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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Notes and Video on Doug N0WVA's Amazing Single Transistor Regenerative Receiver



When I had trouble getting the regen receiver in W2UW's ET-1 circuit to work, I turned to the internet and -- through AA7EE's site -- found the circuit of Doug N0WVA.   This circuit has completely changed my attitude toward regen receivers.   I have been exchanging e-mails with Doug -- below is a compilation of the info and regen-wisdom that he has shared.  More to follow... Thanks Doug. 
From Doug N0WVA: 

I came up with the diode after exploring ways to ditch the source r/c combo. The thinking was the closer I could get the source to ground the less voltage/capacitance fluctuations the gate would see.  Also I hated seeing everyone using .01 bypass to avoid audio oscillations and also losing audio gain. 

 The green LED works good but even better is directly grounding the source. Then feed a small negative bias through the gate leak resistor , adjustable via a potentiometer.  

On video, the audio is taken straight from the radio shack headphones that are connected to the audio transformer. The headphones are held directly to the phones case ( no hole for the microphone seen on the phone)  

The variometer is  made with I think a 1.25 inch pill bottle and the tickler inside is around an inch in diameter pill bottle. I used a pharmaceutical syringe's outside tube for a shaft. The tickler form has a couple holes cut for the shaft to pass through, it is a friction fit, more like slits cut and the rod pushed through. I used the soldering iron to melt round holes on the actual outside coil form for the shaft to turn on. On the back of the shaft is a small screw that goes through the outside coil form and screws into the syringe center hole that holds it in place. The tickler is one turn, I think, and routed through the inside of the shaft via small holes melted with the soldering iron.

A couple tweeks to mention is instead of a resistor in the gate, use a choke for less noise, makes a big difference, especially if you listen to AM.  Also I have been using a gimmick for the gate cap.  Just maybe a #36 enamel wire wrapped around  the hot tank lead 5 or 6 times and then I remove turns till the thing stops oscillating, then add a turn. This helps cut down even more on strong signal pulling. 

I have always been on a quest for more performance out of the least parts. This design was about as far as it could go, I think....

I have never done any real sensitivity tests on the regen, so you have gone farther than me already. One thing was noticed though is the gate resistor does add a lot of noise, especially noticeable just under oscillation in AM detection mode.  So I took a one meg 1/4 watt resistor and wound as many turns of #38 wire on as I could, probably around 80 turns, then subbed it out for the gate leak.  This dramatically improved the noise level just under oscillation. This was with a simple antenna band noise test. I think it also improved the noise under oscillating conditions. 

Adding extra antenna coupling will probably help a lot, but, there is a point where we start getting too much strong signal pulling.  The strong external bias battery trick will also improve this, although at the cost of extra parts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Transit of Mercury, 11 November 2019, and a Transit of Venus and Some Sunspots from 2012


Above:  Transit of Mercury, November 11, 2019 as I saw it from Northern Virginia using a 4.5 inch reflector with image projected onto a white paper.  Elisa took the picture with her I-phone.  Arrow shows Mercury.  I almost missed it -- Billy texted from college to remind me of the big event. 


Above:  Transit of Venus June 6, 2012 as seen from Northern Virginia.  Billy (age 13) took the picture with his I-phone 4.  Venus is much bigger, much closer and much easier to see.  Near the bottom edge of the solar disc. 
  

Above;  Billy on November 12, 2011 with the 4.5 inch Tasco Reflector that was used on BOTH the Venus and Mercury transits (we projected the image on paper). On this day we were using our newfound solar photography expertise to take a picture of sunspots (our picture below). 


Ah, those were the days!  Many spots back then.  None now. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Listen to the ET-2's Minimalist Regen Receiver



I'm guessing that most of you have never listened to a regen receiver that uses only one transistor.  So in these videos I've tried to capture the experience.  The audio that you hear from the receiver is from a small I-phone microphone taped to the one of the headphones on my DLR WWII headphones.  So you are hearing it just as I hear it -- with no additional amplification. 

