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Monday, July 30, 2018

Wow. Mr. Carlson's New Old-Time Radio and Test Gear Lab. VE7ZWZ -- Homebrew Hero

It has been a while since we last visited Mr. Carlson's lab.  As always, we found it amazing.  The awesomeness just keeps increasing. Previous visits: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=Carlson

As was the case before, this is really almost too much.  THREE DX-100s in the shelves.  A massive collection of tubes, some sorted, some un-sorted.  But don't worry -- Paul has a good memory and remembers where everything is.  I believe him. 

For his amazing shack and workshop(s) and for his willingness to repair old-time test gear, Paul VE7ZWZ clearly deserves homebrew hero status.  

Thanks Paul. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

On-Board your Arduino Board with an HCC Board

Nice, but the toaster oven is kind of scary. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Rig with Maximum Soul: The 5 Band Transceiver of Glenn KU4NO

That's the front panel.  Glenn's kids and grand kids liked sitting on his lap while he played radio and putting stickers on it

This is one of the best HB2HB contacts I've had.   I was just getting ready to sign off on 40 meters when I heard someone calling me. It was KU4NO.  I thought I'd just give the OM a quick report.  Then he said, "My rig is homebrew too."   And wow, it is indeed!  When he said this my first thought was that maybe this was a kit rig, but no, it turns out that this rig is the scratchyist of scratch-built rigs -- true hardcore hardrock homebrew. 

I checked my log.  I had worked Glenn once before, in December 2001.  I was in the Azores.  And he was using this same rig.  Glenn told me that for all these years, this has been his ONLY rig.  A friend gave him a modern commercial rig, but he prefers this one.  I understand completely.  

At first, Glenn made me promise not to share the pictures with anyone. He seemed a bit embarrassed by his creation.  I told him that SolderSmoke readers would appreciate his rig and see the value of it. I explained that we all have soldering iron scars on our fingers, and clothing that has been stained by ferric chloride.  We LIKE ugly.  It took some persuasion, but I got  him to agree to let me share this with the group.  

Glenn reports it is based on a "5 band transceiver" circuit in the 1976 or 1977 handbook. (i don't have one and can't find it on-line -- can anyone get us a copy of the schematic and article?)

So I say THREE CHEERS for Glenn KU4NO and his homebrew 5 band transceiver.   For me, the stickers are the most important feature of this rig.  Please e-mail me your comments on Glenn's rig - in an effort to let him know how much we appreciate and understand his effort, I will pass them on to him. I wish more hams would follow his example. 

Glenn wrote: 

Oh well I'm not too concerned about who sees it. 
I just wouldn't want to cause anyone to follow my example. 
Maybe you could call it "a tornado goes through a junkyard."
Just kidding around ...no restrictions...I'm sure it will be forgotten soon ..... but I will be innocent of any harm caused by it. 
Its the only rig I've ever owned when we contacted before it was with it. 

The inspiration article in the 76 or 77 handbook is worth a look.  
The VFO tuning cap and mount came from a CB "slider" one of my brother-in-laws gave me  it seems to work well

Picture Above:  top view upper left power out two IRF 510s from w2eby ( I think) 30+ to 60+ watts across HF love this circuit, small board connected at right angle is 1/2 watt driver from Harrys Homebrew page 2n2222 driving 4 2n2222s beautiful circuit
lower left power transformer 
one of two wafer band switches in middle   ....  under wafer switch is hf mixer and single balanced mixer to generate ssb
 LO from progressive receiver top right ... heat sink just to left and lower unused voltage regulator
  RF amp and wafer switch lower right used for transmit and receive

LO tuning cap and hf mixer modulator circuit

 RF amp

 Crystals for mixing, BFO, old detector circuit.  Old circuit that repeated CQ call, chip from Radio Shack

Some micro relays ...... audio amp at bottom and two switchable compressor circuits one using an SL 1626 and one lifted from a President model CB radio  and some filter caps

New IF AGC audio detector uses three ca 3028As from 67 handbook schematic is wrong can you find the mistakes? it was printed wrong twice i use an s meter with it

Close up of power output and lower left  rf output filters  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Homebrew Juju -- HB2HB

Oh man, last night the Radio Gods were on my side.  I only had about a half hour on 40 SSB, but I had some really nice QSOs.   WB2HJK George in NYC was very interested in the BITX revolution.  W3BT in Philadelphia is a kind-hearted OT who ran an ENORMOUS Yagi atop a row-house in the city -- the antenna extended over the street and TWO of his neighbors houses.  Never had a TVI problems. FB.  SS listener WA3O Mike called in -- Mike is the fellow who gave me my HW-7.  Mike has been running his uBITX into a homebrew 500 watt LDMOS amp. FB Mike.  

