Sunday, January 29, 2017

SolderSmoke Podcast 193 ~ Insight and Comment

All Information is Good Information!

Someone once told me that and I have firmly come to believe that. Not that the information in itself may be good; but it is good to know that certain individuals believe something (which maybe erroneous) that you now know where they stand. The other side of the good information is that you may be presented with thoughts or concepts that perhaps were unintended in what you personally have presented. An example is to merely say "hook it up" and run the test failing to mention that the test needs to be run with a dummy load. You know to hook it into a dummy load; but that may not be clear to others.
For three years now I have participated in a monthly podcast along with Bill, N2CQR who has been at it for 10 years and is one of the original founders. Check out Bill's blog for a link to the latest podcast (#193). The subject matter of the blog --yep ham radio with an emphasis on homebrewing, current technical topics and a trip across our respective work benches to share projects we are  building. I tend to favor the newer technologies (digital VFO's) and Bill likes the older type (Analog VFO's). We had thought this was a good approach as it offered our listeners a range of topics or how to perform a task using different technologies. (A comment here: I see Bill drifting more and more toward the "digi" stuff.)
Usually the podcast starts by Bill asking me what number is it -- and I respond much like the Rock Jock's of the 1960's by shouting with enthusiasm the current number. I guess I always wanted to be a rock jock --a dream of mine that was fulfilled by my daughter who actually was one!
Hopefully our format shares technical knowledge and even our tales of woe as we  smoked parts and most importantly to include projects by our listeners. In fact Bill's blog is mostly about projects being built around the world with many of the projects directly relating to subjects covered in the podcast. At one time we ran a series about the Michigan Mite Mite a single transistor transmitter using colorburst crystals. Bill (mostly Bill) and I even supplied crystals to those wanting to build the project. We did supply about 50 crystals and we know of many being built using their own crystals. So we do think our efforts have been impactful across the world of ham radio.
The last several podcasts have highlighted a currently world wide popular ham transceiver known as the Bitx40. This amazing complete built 40 Meter SSB transceiver comes to you pre-built, delivered to your door for an amazing price of $59 --and that includes a digi LO and LCD display! Bill has built two  and I have built one!
But the real thrill of this radio is the ability to customize the project and there is even a "hack page" provided by the manufacturer to collect these mods/improvements, to which both Bill and I have contributed. I have even created a series of web pages to assist the 1st time builder to get the Bitx40 on the air. You can find that here Bitx40 from N6QW  We believe about 2000 of these radios are now in ham shacks across the globe. We have VU2ESE, Farhan to thank for this wonderful project and the idea of how to spread the ham radio gospel.

Two other recent technical highlights discussed reverse polarity protection and the use of active de-couplers to remove noise from audio circuit resulting from the use of OLED displays. Perhaps the message to us is that these were too simple technically to even merit a word let alone a discussion.  Inputs like this would help guide a selection of topical discussions.
Since we do the podcast monthly at times it may stretch to five weeks and to alert the podcast fans Bill will send notice the various reflectors in essence saying "we're back at it." So was the case yesterday when SS #193 was announced to the world.
On one particular reflector there were several negative comments about the podcast including a derisive comment about my "wanna be rock jock announcing" of the podcast number. Further comments involved the lack of technical content and it not being very useful. That is good information! Unlike our current POTUS 45 we are not thin skinned about negative comments nor have we banned any listeners!
Instead what would be helpful is if listener's would share with us the good, the bad and the ugly! If my shouting into the microphone is offensive to many of the listeners then it is an easy fix. Just tell us. But if you laugh a bit while I say it --let me know. As to technical content let us know that too. If you would like to know about Hilbert transforms or how does a Double Balanced Mixer perform a commutating action to demodulate a signal --we can do that too. Although a treatise on 3rd order linear regression might lose a few listeners. But let us know. The podcast is for you not us!
So to those several hams that had the courage to input negative comments we salute you and say thank you. But we'd also like to hear from others who may share those same negative (or positive) feelings about what Bill and I do. Let me assure you will not be banned from the podcast nor will you have to show proof of license.
Pete N6QW