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2021 ~ A Time to be Pissed Off!

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N6QW Is Pissed! Recently on a widely read reflector a posting was made regarding a ham club, The Vienna Wireless Society (VWS in Virginia) having a Maker's Group undertake one of my transceiver projects. The project is The Simple SSB Transceiver which is a barebones SSB transceiver (principally on 40M) that can be duplicated by even those with modest skills. A series of webpages was created to document this project  https://www.n6qw.com/Simple_SSB.html https://www.n6qw.com/GQRP.html   The 2nd link is essentially the same data but updated for a presentation made to the GQRP Virtual Convention held in Spetember 2020. Essentially this project is a low part count (9 or 10 devices depending on how one circuit element is built) SSB transceiver that relies on common parts and packaged devices like a Crystal Filter and Double Balanced Mixers (ADE-1). It has a 16X4 LCD for a display. I think at present count there are 10 units built world wide but the VWS will add another 20 units when they

2021 ~ Get Ready For the Explosion of New Products to Hit Our Shacks

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There is a Trend Afoot --- More Stuff Will Be Hitting the Ham Radio Market! It is obvious that soon we shall see an array of new ham radio products that will be hitting a computer screen near you. The focus of these products is obviously to entice us to spend our money. Tour Amazon and eBay and you will see the heads peeping up over the horizon.  From eBay -- $449 From Amazon $512 Straight from Amazon -- $507 [ Note these two above look very similar -- likely from the same sub-contractor in China and farmed out to distribution. ] Basically there are four target market areas inclusive of: New Rigs -- heavy emphasis on SDR. To keep the price point +/- $500 the  emphasis is on rigs in the 10 to 20 watt range. Test Equipment: we formerly only dreamed of instruments such as Vector Network Analyzers, Spectrum Analyzers (these can be had for under $100) and a bigger bite for Digital Storage Oscilloscopes -- under $400. Accessories such as Microphones, SWR Bridges, Auto Tuners and Antennas whi

2021~ The Second Conversion of the Ten Tec Model 150A

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  Continuous Improvement ~ The 2nd Incarnation of the Ten Tec Model 150A     Several years ago I modified a Ten Tec Model 150A which was an eight channel commercial SSB Transceiver that would operate in the 2 to 12 MHz Range. The Basic Configuration was USB only; but could be upgraded with options including LSB, a Noise Blanker and CW. The radio had a 100 watt output. My conversion involved the use of a remote box using a keypad entry where it would tune 160, 80, 60 40 and 20 Meters. With time the remote box became "flaky".  Based on the  effort with the Dentron HF Scout SSB, I decided upon a 2nd conversion so that everything would be inside the TT box and I would limit the operation to 80, 40 and 20 Meters. The photos tell the story. The intial set are of the original conversion and the follow on are what I did in two days.     The next series of photos are the 2nd Conversion! Basicaally I removed the front panel speaker whihc opened up room for the Arduino/Si5351. Some of t

2021 ~ The Conversion of the Dentron HF Scout is Complete and On The Air!

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  The Scout HF SSB Now on 40Meters WYKSYCDS! Those with Knack Rule! My rigs are never done... The video below was made with just the driver stage which is good for better than 1 watt. Today I added an IRF510 Amp and dropped the gain back on the driver and now I am getting 7 watts PEP out of this jewel.  It is such a pleasure to operate. I have made about two dozen contacts with the HF Scout and the results seem well worth the effort. There are many opportunities to rework rigs such as the Dentron HF Scout. But you do have to know stuff and have a big junk box, Enjoy! The purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate that it was possible to take some commercial equipment and repurpose it to ham use. I have also done this with a Ten Tec Model 150A and so other possible candidates exist for modifications.  Pete N6QW

2021 ~ A Year for Technology and the Land Fills Must be Full

  Some Radio Equipment Observations! Just as there are "News" Junkie's I am an "eBay Junkie"! There, that is a confession that as a result of Covid19 I am spending an inordinate amount of time touring the eBay Radio Communications listings. I have noticed a trend that I can't explain. Here are some observations and these perhaps signal a siesmic shift in the radio equipment in our shacks. Pick out a maker of a  rig of old and enter that info into the eBay search listings. Instantly your mind may drift to heathkit and SSB transceivers Several years ago many listings would jump onto the screen Do that today -- and the offerings are few and the prices are through the roof. Can you imagine spending $350 for a rusted, burnt up HW-101. Well that is what you see. Go to Swan and there you see a few more listings for the same search parameters -- but $449 for a Tri-Band beat up Swan 240 seems crazy. Check out hallicrafters and like very few offerings and a rusted FPM

2021 ~ Get Back To Basics! Brew your own Rig!