Here is N0WVA's schematic.  When I tune the "regeneration" control I am turning the knob on the variometer.  The broad or "bandset" tuning control is essentially N0WVA's 25 pf cap.  My fine tuning control (the one that I use the most in the video) is the equivalent of the smaller cap in parallel with the larger tuning cap. 


I had trouble shooting the video for this post -- taping the mic to the headphone turned out to be a bit difficult.  So I ended up with a few extra (and imperfect) videos.  I include them here for anyone who might want to listen some more to a single transistor regen.  (I have a few more -- let me know if you'd like to see them!)



In the next one, at the end I throw the switch to transmit allowing you to hear what "sidetone" sounds like on the ET-2

Monday, November 11, 2019

SV3ORA's Amazing Homebrew Web Site

Kostas Giannopoulos has  a lot of really great homebrew information on his QRP web site.  It is reminiscent of the JF1OZL site. Check it out:  http://www.qrp.gr/index.htm 

For an example that his apropos of recent ET-2 discussions, Kostas has an extensive page with  many, many versions of his hyper-minimalist rig:  


Link to this project: http://qrp.gr/allbandtrx/

Thanks to Kostas for putting together such a great site.  And I really like the name of the site: Discrete Electronics.  FB. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

SPRAT, the FETer, DLR headphones, and recent QSOs on the ET-2


Yesterday we had QSO #13 on the ET-2.  This was with Jim W1PID.  In an earlier contact Jim told me I had some chirp.  I fiddled with the coupling cap and the bias pot and am now T9!  These days, chirp is an endearing, nostalgic problem to have.  Thanks for the report and QSOs Jim! 

Contact #9 was with Fred K9SO.  He is in Wisconsin and QRZ.com put our distance at 633 miles.  That is our DX record so far.  Not bad for 92 milliwatts to a dipole on 40 meters. 

Most of my contacts come as a result of pleas for assistance on DX Summit or the SKCC Sked page.   But I did make one "random" contact: Contact #6 with N2VGA.  He just heard my CQ and gave me a call.  FB. 

I checked to see if OM Glen Yingling W2UW -- the guy who started all this with his ET-1 -- is still around.  He became a silent key in 2012.  But his ideas live on... 

SPRAT 137 (Winter 2008/09) has a great article by QRP hero G3XBM.  Roger built a version of the ET-1.  His was for 80 meters and he called it the FETer.   FB.   I was struck by his estimate of the sensitivity of the ET-1 receiver: -100 dbm.   I measured the N0WVA receiver (the one that I am using) has having a minimum discernible signal of -93 dbm.  Pretty close.  We may be at the limit of what you can expect from a single transistor receiver. 

SPRAT 137 had something else that really resonated with me.  G3YVF had an article on a minimalist rig using only one 6V6 tube.  Geoff opened the article with this warning "Don't try this unless you have a set of balanced armature type DLR 'phones as they are really sensitive."  I have a collection of old headphones that I picked up at hamfests in London years ago.  When building the ET-2, I checked all the old phones for sensitivity.  A set marked DLR was the most sensitive.  So Geoff's observation had been independently confirmed.   QRP Quarterly had an article comparing the sensitivities of old headphones -- we should dig that article up.   

SPRAT #137 is a reminder of what a great resource SPRAT -- The Journal of the GQRP Club -- really is.  As we say on SolderSmoke, if you are not a SPRAT subscriber you are just wrong!  Here is how to join GQRP and subscribe to SPRAT: http://www.gqrp.com/join.htm

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The ET-2 with Callsign Tattoos


Slots are still available! 
Get your callsign on the ET-2!

This rig will probably soon turn into wall art here at SolderSmoke HQ.  With this in mind I have started writing on the wooden base of the rig the callsigns of all stations worked. So far we have 10.   There is space for more.  

