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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Solder Smoke Podcast #147 -- Hurricane Sandy Edition

Hurricane Sandy backup station at N2CQR

SolderSmoke Podcast 147 is available for downloading: 
http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke147.mp3
October 29/30 2012
Hurricane Sandy on the way
Thanks for birthday wishes 
Einstein -- a very nice fellow with a bit of the Knack
Rocket project update
808 key chain cameras (thanks for the Amazon support!) 
Audio output transformer for Barbados Barebones RX
Mighty Midget RX -- breaking it, fixing it (with help from friends)
Freq counter connection to Tek scope  
Halli S-38E -- How to avoid electrocution?
The HQ-100's anti-drift alarm clock 
Book Review:  "Instruments of Amplification" by H.P. Friedrichs (5 Soldering Irons!) 
BANDSWEEP: 20 meter SSB via DC receiver on hurricane day
Report on outcome of the hurricane -- inverter saves the day (really the night)
MAILBAG (a big one).    

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All OK at SolderSmoke HQ

Hurricane Sandy went through here yesterday. We had a lot of water and wind.  Power went out at about 7 pm, giving me the opportunity to display my technological prowess by deploying my 1.1 kilowatt DC/AC inverter.   It worked very well -- we had lights and TV, and were the envy of the neighborhood.  We all went to sleep on the ground floor -- trees are the real hazard here.  We were very pleased to be awakened by the lights coming back on at 1:20 am.  Three cheers for Dominion Power!   I hope listeners in the storm's path had it as easy as we did.    

Podcast #147 will be a special Hurricane Sandy edition.  I should have it out in a day or so. 

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, October 28, 2012

Waiting for Hurricane Sandy


That vortex off North Carolina is Hurricane Sandy, and it is heading right for us.  It should make landfall tomorrow, perhaps in Southern New Jersey, perhaps closer to us (the location of the landfall of the eye doesn't matter much -- the wind field has a radius of 300 miles!)   It could really mess things up  --- lots of water, lots of wind, and it will collide with a cold front moving in from the west.  Yuck.   There is a good chance we will lose power.  I have pulled out my trusty Heathkit HW-8 and my solar-charged gel cell battery, so I am ready to go.  Good luck to all those in the storm's path.   

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, October 17, 2012

Good News From Ireland!

Hi Bill,

I'm not sure what's in your sacrificial solder but it sure is good stuff!!!

I received my results today and I'm very very pleased to say I passed.

Now I can finally set my mind to building a shack...

I'm going to celebrate by ordering one of Tim Walford's excellent looking beginner kits and I've just started building Tony Park's Ensemble RXTX.

I'm not sending in my cert just yet though as I want to pass my morse test first.

Thanks again for the kind support, I'm sure it got me a good few percent on the test!!

Also thanks to Steve Smith WB6TNL and his words...

"Thousand of people have taken this examination and passed. There is no reason why I cannot also pass."

He was right!

Also I hope Dave passed, unfortunately I didn't get to meet him at the exam, hopefully we'll figure out how to contact each other, it'd be good to have a newly passed fellow ham to share ideas with.

Regards, or should that now be 73 :),

Chris


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, October 13, 2012

"Zen and the Art of Radio Telegraphy"


OM Carlo Consoli, IK0YGJ, has produced a nice book on radio telegraphy.  Very much in the spirit of the International Brotherhood of Electronic Wizards, he has made it available in Italian, English, French and German.  I have started a refresher language course in Italian and intend to use Carlo's book as reading material for the course (my instructor will be sympathetic because her son is a radio amateur).  Who knows, I may be able to improve my Italian and my CW at the same time!    

Check it out:  http://www.qsl.net/ik0ygj/enu/index.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

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Joy of Tinkering at RIT

Our Dayton corrrespondent Bob Crane, W8SX, sent us this. Thanks Bob!

http://www.edn.com/design/test-and-measurement/4396825/The-Joys-of-Tinkering?cid=EDNToday

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, October 11, 2012

Something Different: Stop Action Movies

The stop-action film Frankenweenie is hitting the theaters here. Its mad scientist/workshop theme seems to have some Knack relevance. This morning I found this five minute film called "The Maker." I thought you guys would like it. I also liked the video (below) about some of the homebrew gear that they used to make The Maker.

