WA9BLP Tower Project

The club recently helped Ray WA9BLP refurbish his tower, antennas and shack. A full write up can be found in the March 2018 RHG. Kevin K9AAB provided this video documenting the process.

From the President

Some exciting things have happened relating to our new web site. It is proving to be a great tool for communicating our events, and for showing others who may be interested in the club what we do. I urge all of you to help us keep things fresh on the web site. It’s fairly easy. Just send any pictures or notes about any ham related activities that you’re taking part in to myself, or use the Submit an Article link at the bottom of our web site. The more pictures the better, so make sure you take a few when you’re at SARC in the Park or one of the upcoming public service events.

Because of the ease at which we can now  update the web site, we’re also making some changes to the RHG. The role of the RHG will be pared back to cover only club business such as meeting minutes and election notifications as well as a letter from the President. You’ll continue to see it posted on our web site. The articles that used to make up parts of the RHG will now be posted right on the front page of the web site as they are submitted. This helps us keep the content on the web page fresh. Everyone is still invited to submit content for the RHG. You can use the link at the bottom of our web site, or send articles to the RHG editor. If you’re suggesting that we re-publish an article from another site, please secure permission from the author before submitting it. We will also monitor SARC All for interesting discussions as was the case with Battery Size for Portable Operation and RF Tornado Detection, 1959, which both came from SARC All.

Websites Recommended by Club Members

Each month we present a new list of websites that club members find interesting. We’ll share these with you.   If you find something of interest that’s Ham Radio, or technology related, ie electronics, science, engineering, computers, kit building etc, please feel free to send submission to Mike K9KQX.

ARRL Repurposes AM Transmitter for HAM Radio Use – Thanks to a joint effort by ARRL and the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut (VRCMCT), a classic Gates BC-1T AM broadcast transmitter will enjoy a second life on the Amateur Radio bands for occasional use under W1AW or under the ARRL Headquarters Operators Club call sign, W1INF

Stephen Hawking, Who Awed Both Scientist and the Public, Dies – There aren’t very many scientists who achieved rock star status. Stephen Hawking, who has died at the age of 76, family members told British media early Wednesday, was definitely a contender.

BITX40 SSB Kit

by Dave Sims K9KBM

(Copied from Ad)

When was the last time you used a radio you had built? The BITX40 board is a two board, 40 meter SSB transceiver module kit with digital control! Inside an evening, you can be on-air with this digital SSB transceiver, chatting with the local gang or chasing DX across the world. Plug in the earphones, the included electret mic, tuning and volume controls, and you are on air! Included are high quality connectors, all the needed sockets and jacks, tuning and volume controls, mounting hardware, etc., all for $60.

Technicals

The BITX40 is shipped as a set of two boards : The Raduino and the Main Transceiver Board, with connectors and external components. You have to supply your own cabinet, mic, speaker, power supply and Antenna. Soldering is required, but all of the SMD and other components on the Main Transceiver Board and already soldered in place for you. Your kit-building efforts are little more than connecting the off-board controls via the supplied wiring connectors.

The Raduino

The new BITX40’s Raduino is a small, hackable, board utilizing an Arduino Nano to control a rock-steady Si5351 synthesizer and a clean 16×2 frequency display. The program code is free and Open Source. The Raduino features 6 analog ports, three oscillators and six digital lines.

Receiver

Listen to the very clean, crisp, and quiet receiver. The front-end has a triple-tuned circuit that limits out-of-band signals. The diode ring mixer front-end makes this a crisp receiver that doesn’t overload easily. The all-analog signal path to your ear provides outstanding signal clarity that must be heard to be believed.

Transmitter

7 watts of low distortion SSB provides you with enough power to have thousands of contacts on 40 meters, daily rag chews, and occasional DX chasing. Any common 2 ampere, 12 linear volts, power supply will provide enough juice for this transceiver. Or you could simply run it from a battery!

Hackable

The BITX40 will inspire you to experiment. Modify it, mount it, tweak it, change it. The Users’ Group is filled with plenty of ideas for modifications if you want to experiment.

Raduino uses a standard Arduino Nano that makes it easy to write code in simple C language to work on more modes, bands, utlilities. RIT, dual VFOs, more bands, CW/RTTY are just some code away! Who will be the first to add the Raduino keyer?

The main board comes with all analog large-sized SMD components already soldered on the board. The components are laid out on an easy-to-understand manner on a double sided board with broad tracks to encourage experimentation. There are jump-points from where you can add more modules like the DDS, more bands, better audio amplifier, etc. Your imagination is the limit. You can separately increase the power amplifier’s supply voltage to 25 volts to be more than 20 watts of power if you want. (You will have to add a larger heat sink.) The mods are on the way!

The boards can be installed inside any box that you like. Make your own station rigs, man-packs, SOTA rigs, trail radio, or mount it in a cigar box and leave it on your bedside table. Watch the instructions video.

Box Contents

We have tried to include all the connector/hardware you might possibly need to build a full radio. However, we also had to balance the shipping weight to keep the overall cost down. You will have to supply your own box, power supply and earphones/headphones/speaker.

  • 4-1/2 inches by 5 inches tested SSB transceiver module, covering any 400 KHz segment of the 7 MHz band
  • The Raduino board with Si5351, Arduino Nano with code loaded. Fully tested
  • High quality BNC connector for the antenna
  • Small electret microphone
  • Two earphone-style audio jacks for the mic and the earphones/speaker
  • A set of DC power socket and plug
  • Volume control with on/off switch
  • 10k linear pot for tuning
  • 8 brass standoffs with mounting nuts and bolts
  • Connectors with wires for all connections to the board

Note : A speaker is not included in the kit as earphones/headphones/speakers are easily available locally. No cabinet is included to save on the postage cost. Almost any box maybe used.

Manufacture

The BITX boards are hand assembled by a collective of women. Each of the toroids is hand wound. This provides these women with a livelihood. The assembled boards are then DC checked and a final RF check is performed to check the receiver’s sensitivity as well as transmitter’s output before being shipped. Each board is individually numbered.

Builders Comments

The most difficult part of this kit is deciding on a container and the mechanical work. You can find many on line pictures showing how to layout and (also how not to) your chassis /container. A few builders made 3D printed cases and offered a free download of their design, one that I particular like is shown below.

 

When using a plastic case you should line the case with foil tape, conductive paint or space the assembly off an un-etched PCB blank for best practice. I’ll give the instructions an A- and the pictorial an A. Depending on the layout some of the wire leads were long so I took the precaution of twisting the leads with a drill before I cut then to length. If you noticed in the case photo, one knob (the tuning knob) is bigger than the other which provides a better feel for tuning. As mentioned, the mechanical work takes the longest time and effort once completed the electrical portion only takes a few hours. One of the wiring options is to provide the power amp with a higher voltage supply allowing you to double the output.

Firing It Up

As a test, the instructions recommend monitoring the current while hooked to a dummy load and noting that the current jumps from .25A to 1 Amp when loudly speaking. That worked well on the dummy load but poorly (very little current change) on an unturned antenna. The receiver worked well on my long wire and station were not difficult to tune in as a large knob worked as a veneer.

Other Offerings

The same company offers a 40M rig and for $114 you can buy an 80 thru 10 transceiver.