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Sunday, April 30, 2023

Radio's Noble Savage: Jean Shepherd and The Secret People (that's us) -- Shep and Kludge?

I was looking at the pictures from the Nearfest hamfest when I spotted this quite from Shepherd at the bottom of a post in the AM Window by Carl WA1KPD: 

"Okay, gang are you ready to play radio? Are you ready to shuffle off the mortal coil of mediocrity? I am if you are." Shepherd

I Googled the quote and that took me to this 1966 article from Harper's: 


The article is a (mostly) accurate view of Shepherd.  Much of it would not be socially acceptable today (and rightly so).  The article correctly describes Shep's stories as being truth-based but also filled with hyperbole.  

This got me wondering:  How did Shep pronounce kludge?  I mean, it could have been him who put me on the pronunciation track of kludge like fudge.  He wasn't being listened to outside of NYC, and maybe Boston and San Francisco.  So that may explain why the rest of the country is getting the pronunciation so completely wrong.  We may be on the verge of a breakthrough here.  Steve Silverman:  ALERT!  

Can anyone find a recording of Shepherd using the word Kludge? A Bronze Figlagee with Oak Leaf Palms will be awarded. 

Check out the Harper's article and the video (above) of Shep talking about THE SECRET PEOPLE.  


Friday, April 28, 2023

Who is the Man in the Portrait in Artie Moore's Shack?


Who is this person?   He is in a prominent position in Artie Moore's very early radio shack.  Artie was obviously big on labeling things, and there is a label under the picture but I can't make it out.  What do you folks think?  Who is this?  

High-School Students Successfully Avoid THE SHELF OF SHAME -- Update on the Direct Conversion Receiver Project

One of the first finished receivers

Dean KK4DAS, Mike KD4MM, and I had a good day at the local high school yesterday, even after a month of spring break and other absences.  We thought this might have been our last session at the school this year, so we strongly encouraged the students to GET THE RECEIVERS DONE.  We told them about the Shelf of Shame, and warned them not to half-way finish something that would gather dust at the bottom their parents' closet.  They were close to success!  It was time to finish the project. 

We warned them not to be perturbed if the receiver doesn't work the first time they power it up.  This is not "plug and play."  The receiver would likely need some trouble shooting, or at least some peaking and tweaking.  We noted that we often have to sort of coax a signal out of a newly built receiver. 

We soon had the students come forward with two projects that were ready for final testing.  Sure enough we found problems with both.  The solutions provided a lot of educational fun. 

The first group had not yet built the diplexer -- we advised them to skip over the diplexer for the moment -- just connect the output of the mixer to the input of the AF amplifier.  We can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good!  Build the diplexer later, but for now, get the receiver going.  They did, and a few minutes later they were receiving signals from Mike KD4MM's transmitter (on the other side of the lab). 

Then a second group came forward.  We put a San Jian frequency counter on the PTO output.  Uh oh.  Trouble.  Gibberish!  A wonderful troubleshooting session ensued.  With the student, we found that the signal was good at the output of the oscillator transistor, but NOT at the output of the buffer.  At first we suspected that the buffer was bad, but it was not.  Then we lifted the connection to the mixer and suddenly the buffer output was good.  So the problem was in the mixer!  When we disconnected the input transformer of the mixer from the diode ring, THE PROBLEM WAS STILL THERE.  So the problem was clearly in the input transformer.  Dean gave us a replacement transformer.  Soon all was right with the rig, and this group joined the ranks of the successfully completed receivers.   

I think that seeing that two groups had finished helped motivate the others.  Our announcement that successful completion would lead to a "Certificate of Completion" also helped.  But most of all, I think the natural desire to finish the job and avoid the "Shelf of Shame"  was pushing the students forward. 

Other news: 

-- Our stage-by-stage award program continued.  Last time we awarded "The Torry"  for the first successful bandpass filter;  this time we awarded "The Audy" for the first successful audio transformers. 