Then the real miracle happened.  Just as I was about to throw the switch, Glenn KU4NO called.  I decided to give him a report.  But then he said something I rarely hear:  "My rig is homebrew too!"  I checked the log -- I had spoken to Glenn before, but our last QSO was in December 2001.  I was in the Azores.  Glenn was on the same homebrew rig.  We had a nice talk about his rig.  FB.   

Glenn told me that in all his years on the air, he has only had a few contacts with other homebrew stations.  He had a list of them:  1) W4ZCB, 2) N6ORS (FB! SS Listener!), N2CQR ("No wait -- I just heard you but we didn't talk.") and W2JUQ.  I will tell Glenn that he needs to add CU2JL to the list -- that was me in 2001 and I was indeed homebrew DSB.) 

To top it all off, Dino KL0S was listening and recorded the final part of the QSO.  See below. (The video might take a few minutes to load.) 

In honor of that FB night on 40 I am re-posting the animated GIF of my BITX-17 build.  I hope it doesn't make you seasick!  

Also, I think we need to add a term to the SolderSmoke lexicon:  Juju.   As in Homebrew Juju. See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juju   Right?  What do you think Steve Silverman? 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Homebrew Tuner for Doublet Antenna

For now, I've put the Moxon project on the back burner.  I will take it up again once Old Sol starts showing some spots.  In its place a 135 foot doublet is going up.  I got at a hamfest a while back.  (It is the only HF antenna that I ever bought!) It is the SPI-RO Manufacturing Company's Model A-10.  It came with 100 feet of 450 ohm window line.   It will be up on the roof soon.  

Today I put the tuner on the wall in the car port right outside the shack. I even built a little shelf for the SWR meter (used one of those Whole Food grilling planks!).  I put a 25 ohm resistor where the feed line will connect.  I was able to tune it up on the two bands I tried: 40 and 17.  

There is a smaller coil inside the big one -- the smaller coil resonates with the lower variable cap. 

You can see all the homebrew rigs in the background -- waiting patiently for the antenna.  

I actually built the tuner back in 2012, but never used it.  Description here: 

I will try to provide a schematic and more details soon. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Moxon Files from L.B. Cebik W4RNL

I had thought that the Cebik files were lost to us in some sort of legal copyright struggle.  But in my effort to better understand the Moxon antenna, I found a real treasure trove of Cebik's writing.  These should all be saved somewhere safe. 

I especially liked his description of the evolution of the Moxon antenna.  Les Moxon was apparently very unAmerican in his emphasis on reception (not transmit gain)  as the main benefit of the beam antenna.  He also sought to avoid superfluous luxuries like rotators, but Cebik hints that rotators have become an important part of our American way of life.   Indeed.   
Before I found these files I had been on the verge of giving up on efforts to replace my storm-damaged Moxon.  After all, solar minimum is still ahead of us.   But after reading OM Cebik's articles I have decided to build a 20 meter version and place it above the center point of a 130 foot doublet.  I will have the best of both worlds.  



L. A. Moxon, in his HF Antennas for All Locations, provides the essential clue: "the main benefit [of a beam] accrues from the reduction of interference during reception, though the 4 to 6 dB gain provided by typical amateur beams is an important bonus and probably the reason which carries the most weight with the majority of amateurs."(2)Here is a theory of beam operation quite unAmerican is style: instead of gain, Moxon strives for front-to-back ratio as the most crucial aid to ham operation. His statement is an affirmation of the "good ears" theory of operation. Even more, it forms the basis for his rectangular improvement upon the VK2ABQ square.
 Moxon prefers matched elements, tuning each of them to optimum performance remotely. That way, he can reverse the beam and do away with expensive and maintenance-intensive rotators. However, rotators are a way of life in the U.S. (a TV rotator will likely handle a 3-band Moxon beam), and there are many uses for portable beams that are hand-rotated or fixed in the field. Thus, I decided to continue the exercise in unequal element lengths.


Finally, a treasure trove of Cebik's writing: 


Sunday, July 1, 2018

VU3XVR's Assembly Language 1K AtTiny-Si5351 VFO

Although Ram VU3XVR's project is in the digital realm, his barebones approach to the bits and bytes is, for me, very appealing. He takes a Si5351 and runs it with ATtiny13 with only 1k of space.  He makes intelligent use of every bit of that space.  He reveals his overall approach to rigs when he states in the video that his VFO will NOT have the traditional glowing numeral frequency readout because those bright lights can be so annoying and distracting.  I'm with your Ram!  Well done OM. Simplicity is a virtue. No more trouble with the Arduino and its fickle IDE.  No more agonizing visits to the Si5351 library.   

I see lots of applications for this little circuit.   Ram mentions beacon transmitters.  

He provides details here: 

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