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Monday, May 30, 2022

A Modern Mechanical Television -- Nipkow Discs and Arduinos Lead to a Mechanical Color TV (video)

I had, of course, heard about the mechanical TV systems that pre-dated the CRT-based "electronic TV" invented by Philo Farnsworth.  But I never really understood how they worked until I saw this Hack-A-Day article by Jenny List.  And wow, I see it now.  Nipkow discs.   Color TV.  Parts made in a 3D printer. Excellent. 

Here's the IEEE Spectrum article by Markus Mierse (the brilliant fellow who built this amazing device): https://spectrum.ieee.org/mechanical-tv

Be sure to watch the video (above).  Take a look at the awesome quality of the 32 line color TV picture. And check out Marcus's amazingly beautiful construction.  (Note:  Built on a wooden base). 

Marcus Mierse's Modern Mechanical Color TV

Saturday, May 28, 2022

"Experimental Methods in RF Design" LADPAC Software Available FREE!

We've frequently said that is pays to check the W7ZOI web site.  Tony G4WIF did just that and pointed us in that direction, noting that the LADPAC "Ladder Package" software is now available for download from that site. 

Homebrewers will really want to have that package on their computers.  There are all kinds of useful programs in that package:  software for designing crystal filters and feedback amplifiers, a program that allows you to think systematically about receiver gain distribution and dynamic range, and many other useful things.  

You can get the program here: 


Also on Wes's site is this May 22, 2022 picture of Farhan VU2ESE with EMRFD co-author Bob Larkin, W7PUA. 

Thanks Wes! 

Friday, May 27, 2022

"Hobby High" from the Lamarkaan Radio Club and The Hindu magazine


This is a really nice look at hobbies and their role in life. It is very relevant to discussions of The Knack. 

Many of the quotes resonate with me, especially those about how hobbies -- in our case ham radio -- provide an important source of enthusiasm.  I remember an old timer in Rome telling me that at age 85, he jumped out of bed each morning, heading to the radio shack with enthusiasm. 

I'd add that ham radio adds elements of permanence and continuity in our lives. For many of us, we've been working on radios since our early teens.  I have in my shack gear that I've had for almost 50 years! Amidst the vicissitudes of life, it is really nice to have things with this kind of permanence. 

Thanks to Atanu Dasgupta of the Lamakaan Amateur Radio Club of Hyderabad for alerting me to this article.  OM Atanu wrote: 

My friends, acquaintances and members from my extended family often ask me how I spend my time and keep myself busy throughout the day. When I say I pursue a hobby called Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) and I spend more than 8-10 hours in a day for that purpose, I don’t find many takers. Many of them feel that I must be earning handsomely by devoting my energy and time as seriously as pursuing a regular work-from-home regime for some corporate entity. Sometimes even my domestic help express doubts, albeit in a decent manner, about my devotion to something in life without any financial gain and expect a wage-hike for them against my ‘extra earning’. After all how can a hobby (pastime) can keep someone so engrossed physically, mentally - on the computer, over thick books/ magazines , on the work table at the radio shack, on the floor for some odd metal works, on the rooftop with antennas, over the Radio-on-air, over phone etc - without some pecuniary benefits? Recently a brilliant essay by Himani Datar on ‘hobby’ in the Hindu Magazine (https://www.thehindu.com/.../hobby-high/article65375392.ece ) has been very impressive and appears to be a savior to all concerned like me. The essay brings out all in favour of all hobbies and hobbyists and I feel more confident now about my course of engagement on a long-term basis.   

Atanu's Shack

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

HF Bandsweep with the Hammarlund HQ-100 (video)

It has been a while since we last did a bandsweep.  Too long.  Here is one using my recently fixed up Hammarlund HQ-100.  Repair details are in recent videos. 