The Audies

-- We told the students that their work has been entered in a Hack-A-Day contest.  Most of the info and files on the project can be found on the Hack-A-Day site.  Check it out:  


-- We also told the students about Walter KA4KXX's very generous offer of a reward for the first students to check into the Florida Sunrise net.  (We had to make it clear that this offer is completely extracurricular and unconnected in any way from the school .)  The students were clearly intrigued.  Sunrise Net may get some new check-ins! 

-- We provided instructions on how to build a simple 1/4 wave reception antenna.  We also did a video.  

We had thought that this would be our last session at the school,  but at the students' request we will be back with them next week for another session.  We think there are at least five more receivers approaching the finish line. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Retro QRP Rigs of the 1960's, 70's, and 80's -- Video by Mike WU2D

It is time to put aside (again!) all of the heated ideological arguments about the power level that defines "low power."  Just sit back and enjoy this wonderful trip down QRP memory lane. 

Mike's description of the simple, single-transistor QRP transmitter was really nice.   I recently made something similar: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2023/02/first-qso-with-high-school-receiver-100.html  And Mike does a nice plug for our beloved Michigan Mighty Mite.  Go CBLA! 

The modular idea:  words to live by my friends. 

40673!  TT2!  And G3RJV's PW Severn - indeed, bow your heads!

Wow, the Ten Tec Power Mite (or Might!) -- I still want one.  Same for the Argonaut -- what a great name (sounds like a "magic carpet), and with SSB to boot!  I want to join the Argonaut cult! 

I have both the HW-7 and HW-8 (the HW-8 is heading to the Dominican Republic).  This video makes me want to fire up the HW-7.  Maybe on 40.  

My 40 meter homebrew rig (Digi-Tia) has in it the filter from that old Yaesu FT-7 rig.  The filter was given to me by Steve "Snort Rosin" Smith.  https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2015/05/bitx-digi-tia-build-update-2-installing.html  

Thanks to Mike for including me in the credit roll at the end.  What a great group of people -- it is a real honor to be listed with those folks. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Tim Hunkin on Drilling Holes (Secret Life of Components Video)

 I guess that aside from being a great video, this is something of a test of technical nerdy-ism.  If you find this hour long video really interesting, well, you know... 

Really cool stuff from Tim Hunkin: 

-- I liked the angle driller.  Need one. 

-- The placement of the magnets near the hole to catch the shavings was really cool. 

-- Tim's reluctant admission that it is just better to buy new drill bits (as opposed to sharpening old ones) is good advice. 

-- WD-40!  Yea! 

-- Note:  No white "Boffin" coat for Tim.  Just "overalls."  But as I watched I found myself thinking that he could probably have used an armor plate or at least a Kevlar vest amidst all that flying metal. Perhaps a bit more eye protection too...  

-- Fiddley.  A useful tech term.  

--Swarf:  Another useful tech term:  the metallic remnants (shavings) of drilling. 

-- The digi readout on the milling machine looked really useful. 

Finally, I loved the sign that Tim has posted in his workshop:  


Four Old BBC Shows on Radio: Hams, Physics, and Antique Wireless

The first one, about ham operators in general, is pretty depressing. Then it goes downhill as they shift to those who are listening to baby monitors and cell phones.  Yuck. 

The second one seems to show some physicist having understandable difficulty explaining particle-wave duality in a short TV segment.  

There is a short bit (that I didn't quite get) about the BBC's "Teddy Bear's Picnic."  

The final one is about Gerald Wells and his Antique Wireless Museum in South London.  Note the white coat -- clearly a boffin.  For a while I confused him with Rupert Goodwins G6HVY (similar white coat, but a different bloke).  

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Helge LA6NCA's Altoids Tin Receiver

Here's another great video from Helge LA6NCA.  This is a follow-up to his Altoids Spy Transmitter project.   Really well done.   Hack-A-Day called this receiver "regenerative" so naturally I was disappointed, but when I watched I realized that it is NOT a regen but is instead a direct conversion receiver.  TRGHS.  All is right with the world.  Thanks Helge!  73 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Artie Moore and the Titanic

I had never heard of Artie Moore, but his is a very interesting story from the earliest days of radio. 



Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Request for Digital Help from a Ham in Argentina

Can someone out there help OM Martin LW9DTR? 

His e-mail is on his QRZ.com page: https://www.qrz.com/db/LW9DTR

MARTIN LW9DTR has left a new comment on your post " The JF3HZB Digital VFO Dial in the DJ7OO Direct Conversion Receiver (Who is JF3HZB?) ":

Technical support
Dear Klaus Kirschelmann
My name is Martin and my call sign is LW9DTR
I am writing to you from my hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I need your tech support because I'm trying to run the assembly you posted with the AD9850 + Arduino Mini + Oled to apply it in a QRP transceiver project and I've encountered two problems.
The first problem is that I can't find the code to program the Arduino on your website.
The second issue is that the QRP transceiver design I'm using requires an inverted DDS output, ie as the frequency on the display increases, the output frequency should decrease.
I lack programming skills, so I'm coming to you knowing you can guide me on what commands I can change in the program to make this happen.
I will be very grateful to you in advance for your tremendous support.
I say goodbye with all due respect and wish that this April 18th, International Amateur Radio Day, surprises you with joy and new projects.
A big and warm hug.
With respect:
Martin Silva, LW9DTR

CuriousMarc Powers up (and Explains) Old Cathode Ray Tubes

Wow, really cool video from CuriousMarc and the guy who wrote the "Open Circuits" book.  But fellows, you really need to be more careful with the high voltage. Remember poor Ross Hull.  One hand behind the back would help.  Volts jolt, but mills kill.    

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Inside "Open Circuits"

Here is a cool video about a very cool book.  I wasn't going to buy it, but when I saw it in a book store, I opened it up to a random page and found myself looking at the 2N3904. TRGHS.  So I bought it. 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

The Franklin Oscillator: A Super-Stable VFO. Why No Attention? Why So Little Use?

My Franklin VFO

Lee KD4RE of the Vienna Wireless Society has been talking about the Franklin oscillator. He has been telling us that it is very stable, and capable of stable operation up through the ten meter band.  Lee wants to build an direct conversion receiver for all of the HF bands with one of these circuits. 

I was skeptical.  First, I'd never heard of this circuit.  I'd grown up in ham radio on a steady diet of Hartley and Colpitts and Pierce.  Vackar or Clapp were about as exotic as I got.  And second, I'd come to accept that it is just not possible to build a good, stable, simple,  analog VFO for frequencies above around 10 MHz.  For example,  in his Design Notebook, Doug DeMaw wrote, "VFOs that operate on fundamental frequencies above, say, 10 MHz are generally impractical for use in communications circuits that have receivers with narrow filters."  DeMaw was known for resorting to variable crystal oscillators. 

But then this month Mike Murphy WU2D put out two videos about his use of the Franklin oscillator circuit in a direct conversion receiver at 21 MHz.   The VFO was shockingly stable.  I began to believe Lee.   I fired up my soldering iron and built one.  

WU2D's Franklin Oscillator

Lee was right,  it is in fact remarkably stable, even at higher frequencies. My build (see picture above) was a bit slap-dash and could be improved a bit, but even in these circumstances here is what I got.   This was with a stable 6 Volt Supply and with only a cardboard box covering the circuit: 

Local time                  Frequency

0543                           19.1114 MHz  (cold start)

0636                           19.1116 

0804                           19.1117

1034                           19.1118

1144                           19.1117

I started digging around for references to the Franklin.  There was nothing about it in Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur, nor in Experimental Methods of RF Design.  Pat Hawker G3VA (SK) did discuss it in his Technical Topics column in RADCOM, February 1990.  Pat gave a great bio on Charles S. Franklin (born in 1879 and a colleague of Guillermo Marconi). But tellingly, Pat writes that, "Despite its many advantages, the Franklin oscillator remains virtually unknown to the bulk of American amateurs."  

