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Friday, October 28, 2022

SolderSmoke Podcast #241 Mars, Direct Conversion, PTOs and Glue Sticks, Anniversary of the BITX20, Multus Proficio SDR, Boatanchor Station, MAILBAG

The board I use to test DC RX circuits 

SolderSmoke Podcast #241 is available

Audio (podcast):  http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke241.mp3

Video (YouTube): (215) SolderSmoke Podcast #241 October 28, 2022 - YouTube


Back on Mars.  Opposition approaching.  I have a Mars filter.  And (like T.O.M.) a Mars globe. 


SolderSmoke in the WayBack Machine

Sticker news

PARTS CANDY -- Don't Scrimp with a Crimp! 

Bill's Bench

School DC RX projects -- in Hyderabad and Northern Virginia. 

Direct Conversion Receivers -- Keeping it Simple, Learning a Lot.  A step beyond the Michigan Mighty Mite. Do we really need 100db?  Do we really need to shield VFOs?  Farhan's super-simple and stable Colpitts PTO.  Audio amps, 1000-8 transformers and rolling your own LM386

PTOs and Glue Stick PTOs.  Paul Clark WA1MAC. Brass vs. Steel bolts.  #20 thread vs. #28 thread.  Backlash Blues. The best Glue Sticks. 

2 meters and the VWS.  Bill has a Baofeng. 


Pete's Bench

20th Anniversary of the BITX20   Pete's early BITX rigs. 

Computer Woes

The Multus Proficio SDR rig

Simple SSB in China  BA7LNN

Things of beauty: Tempo One, NCX-3 and a SBE-33


-- NS7V is listening.

-- Graham G3MFJ sent SPRAT on a stick.

-- Nick M0NTV  FB Glue Stick and 17 Shelf videos.

-- Dino KL0S HP8640 Junior

-- Mark AA7TA   Read the SolderSmoke Book

-- Steve EI5DD Connaught (Ireland) Regional News

-- Dave K8WPE  Planting the seeds of ham radio interest

-- Peter VK3YE Ruler idea on PTO frequency readout

-- Michael AG5VG Glue Stick PTO

-- Tobias  A polymath with UK and Italy connections.  And cool tattoos.

-- Alain F4EIT   French DC receiver

-- Michael S.  was in USMC, working on PCM/TDM gear

-- Alan Yates writes up Amazon transformer problem

-- Todd VE7BPO,  Dale W4OP, Wes W7ZOI

-- Farhan VU2ESE sent me an sBITX

-- Todd K7TFC   The Revenge of Analog

-- Jim Olds    Building QRP HB gear  

The Multus SDR rig Pete discussed

The older rigs Pete mentioned

My version of DC RX that Farhan is working on

My PTO with VK3YE's ruler frequency readout

Saturday, October 15, 2022

DC Receiver: 100db Gain? Diplexer? VFO in a box?

Here is a progress report on Direct Conversion Receiver developments. Dual Tuned Circuit, Diode Ring with Diplexer, PTO VFO from Farhan's Daylight rig, two stage 49 db BJT AF amp with a transformer. It works very well. I discuss: Shielding of the VFO -- necessary or not? Why brass in the PTO? Do we really need 100db in a receiver, especially with ear buds? Sourcing the AF amplifier's transformer. Using W7EL's diplexer. (I think it has solved my Radio Marti breakthrough problem). Developing a DC RX circuit that can be built by students. I end with a bandsweep of 40 meters that includes CW, FT-8, SSB, and AM

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

SolderSmoke FOREVER! Archived in the WayBack Machine

There were recently some stories about an effort to put on the Internet Archive recordings and other material from the history of ham radio.  I am pleased to report that the SolderSmoke podcasts have been included in the new collection: 

They also archived the recordings of my contacts with the MIR space station (and other spacecraft) from the Dominican Republic in the mid 1990s: 

I have also suggested that they find a way to archive all of Jean Shepherd's recordings about ham radio. 

Thanks to Kay K6KJN for putting our material into the archive. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Listening on 40 with a Glue Stick PTO in a Direct Conversion Receiver; Some PTO History

Thanks to Paul WA1MAC for this idea.  He first shared it with us via the SolderSmoke mailbag in 2008! Sorry it took so long for me to try one Paul. 

The PTO itself is an old idea of course.  Here is an article from 1966: 
OM faced the problem of having to keep track of frequency while turning the dial many times.  He was hoping to use a turns counter -- in 1966 we didn't have the San Jian frequency counters.  I note that his PTO looked a lot like the one KK4DAS 3D printed for me (using file from Farhan).  

And some background on PTOs: https://sites.google.com/site/randomwok/Home/electronic-projects/permeability-tuners-last-stand

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Paul Clark's Dollar Store PTOs made with Glue Sticks or Chap Sticks

A few weeks ago Pete Juliano and I got some e-mails from Paul Clark about his use of Chap Sticks and Glue Sticks (acquired at a Dollar Store!) in Permeability Tuned Oscillators.