For this bandsweep we cover most of the HF band and even briefly dip down into the AM broadcast band: 

Demonstration of the Hammarlund HQ-100: Radio Marti, 40 meter AM, 40 Meter SSB, 40 meter FT-8, 40 meter CW with and without the Q multiplier, classical music on WRMI, WFAX 1220 kHz AM, WWV 20 MHz, CB!, 17 meter SSB, the 20 meter BS position, the effect of AVC and the Noise Limiter, SSB with the internal BFO and with the Q multiplier as BFO. CW with the internal BFO AND the Q multiplier. 

Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Sticker Shock -- WYKSYCDS Stickers Spotted in NYC and in a Netherlands Pub! Awards!


I am awarding the coveted Brass Figlagee with Bronze Oak Leaf Palm to Dave W2DAB, to Lex PH2LB, to Jesse N5JHH, and of course to Pete Juliano, N6QW.  More awards are possible.  http://www.flicklives.com/index.php?pg=215&recno=2590 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Repairing the Sony ICF SW1 Receiver -- Used for Numbers Station Reception? Why no replacement for C-625?

Ten years ago, my friend John gave me this tiny Sony receiver.  It wasn't working.   I tried to fix it but quickly discovered that the tiny size of the device made repair difficult.  All you needed to do was to swap out some leaking electrolytics, but they are surface mount electrolytics -- replacing them is not for the faint of heart.  Kits are available, but again, this is not easy. 

In 2020 I got one of the kits, but didn't try to use it until yesterday.   It only supplied six of the electrolytics.  In the video above, they discuss replacing seven electrolytics, including the one that seems to be placed in the round black holder. C-625.  Why didn't my kit include a replacement for that one?  Could it be that this capacitor was not one of the leaky SMD caps?  

Replacing these caps really wasn't easy. At one point I inadvertently removed not just the bad cap, but also a nearby surface mount resistor.  Luckily the schematic showed it to be 0 ohms.  That was easily replaced.  I lifted one of the pads on one of the other caps -- I just slid it back into place and hoped for the best. 

BTW, I just today discovered that this little receiver may have been used late in the Cold War by those who needed to receive messages from the infamous Numbers Stations: 


Friday, May 20, 2022

500 WYKSYCDS IBEW Stickers Arrive in Europe! Order yours today! Free!

Lex PH2LB in the Netherlands has gone the extra kilometer for the IBEW.  When he saw the stickers that had been placed in New York City, he asked for the design.  I sent him the files that  Jesse N5JHH (designer of the stickers) had sent to me.  Very quickly, Lex had 500 of these stickers printed up and ready to go (see above).  His shack now serves as a veritable beachhead in Europe for the IBEW and the CBLA.  Thank you Les!   

Les has even set up an on-line order form for those who seek to assist in the noble campaign to spread the word about our cause: 

Les is making the stickers available for free -- all you need to do is pay the postage. 

Please be sure to send us pictures of the stickers after they have been placed. 

And let's not forget that the quote on the sticker is from Pete Juliano, N6QW. 

Here is one that recently showed up in Blacksburg, Virginia (zoom in on the green utility box): 

And here is Lex's very interesting site, with his Knack Story:  https://www.ph2lb.nl/blog/index.php?page=history

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Frank Jones's Homebrew Rig -- as described by Michael Hopkins AB5L (SK)

"Frank is all homebrew. His receiver is unshielded outside, but built around a central square of aluminum that houses a Velvet Vernier dial thru the front panel and some tubes I did not recognize jutting horizontally on both sides of the box where coils also plug in. The transmitter is a multi-stage affair on a piece of particle board. The tubes are vertical here, and the bench was littered with brown Hammarlund coils labeled 5, 10, 20, and 80."   



Wednesday, May 18, 2022

W1VD's Boatanchor Receiver Tests

I've been trying to get more rigorous in my evaluation of receiver performance.   My HQ-100 is tuned to Radio Marti, and it sounds great.  But how great is it really?  And what about all the receivers and transceivers I have built?  How good are they?  