QST "How's DX" August 1947

It wasn't always unknown.   In the 1940s, we see articles about the Franklin oscillator circuit. There is a good one in the January 1940 issue of "Radio." 
 The author W6CEM notes that the circuit "is probably familiar to only a few amateurs."  It shows up in the "How's DX" column (above). And the 1958/1959 issue of Don Stoner's New Sideband Handbook we see a lengthy description of the Franklin oscillator.  Stoner wrote: "The author's favorite oscillator is the 'old time' Franklin, and it is believed to be the most stable of them all! This rock-solid device can put a quartz crystal to shame! Because it represents the ultimate in stability, it is the ideal VFO for sideband applications."  And we see a PTO-tuned Franklin oscillator in the July 1964 QST. And it is in the fifth edition of the RSGB Handbook (1976). 

Here is the January 1940 "Radio" with the Franklin oscillator article on page 41 by W6CEM: 
Here is the July 1964 QST article: 

There was an article about the Franklin oscillator in 73 magazine by W4LJC in February 1999: 
The author notes that: 

Much more recently (2022), Mike WN2A, modified his Mousefet transmitters (seen in QRP Classics in 1992) to include the use of the Franklin VFO circuit.  Mike's documentation is really excellent.  Kostas SV3ORA has a Franklin oscillator in his Super VFO circuit.  Hans G0UPL has one on his site. 

Look, there may be reasons why the Franklin oscillator has been ignored.  But the circuit sure seems to present a lot of advantages.  Stable operation beyond the 10 MHz barrier is the big one.  Simplicity is another.  If there are problems and shortcomings, let's hear about them. But it seems as if the Franklin oscillator may provide the opportunity for us to build stable VFOs beyond 10 MHz without resort to complicated PLL stabilization techniques, and without opting to go with an Si5351 or other complex digital devices.   

So let me ask:  Why hasn't the Franklin oscillator been given more attention, and why haven't we seen more use of this circuit by hams or even by manufacturers?  

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Farhan's sBITX -- Taking Orders! (Video)

It is really looking great.  Congratulations to Farhan for bringing yet another amazing rig to the amateur radio community.   

Order yours here: 


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Arnie Coro: Jaguey Rig Designed in 1982, More info on the Rig

Jaguey, Matanzas, Cuba

Dxers Unlimited's mid week edition for 23-24 October 2007

By Arnie Coro
Radio Amateur CO2KK

My own personal experience with the original JAGUEY direct conversion 
transceiver, designed way back in 1982, is that when used with a well 
designed front end input circuit, those receivers provide amazing 
sensitivity, with signals as low as 1 microvolt easily detected but, 
they do have one drawback, their selectivity or ability to separated 
between stations is very poor. The direct conversion radio receivers are 
used for picking up CW Morse Code Signals , Digital Modes and Single 
Side Band, but they are not good for receiving AM signals, and can't 
pick up FM modulated signals at all...

The original JAGUEY 82 Cuban designed single band amateur transceiver, was tested against a sophisticated and really expensive factory built 
transceiver. The tests showed that our design was at least as sensitive 
as the very expensive professional equipment, registering a measured 
sensitivity of less than one microvolt per meter, producing perfect CW 
Morse Code copy of such a signal. Adding well engineered audio filtering 
to a direct conversion receiver can turn it into a really wonderful 
radio by all standards amigos. 

Radio is a fun hobby, and believe me amigos, there is nothing more 
magical than listening to a radio receiver you have just finished 
building !!!


Peter Parker VK3YE Found a nice description of the Jaguey by Cuban radio Amateur Jose Angel Amador from the BITX40 Facebook Group: 

A translation.  This was apparently in response to someone who thought they'd found a Jaguey schematic: 

"That's not an original Jaguey, that was a simple, single band, unswitched, 5 watt, DSB, kit for beginners with no gear and needing something to put on the license.
Carbon microphone direct to balanced modulator, two stages with 20 dB gain, W1FB/W1CER style feedback, and final with 2 x 2N2102 class B.
The receiver was more like that of the schematic, with a TAA263, easy to get from the FRC in 1978, and headphones. No need for an RF stage: the mixer was overloaded at night with European broadcasts above 7150.
The VFO is also inspired by Solid State Design for the Amateur Radio, a Colpitts with 2SC372 and a low gain feedback buffer with two 2SC372s.
Binocular ferrites were taken from Soviet TV baluns. The conditions of Cuba 1978.
Today I would make an SSB rig with polyphase networks, mixer with 4066,  and VFO Si5351.
The big complication of BitX is the crystal filter, they either get it made, or stick to a recipe, but few have what is needed to measure and tinker with crystal filters.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Arnie Coro CO2KK (SK) Provides More Info on the Islander DSB rig

Peter Parker VK3YE found this message from Arnie CO2KK in the Wayback Machine.  We continue to look for more information on the Jaguey solid state DSB rig. 