Frequency is 7038.6 kHz.    I usually try for contacts around 1430 UTC (0930 Eastern) and again at around 2130 UTC (1630 Eastern).  I post messages asking (pleading!) for assistance on the DX Summit site and on the SKCC Sked board.  

If you are within reasonable range for a signal in the 100 milliwatt range (antenna is either 40 meter NVIS dipole or a doublet) please keep an eye on the DX Summit and/or SKCC sites and maybe try to have a contact.  

Background on the rig here: 





Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Contact #10 with the ET-2 -- Perry K9NZ



Perry K9NZ was contact #10 with my ET-2 QRPp rig.   I found the above on his QRZ page.  Beautiful sentiments.  Most of us have similar stories, and similar feelings about ham radio. FB Perry.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

For All You Guys Who DON'T Use the Proper Fuse Value


Pete has been trying to talk sense on this issue for a long time, but some folks just won't listen. 
You need to have a reverse polarity protection circuit in your rigs AND you need to carefully determine fuse size needed for normal operation.  If your final transistors for some reason start pulling more than the normal amount of current, the fuse will blow before your PA transistors release their smoke. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Melbourne Australia -- QRP By the Bay 2019



Each November, Peter Parker VK3YE and his ham colleagues from Melbourne share with us reports on Peter's annual "QRP by the Bay" event.   

I think VK3HN should seek a trademark for that hat.  As soon as I saw it on the table in the video above, I knew these were Paul Taylor's rigs.  FB Paul.  Here is Paul's report: 

https://vk3hn.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/qrp-by-the-bay-chelsea-beach-melbourne-2nd-nov-2019/

Great work guys.  Thanks a lot.  73 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

SolderSmoke Podcast #214 is FINALLY out!



WE ARE WORKING TO IMPROVE THE AUDIO QUALITY.  IN THE FIRST RELEASE OF THIS PODCAST SOME OF THE AUDIO WAS KIND OF MUFFLED.  I TRIED TO FIX IT THIS MORNING AND I THINK I MADE SOME IMPROVEMENTS.  THE IMPROVED AUDIO IS NOW AT THE LINK BELOW.  


4 November 2019 (shockingly late!)

http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke214.mp3

The visit of Farhan to Northern Virginia
"I heard this guy from Southern California on 20..."
Fire Report from Pete

Pete's Bench Report
"When you know stuff, you can do stuff!" 
The CRAP rigs 
Old Boatanchors -- the Swan 120  with SUPER STABLE ANALOG VFO! 
Ten Tec rigs dial cord replaced with Chinese digi sig counter 
Pete's 500 mW encounter with a QRO curmudgeon
The ZL2BMI Challenge has Pete building crystal filters
The Left Coast Loafer CW rig 

Bill's Bench Report

ET-2 Refinements
N0WVA's Regen Receiver 
Going from ET-1 to ET-2
J-310s vice MPF-102
100 mW from a single J-310
Receiver kind of deaf -103 dbm MDS
10 contacts so far in 9 states 
THREE contacts yesterday.
Worked Wisconsin - 633 miles on 92 mW 
We are at sunspot minimum. 
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." 
Simplicity is the real reason for CW 

IDEA:  Get those Michigan Might Mites on the air! 
Use Reverse Beacon Network to see if you are getting out 
Use SDR receivers to make contacts

MAILBAG
DL1AJG
KC6SAX
W9VNE
KA4KXX
N0WVA
Zl2BMI
AJ6BD  











Friday, November 1, 2019

Don't do this yourself...


...or else you'll be spending a LOT more time on 17 meters. 

Direct Conversion (videos)





Here are a couple of videos from 2017 (never posted before).  I built a little 40 meter Direct Conversion receiver for my nephew John Henry.   

Whenever we work on circuitry like this, we should be be grateful for Wes Hayward W7ZOI who, in a 1968 QST article, reminded us of this important but until-then forgotten technique. 