Our friend Dean KK4DAS is about to start the rehabilitation of his dad's old HQ-170A.   A search for that receiver led me to Jay Rusgrove's very interesting measurement and analysis of old tube type radios.  Jay's results appear in the links below.  More important is his very clear description of how the tests were done and what the results mean (link below). Also included is one link showing a discussion of Jay's work.  

Jay notes: 

The decision of which boat anchor receiver(s) to own is seldom based on performance alone. A combination of favored manufacturer, period of manufacture, features, collectability or even just 'looks' often rank higher on the priority list than receiver performance. Even if one were interested in performance specs much of the available information is subjective as few receivers manufactured prior to the mid 70s have undergone standardized testing. Hard data on minimum discernable signal (MDS), blocking and two-tone IMD dynamic range is interesting to some operators and important in an historical context as it shows the progression of receiver development.

Jay designed the very first real transmitter that I homebrewed (The VXO 6 Watter from QRP Classics). Jay has been mentioned many times in the SolderSmoke podcast and blog:    

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Troubleshooting and Fixing Old Faults in my Long-Suffering Hammarlund HQ-100 (Part 2) (video)

Work continues on my old Hammarlund HQ-100. I give background on the rig and explain the electrical trauma it likely suffered. Following Dave K8WPE's dictum that we can still learn a lot from old receivers, I dug into this one. I wanted to fix a long-standing S-Meter/AVC problem. This led me to an interesting troubleshoot, with at least one "waste of time" detour. Eventually I found the fault in one of the coils in the grid circuit of the RF amplifier. The coils had been smoked years ago, perhaps by a lightning strike. I came perilously close to permanently losing 10-30 MHz. But I figured out how to fix the smoked coil. So my S-Meter/AVC problem was fixed. I really like listening to this thing. There is still a lot of nice material on the SW bands. There are some very nice broadcasts in Spanish. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

You can see where the coil burned. Wire remained intact, but the insulation burned creating a Primary to Secondary connection.

I just very carefully lifted one of the coils way from the other, eliminating the unwanted connection.

Here's my homebrew "RC Printed Network" Z2 module. This was unnecessary -- the original was good. I put the original back in.

Electric Radio magazine recently ran a two part series on the HQ-100. I have ordered these issues of the magazine.

Tim Hunkin on Prototyping, Welding, and on Being a "Jack of all Trades"

I always like Tim Hunkin's videos, even when they are not directly related to radio electronics.  In this one we learn about his prototyping techniques -- this does seem similar to what many of us do when building rigs.  

I liked his explanation of welding, and of the dangers of the angle grinder (his precautions on this device were similar to those in a recent video by "Spirited Man" Van Neistat). 

Tim's final comment on how in the modern world we seem to have moved away from the notion of having one person skilled in many different areas -- we are now very specialized, so the "Jack of All Trades" is increasingly rare.   That's a shame.  Oh well, we can be Jacks of all Trades in our radio shacks. 

Thanks Tim! 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Some Links for the Michigan Mighty Mite and the Color Burst Liberation Army from Dave K8WPE

Dave K8WPE has been one of the podcast's best friends and one of its most loyal listeners.  Dave was recently going through some back issues of SolderSmoke.  This sparked a renewed interest in the Michigan Mighty Mite and the Color Burst Liberation Army.   Dave sent us some useful links on this subject.  (I had forgotten about the .io CBLA mailing list!)   Thanks for this Dave, and for all your support and friendship over the years.  


Guys and Gals

Please listen to some of these podcasts as they are very encouraging to any ham young or old that might want to build something, even as simple as a Michigan Mighty Mite transmitter. Here are references to the Michigan Mighty Mite.  The podcasts are listed below.

Check out podcasts # 166, 167, 168 in the Soldersmoke series for an in-depth discussion on this simple transmitter:

There are many YouTube videos also regarding this neat little transmitter and even companion receivers.

