Archive for the ‘General and Misc…’ Category

Short Update…

July 3, 2014

Wanted to mention what I found by comparing the molded inductor verse the use of a toroid for the RF Phase Shift.

Found that the molded inductor (molded inductor for the primary and four turns of hook-up wire for the secondary) has at least a 10 dBm loss at 7 MHz. I wound a toroid for the same component with ten turns for the primary and four turns for the secondary on a FT37-61 and had only a 2.8 dBm loss at 7 Mhz. So, using the toroid is the better choice. But, modeling this new insight with LTSpice still leaves me with some doubt. The RF level going into the Detector stage is still not up to 700mv which I think would be necessary for good sensitivity. I doubt I will continue on with this project in its present form. Still have some desire to use the LO ceramic osc and hook it up to a homebrew NE602/LM386 receiver I build a few years ago to see if that would work.

Have discovered some really interesting functions for LTSpice…things I wish I had known years ago. ¬†Still learning how to set-up sources for driving oscillators, mixers, etc and what types of analysis’s tell me what type of information. This learning has turned out to be more fun that I first imagined!

With the fourth just around the corner, I doubt I will get much done till next week. I have started to do the 30 meter mod for my KX1 and also want to do the auto tuner kit while I am in the kit building mood.

Hope everyone has a good and safe Fourth of July weekend!

72/73…Mikey, WB8ICN

Antenna’s and RV’ing

April 17, 2013

Mounted the two poles I use for antenna mounts on the back of the RV yesterday. I use those three foot “army green” poles and stack them together to make a mast about 25 to 30 feet high. I have three vertical antenna ideas to play with and also want to built a 9:1 unun for a sloper antenna idea that is said to work good on 40 thru 10 meters…and only 26 to 30 feet long. That size would be perfect for RV’ing and small camping sites since out Fifth-Wheel is also 30 feet long.

We plan on RV’ing in the UP of Michigan, OH, IND, NY and maybe PA if time permits. I like using my K1 when camping…but now will also have my CC1 for 40 meters and my KX1 which is good for 40 and 20 meters. I have the 30 meter band PCB kit but have yet to build it. I also have the auto tuner (KXAT1) kit but think about selling it as I doubt I would ever use is.

Will post antenna results here as they become available and not eating hot dogs at the campfire!

Workbench Progress

April 10, 2013

OK, the KX1 is done…the firmware chip was bad but thanks to the KX1 guru Don, W3FPR, that along with a couple of solder reflows and he got the rig working. The guy really knows his stuff! The KX1 should be back here in a week or so and then I can try it out.

Completed the beta build on Etherkit’s new CC1 40 meter transceiver…nearly all smd and challenging for an old fart like me. But had fun, though I may hesitate from future smd projects unless they are size 1206…better yet, stick with thru-hole components…LOL. Made a couple of contacts this evening as is and it works rather well.¬† 2.5 watts out and the receiver is really hot! I have yet to tackle the case which is included but not marked so I have to do some measuring and praying (!!!) to get it right.

We have uncovered our fifth wheel and I want to start playing with some antenna ideas to use this season while out and about…camping/fishing/QRP operation, it just don’t get any better than that!

Fall 2012 Update…

October 12, 2012

Well, summer was here and now is gone. The summer was actually quite hot and then along came September and suddenly it was rather cool. Now I expect it to snow any day. Good old Michigan weather…if you don’t like it, wait and it will change in ten minutes. We did get out for three trips in the RV and enjoyed it.

OK, have started thinking about fall and winter projects. Got several partially built kits to completed so that will be first. Then a couple of workbench ideas I want to complete…then take some time to learn (relearn in a couple of cases) several microcontrollers…PIC, Basic Stamp, PicAxe, AVR (2313, Arduino, Butterfly), MPS430 and TI has just introduced the Stellaris-launchpad hosting the LM4F120 processor that has many in panic to order and get. It is by far the more complex micro-chip that I have seen. Since many ham projects now use micros to do much of the processing and interfacing, I figured it was time that I learned at least some of the basics to use them in upcoming projects and ideas.

Funny, but it seems I do more antenna work in the winter than the summer. Have two dipole antennas and three vertical antennas I want to play with for use with our RV for future outings. I found a good RS-232 to USB adapter, so I can now use my Micro 908 analyzer to use along with my notebook for antenna projects.