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, October 8, 2012

Harv's Hallicrafters HT-37: A Thing of Beauty


Good Evening Bill,

Well with sore fingers, I’m glad to report that the upper deck of my newly acquired HT-37 is complete. (see enclosed photos)
Mice had a small party in this radio but aside from the numerous corrosion spots and few frayed wires,  the task of restoring was not too over whelming.
I have had my trusty Soldering Iron in high use mode lately.
All but the final tubes have the Hallicrafters logo stamped on them.
I had to replaced the Final Tune Capacitor C55 and have gone through all the modifications done to this radio during its 52 years of service.
The previous owner added an internal Antenna Relay (grey transformer near rear of deck.) and replaced the Mic connector with a Drake style phono jack. (I guess that’s acceptable.)

Now I’m onto the re-capping of the lower deck, De-ox the tube sockets and switches. Finally, the replacement of the rectifiers with solid state devices.
I’m documenting all the details just in case there is another solder melting soul out there that wants to restore their HT-37.
With some tender care, it should last another 50 years.

Bill, Keep on learning, Keep on burning (solder that is!)

73’s & Enjoy

Harv -=WA3EIB=-


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, October 7, 2012

My Mate for the Mighty Midget


Al, W1UX, asked for a picture of the receiver that I used to listen to his dulcet tones this morning.   Here you go Al.    Here is an article on the project: 

http://www.gadgeteer.us/erart.htm


Above is the Mighty Midget RX paired up with a DX-60 and a VF-1 (circa 1998)


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

W1UX


Now THAT'S a ham shack! My Mighty Midget receiver allowed me to listen in this morning to Al, W1UX, and friends on 75 meter SSB. One of Al's AM operating positions appears above.  Note the DX-100.  And the R-390 (want one).  And the Tek 465. I've been a big fan for years.  Check out Al's boatanchor web site:    http://www.tinyradio.com/boatanchor01.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, October 6, 2012

Mighty Midget RX on a Key Chain


The key chain device will soon be carried to 1200 feet by our new rocket.



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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sputnik Party 2012 Soapbox

Poster by Steve "Snort Rosin" Smith

3 October from AA1TJ:

Here's an admittedly late reminder that the Sputnik Party begins

tomorrow (4 October). I've been preoccupied with non-hobby concerns in
recent months but I did manage to throw something together for the
event.

My transmitter follows the lines of the 10mW, battery-powered, RF
beacon that was carried into orbit in 1958 by "Vanguard 1." You may
recall this is the one Premier Nikita Khrushchev characterized as "the
grapefruit satellite."

My present build uses essentially the same circuitry and componentry
as did an earlier, 20m version; details of which can be found at

http://aa1tj.blogspot.com/2012/06/vanguard-1-satellite-transmitter.html

The 15m version drives a 44m end-fed wire with 30milliWatts.

The receiver that I built for the event is essentially a "Q-multiplier
-> detector" type regenerative job. However, the Q-multiplication is
accomplished by a parametric amplification using a quartz-crystal
controlled pump. I thought it would be historically appropriate given
that parametric amplifiers were all the rage in the late 1950's.

I put together the keying and R/T changeover circuitry this morning.
When it appeared that "all systems were go" I began sending CQs on
21.060MHz. The band, or at least that portion of the band (the
receiver only tunes from 21.060 to 21.064MHz), seemed rather quiet,
but my 6th call netted a "dit dit dah dah dit dit." Resending my call,
I was very pleased to hear HB9DCL come back to me from just outside of
Zurich. The reports were 579/339. Frank was running 5W to a log
periodic antenna. I sure hope this is a sign of things to come!

I hope to be at the key by 1300Z tomorrow. Although my little
"grapefruit" only puts out 30mW, folks running "Sputniks" made from
ex-Soviet subminiature "rod tubes" should be at least two S-units
stronger. A number of European stations will be operating this year
and at least one station that I know of will be QRV from Japan. Just
listen for the beeps and give them a call!

Thank you,
Mike, AA1TJ

.......................


