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July 21, 2024. The Choice of IF Frequency.

You have this insatiable urge to homebrew a SSB/CW transceiver and I mean totally homebrew! This rig will have no IC's.  (Gulp) an Analog VFO, a homebrew microphone and even a home constructed case. The 12 pole QER Crystal Filter, of course homebrewed, is suddenly a decision point. No, the decision is not about 12 poles but what frequency? Did I mention this will be your first ever homebrew project. Of all of these pieces indeed the IF Filter Frequency is perhaps the 1st item on the critical path. The McCoy Silver Sentinel or Golden Guardian Filters were some of the 1st commercial 9 MHz Crystal Filters. The 9 MHz filter was popular in the single conversion 80/20 rigs because a 5MHz VFO yields two bands, although you would need two BFO crystals.  Had you used a 5 MHz Filter and 9 MHz VFO then because of sideband inversion only one BFO crystal is needed to give USB on 20M and LSB on 80M. The 9 MHz filter is seen a lot in homebrew and commercial radios (Ten Tec). This all worked prett
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June 20, 2024. Small is not always good!

In yesterday's post I was babbling about a matchbox sized SSB Transceiver. I must have been suffering from the heat we have been experiencing in SoCal. Small is not always a good thing. Today's post will look at what shrinking the size down of a homebrew rig really means. I can remember being issued a Motorla cell phone (1990's) as a part of my job. It was fat and in no way easily slipped into your pocket. Today's cell phones easily fit into any pocket in your tight designer jeans. Portability is the key operative word and so it would be with a ham rig, thus the shrink down syndrome.  Since we are focusing on a homebrew radio, the builder has total control over the size and final configuration.  My foray into creating a shirt pocket SSB transceiver started back in 2007. That project didn't end up being shirt pocket size but did provide some important baseline data. Somewhat reincarnated it is in a box 7X7X2 or almost 100 cub

July 19, 2024. With a doff of the cap to VK3YE, Peter Parker.

VK3YE, Peter Parker has churned out a mountain sized number of projects that are a  three-fer. The Knobless Wonder is a great example where Peter has designed a 40M SSB transceiver that is a simple design, easy to build and works well (that's 3). [Of note, if you are into DSB radios then VK3YE has the subject totally covered.] In the 1st video where QSO's are being recorded VK3YE's has a terribly noisy environment as a routine challenge. The 2nd video was shot at the beach and thus you get a much better feel of how good this radio works. Essentially Peter has a designed a 10 Transistor SSB transceiver whereby choosing the right crystals builds the Crystal Filter at the operating frequency (7.159MHz). So, no LO is needed, and the incoming signal is fed to the IF. Thus, no Knob needed for the main tuning dial ~ Knobless! Most of the supporting transistors are the BC458 (NPN) and the Driver and Final are BD139's. VK3YE"s Knobless Wonder  A Build from JA2GQP The BFO c

June 18, 2024. Needed a filler since we were participating in a Solder Smoke Podcast this morning!

Needed a filler this morning since I was with Bill, N2CQR and Dean, KK4DAS participating in a new soldersmoke podcast soon to be seen on You Tube video screens in your neighborhood.    73's Pete N6QW

July 17, 2024. Six trash bags and two cardboard boxes.

I had a wakeup call yesterday and while not all ham radio related, a significant part of my "personal vision" is.  How can we be so consumed with the more? You know more radios, more power output, more antennas, more gadgets and even more charged on the plastic. Crystal Test Oscillator Gadget We are ever consumed by reading the ads for new radios from the Far East. Some hams even subscribe (for $59) to getting these ads via a download from a purported radio amateurs journal. Often new stuff shows up on our phones without our even doing a search. Thank you, AI.  I am terribly guilty of looking at Amazon for new gadgets I can share with the blog readers. Shudder, I am also an eBay junkie -- trying to spot the $50 boat anchor rig that will test my technical skills at a reincarnation.  It is summertime and time for ham fests. A blog reader from NJ (yes, it is state and more than Tony Soprano) sent a link to a recent ham fest. I enjoyed looking at all of the stuff for sale. Some o

July 16, 2024. Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

  I guess for those who "shoot craps" the title is part of a common vernacular associated with that game. But it seems like ham radio is like shooting craps. We always are thinking a new pair of shoes, is like a new radio on the bench. Shoes in ham vernacular of old meant a linear amp following the normal station transmitter. Something I had been meaning to test was the 40M MMIC CW transceiver. I had a bit of an issue with the original IRF510 (which was removed) and added one small RF amp stage in the transmitter, a BFR106, and changed the final to just the 2N5109. The power output is just shy of 750 milliwatts.  Using the Reverse Beacon Network on 40M at 750mw, midday, I was spotted in San Jose, CA and Phoenix AZ. The Phoenix spot was about 400 miles away. Of note the San Jose station was W6YX at Stanford University. Then the test last night at about 2000 PDST on 40M involved running the 40M MMIC at 750 mw and then with a pair of shoes with 25 watts output.  At the lower pow

July 15, 2024. I failed to follow my own advice.

Being an OT, it is hard to overcome thoughts of past radios that you never owned but wished you owned. I had another one of those consuming and persistent dreams recently that resulted in some new additions to the N6QW shack. Three former US ham radio equipment manufacturers stand out as making gear that fits that paradigm and always caught my eye. Yes, you too -- Collins, Drake and Ten Tec. My stable includes several pieces of gear from those three. Recently I spotted a Drake T4XC that looked unmolested and fairly good on the cosmetics but had one short coming -- no case top. But I could get it for $120. No stranger to the Drake Twins, I made the move since I had a PayPal balance burning a hole in my pocket. [If you check my original website you will spot a link to the resurrection of a Drake B Line that had been terribly molested and literally rebuilt by me. So, the Drake Twins were not unknown to me.] By the time Drake got round to the "C" line these we