Another option is to build the Cricket (a full transceiver kit) from Four State QRP Club that is available for 20, 30 and 40 meters $34.70 shipped:   

Or the 80 enter one available from the designer (when the 4SQRP Club retires a kit the designer is free to continue to sell them himself) NM0S on eBay for $26.25 shipped:

If you build one of these kits John at 3rd Planet Solar in Gaylord has bags of crystals and a four position crystal switch kit for the Cricket and Pixie. Check him out at 

Please pass this on to your friends. Have fun. Build something.  Enjoy!  One person built the kit and framed it to put on the wall of his shack to PROVE that he could actually build an electronic gadget.  

Also there are many who use easily available color burst crystals from old TV sets and joined the Color Burst Liberation Army (CBLA). Check out 

Dave K8WPE since 1960

Sunday, May 15, 2022

"Dream It - Make It" -- Rich WB4TLM, Mrs. Filoramo, and C.F. Rockey W9SCH (aka The Rock)


Rich WB4TLM spotted my bog posts about famed QRPer C.F. Rockey W9SCH.  He followed up by sending me a link to the WB4TLM blog.   It is a lot of fun.  It describes his troubles in school and his subsequent participation in The Rock's electronics class. 

Rich's blog has some great inspirational quotes for ham radio homebrewers.  He is now teaching at Full Sail University. Their fabrication lab has a motto: "Dream it -- Make it."  And in a quote that made me think of my good friend Pete Juliano, Rich tells his internet-jaded students, "I've been there...done that... I can get you there faster." FB OM.  

Here is the link to Rich's blog:  http://richardarndt.com/about

Thanks Rich.  And thanks to Mrs. Filoramo and The Rock! 


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Mr. Carlson's Grand Receiver Restoration Project -- Your Input Sought (video)

Mr. Carlson (VE7ZWZ) is launching a series of videos on the restoration of some old boatanchor receivers.  I have been working on an old HQ-100, so this all resonates well with me. 

He asked for viewer input on which of these receivers he should work on first.  I voted for the SP-600 because I wanted to see how difficult it really is to change out the infamous Black Beauty capacitors.  My second choice was the R-390, but I warned Mr. Carlson that he might need a chassis crane for that one.  No kidding.  Really.   

I look forward to watching the series.  Thanks in advance Mr. Carlson. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Who is JF3HZB? (The Creator of that Nice Digital VFO Dial) -- Some Links

Many of these sites are in Japanese.   Just look for the translate button on your browsers. 

 YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/uebo0222/videos

Web site:https://tj-lab.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/t_uebo

Blog: https://tj-lab.org/%e3%83%96%e3%83%ad%e3%82%b0/

Upgrades of the JF3HZB VFO: https://github.com/WA2FZW/It-s-Not-Just-Another-Digital-VFO-by-WA2FZW-VK3PE-and-G3ZQC

Discussion on Japan's "QRP Plaza."http://bbs7.sekkaku.net/bbs/?id=qrp&mode=sort&check=now&type=letter&open=1&view=1&reverse=off&inputform=1&search=JF3HZB

Old Smoke: SolderSmoke Podcast #166 October 4, 2014

Our friend and loyal long-term SolderSmoke listener Dave Wilcox K8WPE wrote to us, strongly suggesting that we repeat for our listeners SolderSmoke Podcast #166.  Dave wrote: 

I am listening to episode 166 and it is excellent for encouraging newbies who are thinking about starting home brewing.  Please repeat it for those who think the old episodes aren’t that valuable.  So repeat the same episode or redo it.  It’s GOLD!

I think Dave is onto something here.   If anyone else has a favorite podcast from our now VAST archive, please let me know and we will consider reposting it in this under the "Old Smoke" headline.    

Thanks Dave.  Here is #166.

