Podcasting since 2005! Listen to Latest SolderSmoke

Monday, September 27, 2010


I've been getting some increasingly desperate messages about SolderSmoke withdrawal symptoms so I thought I'd better send out a status report. Also, one listener wrote in addressing me as "The Grand Poobah of the SolderSmoke Brotherhood." Wow, with a title like that, I better get going with the podcasts!

Most of the stuff is in the shack. The workbench is assembled. I'm trying to set up for both 220 and 110 (lots of Euro gear accumulated over the last ten years!) Surprisingly, Home Depot doesn't sell 110 to 220 transformers. And I live in an area where LOTS of people move back and forth across the pond. I may have to press my old autotransformer into service.

Most of my really old gear -- the stuff that went into storage over the last decade -- should show up in a week or so. This means my HT-37, DX-40, DX-60, Lafayette HA-600 etc. will be reappearing on the scene.

I hope to get some beacons (uh, I mean MEPTs!) on the air soon.

Unfortunately my ancient computer gave up the ghost during the trip. Hard drive is making scary noises. This will slow down the podcast as I have trouble putting it together with Linux only (which is what I'm operating with now -- thanks Jorge! Without your help I'd be completely off the net) Anyone have any version of Windows I could legally use?

But the Drake 2-B is doing fine. I'm listening to 75 SSB as I type.

Hang in there loyal listeners. Perhaps some of that nicotine gum would help. Or, better, some REAL solder smoke.

73 from the GP



  1. No worries Bill. The podcast can wait a bit longer as you settle in. We've got over 100 past episodes to listen to if the nicotine gum/patches don't help!

    It must be exciting to see all the old gear again. I experience those moments occasionally when I venture into an old storage box.

    Hopefully your stay in Virginia will be longer than just 2 years (?). Frequent moving is sure a drag.

    Vy 73,
    Bert WF7I

  2. Here was the Google ad that came up when I read this entry... http://www.110220volts.com Maybe they will have something good for you.

  3. Bill, you'll do fine with Linux. Audacity for audio production works great. For Windows only programs like LTSpice, the Wine libraries let you run them under Linux easily.

    Welcome home.

  4. Bill -
    Look for an industrial transformer from a junked out CNC lathe or mill. They are often 480VAC primary With Center Tap (!) to 120VAC. They are used to run 120VAC relays and coils on hydraulic valves. Just connect the secondary to 120VAC. You will be using what was the secondary winding now as the primary winding - it is spaced a little further from the transformer core, so the output voltage taken from across one side of the 480VAC winding will be closer to 220VAC than the expected 240VAC. These transformers come in all sizes - from a couple of hundred VA up to several KVA. They are usually pretty inexpensive - sometime free because at first glance people can't figure what they would do with a transformer with a 480 Volt primary! These transformers are industrial rated (CCS - Continuous Commercial Service) and I've used them "backwards" and haven't ever found them to overheat. Because the 480V winding is commonly center tapped, you should be able to find one to run just about anything you need at 220V from the 120V household circuit. Best wishes - anxiously awaiting your next podcast. Bruce - KK0S

  5. I don't have any spare Windows copies, but I'd be happy to help with anything regarding Linux.

    Glad to hear that you are settling in!

    Nick, KB1SNG

  6. Speaking of Spice on Linux have you ever looked at the gEDA suite? Personally I think the learning curve is way steeper than it should be but I hope to learn it anyway some day.

  7. I have an extra copy of WinXP sitting here your welcome to have. Ping me directly, ku7m at the arrl.org place.


  8. Don't do it... Windows leads to the dark side...

    j/k... mostly

  9. Bill: I'm making due with the old shows, it's amazing what you pick up the second time around!

    Good luck, we'll all be here when you get back on with the excellent podcast.

    73 de W2DAB - David / NYC

  10. Bill:

    As much as you have helped us all with your computer, I think the Soldersmoke Community could start making donations to help you buy a new/used box. Good grief, I'm finding decent 2.8GHZ boxes running XP Pro on Craig's list for $100.

    I say just tell folks you need a new computer to make your shows with and point them to a PayPal button. I think you'll get plenty of QRO cash - and well deserved.

  11. PayPal idea de WA5PSA (your first listener feed back, as I was jogging through the streets of Tulsa, OK).

  12. Great idea Brad. I second that. I've even got an old laptop I could just drive up to N. Va and GIVE to the man, if needed!


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