Arnie wrote: 

Several years ago an amateur in central Cuba was approached by some of his young friends to help them build their first rig. CO7PR, Pedro, a telecommunications technician for the phone company, had a vast experience both with vacuum tubes and solid state circuits, plus that special gift of designing and building with whatever is available. After a few days, Pedro came out with the "Islander" prototype, a low parts count, easy to build single band transceiver!

Here is the circuit description of that little radio that has provided many cuban young and old, newcomers to our hobby, with their first rig... and the challenge to improve it.


It is a direct conversion, YES, a DC receiver made with vacuum tubes. The very thought of having those tube filaments fed from the AC power supply and at the same time having 80 or 90 dB of amplification made me shudder when I first talked to Pedro on the very popular here 40 meter band! You are LOCO Pedro, I told my good friend... CRAZY, those poor kids are going to hear 50 percent 120 hZ hum when they tune across the 7 megahertz band.

Yes Arnie, you are right, it has a little background hum, but by using a small loudspeaker and small coupling capacitors... it's tolerable! The receiver shares, in its original version, the same antenna input as the transmitter output stage, a PI network, but we soon learned to add a separate LC tuned circuit first and latter a bandpass double tuned input filter...PLUS a signal attenuator... a very primitive but effective attenuator... just a 10 k potentiometer!

For an RF amplifier stage the Islander uses a russian pentode, which is the equivalent of the popular TV IF amplifiers of the 50's... looks like a 6CB6, for those of you that fixed TV sets 40 years ago or so.

The 6 "little spider" five, as everyone knows that tube here,has a lot of gain, and it can be kept rather stable by a judicious choice of screen and cathode resistor values.. Noisy pentagrid converter follows!

The 6A2P... a russian 6BE6, was the first tube type used in the Islanders, later some people tried the ECH81 triode-hexode and found it works better.

The circuit of the 6A2P-6BE6 is quite straighforward... a... you guessed right... PRODUCT DETECTOR... fed from the vacuum tube VFO... and providing its audio output to the two stage audio amplifier.

Audio amplifier is made with a triode-pentode tube of which plenty are locally available from defunct TV's... the ECL82 and the 6F4P and 6F5P of east european and russian manufacture respectively provide a lot of gain.

So... that's your receiver.. quite straightforward, works on 160, 80 and 40 meters by just changing the input filter and the VFO injection, it does NOT provide very good selectivity at all, but during the daytime, when the 40 meter band is used for local and regional contacts, it puts those new hams ON THE AIR!

VFO... the big problem amigos!

CO7PR worked very hard to try to make a stable vacuum tube VFO... and he almost made it..

YES, ISLANDERS drift, some not too much, others are not so good, depending on who built the rig, and how close they followed Pedro's advice at first, and Arnie's CO2KK later (as yours truly became quite involved in the project, as soon as I found that it was THE way of getting all those guys ON THE AIR!)

VFO is made with ONE of the 6 "little spider" 5 pentodes... By the way, I am sure you will like to know why the tube is locally known like that... the ZHE letter of the Cyrillic alphabet is something difficult to pronounce to a cuban - or any other non slavic for the matter - and it resembles like a little spider on the tube's carton and... that's why it is not a 6 "ZHE" 5 but a 6 "little spider" five!!!

The VFO cleverly works at one half the operating frequency... and then it DOUBLES frequency at the plate circuit... output is via a link to the pentagrid or hexode mixer depending on which type you use.

