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Monday, February 22, 2010

QRP Quarterly -- Winter 2010

Lots of great stuff in the latest edition of QQ from QRP ARCI:

Mike Czuhajewski's "Idea Exchange" column has been sending out great ideas for many years now. In this edition he opens with a piece from Wes, W7ZOI, that originally appeared on the EMRFD mailing list. It deals with diode ring mixers, specifically the power requirements for the local oscillator. What do they really mean when they specify 7 dBm? Wes explains: "If we say that the LO power is +7 dBm, what this really means is that a signal generator is attached to a power meter or spectrum analyzer and adjusted to deliver +7 dBm at the desired frequency to the 50 ohm instrument. Once the power is set, the cable is disconnected and reattached to the mixer." I'd always wondered about how to measure that. Thanks Mike! Thanks Wes!

Preston Douglas, WJ2V, has a nice article on our latest craze: WSPR. Preston also discusses SDR radios -- his encouraging comments may help me get out of my current luddite curmudgeon rut. Preston mentions recent efforts to use a BITX-20 for WSPR and concludes that this would be "a tall order for any analog rig." This comment lessened my feelings of inadequacy about my SDR SMT problems, because I recently used my ancient Drake 2-B to receive WSPR sigs (see earlier blog entry). Luddites Rule! But Preston is right -- it's not easy! But -- at least for a little while, before drift takes you out of the band -- it can be done.

Ward Harriman, AE6TY, writes of a "homebrew" SDR project. In his opening paragraph, he tells us what the term "homebrew" means to him: "homebrew design, homebrew assembly, homebrew programming, homebrew in a wide range of disciplines both familiar and untried." That's pretty hardcore! FB Ward!

Jim Osburn, WD9EYB, has a nice article on "circuit stickers" and how they can be used to simplify project construction using a variety of circuit boards and breadboards. I really liked Jim's description of old Electronics Illustrated projects in which they pasted a diagram to a wood base and then put finishing nails at specified points. Components were then soldered to the finishing nails. When the thing works, you can say you "really nailed it!" (Sorry!) Cool technique.

Thanks to the folks at QRP ARCI for another inspiring edition of their wonderful magazine. If you are not a member, you are missing a lot. Sign up for the club and the magazine here:

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