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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ontario Knack Story

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I think I’ve finally earned the right to contact you.  I have a really severe case of the knack.  I did not realize it until I discovered amateur radio.  My thinking is that there is no hope for those afflicted with the knack.  I believe that amateur radio helps those afflicted to deal with the condition.  It alleviates the symptoms.   

For years I wandered through the technical wilderness dabbling in physics (I have a M.Sc. in Nuclear Physics), aircraft (I was a tow pilot at a gliding club for several years), high power rockets (www.napas.net), electronics and amateur radio.  The most enjoyable part of radio is not the QSOs it’s the building and the satisfaction of a working device. 

I am relatively new to amateur radio but I’ve always had a passion for all things electronic (and technical).  I am a self-taught electronics geek and have been playing around with digital electronics (PIC microcontroller) for some time know. I starting building altimeters for high power rockets that has the capability of setting off onboard charges  to separate the rocket.  When your rocket reaches 10,000 feet, you cannot open a chute at apogee because it’s going to drift too far and you need to open the rocket at apogee (no chute) and then open the main chute at about 1000 feet to minimize drift. I routinely travel to the US to attend LDRS (large dangerous rocket ships). 

Anyway I had to get my amateur ticket for onboard video camera and trackers (beacons).  Once I got my license and got into radio, it was like a drug!! 

I am now  home brewing everything in my shack.   

When I came across Soldersmoke that was like a super drug.  I downloaded and listened to EVERY episode (seriously!).  I followed you and Mike’s journey and I learned soooo much.  I was devastated when I found out about Mike.   

You inspired me to build my own transmitter.  Earlier this year I built a 20m CW transmitter for my rocket that will eventually send telemetry (in CW from a PIC microcontroller) completely from scratch – no kits – no one’s design. Your early episodes also pushed me to learn LTSpice which I used extensively to model transmitter design of others as well as my own. I’m thinking of calling the transmitter “kaputnik”. 

My design is based on a Chinese AD9850 DDS module which generates a square wave followed by a class E amp (with a tuned circuit).  Puts out 1 watt of power with harmonics down by about 40db.  The reason I used this module with that I can easily change frequency (with mod to tuned circuit)  – after all the DDS module is programmable.  All I need to do now is clean up key clicks because the carrier is turning on too fast.  I playing around with slowly increasing the bias on the mosfet to allow the power output to increase slowly.  Any advice/tips/tricks would be appreciated. 

Next project is a remote antenna switch.   However, you have me close to tackling a SSB transceiver.
Anyway, keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to listening to another 150 episodes!! 
Take care and “stay thirsty” my friend. 
Dave Rajnauth, VE3OOI

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