More information on this project appears in these links: 

https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-direct-conversion-iphone.html

https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2017/11/iphone-direct-conversion-receiver-with.html




Friday, October 25, 2019

Minimalist Masochism at Solar Minima -- But More Contacts with the ET-2

Dylan Thoams
  "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" 

I thought of that line from Dylan Thomas's poem when I read on G3XBM's web site that we are kind of at the very bottom of the solar cycle.  Roger wrote on 22 October: "Solar flux is 64 and the SSN 0. A=5 and K=0. As far as I am aware this is the lowest solar flux this solar minimum."   

I also thought of this as I pounded brass (Indian brass!) in an effort to make a few more contacts with my ET-2 two transistor rig.  Obviously venturing forth on 40 meters with just TWO transistors (one for transmit and one for receive) and crystal control AT SOLAR MINIMA is not for the faint of heart.  It is almost a Dylan-esque act of defiance. 

I have had to resort to please for help on the DX Summit, the SolderSmoke blog and the SKCC Schedule page.  Fortunately for me, the brotherhood has sprung to my support.  

W1PID (who gave me contact #3) also gave me contact #4 on 21 October. 

W4KAC in Hickory NC was contact #5.  This was on 22 October.  This was the only marginal contact so far.  He was running 5 W into an end fed half wave. 

Yesterday was a big day for the ET-2. I had two solid contacts: 

#6 was N2VGA in New York UPDATE:  Larry N2VGA confirmed by e-mail that this was a "random" contact -- not the result of my on-line pleas for assistance.  He just heard my CQ and responded.  FB.  

#7 was K4CML in Newport News, Va.  He switched to QRP himself at 2.5 watts for a nice 2X QRP contact. 

Looking at my Rigol 'scope, I now think I'm putting out about 150 milliwatts.  Not bad for a single J310.  I may have to invest in a heat sink.

40 seems most cooperative in the morning (around 0930 local) and again in the afternoon (around 1630 local). 

Thanks to all who have helped.  I will try to make a few more. 

Radio Telescope Homebrewed from Cake Pans and Chicken Wire



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Revamped SolderSmoke YouTube Channel -- Please Subscribe



I did some work on the SolderSmoke YouTube Channel: 


And I added a bunch of videos that had somehow ended up in different channels. 

Please visit, watch some of the videos and subscribe.  From now on I will put all of the videos in this channel.   

Thanks!  73  Bill 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Farhan Visits Northern Virginia and SolderSmoke HQ

Our good friend Farhan came to Northern Virginia last week for the 50th Anniversary Symposium of AMSAT.   We were really delighted that he also came to SolderSmoke HQ.  Elisa and I gave him a lightning tour of Washington DC (including a quick visit to The Air and Space museum) and then we headed back to the shack from some radio work. 

In the picture above you can see my BITX-20 (that Farhan designed) off his right shoulder.  Off his left shoulder you sits my ET-2 rig.  I really wanted to show Farhan how well the N0WVA regen performs -- he was impressed, especially when we started listening to SSB contacts. It was really amazing that we were doing this with just one J-310 FET.  This was great fun.  Farhan tells me that he will soon take up the "two transistor challenge."

When he was here in 2017, I tried to demonstrate my version of Rick Campbell's R2 Direct Conversion receiver.  Unfortunately, when I tried to show off the "single signal" capability that is the whole purpose for this receiver, it was NOT producing a single signal output -- you could hear the signal on both sides of zero beat.   One of the small AF chokes I had used had gone open, knocking our one of the two DC receivers.  This time I had the problem fixed and single signal reception was successfully demonstrated.  

Farhan brought me two pieces of test gear that I have needed for a long time:  A step attenuator and a two tone generator.  Paired with his Antuino, these devices will bring about a big increase in capability on my bench. 

