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Monday, August 28, 2023

But How Does the Michigan Mighty Mite REALLY Work?

Dean KK4DAS and I were talking to Mark, a new homebrewer.  After we sang the praises of the Michigan Mighty Mite,  Mark asked us a good question:  How does it really work? 

I guess the starting point for analysis is the Barkhausen criteria (that Pete N6QW taught us):  essentially you need enough feedback to overcome losses in the circuit, and this feedback has to be in phase with the signal at the input.  The MMM is clearly oscillating, so the question becomes, "How does this very simple circuit meet the Barkhausen criteria?" 

Here goes: 

Even though it is a very simple circuit, it is worthwhile to separate out the things that it has to do: 

1) It needs to set the AMOUNT of feedback.    This is done by the tap on L1.  Too low down on the coil, and it is too close to ground through the .05 uF capacitor (not enough feedback).  Too high on the coil and you get too much feedback.  This is like an inductive voltage divider. 

2)  It needs to make sure that this feedback is in phase with the input signal. Positive feedback. Q1 is an inverting amplifier.  So it supplies 180 degrees of phase shift. As the signal at the base goes more positive, the signal at the collector goes more negative, and vice versa.  But we need an additional 180 degree shift to bring the output signal in phase with the input signal.  Here is the key:   The crystal provides the other 180 degrees of phase shift.  See

I tested this:  A 3.579 MHz crystal does provide the needed phase shift:  It introduces a shift of about 190 degrees.  Check out this very cool picture. The two scope probes are looking at the input and the output of the 3.579 MHz crystal with 3.580 MHz frequency coming from my HP sig gen. 

Click on the picture for a better view.

3) It needs to filter out other signals -- the 365 pf variable cap resonates with L1 at around 3.579 MHz.  This results in maximum circulating current through L1 at this frequency. 

4) It needs to match impedance to the antenna.  L2 wound over L1 forms the secondary of a transformer and efficiently moves the energy from the MMM to the antenna.  Think about the gears on your bike. 

The 10k resistor biases the base of the transistor, keeping it on.   The 27  ohm resistors limits the current through the transistor, preventing it from burning up. Note:  the 27 and 10k resistors should NOT be connected directly to each other.  There is no dot in the schematic. This causes some confusion among builders. 

The .05 uF capacitor does two things:   It grounds the L1/365pf tank circuit for RF (but not for DC).   It is less than 1 ohm at 3.579 MHz.   And it helps reduce (smooth out) key clicks (very sudden on-off changes in the oscillation). 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Homebrew Transistors

Hang your heads in shame, my friends.  This dude is getting ready to homebrew his own transistors.  None of that store-bought stuff for him.  He is a few steps away from breaking free of the GLOBAL TRANSISTOR CARTEL that has been abusing us so-called "homebrewers" for so many years.   This guy really puts the home in homebrew. 

Plus he has a seriously cool shop enabling him to do some excellent metal and chemical work.  

Thanks to Hackaday for alerting us to this. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

15 Meter Homebrew SSB Rig As Heard in Mexico City

 19 August 2023. Ralph XE1RK recorded part of our QSO and played it back to me. Thanks Ralph!

I was running about 75 watts to a hex beam aimed Southwest.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Valveman -- The Story of Gerald Wells

Don't be deterred by the annoying test patterns at the start of this video.  Just skip past them.  The rest of the video is quite good.  Or you could just click on this link and avoid the first 83 seconds of test pattern:  https://youtu.be/Y8w6iwaAGJ4?t=83

Gerald Wells has been mentioned on this blog before, but I don't think we've ever presented the full documentary on this fellow.  Here it is.  Gerry is clearly one of us: a radio fiend, obsessed (as he admitted!) with wireless, a victim of THE KNACK.   

George WB5OYP of the Vienna Wireless Society got to meet Gerald Wells and visit his museum. George alerted me to this video.  Tony G4WIF also was able to visit Gerry and his museum. 

The documentary is full of interesting stuff, and is, in itself, a Knack Story.  Wells mentions the Crippens murder so well described by Eric Larson in "Thunderstruck."  It was this crime that brought radio to the center of public attention.  

More Ancient Technology Keeping Space Missions Alive


Three cheers for software.  Really. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Working Indonesia and Chile with new 15-10 Homebrew Transceiver

Conditions were good this morning, and the Radio Gods continue to favor homebrew rigs.  I got on 15 meters SSB with the new 15-10 dual bander and quickly worked YH0AD in Jakarta (about 10,000 miles).  A few minutes later I talked to YB2MVD; he was a bit further east on Java.  I shot a video of the QSO with YB2MVD.  He said I was 59.  

I then switched to 10 meter SSB (same rig) and worked CE4PS in Chile (5,000 miles).   


The antenna for all these contacts was my K4KIO Hex Beam.  I was running about 75 watts from the .1kW CCI amplifier. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Wizard of Kerala (India) -- Denny VU2DGR -- SDR and HDR

His signal was just booming in on 20 meter SSB yesterday evening.  It was one of the strongest signals I've heard from India.  I wasn't able to get through the pileup, but I heard mention of a homebrew station at his end...  Sure enough a look at his QRZ.com site shows that a LOT of solder has been melted in his shack.  Both SDR and HDR stuff.  Tube projects including an 807 amplifier made from "components collected from the scrapyard." And a homebrew 20 meter Moxon.  Check it out: 

FB Denny!

Kerala is on the southwest tip of India.  It is something of a hotbed of technological innovation.  My only Indian contact using my current series of homebrew dual-banders was with VU3TPW -- Renju is also in Kerala. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

You have heard of the International Geophysical Year (IGY). But have you heard of the IQSY?


International Quiet Sun Year.  1964-1965.  Yes, that was a thing.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Voyager, Canopus, JPL, and 74xx Logic Chips from the early 1970s

"So somewhere out there in interstellar space beyond the boundary of the Solar System is a card frame full of 74 logic that’s been quietly keeping an eye on a star since the early 1970s, and the engineers from those far-off days at JPL are about to save the bacon of the current generation at NASA with their work. We hope that there are some old guys in Pasadena right now with a spring in their step."


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