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Friday, June 10, 2022

SolderSmoke FDIM Interview: Adam K6ARK and his 2.6 gram Mini-Pixie SMD Transceiver

I've not bee a big fan of the super-simple Pixie transceiver, but Adam K6ARK could make me a believer. 

Our correspondent Bob Crane W8SX interviewed Adam at FDIM.  You can listen to the interview here: http://soldersmoke.com/2022 K6ARK.mp3

The video above shows Adam's tiny Pixie in action in the California desert.  His rig is about the size of a postage stamp and weighs about 2.6 grams. FB Adam. 

Adam did a lot better with his Pixie than I did with my far larger and more complicated SST transceiver. He also did better than I did on 40 when I was using my ET-2 (two FET) transceiver. 

I liked how Adam recorded in the field the CW from his rig, I also liked his key (!) and his EFHW antenna and "tuner."  Adam's ability to cope with no CW sidetone was also admirable.  

Adam's YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/c/K6ARKPortableRadio

Thanks to Adam and to Bob Crane.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

SolderSmoke FDIM Interview: Jack Purdum W8TEE on the Challenges of Decoding CW by Software


In his interview with SolderSmoke correspondent Bob Crane, Jack Purdum made some very interesting comments about the challenges of decoding CW with software. He notes that W1AW's code practice CW is perfect, but that below 18 wpm, they deliberately insert a "Farnsworth Delay" that increases the spacing between words -- this complicates automatic CW decoding.  

Jack also talked about the distinctiveness of different CW operators.  Jack  noted that W1AW has no real "fist" in this sense:  "It has the personality of a stick!" 

Jack mentioned that Pete Juliano had been reading book on SDR radios that Jack and Al Peter recently published:  https://www.amazon.com/Software-Defined-Radio-Transceiver-Construction/dp/B09WYP1ST8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2KPYAMPOW5P6J&keywords=DR.+Jack+Purdum&qid=1654598559&sprefix=dr.+jack+purdum%2Caps%2C40&sr=8-1  

Here is our correspondent Bob Crane's interview at FDIM 2022 with Jack Purdum: http://soldersmoke.com/2022 W8TEE.mp3

Thanks Bob.  Thanks Jack.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Sticker Spotted Near the Old NYC Home of E. Howard Armstrong


Thanks Dave! 

SolderSmoke FDIM Interviews: A BRAVE HAM! Grayson Evans KJ7UM Presents a 50 Watt Amplifier to THE QRP GROUP!

Wow, talk about walking into the lions' den!  Grayson Evans, author of "Hollow State Design" and guru of all things thermatronic, went to FDIM and made a presentation TO THE QRP GROUP on how to build a 50 watt amplifier with a 6146 thermatron.  In New York that would have been called chutzpah.  The QRP ARCI guys seem to have tolerated this QRO-heresy; I'm not so sure the zealots over in G-QRP would have been quite so tolerant.

Grayson gave a nice shout out to SolderSmoke's Pete Juliano.  

And he offered some sage advice to those who live in fear of high voltage:  "Don't touch anything with high voltage on it."  Words to live by my friends.  He even managed to call those who shy away from high voltage "wimps."    This was all very reminiscent of the unforgettable safety advice he offered in his August 2021 interview on Ham Radio Workbench: "Try not to swallow anything, and don't sit on the thermatrons." I mean, who can argue with that? 

You can listen to Bob Crane's interview with Grayson here (about 6 minutes total): 

http://soldersmoke.com/2022 KJ7UM.mp3

Check out Grayson's  Hollow-State Design Book 3rd Edition: tinyurl.com/hollowstatedesign3

Check out Grayson's technical blog:kj7um.wordpress.com

Thanks Bob and thanks Grayson. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

SolderSmoke FDIM Interviews: Hans Summers G0UPL Talks about the QDX and His New Balloon Tracker


Thanks to Bob Crane W8SX for getting us this wonderful interview with Hans G0UPL.  Its really amazing to hear Hans talk about how many QDX rigs and Baloon Trackers have been sold by QRP Labs, and how quickly they sell.  Really great.  Hans's comments on the realities of the parts shortage was also very interesting. 