SolderSmoke Podcast 166 is available for download: 


Bench Report:  Pete working on Direct Conversion Receivers.  
Bill on his 2B and on 20DSB rig, and an M0XPD/Kanga DDS kit, and a 140 watt amp. 

Start simple:  Build an oscillator. Make it oscillate!
Gather tools, simple test gear, and books. 
Try to understand what you build. 
Build a direct conversion receiver.  
Don't fear the toroids! 
Be patient.  This is not Plug and Play. 
Build a DSB transceiver. 
Little tips: 
Protect variable caps. 
Use heat sinks. 
Use reverse polarity protection. 
Don't breathe the solder smoke! Ventilate your bench.

China Radio International Mystery Solved.  
Book Recommendation:  "International QRP Collection" by Dobbs and Telenius-Lowe

Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Electronics Manufacturing in New York City -- Limor Fried and Adafruit (video) -- "TRUST YOUR TECHNOLUST"

The Radio Gods seem to be directing my attention to my hometown: New York City.

I was recently in the city, observing the placement of various IBEW - WYKSYKDS stickers.  And as I work on my old Hammarlund HQ-100 I note that both the HQ-100 and I may have been produced on Manhattan island at about the same time (me definitely, but the HQ-100 may have been built in Mars Hill NC). 

This morning Jim W4JED reminded me that Limor Fried, MIT Engineer and founder of Adafruit,  is producing a lot of amazing electronics items right in NYC, on Manhattan Island, down in Chelsea.  Thanks Jim.  FB Limor!  

Watch the above video.  I really liked the sign Limor has above her workbench: 


 Indeed.  Back to the HQ-100. This IS a case of technolust.  I'm not quite satisfied with the alignment.  And it bugs me.  I technolust for perfect alignment.    (Steve Silverman -- I think we should add technolust to the SS lexicon.) 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

The JF3HZB Digital VFO Dial in the DJ7OO Direct Conversion Receiver (Who is JF3HZB?)

Pete was talking about this beautiful Digital VFO dial in the latest podcast.  In response, Klaus sent me an e-mail with links and the video above,  describing how he used the VFO dial in a very cool Direct Conversion receiver project.  TRGHS. 

Here is the web site (you can easily get the English translation by clicking on the UK flag link): 

Thank you Klaus!  And thanks to JF3HZB!  (Does anyone have more information on him?) 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Video of SolderSmoke Podcast #237 (Audio in Previous Post)

SolderSmoke Podcast #237 is available: TV Show! No! W9YEI's 1939 TV. 1712 Rig. HQ-100. New SDR Rig and Book. JF3HZB's VFO Digital Dial. FIELD DAY! PSSST. MAILBAG

SolderSmoke podcast #237 is available:  http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke237.mp3

Travelogue -- New York City!  Stickers!
And about that trip to Los Angeles for the SolderSmoke Cable TV show... 

Well, it fit in well with SolderSmoke's UNFORGETTABLE appearance on the Oprah book club.
And TechieTatts? Daughter worried about listeners rushing to get tattoos -- A risk we were willing to take.


This episode is sponsored by PartsCandy.  GREAT test leads: https://www.ebay.com/usr/partscandy

Bill's Bench

Tracking down Johnny Anderson's 1939 or 1940 homebrew TV receiver.

Working with Joh DL6ID.
Jean Shepherd's January 1973 description.
FlickLives web site and Steve Glazer W2SG have lots of info on Shep and his friends.
Internet allows us to look at TV articles that were being published.
We've concluded: Probably 1939 or 1940, using an RCA 913 1 inch CRT tube. 

Lots of ideas from IRE Journal, QST, and Gernsback magazines.
Quite an achievement! Amazing how much pre-war TV progress there was.  

17-12 rig
All boxed up and working DX!
Figured out how to display both 17 and 12 on the same LED. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAmmFZyFu8w
Drain protector for speaker cover. Copper tape to cover horrible cabinet making.
I think I need a Hex Beam.

