Eric: Wow, great news from Waco. JOO indeed! And I really liked the WAY you did it, liberating crystals and wire from old TVs. That definitely adds mojo to the Waco M^3. Bill
My name is Eric Melling KD0OXY. I have, as of tonight, officially passed selection for the CLA. My Michigan Mighty Mite began oscillating tonight between 1830 and 1900 CST and I am ecstatic about it! My foray into home brewing began mid-2011 when I obtained my general class ham license (I took Technician and General at the same time taking advice from my late grandfather). The first radio I ever purchased was the Pixie II kit and boy was that frustrating. I meticulously assembled the kit and worked very hard to stuff the transceiver, volume control, options to use the on-board key or a straight key, and maybe an on-board speaker or phones. But, to my chagrin, I was treated to the sweet wafting smell of the magic smoke long before ever getting on the air. I eventually did get on the air with my aforementioned grandfather's VHF/UHF HT and until recently, this has been the extent of my Ham career.
But on the advent of my starting an MA in applied linguistics at a school in Dallas (hour and a half from home in Waco) and the rekindling of my electronics knack occurring near- simultaneously with my discovery of the SolderSmoke Podcast, I decided to give it another go. First, I got the old pixie kit to oscillate and then ripped it apart for parts to another project (non-radio). Then I procured a second Pixie kit from ebay and built that. It oscillated right away! Still no contacts; my CW is... improving.
All this to say that I still had an itch that wanted scratching Enter: The Color Burst Liberation Army! Not only could I truly build something from scratch, I could follow my true calling and de oppresso liber some crystal. So I pulled some 30 (or so) gauge magnet wire from an old CRT. I had wound and rewound my coil three times (and unfortunately, the third one looks the worst) for 80m then 20m (far fewer turns) and back to 80m with N'JOO (No Joy of Oscillation) in any configuration. I am using a polyvaricon pulled form an old AM/FM transistor radio, the Mitsumi PVC-2FX which has 82 pF, 140 pF, 20 and 40 pF sections which I have wired in parallel giving me ~0-282 pF of range? And finally, I was using a MPS A42 NPN transistor. I had to run some resistors in parallel and some caps in series to get the right values, but I eventually got it all together and looking pretty smart on a 1" x 1.5" piece of perf board. Alas! Nothing!
I was poking around at the circuit and realized that when I keyed the transmitter, the coil would get really hot right at the tap. I still don't know why that was, but I figured it was a good sign as it meant something was happening. I also was getting plenty of pops and clicks on the receiver. Anyway, to make a short story long, I decided that the dark mark under the transistor was a bad sign, found an NTE 123 and plugged it in instead. And oh what a wonderful day to hear the first warblings of my very first all scratch built transmitter hitting the airwaves! And here is the video: https://youtu.be/yq2M1ryMkII
Probably more than you wanted to hear, but there it is. I do plan to build an SSB transceiver someday (hoping sooner than later). I feel you and Pete and your podcast have really set me out on the right foot! I hope to HB2HB with you soon!