BUT... the VFO also has a second output to the transmitting chain.. Well that's the receiver... OH YES... the VFO is fed from a VR tube, a gaseous discharge voltage regulator similar to a VR-150 or VR-105... CO7PR advises to use the VR105, but when building the Islander, special in the countryside, that's a very hard part to find, as old TV sets don't use VR tubes! So people use whichever VR they can find. ZENERS? They are only available locally for 6 to 24 volts, so they can't be used with this rig.

ISLANDER DSB AND CW transmitter circuit:

From the VFO plate circuit, you pick up 7 mHz energy (usually you must wait at least half an hour for that said 7 mHz energy to be stable enough in frequency) and feed two diodes (ex-video detectors from russian TV type D20) acting as what I like to call BALANCED AND UNBALANCED modulator!

When used for DSB, it is certainly a DSB generator... but when you want to work CW, it must be UNBALANCED.something easy to achieve with just a resistor from the +12 volts line and a switch!

The balanced modulator receives its audio from a carbon microphone capsule salvaged from an old telephone, and conveniently connected to same +12 volts with some additional filtering via biggest possible electrolytic + small ceramic dogbone from TV set IF amplifier as RF bypass... no dogbone capacitor there... strange howls on Islander audio as RF leaks into balanced modulator you know.

So dogbone ceramic capacitor is a must! No, disk ceramics are not locally available, so people must use the next best choice... dogbone ceramics in the 100 pf to 5000 pf range, usually rated at 300 volts or so... (that 300 volt rating we learned the hard way, but more about that later.)

The original version of CO7PR's Islander ran with the carbon microphone, no MIC LEVEL control option, as he really wanted to keep things simple... later versions have audio preamps of various designs, and some even have a sort of primitive compressor.. From the balanced modulator the DSB (plus a little carrier leak that is always there) drives the rig's one or two transistor low level RF amplifier, which is made using whatever NPN silicon transistor is available, usually KT315's salvaged from TV's too. the KT315 is sort of a russian version of the 2N2222, so you understand why we use it here!

RF voltage reaches then the grid of an ex-video output amplifier vacuum tube, and there you are... about 2 to 5 watts of either DSB or CW on 40 meters and a new cuban amateur ON THE AIR!

Before I forget... keying... a little chirpy always because of so many interactions between simple circuits, sometimes not too well shielded, first time builder etc.

BUT... ISLANDER is ON THE AIR providing that young kid from the local junior high school or that doctor that always wanted to be a ham, or maybe the fresh out of school electronic technician, with the fascination of their first ever rig. YES, they drift, and some drift badly, when the frequency determining capacitors in the VFO are not too good... (most of the time), as I said they are a little chirpy. and the receiver's selectivity makes working 40 meters at night almost impossible (although some wizards do make nightime contacts at the low end of 7 mHz) BUT. YES, they are ON THE AIR.

Today there are a few Islanders still on the air, and some are even still built brand new (with many of CO7PR's and CO2KK's mods), but the trend is for all solid state rigs centered around CO5GV's and CO2JA's prototype the "JAGUEY," a design that draws a lot from Wes Hayward's Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur, and as of late, with lots of ideas coming from SPRAT, the G-QRP club magazine and QRPp from NORCAL, the Norther California QRP club!!!

In a future posting I will describe the "Jaguey," too.


More info on the Cuban DSB and AM rigs can be found here:







Saturday, April 8, 2023

Europa -- "Attempt No Landing There."

As we get ready to send two probes to the Galilean moons of Jupiter, this sci fi movie made its way into my feed.   It is pretty good, and the ending will appeal to all true radio amateurs. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

More Info on the Cuban Jaguey Solid State DSB Transceiver

ZL2BMI Transceiver Layout (not full size here!) 

Continuing our search for information the Cuban "Jaguey" DSB rig, Trevor Woods pointed me to Dick Pascoe's QRP column in the (below) July 1998 issue of Ham Radio Today.  I think the first SPRAT article about Eric Sears' ZL2BMI DSB rig was in SPRAT 83 in the summer of 1995.  This fits well with the sequence described below by Arnie Coro CO2KK. 

I am still looking for a schematic and pictures of the Jaguey rig: If you can help in this, please let me know.  

