Listen to Latest SolderSmoke Podcast

Monday, March 19, 2012

SolderSmoke Podcast #142

March 19, 2012

SWR meter as a poor man's spectrum analyzer
QRP Quarterly: Pete Juliano's SSB Rig, Idea Exchange, Mike's articles
Great contacts on 17 SSB
Squeezing the birdies out of 17 meter rig. Again.
My new 'scope
Zen and the Art of Telescope Maintenance
SETI Live: Search the waterfall for ET's sigs
Ade Weiss's wonderful new book
Chinese Knack?
Soul in the Machine: Billy's earliest toroids
Re-cycling my 20 meter CW rig (from cycle 22)
Winterfest report
Relay repairs and back EMF dangers

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: Book Store:


  1. The Knack is alive and well in China. A lot of ham radio QRP kis are coming out of the 'Middle Kingdom' at the moment.

    For instance YouKits. The Ten Tec R4020 and R4030 QRP transceievers (great rigs by the way) were developed and are made in China.

    Some SSB rigs have also been developed at quite attractive prices.

    1. Yep I just built a 40 meter SSB 10 Watt kit from China called the KN-Q7A. Cost about 136.00 US Shipped it comes complete with case,knobs and connectors! It is a very nice kit!

  2. Hey Bill, have you heard about the RaspberryPi project? The long story is at, but the idea is to get a simple computer into kids hands that'll get them learning about how computers really work (as opposed to just running powerpoint in classrooms and calling that computer science). And you'll like's British! Could be good for Billy's computer building hobby.

    -Doug, KI6FEN

  3. Raspberry Pi definitely merits a gander. Great project with inspired goals. I can almost forgive them for occupying the Malvinas...desde México 73

  4. That's great that your son wants to homebrew his own computer!

    An interesting development is that a company has re-issued the MOS 6502 microprocessor.

    The 6502 is attractive because it features dedicated address and data bus lines (no bus multiplexing), single 5v supply, and simple clock requirements. It also has a pretty straight forward instruction set.

    Many famous home computers were based on the 6502, including the Apple II, PET, Atari XL, etc, etc.

    Anyway, the re-issue is wort a look.

  5. Wow, helping with toroids at 2! That is awesome! My own daughter just turned two and this has me thinking I need to involve her more now.

  6. What kind of computer is Billy going to build? Will he be assembling his own PC from boards or something smaller from chips like Veronica or a homebrew CPU like the Magic-1

  7. Hi Bill,

    I'ts exciting that you son wants to build his own computer! Building computers is fun!

    An interesting development is the re-issue of the MOS 6502 CPU from WDC

    The 6502 makes an attractive homebrwers CPU because it sports separate data and address bus pins (no need to multiplex the bus), it has a fairly simple instruction set, and uncomplicated clock requirements.

    The 6502 re-issue is available in a 40-pin DIP which makes interfacing easier for the homebrewer.

    The 6502 was used in some classic home computers of yore, like the Apple II, Commodore PET, Atari XL, BBC Micro, etc, etc.

    Check out Blondihack's computer that Ededes Pender mentioned above, it's an inspiring effort.


  8. Here's my first computer:

    OK, so it wasn't -my- computer; I was 12 and it belonged to UCLA. But it was the first computer I ever operated! How I came to operate it is another story.

    I can still remember the smell of all those tubes cooking away.

    73.......Steve Smith WB6TNL
    "Snort Rosin"

  9. Great podcast as usual and lots of good links! 73 desde Guadalajara...

  10. Great podcast as usual. What about Billy's computer. Does the building include soldering iron or only screwdriver? Building a computer can mean so many different things. I built my PCs from parts (motherboard, CPU, memory ,HD, cards etc) at his age.

    Eric SA5BKE


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