It was really great to have Farhan in the shack.  We had a great time talking about ham radio and homebrewing.  Elisa and I both really enjoyed hearing from Farhan about his travels and about his life in India.  We are all really lucky to be in the same hobby as Ashhar Farhan. Thanks for the visit Farhan.

Here is a quick video of Farhan tuning the BITX 20.  


Saturday, October 19, 2019

QSO #3 with the ET-2 Minimalist Transceiver

The Radio Gods were clearly supporting me on 16 October 2019.  I had sent out a plea for people to listen for the 80 mW CQ from my ET-2 rig.   I had specified 0930 Eastern as the time.  Little did I know that there would be a contest at that hour (on a Wednesday morning!) on 40 meter CW.  There was no chance of my signals getting through.  I leaned that the contest would be over at 1000 hours, so I waited and called CQ again at that hour.  Jim W1PID had guessed that I would do that.  I immediately recognized his call -- he was often at the other end of Michael Rainey's most daring low-power adventures.  He was a participant in the famous Rexpeditions, including a coastal effort to send Michael's voice-powered CW signal across the Atlantic.  His normal operating habitat is in the field.  We had a wonderful QSO.  He told me I peaked at S-6.  

I have worked W1PID on at least two Straight Key Nights and this blog has had many postings about his long-standing involvement in QRP. 

Thanks a lot Jim! 
 


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Please Listen for My 80 Milliwatt CQ Tomorrow, Wednesday 16 Octoberr

I will be calling CQ from Northern Virginia starting at 1330Z (0930 Eastern) on Wednesday 16 October 2019 on 7038.6 kHz with my ET-2 QRPpp rig.   I have made two contacts so far -- both contacts were at a range of about 300 miles.      I'd like to be able to make at least one per day.   If you are within range please listen for my CQ tomorrow and give me a call.  

Thanks and 73  Bill N2CQR

Monday, October 14, 2019

The First Sunspots of Cycle 25 -- Explained by Space Weather Woman (Video)



Dr. Tamitha Skov explains how Cycle 25 has begun while Cycle 24 is not quite finished. 
She has a very clear way of presenting the space weather.  Very useful. 

YouTube site: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkXjdDQ-db0xz8f4PKgKsag

Sunday, October 13, 2019

More on the ET-2 : Better Pictures and More Circuit Description. Some Thoughts on Simplicity


So yesterday I made my first contact using my ET-2 rig.   Last night I got an e-mail from Gary, the fellow at the other end of that contact: 


Evening Bill, N2CQR….Yes I did learn about you from the spot on the DX Summit cluster. I tuned to the freq to see if I could even hear your 80 mW and you were a good real 569 when calling CQ.  You built up to a real 589 on the later transmissions. I did not have either of the two pre-amp positions on in the ICOM 756 Pro II. There was not any QRM on the freq either. Your spot indicating the 80 mW is what really got my attention.

My antenna is a 2 element yagi at about 115 ft and it really works great for me.

Thanks for the picture of the great little transmitter. Glad to be your first DX QSO with it. Hi Hi  Maybe again soon.  My pleasure to work you.
73, Gary, K4MQG
Fort Mill, SC

Farhan commented on yesterday's post, saying that it was hard to tell (from my pictures) where he rig started and ended.  He was right.  So this morning I have tried to clean up my bench a bit -- I hope these pictures are better.  

Above you see the whole rig.  The transmitter board is right next to the key that Farhan gave me.  You can see the 7040 crystal.  A C-Clamp holds to the bench the piece of scrap plywood that serves as the base for this rig.  Next to the C-Clamp you see the TR switch -- the just switches the antenna -- both transmitter and receiver are powered at all times.  I can hear the transmit signal in the headphones and this serves as my sidetone. 

Here is a close-up of the transmitter with the schematic below: 



The transmitter is VERY simple.  Nine parts, including the low-pass filter.  You can barely see the J310 FET to the right of the crystal. 