Speaker Made from Potato Chip Bag: Tim Hunkin's Solenoid and Electromagnet Video

The potato chip ("crisp") speaker is very cool (I have it cued up here), but the rest of Tim Hunkin's video is also wonderful and worth watching.  (Note:  Posh bags work better as speakers.) 

Thinking of our use of signal relays, I kept wanting Tim to tell viewers to put a diode and a capacitor across the relay terminals to prevent back EMF from frying circuits.  But I guess this is not much of a problem with the arcade games that Tim builds.  

As always, Tim's scrounging and use of discarded parts is really admirable.   

I noticed in the credits that he is dedicating these videos to the memory of his colleague Rex. 

Thanks to Chuck WB9KZY for bringing this video to our attention.  And thanks Tim. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

The IRF510: The Car Turn-Signal Blinkers Used As RF Amplifiers


I have many of these MOSFETS in my rigs.  Yesterday I came across Paul Harden NA5N's excellent Handiman's Guide series.  It had this really wonderful paragraph about the history of this part.  I-R is the International Rectifier company.  

Helge LA6NCA Builds a Double Sideband Thermatron Transmitter

Helge is an amazing homebrewer. Check out the shack.  Note the R-390 and the Tek 'scope.  Watch how Helge designs his rig.  Watch him check the 3-D printed coil and the variable caps for resonance.  Most of all, watch his happiness when the new transmitter works.  I just wish he would have showed us some OM complaining that he was on the "wrong" sideband. FB Helge!  Thanks. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

W2UO's Michigan Mighty Mite -- Made a Contact!

Hi Bill,

I found SolderSmoke about six months ago, and it's quickly become one of my favorite podcasts.

I've been a ham since I was 11, but never tried my hand at homebrewing anything.  I've always heard how hard it would be, and how a project like a SSB transmitter is just too far out of reach.

You and Pete are inspirational, so I set out to build a simple starter project, the venerable Michigan Mighty Mite.  However not just any mighty mite, a usable one, not just a proof of concept.  One intended to sit on a desk and look good doing it.  Complete with built in low pass filter, tx/rx switching, and an internal dummy load.

I don't know if I accomplished all that, but I did make a contact on it this afternoon.  Next logical step I suppose will be to build a DC receiver to sit next to it.

Please find pictures attached, I've learned a lot about what not to do with project, so criticism is welcome.

-Jim W2UO

My response: 

Wow Jim, that is really wonderful.  Congratulations on the build.   I've built many of them, but I don't think I ever made a contact with a MMM.  FB.  

It looks great to me!   Indeed, you should do a Direct Conversion receiver next.    Maybe do a receiver for 40, then do a version of the MMM for that same band.  Then you could 
make a completely homebrew QSO.   I did this recently on 40:  https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2023/02/first-qso-with-high-school-receiver-100.html    It was a real hoot!  

Our friend Dean also built a MMM as his first project:  https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2019/12/dean-kk4das-puts-michigan-mighty-mite.html

Please keep us posted on your progress. 

Again, congratulations!   73  Bill N2CQR

Monday, April 3, 2023

Technology and Methods from Wes Hayward W7ZOI

Great stuff.  Lots of wonderful articles filled with wisdom to ponder. 


Thanks to Tony G4WIF for spotting this gem and alerting us.  And thanks to Wes for all of this.  

Nice Ham Radio Documentary from Montana

Thanks to Thomas K4SWL for alerting us to this.  The 25 minute film is well-done, using modern film techniques and editing. It is a bit appliance oriented (but so is ham radio, unfortunately).  The EME stuff is interesting.  And I think the film captures the friendly, fun spirit of ham radio.  

Saturday, April 1, 2023

SolderSmoke Podcast #245: Cuban DSB, DC Receiver?, Can you spot the AI? (Prize), Winterfest Loot, Gina's Podcast, 6BA6 buy, MAILBAG

DC RX Example by KK4DAS

SolderSmoke Podcast #245 is available for download: 

Video:  (68) SolderSmoke #245: Cuban DSB, DC Receiver?, AI, Winterfest Loot, Gina's Podcast, 6BA6 buy, MAILBAG - YouTube

Travelogue: Cuba DSB and AM. Jose CO6EC and the Islander. We need more info, especially on the solid state Jaguey rig.

