Hams - Any Winter Projects?

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AndyH
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Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#1 Post by AndyH » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:50 pm

We've got a couple of months until Antenna February ;) - what's happening in the meantime?

I just finished a W8TEE/K2ZIA antenna analyzer and have been tweaking my antenna a bit. Arduino's are fun little beasties!
http://qrpguys.apps-1and1.com/w8tee-k2z ... a-analyzer

Once the rest of the parts arrive, I'll be finishing the test gear trifecta with VU2ESE's Sweeperino and SPECAN - a frequency generator/sweeper/power meter combo and spectrum analyzer.
http://hfsignals.blogspot.in/p/sweeperino.html
http://hfsignals.blogspot.in/p/specan-r ... w7zoi.html

If I still feel like inhaling solder smoke after those two are running, the main event is a µBITX - a general coverage transceiver.
http://www.phonestack.com/farhan/ubitx/ubitx.html

This internet thing is making homebrewing a lot easier than it was in the 1970s. (The slow boats from China aren't any faster, though :lol: )

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#2 Post by Woodsman » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:46 pm

I had to take down the pine tree that was holding one end of my HF wire (40-10).

Focused on my M-48 Yugo at the moment. I’ll get back to antenna work once the weather deteriorates more ;)
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#3 Post by YankeeTarheel » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:56 pm

Yeah, I have winter projects: Fixing lots and lots of stuff around the house. Patching sheetrock in the garage and installing bicycle "flies" to get them up and out of the way.
Rebuilding half a powder room--the half with the sink. Repairing track lighting in the home office, master bedroom, and kitchen. Restoring my Peugeot's MAFAC Racer brakes. Patching falling-out mortar in the front steps. etc, etc, etc, etc, etc....
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#4 Post by SubRosa » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:17 pm

I'm building a period-correct 1938 HLPM 80m 1kW AM transmitter.

A 3500-4000kc heterodyne VFO, the final is a Federal F-128A (https://frank.pocnet.net/sheetsF.html) modded by a pair of Amperex HF-300's.

Called St. George after Mr. Westinghouse, a major source for the parts.

Built from two alloy sets of rack channels, set at the Bell System spacing for 23" panels. 7' tall on casters

All panels 1/4" alloy, handmade. Powered by 208V 3-phase, all MV rectifiers.

The main meter panel took several months to complete; re-scaling some of them took a lot of time.

It is looking pretty good so far.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#5 Post by AndyH » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:42 pm

Sub - I'd love to see pictures of that project as it progresses!
Woodsman wrote:Focused on my M-48 Yugo at the moment. I’ll get back to antenna work once the weather deteriorates more ;)
:lol:
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#6 Post by senorgrand » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:58 pm

Man, I wish one of you guys was near me...you might be able to get my old Grundig running again. I've got no way to test old tubes.
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#7 Post by SubRosa » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:24 pm

SenorGrand,

You can mail them to me, I'll test and/or replace them for you gratis.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#8 Post by senorgrand » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:55 pm

SubRosa wrote:SenorGrand,

You can mail them to me, I'll test and/or replace them for you gratis.

Subs
Thanks subs! It will have to be after the holidays...wish I could get one of those free tube labeling kits they used to have at the 5 and dime. ;)
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#9 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:00 pm

senorgrand wrote:Man, I wish one of you guys was near me...you might be able to get my old Grundig running again. I've got no way to test old tubes.
Hunt on eBay for a tube-tester. I have a small one that can test all the classics from the 50's and 60's. About the size of a laptop PC. I think I got it on eBay--don't remember anymore.
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#10 Post by senorgrand » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:20 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
senorgrand wrote:Man, I wish one of you guys was near me...you might be able to get my old Grundig running again. I've got no way to test old tubes.
Hunt on eBay for a tube-tester. I have a small one that can test all the classics from the 50's and 60's. About the size of a laptop PC. I think I got it on eBay--don't remember anymore.
How much??
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#11 Post by SubRosa » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:59 pm

To be safe, there is a lot more to bringing an old tube radio back to life than a new tube or two.

Age kills all the capacitors in it, especially the filter electrolytics. Powering it up with those bad, can take out some tubes at best, or a power transformer at worst.

For the hassle of properly packing it up and sending it to me, I'll go through it for you free.

I do many radios a year, and it always make me feel great to bring another back to life :thumbup: (as long as it isn't used to listen to RW talk assholes :no: ).

What say?

And Andy, I'll post more pix as soon as I have time to work on it again.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#12 Post by senorgrand » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:03 pm

SubRosa wrote:To be safe, there is a lot more to bringing an old tube radio back to life than a new tube or two.

Age kills all the capacitors in it, especially the filter electrolytics. Powering it up with those bad, can take out some tubes at best, or a power transformer at worst.

For the hassle of properly packing it up and sending it to me, I'll go through it for you free.

I do many radios a year, and it always make me feel great to bring another back to life :thumbup: (as long as it isn't used to listen to RW talk assholes :no: ).