04/10/12  ( first day)
dear friends &Sputnikers
today a Belgian "sputnik clone" crossed the pond
first hit
15:22 with N0UR a 2 x sputnik "solid" QSO
Jim wrote: Thanks QSO, here is how you sounded in MN
( in attach)
16:00 second hit with AA1TJ , Mike "the inventor of all this Sputnik madness" hix 3 
this time a bit more difficult but at last we could manage to exchange reports,
between the QRM and noise at last got confirmation , 
Mike's sigs  here where 339 but still copyable
all OK with my 559 sigs then suddenly some other sputnikers came on the scene and I lost Mike
nevertheless
with my 60 years again excited as a young boy
as we made some history today hi x 3
will take a picture
for the moment a complete mess as the DC/DC invertor inside the sputnik  broke down
lost the very early contact with UA1CEG suddenly no more power in the SPUTNIK-cabine LOL
had to drag my new testbench power supply (still under construction )
or  lot of things to fix for those lausy 700 milliwatts hahahaha
73 to all
Jos
ON6WJ

.................................

News flash...Sputnik worked Vanguard across the pond. I just sent this
letter to some of the guys

Dear Friends

I won't forget this morning's QSO with ON6WJ anytime soon! As he
beeped/called CQ I could hear him riding on waves of QSB. I kept
hoping he would end on the top of the wave. It happened one time and
Jos sent "AA1TJ?" but by the time I re-sent my call we were back in
the trough of the wave. He started calling again and once again I
crossed my fingers. Finally it happened, he ended on top of a
particularly strong peak...and sure enough, he copied my callsign. It
took more effort to exchange the reports but we eventually did it! He
confirmed my 559 and I did the same for my 339 report. It must be true
that anything worthwhile doesn't come easy, because the more difficult
the QSO the more I seem to enjoy it! I copied Jos' info: "SPUTNIK PWR
700mW = ANT 3EL YAGI" perfectly on my tiny receiver. Just as amazing,
he copied my 30mW transmitter made from one PNP Germanium transistor
dating from September of 1959. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper
today. Merci Beaucoup, Jos.

Just above my operating frequency I heard PA0PJE sending "CQ Sputnik."
You had a beautiful signal here, PJ! It was easily S6 on the peaks. My
transmitter frequency trimmer adjustment is buried in a rat's nest of
wires which I didn't dare stick my hand in so early in the day.
However, if I hear you again I will definitely risk it.

Thanks Carlo/IZ4KBS and congratulations on your Russian QSO. Any
contact all with this simple stuff is reason for a celebration!

...and now back to the Hobbit Hole for another dose of QRPp.

73/72,
Mike, AA1TJ



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, October 2, 2012

Ham Radio Exam Day in Ireland: October 4

OK gang, it is time for us to do what we can to help a worthy Short Wave Listener transition into the world of amateur radio.  Chris will be facing the Irish radio examiners on October 4.  So please try to send some positive vibes in the direction of Ireland.  Cross your fingers (especially the ones with the soldering iron scars!)  Maybe melt some sacrificial solder. C.F. Rockey might suggest sacrificing a chicken to Papa Legba.   Say a prayer if you are so inclined.   Good luck Chris!  

Hi Bill,

Just wanted to say thanks for the great podcast and keep up the good work.

I’ve been listening for a good while now and following your subscriptions advice on things like Tim’s “Hot Iron” Constructors club and QRP/Sprat magazine.

I’ve got my Amateur Radio licence test in 2 days time (4th Oct) over here in Ireland (Dublin’s Comreg Offices) so please give all the candidates a mention and wish us luck.

Great book as well…  When I’ve had my fill of studying I switch over to your book for a while to relax a bit and read your thoughts on getting to grips with it all.

There’s only one licence here in Ireland so it’s Full or nothing  so it’s going to be tough! My brain is well and truly fried!!

