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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mailbag: Coils Wound Backwards, Last QSO 1981, Visions of Transistors Keeping Him Awake. Paul has THE KNACK

Hi Bill

I'm just getting back into ham radio after 33 years (last QSO: 1981),
want to do it all through homebrew, seem to have the same mindset as
guys like you and Frank K0IYE, bought your book [love it and Frank's],
and just "discovered" the Soldersmoke podcasts.  I've been listening to
them with one ear as I bike to and from work (about 40 minutes each way, so it's almost perfect).  I'm employed as a digital geek, but yearn for the days of DeMaw's prime (worked him once when he was W1CER), when the 40673 ruled.  I'm very glad that, 40 years later, people like Farhan can weave discrete analog wonders, even if they later choose to use digital *control* (NOT DSP! No!).

I had to start somewhere with your podcasts archive, so I started with
2014 and really enjoyed your struggles with the Herring-Aid 5. My 1st
receiver  was the "DC 80-10" by DeMaw from somewhere around 1970 in QST or the Handbook -- used a CA3028 as the product detector -- and I had similar struggles.  While listening to it, I immediately thought "you wound the feedback coil backwards, you idiot!"

I got my license back in March 2014 and want very badly to get back on
the air with a homebrewed, or at least minimally-kitted, station.  I've
built the receiver:  David White's (WN5Y) Beginner's and Experimenters
receiver[1] heavily modified, have a long wire antenna up, a decent RF
ground, and all the parts I need for QRP z-match tuner, swr meter, T/R
switch, sidetone, and IRF510-based transmitter.  Target:  40m CW by the middle of December, 30m in the couple of months after that with a
fully-Manhattan-style Barebones Superhet and another IRF510
transmitter.  Then one of these BitX things.  It's been a couple of
decades since I felt that there weren't enough hours in the day.  Some
nights I can't sleep, what with all these transistors and simple analog
ICs whirling around...

Anyway, keep it up, I'll be listening.

-- Paul Lender, AD0HQ

[1] I built an Arduino/AD9850 DDS -- a la AD7C -- and used it to tune a
4-crystal filter (10-cent crystals from Tayda!) for the receiver with
the same Rigol scope that you use.  I tried, really tried, to do it with
an analog RF signal generator.  Change is good.  Change is good.

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