New Technology for 2020 ~ The Heathkit Benton Harbor Lunch Boxes

The Benton Harbor Lunch Boxes!

New Homebrew Microphone for the recently built Rigs.

A defunct LED desk lamp was repurposed to house my $1.15 Electret microphone form ALL Electronics. Sounds Good! Works Good! PTT button is in the base.

No Op-Amps, Precision Capacitors, Precision Resistors or Phase Shift Networks with claimed Opposite Sideband suppression of 45 dB were used for this build.

Pete N6QW

Fox Hunting Old School!

Back in Mid-1959 I got my Novice and Technician License and about two months later I had my General Ticket. In the course of getting on the air I discovered two other hams (also Generals) in neighboring towns who were the same age as me ( 17 years old) and aside from having a common love for this great hobby also liked to chase the YL's.

We hit upon an ingenious idea and that was to force multiply our efforts (Hey emperor with a microscopic e that is a military term not fake news). We all acquired the heathkit "Tener" Benton Harbor Lunch Boxes with the inverter supply. Our plan was to scatter out across the area and Fox Hunt where the YL's were. One would go to Bob's Big Boy hamburger joint, another to the White Castle ( a really cheap hamburger joint) and the other to the skating rink. We kept in touch via the Tener's installed in our cars. Our watering hole was 29.360 Megahertz.

For those who may not know, the Lunch Box was indeed about the size of  a lunch box, all tubes with a built in AC supply. The Receiver was a Regen and the Transmitter which was crystal controlled used a single 6CX8 combined oscillator/amplifier for a whopping 5 watt signal on 10 Meters. Mind you this was the peak of Cycle 19 and with 2 watts you could work DX.

Our system worked quite well and there was such joy seeing that 8 foot whip antenna flapping in the breeze.

So fast forward 61 years and my thoughts turned to what would be like a Benton Harbor Lunch box today? Yes the Bitx40! Bill N2CQR was kind enough to give me a couple of Bitx40 boards with one Raduino which was inoperative. So I designed my own and came up with a way to have LSB and USB with a single BFO by shifting the LO Frequency from 5 MHz for LSB to 19 MHz for USB. 

Yesterday I took the 1st unit where I actually had supplied two BFO frequencies and converted to the two LO option.

So for the basic conversion I used a breadboard and a small panel left over from the 2nd ZL2CTM project. Then I got to thinking --how to put this in a box. The rigs on a bread board initially look cool and certainly facilitate changes; but typically they look like crap and you are at risk of shorts and RF feedback. So we needed something better!

The I remembered the plastic box that originally was intended as a first aid kit where just the box could be purchased without the contents. I bought this last December to house one of the Bitx40's that I got from Bill. But I had no inkling of what or how to do it. That is when I thought about the Benton Harbor Lunch Boxes. A few hours work and there we are. 

Now maybe a plan would be to take this box to a park and cordon off an area and operate 40M portable. Of course I would have to wear a mask and practice social distancing; but it might be fun. 

There is enough space in the box to include antenna wire and a small tuner plus my home brew microphone. Also noteworthy the lid has a rubber gasketed seal so it likely is water resistant

Were I 17 again -- this rig would have worked "Fox" hunting!

No Op-Amps, Precision Capacitors or Resistors were involved with this build!

Pete N6QW

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