Bill’s bench:

Will the High School DC receivers get finished? Future uncertain. But the project was technically interesting. Great working with Dean KK4DAS. Battling AM breakthrough from Radio Marti. We joked that Dean has been listening to Radio Marti so much that even though he doesn’t speak Spanish, he has noticed an increased urge to liberate Havana.

Audio amps: Harder than we thought. Lots of variation in Hfe of 2n3904s. Oscillations.
Not using feedback amps nor LM386s, nor push-pull. Simplicity is a design goal.

Fixing the tuning (bandspread) problem on the VFO was fun.

Antennas? A quarter wave with ground or counterpoise works well. We tried it. 
(59) An Antenna for the TJ 40 Direct Conversion Receiver - YouTube
Back to work on the uBITX. I chickened out on replacing the predriver with a BFR-106, but then – Just in time Todd K7TFC and his Mostly DIYRF came out with BFR106 boards! TRGHS. I will do the mods on two uBITX transceivers. I even bought a solder-sucking iron for the second job.

Winterfest Hamfest. Big success. Thanks VWS. HERRING AID FIVE! Simpson 260! QF-1, Another Radio Shack DMM, Eamon Skelton’s Homebrew Cookbook, Knobs, SWR meter.

-- Todd’s Mostly DIY RF and the BFR106 boards, and much more: https://mostlydiyrf.com/
-- Become a Patreon sponsor of SolderSmoke: https://www.patreon.com/join/4785634/checkout?ru=undefined

Pete's Bench: 

Technical Note: Skype problems. Pete's Skype kept dropping out. Bad in the last podcast (#244). Three minute gap. I was ready to scrap the whole podcast when Dean KK4DAS offered to help. And he is obviously well qualified: https://potomacofficersclub.com/speakers/dean-souleles/ Dean went to work with AI. And he was able to fill the audio and the video gaps. Can you spot the three minutes of AI? Send me an e-mail with the time segment of the AI/Deep Fake portion of SolderSmoke 244. The first one with the correct answer will win a prize. 
SolderSmoke #244:
Thanks Dean!

----Interview on his Pete's daughter’s podcast. https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2023/03/listen-to-pete-juliano-on-his-daughter.html

-- 6BA6 e-bay buy. Will we see an all 6BA6 rig from Pete?

-- The NCX-5 on e-bay

PETE’S NEW BLOG: https://hamradiogenius.blogspot.com/


-- A New SPRAT arrived in the mail. PH2LB’s Gluestick on the cover.
-- Will KI4POV – Awesome homebrew – on the blog.
-- Sands, VK9WX listening to SolderSmoke on Willis Island! Wow. 
-- Andreas DL1AJG in Germany continues with the Electronics for Biologists DC RX build.
-- Dean KK4DAS and his homebrew 10 meter DSB rig.
-- Jim W2UO built a Michigan Mighty Mite and made a contact.
-- Dave K8WPE and the E in IBEW. We need new stickers.
-- Bob KC4LB – Surface Mount is SMALL.
-- Bruce KK0S on the Herring Aid 5 Board.
-- Chuck WB9KZY on Nuclear Monopole Resonance very cool video – on the blog.
-- Alan WA9IRS wants a CW editor for his phone. Really.
-- Vic WA4THR also working on uBITX power out improvement.
-- Tobias weighs in on Kludge. As in Fudge.
-- Tony G4WIF notes that when he changes his oil he often removes sludge, not slooge.
-- Consultations with Lexicographer Steve KB3SII.
-- Walt AJ6T says CW operating declined after FCC ruling in 1970s about callsigns.
-- Ramakrishnan VU3RDD now VU2JXN has joined the VWS. An old friend of SolderSmoke. Urged us to launch a blog back in 2008. We announced his daughter’s birth - - now Ram is getting ready to build a DC receiver with her.
Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column