Here is the receiver:


I really like N0WVA's regen.  The green diode in the source circuit is the key.  This one does not squeal when you go into excessive regeneration (when you think about it, regens should NOT squeal at audio frequencies -- but most do).  Also, the green diode dims a bit when you are at the right amount of regeneration.  In the picture you can look down the tube of the variometer that Pericles HI8P gave me many years ago.  The big variable cap is from the junk box -- I think it may be from a Johnson Viking transmitter.  Note the long shaft with the insulating connector -- this is to reduce the hand capacity effect.  On the right you see a smaller cap with just one vane -- this is my fine tuning control --- with the smaller cap at mid range, I would just set the big capacitor to put the receiver at 7040 -- with the smaller cap I could tune +/- 12 kc.  I also used an insulating shaft on the smaller cap -- the connector for this one is from an old 1930s era regen that I picked up at the Kempton Part rally in London.

Instead of the audio transformer and Radio Shack headphones, I just used some old DLR-1 WWII Headphones.   They are very sensitive and work well. 

Lots of soul in this new machine:  The variometer from Pericles.   The WWII headphones.  The 1930s era shaft connector.  The circuit idea from the Autumn 2001 SPRAT.  Farhan's key. 

I recently read on Hack-a-Day of a new FPGA chip that has on it 35 BILLION transistors. I'm sure that thing can produce some fascinating results, but can anyone really understand it, or feel that they really BUILT something that has that kind of chip at its center?   On the other hand, I did rely on a lot of modern digi technology in this project:  The Reverse Beacon Network reported back that my unanswered CQs were in fact getting out (one as far as Kansas to K9PA).  And in the end I had to ask -- via the DX Summit Spotting cluster -- for someone to listen for me.   So I can't go full Luddite here.  And I wouldn't want to have to use a rig this simple every day.  No way.  It is just too hard to use. But there is a beauty and a challenge in simplicity.  There is some virtue in using just two transistors instead of 35 billion. 

Thanks to N0WVA, W2UW,  VU2ESE, HI8P, K4MQG, The G-QRP club and their inspirational journal SPRAT, the RBN and the DX Summit. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Success with my ET-2 --TWO TRANSISTOR RIG


In my effort to replicate the ET-1 rig of Glen Yingling W2UW, I had a hard time getting the receiver to work well with the single FET being switched between receiver and transmitter, so I retreated a bit and went with individual FETs for the TX and the RX.  This doubled the transistor count -- to TWO.  So it is an ET-2.

I also boosted the power to 80 milliwatts by putting 12 V on the transmitter.  The receiver was running off the 9V battery you can see in the left in the picture. 

Here is the story of the contact: 


To K4MQG from N2CQR:
Gary: Wow thanks for the QSO today.  I was using 80 mW transmitter that consists of just 8 parts!  The receiver was a regen using one single transistor.  So one transistor on transmit and one transistor on receive.  And it reached South Carolina.

I was about to give up hope.  I had been calling CQ for days.  Then I was talking to Rob VE4GV on 20SSB.  Rob suggested that I "spot myself" on one of the DX clusters.  So I did (see below).  Obviously you saw my spot and a minute or so later, SUCCESS!   I'm really pleased.

Attached is a picture of the rig.  The transmitter is around the crystal and the blue pot on the right.  The headphones are from WWII.  The receiver was powered by the 9V battery.  The regen uses a variometer given to me by a friend in the Dominican Republic in 1992.  The main tuning dial is connected to the cap by an adapter from a 1930s-era regen.  Antenna was a 40 meter dipole at about 25 feet.  Obviously your 3 elements a 115 feet were doing the heavy lifting.

Thanks again Gary!

And thanks to Rob for the suggestion on the spotting.