I have been urged by two friends to start updating this blog in a more timely manner…and they are both right. Since we will be here for most of the colder months (again), I might as well play on the bench, spend more time on the air and document what I do in a more complete and timely manner. I also have a web page ( that never seems to get updated…so that too will be a habit I need to get into in the future. Will still mess with analog/RF projects and try to finish these Hands-On-Radio lessons/experiments. I guess I have no reason to say I have nothing to post in the coming months <smile>. Many times I feel like I have forgotten more than I ever learned!

OK…enough of the babbling…I will update this blog and the web page to at least let two people know that I am still vertical and taking nourishment, and snuffing solder fumes!

Alive and Well…

February 8, 2012

I haven’t post anything since Thanksgiving as I have done nothing to talk about. Been rather lazy to be honest about it. But, a couple of friends have commented to to me that I hadn’t updated the blog in awhile, so maybe its time to start snuffing solder fumes again and do some CW on a more frequent basis.

Weather here is not bad for February in the terms of snow and temps…hope it stays that way till we move into spring and then summer.

I had been building the NADC transceiver from Hendricks QRP Kits and have all but wiring up the external controls done. But I have put that aside for now and wait to play around with the Hand On Radio experiments shown on the ARRL web site. Every couple of years, I try to refresh this old brain of mine as to the fundamentals to electronics. This choose to do this winter and now want to play with some stuff in the ARRL’s series.

Anyway, stay tuned and see what I end up doing…may not be exciting or earth shattering in new techniques, but I do have a lot of fun and learn a lot by doing it.


Overdue Update…

October 27, 2011

Been awhile since I have posted an update…the XYL is in NY for her annual family visit, which leaves me and the cats in charge of things around the QTH. Most of the leaves have fallen and some have been picked up. Looks as though we are going to spend another cold and white season here due to diesel costs.

The PFR-3 and the DC40A are both working and healthy. I just made my first contact on the DC40A, KC9SNC in WI who was also QRP with a Ten Tec. I am getting a tad over one watt out with a 14 volt PS. Now to focus on building a USB-ISP programming adaptor. I keep having issues with my serial to USB adaptor so just decided to buy a USB ISP programming adaptor and be done with problems. Hope to do so AVR and Arduino experiments this winter. Lots of ideas out there and have a couple of books also to learn from.

10, 15 and 20 meters have been really hot lately! I think I could work DXCC in one weekend if there is a contest going on. I remember 10 meters back in the mid-70’s and it was a blast.

OK, need to get some antenna prep work done for a dear friend who needs a new antenna. We have decided to build a G5RV for 40 through 10 meters. I want to play with the NorCal Doublet idea for an RV antenna…looks interesting.

72/73’s for now…Mikey

Lots of Chores Done, Yet so Many to Go

October 11, 2011

Only have to cover the RV and that will complete this year’s winterizing. Getting ready to put the PFR-3 back together. Got on 40 CW today and checked into the Armed Forces Net…been awhile since I did that. Bob, WB8BOR is normally the NCS and has a super fist.

Plan to play in the shack tonight. Once the PFR-3 is done, might either start the DC-40 from QRP-Kits, or start some basic experimentation stuff on the workbench. Have always wanted to do some impedance matching and determining of amps, oscillators and mixers. Have my trusty Return Loss Bridge (RLB) I built a couple of years ago…but not sure if I understand exactly how it works. In fact, I think I have forgotten more stuff than I have learned over the years…at least it seems that way sometime…LOL.

Just worked T32C on Christmas Island on 10 meters. Haven’t done that sort of thing in years. All the bands have been really good lately. Might drag out my 20 meter homebrew transceiver I built a couple of years ago and play with it.

Not much else to comment on, have a great day and 73’s!

Activities at WB8ICN

October 6, 2011

Spent one day sorting boxes in the garage, then the next day went to Shipshewana to the XYL’s favorite flea market, then today I cleaned the garage by building two more shelf units, moving stuff around, burning more junk and throwing a lot of stuff away. Should be able to move the band saw up to the first garage’s workshop so I can cut PCB material during the cold and whiter months.

Weather here has been wonderful and I wish it could be like this year round…fat chance of that, but will enjoy it while I can. Got some antenna projects planned before the white stuff flies including climbing the tower for two projects. Since we will be here for several months while it white…I hope to get a hot antenna up at 45 feet for 2 meters to work SSB and CW. My Yagi for HF seemed to have died, so need to figure out what is wrong it it.

Now that the CC-20 is done, I hope to troubleshoot the PFR-3 and find out what happened to it after I put it in the case. Will know more once I pull it back out of the case and start going it.

OK, need a hot shower and maybe a campfire to make my old body feel better…