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Get off your Butt! Build Something! Wow that (as we used to say in the SeaBee's) will get you off your stacking swivel. Most likely if you never served you would not understand.  Many hams have turned into appliance operators and that I witnessed yesterday when one ham was trying to help another ham perfect his audio so his ICOM 7300 would have presence . This is no lie and to quote " you will have to find the setting in one of the 4000 menus". Poor guy -- he will likley never find it. But I want to do two things with this post and one is to share some personal experience about a project I built and is now being undertaken by a ham club. The project is the Simple SSB Transceiver and you can find it on my website www.n6qw.com . The interesting part is that I always say my projects, because they are built in modules, are experimenter's platforms where experimentation is encouraged. Most of my radios are never finished as I am always changing something or uppgrading circ

2021 ~ A Chance to Explore the Old and Update with the New!

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So OK you Don't Want to Hear About Homebrew SDR Radios! APRIL 2, 2021 WYKSYCDS! N6QW Does it Again! Reworking Commercial Radios for use on the Ham Bands! April 1, 2021 ~ It May Be Working Again! This is how it looked before N6QW took at turn at the CNC. Following what I posted earlier, I checked for voltage switching on PTT and for proper bias on Diodes D2 and D3 for Rx and Tx. Harkening back to the good old days, just like the GF who  wasn't pregnant (after a close scare) we now see the rig working again. The mystery signal is somewhat back but pretty much a lot less than it was. I have no rational explanation of what happened; but perhaps the Radio Gods wanted me to understand how the circuit actually works. I do know now; but still do not know what happened. Pete N6QW April 1, 2021 ~ What is the problem(s)? My HF Scout simply stopped working on transmit. The receiver works FB and it will shift over to transmit when you engage the PTT. But there is no RF and nor a waveform si

2021 ~ A Year Moving Forward. Strap In! Your Next Rig will be an SDR Based Transceiver!

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  Time to Smell the New Rose -- An SDR! March 27, 2021 ~ Total HB SDR XCVR 5 Watt, 40M SDR Transceiver -- all on one board! Several years ago I built The RADIG V.3 SDR that all fit on one chunk of Aluminum; but required an external HDMI display. In fact this was my 2020 back yard Field Day station as shown below. Now with the new display I found it has suddenly shrunk in size in term of the foot print. The 3.5 inch TFT display simply plugs into the Raspberry Pi3 and we are off and running ! Actually I now have two versions of the display. One came as a $23 kit for the RPi4 and the other is intended for the RPi3 and is just the Display (about $15). THERE is a huge difference. The RPi4 version can be used with the RPi3 and is the BETTER choice. Let me explain. There is a slight difference in the software set up --which is a problem because there is no explanation of what software to use. But some Internet Sleuthing found something the works for the RPi3 version --but it is clunky and has

2021 ~ A Year Moving Forward

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A year ago we never  fully thought  about what  was coming! The DISPLAY arrived! Treedix Display Mounted on a RPi3 I adjusted the screen resolution from the default (720X480)  and that corrected the earlier problem of a truncated screen. I even got the resolution so large you could not use the stylus for touch screen changes. The above seems to be just about right. Bottom line is it worth $23 -- Yes. I have proceeded to buy the RPi4 from element14. You can get the 2GB version for $35. This could be fun! The Display arrived today and above is a You Tube Video of the presentation to the River City Amateur Radio Society. Getting it to work was not so evident and having the advantage of tribal knowledge helps. This was not plug and play! In order to install the display on the RPi3, you first must load some drivers. Initailly when I plugged it in --the screen was blank. The I noted on the box a URL you could hardly read and it went like this: www/lcdwicki.com/MHS-3.5inch_RPi_Display By goin