73  Bill N2CQR





The BGCD: A Regenerodyne Receiver built on Pencil, Candy, and Tea Tins. Circuit from 1937 QST


David Newkirk recently put up a nice website on ham radio.   The page below provides details on the amazing creation pictured above:  The BGCD:   "The Byron Goodman -- Clinton DeSoto Regenerodyne." It is a beautiful piece of work, made more beautiful by the metal containers used in construction: pencil, candy and tea tins.  The circuit is based on a 1937 QST article. 

David's site reminded me of the wonderful writing of his father, Rod Newkirk of "How's DX" fame.   More on him in due course.

More on the BGCD here:

http://dpnwritings.nfshost.com/ej/pictures/pictures1.htm?fbclid=IwAR2-lmJ8E1kEBT_jsB3Q8UnPaN0vc472dP783ifABK7eSxgpe5M1Pl0N77g




Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Very Useful: Copper Tape with Conductive Adhesive

This copper tape is really useful, especially when doing "free style" homebrew.  At first I didn't even realize the adhesive is conductive.  This tape is great for creating a common ground among several printed circuit boards, especially when you are using a wood board as the base.  You can solder to it very easily.  You could even use it (with a wood or plastic base) in lieu of a copper clad board. Lots of possible applications for homebrewers. This stuff deserves a place on the workbench shelf right next to the Gorilla Tape and the Crazy Glue.   I'm using it in my Single Transistor Rig project. 

You can get it from Amazon -- there are many varieties and vendors.  This one is similar to the one I am using.  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I1XNY1E?aaxitk=I9X2Na8Gu23M3nrhlpSzYw&pd_rd_i=B01I1XNY1E&pf_rd_p=44fc3e0f-4b9e-4ed8-b33b-363a7257163d&hsa_cr_id=3252618550401&sb-ci-n=asinImage&sb-ci-v=https%3A%2F%2Fm.media-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F71sJrx27%2B-L.jpg&sb-ci-a=B01I1XNY1E

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Analog Waterfall -- The Hallicrafters Skyrider Panoramic


We were talking about this a short time ago.  I was trying to reproduce the effect using my Rigol oscilloscope and my Feeltech scanning signal generator.  Hallicrafters did a much better job.  Thanks to the K9YA Telegraph for this picture. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Organic Electronics


This made me think of the OLED screens.  But they are not, as far as I know, gluten-free. 

This guy would probably be a QRPer, probably running an HW-8 off solar panels. 



Friday, October 4, 2019

Single Transistor Transceiver On the Air

I got my version of the ET-1 transceiver working.  As I described in previous posts, I first got the transmitter and the receiver working separately, each with their own J310 FET (oh the extravagence!) Then I built a switching arrangement that allowed for just one shared FET and very short leads.   I used a 4PDT "push button" switch from an old Ramsey Electronic LC meter. See the last picture for details. I use the tube from a pen to operate the switch (that's the green thing in the picture). 

It is inhaling and exhaling.  My 20 mW signal is being picked up on the Reverse Beacon Network, mostly in New England, but today in North Carolina.  

No contacts yet.  I may have to resort to scheduled contacts.  OM Yingling W2UW was operating during much better propagation conditions (2001), so I don't think I will ever get close to his impressive (23 states!) operating record.  

But it has been fun getting this thing going.  The N0WVA regen design is one of the best and simplest regens I've ever built.  It is really nice --hardly demonic at all.  

I can run the whole thing off one 9V battery. I think it is a cool looking machine. 



Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Collins Mechanical Filter -- An Advertisement from Australia, 1963

Peter VK2EMU sent me this ad a while back.  He said he regretted being unable to send a filter -- all he could send was the ad.  Thanks Peter -- I think that ad is a work of art.  Radio art. 

Thanks too to all those who sent me mechanical filters.  Pete sent the first one (it is currently in my HRO-ish receiver), then two more (both inside SBE transceivers, where they will remain -- it would be a sin to cannibalize those beautiful rigs.)  Then Mike Herr WA6ARA sent one as did Brad.    Brad assures me that the one he sent was boxed up by Art Collins himself! 