Listen here (about 7 minutes):  http://soldersmoke.com/2022 G0UPL.mp3

U4B Balloon Tracker 

SolderSmoke FDIM Interview with Farhan VU2ESE -- The sBITX is Coming!

Bob Crane W8SX --  our correspondent in Dayton/Xenia --  once again collected interview with FDIM presenters. Thanks Bob!  Here is his talk with our friend Farhan:  

http://soldersmoke.com/2022 VU2ESE.mp3

Here is a great post on the sBITX (May 30, 2022) from Farhan's web site: 


Here is Farhan's amazing presentation on the sBITX at the 2021 FDIM: 


Sunday, June 5, 2022

JFET (Junction Field Effect Transistor) Video -- Part 1

Good video.  I like how he related the real-world device to the Igs graph. Also, note the big variation in MPF-102 parameters.  Stay tuned for Part 2. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Phase Noise and all that

Our friend Dave K8WPE has been listening to old podcasts.  He recently came across those in which Pete and I were talking about phase noise.   He asked for some resources on this topic.  Here is what I sent him: 

 Receiver performance expert Robert Sherwood explains it this way: 

Old radios (Collins, Drake, Hammarlund, National) used a VFO or PTO and crystal oscillators to tune the bands. Any noise in the local oscillator (LO) chain was minimal. When synthesized radios came along in the 70s, the LO had noise on it. It is caused by phase jitter in the circuit, and puts significant noise sidebands on the LO. This can mix with a strong signal outside the passband of the radio and put noise on top of the weak signal you are trying to copy. This is a significant problem in some cases: You have a neighboring ham close by, during Field Day when there are multiple transmitters at the same site, and certainly in a multi-multi contest station. You would like the number to be better that 130 dBc / Hz at 10 kHz. A non-synthesized radio, such as a Drake or Collins, has so little local oscillator noise the measurements were made closer-in between 2 and 5 kHz. 

Rhode and Schwarz have a good oversight video with great graphs that explain the fundamentals,  See above or here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfgaEjf1154 

I think a lot of the fretting about advanced receiver performance measurements are really kind of over-the-top, and mostly of interest to advanced builders who want the very best performance from their receivers.  Most of the rest of us are happy if we can hear the band noise and separate the desired signals from the QRM.  But I must admit that as time goes on, I find myself getting more and more finicky.  I start to worry about gain distribution and dynamic range.  But I don't worry so much about phase noise because I am more of an LC oscillator guy and don't make much use of the PLL devices (like the Si5351) that do produce more phase noise. 

I've had many articles on the blog about about phase noise.  Here they are: 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Amazing Workshop and Test Gear of Tony Albus PE1ONS

This is almost too much.  This makes me want to go out and buy some more test gear, maybe another scope, or a spectrum analyzer, or at least another DMM.  I mean Tony has at least three of everything. 

This is really amazing.  Tony is obviously a test gear guy, but he also has a ham call PE1ONS.  He says he is not too active, but we should encourage him to get more involved with ham gear.  We need guys like him working on ham gear.  And he seems like such a happy person.  

Here is his QRZ.com page: https://www.qrz.com/db/PE1ONS

Here is his awesome YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/TonyAlbus

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Marconi the Fascist

For obvious reasons Marconi stories pop up in my news feeds.  This morning an article  from Wales reminded me of a very dark and disheartening aspect of Marconi's life:  his fascism and his participation in the persecution of Jews. 

There have been at least 14 stories in SolderSmoke extolling the technological virtues of Marconi.  I even met his daughter Elettra while in Rome and wrote it up for the blog.  But it is just wrong to sing Marconi's praises while ignoring his fascist involvement. 

His fascism wasn't even separated from his radio work.  He won fascist honors and he won his appointment to Mussolini's  Academy of Italy  because of his radio work.   Take a look at this quote: 

He became President of Mussolini's Academy of Italy -- and it was in that position that he participated in the persecution of Jews.  He was a member of the Fascist Grand Council.

If you have doubts about this, just take a look at the short clip (above) from Marconi's 1937 funeral procession.  Note the fascist salutes, note Mussolini himself marching in the procession. 

The article from Wales: 

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