VK5SRP 2018 projects
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Storing radio patch leads
If you have been a Ham for many years you probably have a collection of coaxial patch leads you have made or collected over the years. Storing these is a big enough problem but an even bigger problem arises when you are rummaging through your junk boxes to find one of the appropriate length for a new installation. This little article can solve both those problems.
A piece of 50 by 50 mm angle aluminium with holes and slots cut into it as shown in the image below solves the storage problem. It is preferable to mount this on the side of a high cupboard or even on a wall so you can store leads up to two metre in length.
We can solve the identification problem by using the plastic tags that come on most bread and other bakery goods bags. If you like bread like I do, you will accumulate quite few of these in a short time.
Simply write the length of the cable on the tag and slip it over the cable. If you would like to get very fancy you could use different colour tags to indicate the connector types used or you could write that on one side of the tag and the length on the other side. Finding more than one colour tag means you will have to go grocery shopping with your “better half” as different brands of bread may have different colour tags.
To help with identifying leads when they are installed on your equipment on a bench or desktop, you can colour code the cables with short lengths of heat shrink. Available colours of heat shrink is limited so I often put a longer length of one colour on the cable first and a short “tracer” colour over part of that. See the seventh cable from the right hand end above.
Home made desk microphone
Some time ago I was given an interesting hand microphone which mounted on a very heavy metal base. After leaving this in a junk box for quite a few years I had a need for a desk microphone that could be switched from High to Low impedance. I remembered I had this one so I rescued it from the junk box and soon I had worked out how I could use a die cast box as a base and with the addition of some switches and connectors it would be a useful dual impedance desk microphone. I have also added provision for a foot pedal for press to talk.
Coaxial switch with extra contacts
I have collected three FT-101 rigs over the years, an FT-101B, an FT-101E and now an FT-101ZD. I decided to put the FT-101ZD in my workshop where I do most of my construction and repairs and the other two in my radio shack. The only problem with that plan I am running out of antenna switch positions and room on the desks. I then explored the possibility of adding a rotary switch wafer to a typical 201 generic coaxial switch. The original of these switches as made by Dawa and its part number was CS-201. Now there are quite few copies of this switch with the part number ending in 201. Although they look like the original, some are not very good quality. From the pictures below you can see how I added a shaft to the internal actuator of the coaxial switch and used a shaft coupler to then add a short length of Oak Switch shaft with its flats to rotate the wafer outside the coaxial switch.
The rotary switch wafer switches the loud speaker and the microphone and there are poles on the switch to control other functions. By sharing the loud speaker I can also share a BHI noise away unit to both rigs, neccessary in my area where there can often be an S9 or higher noise level.
Heathkit IP32 high voltage regulated power supply
I bought this one at last years (2017) AHARS Buy and Sell for A$50.00 and was assured it worked. After I had found a manual on the web, I had a good look at the wiring and the power chord before plugging it into the mains and turning it on. The first thing I noticed was the HT voltage was quite a lot lower than the specifications indicated and the power transformer was humming more than I thought it should. I then turned my attention to the electrolytic capacitors in this supply and found they were getting warm, quite warm after being on for only five minutes. it took me severl days to find suitable high voltage electrolytic capacitors but once I had found these and fitted them to both the HT and the Bias supplies the voltage was back to normal and the power transformer did not hum any more.
I had been looking for one of these for several years, I make, repair and experiment with valve (tube for the Americans) radios and it is often better to power them from an external power supply while I discover the other problems they may have. I also have a home made High Voltage supply but it only provides about 180 Volt at 50 mA, not enough for a lot of what I do.
Details of this can be found here
Yaesu FT-227RB - Memorizer
Production discontinued in 1981. Over it's life in production, it was sold with several different model suffixes. Later models had up/down buttons on the mike and the VFO could scan for busy or clear frequencies - pretty unusual in 1980! It came to me from a collection of "stuff" from a "X" CB operator who had lost all interest in radio. All I needed to get it going was to find a suitable microphone and fit a five pin microphone connector. A little tricky to get used to using it but an interesting rig never the less. This rig was brought out in several versions of the time it was produced and to provide for the extras, switches were added to the bottom and back of the case.
UFO's (un finished objects) Other projects started in or before 2018 but not yet finished
- Heathkit HW-32, 20 Metre Sinagle Bander - still looking for a full construction manual for this as I have to restore some of the wireing and the only manual on the web has all these page missing.
- Heathkit SB-200 Linear Amplifier - a big job to modernise this but it is almost finished. Have had to wait for a new set of valves (tubes).
- Two more FT-101 rigs. An FT-101E that had been made a mess of by 'Harry the Ham' or 'Charlie Baker', the CB,er and an FT-101ZD, waiting for me to replace the coupling capacitors to the grids of the driver valve and the output tubes. Both almost finished.
- Icom IC-735 and AT-150 HF rig and matching AATU. I have made an interface for this tuner so I can use it with BoatAnchor rigs, details on this web site soon. I used this HF rig in my second shack for most of last winter but when the weather started to warm up I found it distorted on SSB, both receive and transmit. I have found the cure to this problem on the web and will have to replace a number of very small trimmer capacitors around the PLL section. This has had to wait for my Cataracts to be fixed.
- Another FT-200 that has been messed up by someone twidling slugs and trying to add 27 MHz to it. Almost finished. This has had to wait until I obtained a much better RF signal generator. At a recent auction I won a Wavetek Model 3000 generator but sadly I have not been able to use it yet as the attenuator has two sections with burnt resistors. I have sourced these and now my Cataracts have been fixed I should be able to complete both projects in 2019.
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Written by and Copyright, Phil. Storr © Last updated 18th February 2019