Thanks again guys. 

Brad wrote: 


To:soldersmoke@yahoo.com
Jun 23 at 7:49 AM

Kudos to Pete for 60 years! And I've always thought he was much younger than you......

Catching up on your podcast, I was surprised to learn that no one answered your call for a spare filter.  

I'm one of those older guys who is making his way back after leaving amateur radio in 1968 for girls and/or recreational drugs.

No one told me that The Force (electro-motive, that is) would require me to catch up on all the junk I would have acquired during my nearly 50 years away from the hobby (see list below).

A recent impulse purchase, the most beautiful thing with tubes ever made (SX-42), happened to be near Newington.  On the way home I visited ARRL HQ hoping they had some sort of a chapel where I could perform an act of penance and ask for guidance in dealing with my affliction.   Apparently, this is the equivalent of asking a crack dealer where the closest Narcotics Anonymous meeting is held. I ended up buying a copy of "200 Meters and Down" and have since acquired a couple of Atwater Kent projects. 

My place is full now, and my sweetheart would like back the half of her garage I've slowly taken by electronic eminent domain.   It seems that for every 100 pounds that departs to a ham fest, 125 pounds comes back.  Is this considered a normal ratio?

In order to be able to tell her that I have, indeed, gotten rid of something, I'll be sending you a F 455 filter (QRZ address OK?).

Thanks for you help,


--Brad 




Sunday, September 29, 2019

W4AMV's Beautiful Receiver


Hi Guys,

We had our Knightlites annual BBQ this past Saturday. I wanted to share one of the radios from one of my Elmer's, Alan Victor W4AMV.
Pictured is him standing beside the preselector and receiver.
I hadn't ever heard a Collins mechanical filter vs Murata crystal filter side by side. The Collins was amazing. Single signal extracted from the band. The rig is line powered with a built in power supply.
There is a note (pictured) that has some specs.
Alan's work is to be savored, true analog engineering at its best. I wanted to share it with you.

Chris
KD4PBJ



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FROM W4AMV'S QRZ.COM PAGE:


Here is a receiver that started out as a regen for the grandkids to copy code.
Digging through the junk box un convered parts that I forgot I had. Included a wide and narrow band set of filters. So, the unit wound up as a single conversion superhet. A fun radio to build as well to listen. The wide band filter provides super fidelity on sideband as well uncovers plenty of CW signals within a 10 kHz bandwith of the tuned frequency. A switch to either a 800 Hz audio filter or a 500 Hz CW filter permits focus on a single signal. I was going to package the whole unit, however I was prompted to leave it OPEN to show what makes it tick! 
Left side front is the RF preselector, mixer and pre amplifier with RF gain control. The rear double deck card is the IF and selectable wide and narrow band filters. The IF and pin diode IF gain control is bottom deck. The HF VFO is center stage with a 6:1 gear reduction. Right rear is power supply and voltage regulators. The active product detector and a BFO is just to the front of the power supply. The BFO is able to tune product detector output over a full 10 kHz of the IF. And finally the audio filter and 5 watt power amplifier. There is no AGC. Instead it is FUN to control every aspect of  gain control of the receiver; RF, IF and audio. Its a fun receiver to operate, dedicated to 40 meters and hopefully will spark the kids! 
Going forward a receiveing station is setup to copy code. Although a nice long high wire would be proper, I settled on something a little more compact. A 40 meter small loop, 2 turns, about 18 inches on a side is connected to the preselector thru a pickup wire. This arrangement works quite well. W1AW will knock the speaker off the desk if your not careful. However, rotation of the loop to the E-W knocks down W1AW to a whisper. The pix shows the little 25 W infinity speaker in a 8x8x8 inch cardboard box, works well and the single conversion receiver sporting a new front plexiglass panel is illuminated for evening tuning. 


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Loop antenna used with the receiver



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