What say?

And Andy, I'll post more pix as soon as I have time to work on it again.

Subs
Thanks Subs!

It's HUGE though...big 1953 hifi with turntable.
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#13 Post by SubRosa » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:20 pm

I'll be driving to LA soon (Woodland Hills), maybe we could meet up? I'll have a large station wagon on that trip.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#14 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:44 pm

SubRosa wrote:To be safe, there is a lot more to bringing an old tube radio back to life than a new tube or two.

Age kills all the capacitors in it, especially the filter electrolytics. Powering it up with those bad, can take out some tubes at best, or a power transformer at worst.

For the hassle of properly packing it up and sending it to me, I'll go through it for you free.

I do many radios a year, and it always make me feel great to bring another back to life :thumbup: (as long as it isn't used to listen to RW talk assholes :no: ).

What say?

And Andy, I'll post more pix as soon as I have time to work on it again.

Subs
Yeah, you need a variable voltage transformer to slowly bring up the voltage and reform the capacitors, or risk blowing them. Unfortunately, such things used to be common, but aren't anymore.
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#15 Post by SubRosa » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:54 pm

Reforming caps is like reloading Berdan; a waste of time.

They will fail again very soon, best thing for the health of the device is to just shotgun them all.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#16 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:40 pm

SubRosa wrote:Reforming caps is like reloading Berdan; a waste of time.

They will fail again very soon, best thing for the health of the device is to just shotgun them all.

Subs
Not a ham but I did spend a lot of time working with Dynaco tube amps. Transformers are more likely to degrade after 40-50 years.
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#17 Post by senorgrand » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:02 pm

SubRosa wrote:I'll be driving to LA soon (Woodland Hills), maybe we could meet up? I'll have a large station wagon on that trip.

Subs
When?
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#18 Post by AndyH » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:09 pm

The old waxed caps still look good even when they've been dead for a long time.
changes.jpg
Re-capping takes a LOT longer when one gets distracted... ;)
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#19 Post by ErikO » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:23 am

I really need to take advantage of having a family friend as an Instructor who is a retiree with a wife who wants he to get out more. ;)

Wife is on board, need to get the two pack of Baufengs and get used to them (no, I will not hit the send key!).
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#20 Post by AndyH » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:31 pm

SubRosa - Is your amp documented in a past Handbook by any chance? Also...any guesses on which decade's Handbook might have AM projects? My '82 ARRL Handbook (and '83 handbook from the RSGB) were doing more SSB, digital, and satellite. I'm wondering if I need to get back into the 1960s or so? Thanks OM!

ETA...I found a 1941 edition of the Handbook - socketed coils - yummy!
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#21 Post by SubRosa » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:36 pm

It is an original design by yours truly. I spent almost a half century in broadcast engineering, so my leanings are towards things that will run 125% over design, 24/7. Factory ham gear always seemed a little 'flimsy' to me, no offense meant.

The heterodyne VFO is partly patterned after an article in the '38 ARRL book, and I borrow heavily from the Jones books from '35-'40.

I wish I had mote time just now, too many drains on me to work on it currently.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#22 Post by AndyH » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:29 pm

Very cool, Subs! Scratch building is one thing, but having the EE chops to start from a plain sheet of paper is a different level entirely. Much respect!


One doesn't need really pointy tweezers to install tubes...
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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#23 Post by Hasaf » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:39 pm

Also a ham; but I haven't been very active. I have a vhf/uhf in my car and it is normally on 146.520 and the local repeater; I almost never hear anything on either.

I haven't been on HF in quite a while. I don't have a HF radio in the town I work in and I ended up taking my antennas down at home . . . I need to put them back up. I have never made a HF contact and that may be largely responsible for my overall lack of enthusiasm about bothering with more antennas.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#24 Post by featureless » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:55 pm

My winter project is to get a license. Any pointers or online/hard copy prep resources?

What does the brain trust think about this as an entry-level device?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAULSOK/_e ... 3YHS&psc=0

I found that a ham radio would have been very useful during the fires here. Land line was down (connected via cable internet) and cell phone was spotty over much of the county. I'm 25 miles from home and would love another way to "phone home" should another fire or the overdue earthquake hit.

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Re: Hams - Any Winter Projects?

#25 Post by Hasaf » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:03 pm

featureless wrote:My winter project is to get a license. Any pointers or online/hard copy prep resources?

What does the brain trust think about this as an entry-level device?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAULSOK/_e ... 3YHS&psc=0

I found that a ham radio would have been very useful during the fires here. Land line was down (connected via cable internet) and cell phone was spotty over much of the county. I'm 25 miles from home and would love another way to "phone home" should another fire or the overdue earthquake hit.
This is the one I used to get my general and Extra https://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/ I didn't just memorize, if there was something I got wrong I would look it up, generally on Wikipedia, but sometimes other resources. I would study the thing until I understood it.

For my Tech, I took a class at the college I was getting my AS in Electronic Technology from; but that was back in the 80's.

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