Dean KK4DAS, Mike KA4CDN and I had been experimenting with PTOs following Farhan's use of one in his new Daylight Again transceiver. We are also looking at simple circuits for use in Direct Conversion Receiver builds for high school students.
Yesterday, I noticed a Glue Stick on the floor under my bench. TRGHS. I built one of Paul Clark's PTOs and used it with the circuit from Farhan's Daylight Again rig. For the ferrous material, I just glued (!) a .5 inch toroid (I think it is #7 material) onto the moving internal part of the glue stick. For the coil I used a total of 9 turns of #20 wire, with a tap at 2 turns. You can see the results in this video.

I think it is really useful, a very nice way to get good frequency control using an item available in most super-markets (I bought two glue sticks at Harris Teeter yesterday!). This continues a long ham radio tradition of using household items for ham projects -- we started with breadboards.

 Some of Paul's coils: 

Some of Paul's data:

Here's the data I got in testing these on the NanoVNA:
Burt's lip balm
16t #24 insulated
brass tubing ferrule
Dollar Store PTO Forms in 3 sizes
Small Jot Glue Stick (8 for $1.25!)
1 3/8" of #30 enameled close wound
waiting brass tubing to fit cup
2.980mhz with no core, I'm waiting brass tubing to fit this one (we have no hobby stores around here anymore that stock the K&S music wire and brass tubing assortments)
Medium Playschool Glue Stick
36t #30 enameled
1/2" copper water tubing
Large JOT Glue Stick
1/2" copper water tubing
28t #24 insulated


Friday, October 7, 2022

How the Diode Ring Multiplies by 1 and -1 -- "The Secrets of the Diode Ring" -- Plus another Bandsweep with the DC RX

A deeper look into how the Diode Ring detector works: "the particular go of it." Here I rely on a wonderful diagram from the RSGB. This diagram clearly shows how in this circuit, the switching action of the diodes -- controlled by the VFO -- results in sum and difference frequencies at the output. This is amazingly illuminating. I then tried to build this actual circuit. It works, but I am also getting a lot of AM breakthrough from a local AM station (WFAX) and Radio Marti at 7335 kHz. I will try again. In any case, the diagram shows how the diode ring does its thing! I need to beef up the Band Pass Filter. I tuned around a bit on 40 meters -- you can listen. Students at a local high school have been trying to get the DC receiver I loaned to them going -- they may be confused by the intricacies of SSB tuning. I will see them next week.

Here is the RSGB diagram that reveals the secrets of the Diode Ring.  (Now that could be the title of a book or movie.  I claim the rights to that!)  Click on the image for a better view. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

How to Tap an Aluminum Heat Sink: Pete Juliano Shares Tribal Knowledge

This is a SolderSmoke Classic:  Pete Juliano N6QW coached me on how to tap (put screw threads)
a piece of aluminum.  This is an important homebrew skill that -- as I demonstrate -- is 
easy to screw up (no pun intended).  Thanks to Pete for sharing this tribal knowledge. 

This video has been quite popular.  It has been viewed more than 33,000 times since 2014, and there are 35 comments attached to it.  

Thanks Pete! 

Adding a Diode Ring to the Direct Conversion Receiver, And How the Diode Ring Works

I take a look back at Wes Hayward's classic DC receiver from the November 1968 QST.
I then try to describe how diode ring mixers work ("the particular go of it") using Alan Wolke's excellent YouTube description as my base.

I present some drawings that I did that use the "crossed diode" diagram as the start.

I also discuss interference from Radio Marti's 250 kW transmitter on 7335 kHz in Greenville NC.

Finally, we listen to the receiver a bit.

Alan Wolke's Diagram

Wes Hayward's 1968 DC Receiver

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Tim Hunkin's "The Radio Set" Drawing, and The Secret Life of the Radio (Remastered)


Click on the image for a better view. Click here for the whole drawing: 

I really liked this, and there is a lot more like it on the site of Tim Hunkin, the fellow who made all the great Secret Life of Machines shows.  His site: https://www.secretlifeofmachines.com/index.shtml

They remastered the show about radios.  It is worth watching: 

Thanks Tim! 

The Workshop and Bench of the QRP Home Builder, Todd VE7BPO

What a treat!  We have been learning so much, for so long from Todd VE7BPO.  I was really pleased to have this look at the workshop where all the magic happens.  

While my technical abilities are far inferior to his, I was pleased to see some scenes and some shelves that are similar to those that can be found here. 

Thanks Todd! 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Update on the Direct Conversion Receiver -- Now only 4 transistors

I took a new look at the receiver, did some measurements, and decided to take out the RF amplifier and the AF pre-amp. The receiver works fine without them, another indication that they were unnecessary. Line-up is now: Band-pass filter, Mixer, VFO, AF amp. I think there is only 49 db of gain in the entire receiver, but it is useable with an un-amplified speaker, and is a bit too loud on ear buds. Not bad for just 4 transistors. And I think we could do this with just 3 (no need for the VFO buffer).

Here is the AF amplifier I used:  

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