Hammarlund HQ-100
Needed some maintenance.
I started to look more closely at it.
Got the Q-Multiplier to work -- it really adds a lot on CW.
Makes me feel guilty about all the QF-1s...
Using the 100kc calibrator with a 455 kc crystal as a BFO,
keeping Q multiplier below oscillation point.
Moved the BFO switch to the front panel. Helps a lot.
Need to fix the S-meter AVC circuitry.
Much more sturdy than the S-38E.
S-38E 1957-61 $54.95 5 tubes.  AC/DC.
HQ-100 1956-60 $169  10 or 11 tubes.  Power supply,  regulator.
You get what you pay for.  

Pete's Bench

Jack Purdum and Al Peter's new SDR rig and book (featured on the SS blog Amazon ad).
JF3HZB's beautiful digi VFO.
Backpack antenna for Field Day?  
Pipsqueak Disaster -- Too simple?
Peashooter Eye Candy.
Build Something Different.


James W0JKG CBLA -- Others are building MMM too!
SM4WWG // J├Ârgen  Wonderful message.  Joined GQRP.  No longer "wrong."
Dennis WC8C Libraries for Max2870 board.
Jack NG2E  Progress on the Right to Repair movement. 
Jim K9JM  Someone cutting into our business with Solder candles!  
Chuck  WB9KZY Correctly identified the location of the IBEW sticker.  As did Dan Random.
Dave Bamford (who lives nearby) suitably impressed. 
Farhan wrote to us about a video on Don Lancaster.  Homebrew keyboards!  Yea!
Dean KK4DAS  QRP to the Field.  HB2HB 40 SSB   QRP  I feel virtuous.  
Todd K7TFC likes my ingenious use of the drain screen as the speaker protector on the 17-12 rig. 
Todd  had good thoughts on granular approach to homebrewing as seen in the Don Lancaster video.
Lex PH2LB HORRIFIED by my reverse polarity protection circuit.  This is a touchy subject! (as is WD-40!)
Rogier PA1ZZ sending great info on SWL and numbers stations.
Jesse N5JHH -- The guy who made the IBEW stickers -- Liked the NYC stickers. 
Steve N8NM has a new antenna article on his blog: https://n8nmsteve.blogspot.com/
Randy AB9GO Agrees -- Can't GIVE old 'scopes away. 
Dino SV1IRG Liked the 17-12 rig videos. 
Steve Hartley G0FUW Murphy's Law of Enclosures. 
Ralph AB1OP FB on the 17-12 Rig. 
Roberto XE1GXG --Our correspondent in Guadalajara. Petulant, irritable people on the computer scene.

Have some gear looking for a good home:   Tek 465 'scope from Jim AL7R W8NSA.   SBE Transceivers.  Windsor Signal Generator.  Let me know if you are interested and can either pick up or arrange shipping.  

John Anderson W9YEI Homebrew Hero

Friday, May 6, 2022

Working On My Old Hammarlund HQ-100 (Part 1)

I like this old receiver, with all its shortcomings.  I picked it up in the Dominican Republic in 1993 or 1994.  I've been using it on AM with my K2ZA DX-100.   It needed some contact cleaner, and I took the opportunity to work on a few of the circuits that were getting kind of decrepit. 

I came to a new understanding of -- and appreciation for -- the Q-multiplier.

While of similar vintage, this receiver is MUCH nicer than the Hallicrafters S-38E: 
S-38E 1957-61 $54.95 5 tubes.  AC/DC, kind of flimsy. 
HQ-100 1956-60 $169  10 or 11 tubes.  Power supply,  regulator,  much sturdier construction
You get what you pay for.   

 In Part II I'll show you how this thing sounds and what it is like to use it for SWL, CW, SSB and AM. 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

"When You Know Stuff, You Can Do Stuff" Where Is This?

Look closely!  IBEW!   WYKSYKDS! But where was this?  

Have any others like this been spotted? 

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