I’m determined not to be a (can’t even remember what you call them in your book ha ha) “User” and go out and buy everything I need so I’m looking forward to lots of construction projects when (IF!) I get my licence J

Best Regards (I don’t think I’ve earned my right to use 73’s yet),

Chris
(EI1628 SWL/qrz.com)


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

How to Get Ready to Build a BITX-20




Continuing with our workshop inspiration theme, I spotted this in the BITX-20 mailing list this morning.  The response is from Farhan: 

blake,

i would suggest a different route. a long and winding one, that will
finally lead to a bitx.

the idea is to learn. you do this by understanding what you build and
building what you understand. by 'understand', i specifically mean, being
able to measure. here is what i suggest, buy yourself a bunch of 2N3904s
from the local radio shack and some resistors and caps. then build this :

http://www.phonestack.com/farhan/testosc.gif

this is an oscillator. if you plug a coil between the open ends, it will
become a vfo, if u plug a crystal, it becomes a crystal oscillator. you can
use your frequency oscillator to check the frequency it is oscillating at,
etc.

with this, you would have mastered the first of the three blocks that make
up almost every radio circuit. but next, you must make another test
instrument. a power meter. most of us ham start out with a simple RF probe.
while that was fine and dandy for its day, now we can do much much better.
we can make a very accurate power meter that enable you to measure things
as finely as anybody in this business. W7ZOI has designed a super simple
power meter. it is available as a kit.
read about the power meter here :
http://www.kangaus.com/Documentation%20files/Power%20Meter%20Documentation%20May%202011.pdf
you can purchase the kit at www.kangaus.com
(I have no business interest with kanga or any other kit manufacturer)

with the power meter in place, you can now measure the power levels coming
out of any circuit with great accuracy.

now, you can build a single stage feedback amplifer (there are six of them
used in the bitx) on a copper clad board. using the test oscillator as an
input, you can measure how much gain the amplifer has (measure the
oscillator output, then connect the oscillator to the amp and ,measure the
amp output. the, amp output - oscillator output = amp gain).

of course, while building both these blocks, you will discover what
voltages to expect at which junction of components in both these blocks.

next, you can build a step attenuator. which is a really simple thing and
of immense value in the home lab. here is a design
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/9506033.pdf
or you can now buy it in a kit form from
http://www.qrpkits.com/attenuator.html

finally, you can build a simple signal generator like this :
http://www.phonestack.com/farhan/siggen.html  . this will allow you change
frequencies and measure what a circuit does at different frequencies. you
can use this to test how the filters are doing and get them to 'spot' where
you want them to.

so, there it is, a signal generator, a power meter, step attenuator, test
oscillator. four, very simple test instruments that you  can build
yourself. they will give you one helluva education in radio. and within
weeks, you will understand and start building on your own!!

- farhan


> Quoting bfabman :
>
> Hello Everyone, I have been watching the group for a few months now
> with interest. I have no electronic experience to speak of, but I have
> a burning desire to make one of these, and I am wondering what all of
> you think of someone like myself building one as my first real radio
> project, to be used for qrp mountain topping. I don't have any
> electronic test equipment for the final alignment, other than a
> standard DIG vom meter. (I am willing to buy some equipment if
> necessary) I think that this would be an awesome winter project just
> don't know if it would be over my head. If I got it all built, could I
> actually get it aligned and working properly. I did make a Norcal
> frequency counter project last year and it turned out very well. Thanks
> for your opinions before I spend the money. Blake
>
> Paul Daulton K5WMS
> beacon WMS 185.302 khz qrss30/slow 24/7
> Jacksonville,Ar 72076
> em34wu

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, October 1, 2012

Workbench Inspiration from VE7BPO

"In time, you may recognize your electronics workbench as your greatest teacher. Bench experiments involve us thinking about and measuring our circuits so we know what's happening instead of relying too much on folklore, guessing and copying others. Designing and/or simulating circuits with software can enhance your learning but does not obviate the need to spend time in the trenches with meters, wires and solder."  Todd, VE7BPO

Like most of you, I am a frequent visitor to Todd's site.  It seems like every time I go there, I learn something new and come away inspired.  Yesterday I was looking at the page that describes his philosophy of homebrewing.  Check it out.  Good stuff: http://www.qrp.pops.net/info.asp

He also has a very nice collection of Java Script Applets for Homebrewers: 
http://www.qrp.pops.net/qrp-java-calculator.htm

Thanks Todd! 

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