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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Peter's New Airplane

Again.  Amazing.  What a great workshop.   Note his comments on the importance of DESIGNING FIRST, THEN BUILDING.  Words to live by my friends, words to live by.  Read and heed.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Video on PCB Factory in China

This factory is a LONG way from Manhattan -- both from the island and from the technique.  

How about some Juliano Blue PC Boards?   

The machine that automatically checks for bad connections was especially amazing. 

And the boards are made in 24 hours, with 3 day shipping to the U.S. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"First Man" Neil Armstrong Movie Trailer

I think Ryan Gosling is a good choice to play Neil Armstrong.  It looks like this movie will deal with the "right stuff," a concept somewhat related to "the knack." 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Another Wood Box BITX! KC1FSZ Abandons Al-Fresco but Continues with Wood

'Tis a thing of beauty.   I like the wood.  And I like the hood.  The handles are a nice touch.  A fitting follow-up to its al fresco organic origins.  

Hi Guys:

I know there was a view that my giant BITX was supposed to be left out in the open, but I’m going to try to attend my local club’s Field Day festivities this year and the 4 foot long “planker” was pressing the limits of portability.  So I moved from the shack to the wood shop and built myself some custom cabinetry.  I think it looks a bit like an IC-73000 now don’t you think?  OK, maybe not.  

There is a hinged door at the top and shelf levels inside for the different parts of the circuit. The power supply and PA section are mounted on the bottom which can be removed for accessibility/serviceability.   The whole thing weighs about 10 pounds!!


Bruce KC1FSZ

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Understanding Antenna Directivity -- Help from Canada

I am in the process of repairing my beloved 17 meter fishing-pole Moxon.  It was taken out of service by the last Nor'easter of the winter.  This repair has caused me to review the theory behind antenna directivity.  I find there is a lot of "hand waving" in the explanations of how directivity happens:  "You put a reflector element next to the antenna.  And it REFLECTS!"   You are left wondering how that reflection happens.  

The Royal Canadian Air Force made a video that does a pretty good job of explaining how the reflector reflects.  See above.  Thanks Canada!  

While we are talking about antennas,  I wanted to alert readers to a really nice antenna modeling program that is available for free.  It is called 4nec2.  You can find it here:   There is a bit of a learning curve, and I am still climbing it, but I can see how this software would be very useful.  It has an optimization feature that runs the antenna through many versions and tells you how to optimize for F/B,  gain,  SWR, or whatever you want to prioritize.  

I have discovered that my Moxon was resonant below the 17 meter band.  In other words, the antenna elements were too big.  About 3.6% too big according to my calculations.  This may be the result of my using insulated wire for the antenna elements.  Apparently the MOXGEN software assumes the use of uninsulated wire.  I'm thinking that an easy way to deal with this would be to use the frequency 3.6% above my target frequency and then use the dimensions given my the MOXGEN program.  Any thoughts on this plan? 

What a shame that Cebik's web sites have all disappeared.      

Friday, June 1, 2018

INTERVIEW: Bob Crane Talks to Jack Purdum W8TEE at FDIM. Definition of "Homebrew."

Jack Purdum has been making enormous contributions to the radio art.  His background with digital technology has opened many doors for homebrewers, especially through his books on the use of the Arduino microcontroller.   I think his new "JackAl board" is really going to shake things up.  I was glad that our correspondent in Ohio, Bob Crane W8SX, caught up with Jack and interviewed him for soldersmoke: 

But I have one small disagreement with Jack.   It has to do with the definition of "homebrew."   Jack seems to define true homebrew as "designing and building your own rig from scratch."  My problem is with the "designing" part.  By this definition, those intrepid heroes of days-gone- by who saw a schematic in QST, ripped apart some old broadcast radios, and used the parts to build a 50 watt CW transmitter with a regen receiver were not true homebrewers.   I would maintain that they were.  I agree with Jack that kit building is a bit different, and of course designing the rig yourself earns you the coveted "designer" designation.  But for me, if you start with a schematic and an article, gather the parts and build the thing yourself, that is a homebrew project and you are a homebrewer.  After all, even the designers are very often making use of standard blocks of circuitry (Colpitts oscillators,  common emitter amplifiers, power supply circuits, etc.)

I think we will have to turn to our lexicon expert Steve Silverman for a ruling.  

In any case, thanks to Bob Crane and to Jack Purdum. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hans Summers and his QCX -- G0UPL Cracks the Code on Si5351A Quadrature

Pete,  Brad WA8WDQ and I were recently e-mailing about our admiration for what Hans G0UPL has achieved with his QCX rig.   I cc'd Hans -- we got this nice and very informative e-mail.  Be sure to click on the link provided by Hans, and from there go to the link to his FDIM proceedings article.  I think that article is a real masterpiece -- there is a lot of very valuable information in there.  For a long time, getting quadrature output from the Si5351 seemed like an impossible dream.  But Hans has obviously figured out how to do this, opening the door to much better and simpler single-signal phasing receivers.   Thanks Hans!  

Hi all

Thanks for the nice feedback on the QCX and the FDIM conference proceedings a article, which I have published on QRP Labs web page along with other Dayton trip miscellany. See

My seminar presentation audio was recorded by Ham Radio Workbench podcast and they will be publishing it on 5th June.

The QCX kit has indeed been unbelievably popular, almost 5,000 kits have been sold since the launch on 21st August. It seems to have itched an itch that needed itching, in the QRP world. Sales continue to be strong and I'm currently preparing another batch of 1000 more. 

I'm very proud of my 90-degree quadrature Si5351A and it helped me towards my low cost, high performance target for QCX. Abandoning the 74AC74 saves a part, reduces cost, reduces complexity, reduces board area (and hence more cost) and even seems to provide better performance (higher unwanted sideband rejection when using the Si5351A in quadrature mode). Getting the Si5351A to do this is one of those things which look easy afterwards. But at the time, and faced with SiLabs un-useful documentation, it took an awful lot of headscratching, trial and error!

I'm not sure of the answer to the question about noise figure. Certainly radios such as QCX and the NC2030 which use the QSD architecture seem to have very high sensitivity without an RF amplifier ahead of them. This must indicate a low noise figure. 

73 Hans G0UPL 
Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column