired many of us.  Years ago, right after completing a homebrew QRP transceiver, I talked to Dave on 30 meter CW and told him that his articles had helped motivate me to build. 

Finally, no SolderSmoke post about Rex would be complete without a repetition of the video showing him transferring the prodigious mojo of the original Tuna Tin Two into my BITX-17 transceiver.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pete's Beautiful New Blue Rig

A thing of beauty.  

Read about it here:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Listening to New Zealand on the Barbados RX via the Gray Line (40 meter CW)


For the last couple of mornings you have been coming in quite strong on 40 meters around dawn here.    Attached is a short video from today.  I am listening with a homebrew superhet receiver:
73  Bill N2CQR

Hi Bill,
Thanks for sending the video clip.
It’s really made my day!
I’ve sometimes wonder what I sound like at DX now I know.
The IC7410 sounds quite respectable and the sending is reasonably decipherable.
Interesting about the receiver.
The signal seems to stand out well from the noise.
Really well done. But then that’s what ham radio is all about.
We all enjoy radio and  we all like to enjoy the various aspects to the hobby.
Modes, antennas ,QRP whatever.
It’s great fun.
It would be good to have a QSO. perhaps some time soon?

Thanks again,

Very Best 73,
 John ZL1ALA

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Swedish Michigan Mighty Mite Beacon Project

sTef DL1FDF/VY1QRP alerted us to this multi-band Michigan Mighty Mite beacon project out of Sweden. They certainly have some fine looking rigs! 

Check out the reports:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Hi Bill:

   I remember reading an outraged letter in a stereo magazine back in the 80's, right after CD's came out.  The writer had condemned a particular CD player for having a single digtal-to-analog converter that was time-shared between the two channels, consequently inducing an "unlistenable" phase error in the audio.
    An engineer (and I hope a ham!) wrote in to observe that this was indeed correct, but helpfully noted that the phase error could be corrected by moving one of the speakers about a half inch farther away from the listener. That's noodling!  :-)
And you might enjoy this article:
...Some audio scams are so blatant you wonder how anyone could fall for them, like a replacement volume control knob that sells for $485. The ad copy proclaims, “The new knobs are custom made with beech wood and bronze … How can this make a difference??? Well, hearing is believing as we always say. The sound becomes much more open and free flowing with a nice improvement in resolution. Dynamics are better and overall naturalness is improved.” ...
  James Randi, magician and hoax-buster, had a standing offer of $1M to some makers of "paranormal" audio equipment, like $700/foot cable, if they could prove it was better in blind A/B testing.  Nobody took him up on it.

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