jump to navigation

An Illuminating Idea for Gear – Glowire 27 - November - 2007

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Emcomm, K9ZW Built.
2 comments

Glowire on a Pencil

I presently looking into using Glowire to light areas of my shack during operation that need some light, but only as a reference.

Some of the in-vehicle uses look adaptable to outfitting for amateur radio gear.

Same firm offers ultra-bright LEDs and also Glowsheets using the same technology on a flat sheet.

Here is a small sampling of the information on the Glowire website:

What is GLOWIRE?
GLOWIRE is an electroluminescent wire – a copper wire coated with a phosphorus material and wrapped with two tiny transmitter wires. It is then sealed in a waterproof casing. GLOWIRE looks very similar to neon when powered.

What makes it glow?
GLOWIRE must be powered by a driver (inverter) in order to glow. A driver takes a DC input voltage and provides an AC output voltage of approximately 120 volts. Both 9 volt and 12 volt drivers are available with varying frequencies ranging from 400 to 4000hz. Brightness is determined by voltage and frequency. The lower the frequency, the dimmer it glows, the higher frequency the brighter it glows.

How do I know which driver to use?
You need to determine the length of GLOWIRE you want to run and the type of power source you are using. 9 volt drivers will generally run a maximum of 12-14 feet of GLOWIRE. Using longer sections of wire will decrease the brightness. You also need to use a minimum of at least 3 feet or the driver may overload and be damaged. Some of the 12 volt drivers can power 120 feet of wire or more.

How is GLOWIRE used?
The uses of GLOWIRE are limited only by your imagination. Some of the most common uses are for RC models, car interiors, costumes, safety equipment, motorcycles, decorations, art projects, backlighting or mood lighting, signs and model trains. The list goes on and on.

Does it come in different colors?
General purpose GLOWIRE comes in 10 colors: aqua, blue, green, lime, orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow.
Heavy duty GLOWIRE comes in 8 colors: aqua, blue, green, lime, orange, red, white and yellow.
Ultra heavy duty GLOWIRE comes in 5 colors: aqua, blue, green, lime and yellow.
Aqua is considered to be the brightest color as it is the natural color of the wire.

What is the difference between general purpose, heavy duty, and ultra heavy duty GLOWIRE?
General purpose GLOWIRE has a diameter of 2.3mm. It is generally used for situations where the wire will not be under a great deal of stress. Heavy duty GLOWIRE has an extra layer of PVC protection and also UV protection giving it a diameter of 3.2mm. Ultra heavy duty GLOWIRE has an even thicker layer of pvc protection and has a flat side for easy installation. The ultra heav duty GLOWIRE comes with 1/8″ clear 3M double sided high bond tape for easy mounting.

Does it ever burn out?
Although GLOWIRE never burns out, it will become dimmer over time. The higher the frequency used to power the wire, the faster it will dim. At 4000hz it will last over 1600 hours. At 400hz it will remain bright for over 5700 hours.

Can it be cut?
GLOWIRE can easily be cut with wire cutters. The cut end needs to be properly terminated to prevent moisture damage and to prevent the wire from shorting out. GLOWIRE runs on a parallel circuit, therefore there does not have to be a return path. The end will need to be sealed with super glue, epoxy, silicone, heat shrink, etc to make certain that no moisture will get in the wire.

Can GLOWIRE be spliced with other wire?
Yes, you can add as much hook up wire as needed, but the total amount of GLOWIRE is limited by the type of driver you are using. For example, if you are using a 5541-2K driver, it can drive 18-45 feet of GLOWIRE. You can have 5 feet of hook up wire, 20 feet of GLOWIRE, 10 feet of hook up wire, 10 feet of GLOWIRE, 5 feet of hook up wire and up to 15 more feet of GLOWIRE.

More to follow as I experiment with Glowire. I have a R/C airplane started and plan to incorporate it in this plane as well as experiment in my shack.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Sample “Sudden Storm” Receiver Kit Built 10 - November - 2007

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW Built, K9ZW Recommends.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

A Completed 9v Sudden Storm Receiver

(The photo is from Rex W1REX’s websight as I built the 12v version).

Built Rex Harper W1REX’s “Sudden Storm” receiver kit in about an hour the other evening, as a sample-build for a possible club building project. 

From the http://www.qrpme.com website:

 The Sudden Storm kit is QRPme’s implementation of G3RJV Rev. George Dobbs’ Sudden Receiver as written up in October 2006 Practical Wireless magazine.

It makes the perfect companion receiver to the Two Tinned Tunas or Tuna Tin 2 kit.

An easy and straight forward kit to build with NO surface mount parts.

All the parts come sealed inside a factory fresh tuna can with an easy open pull top lid and custom label.

This kit is an excellent kit for ‘beginners’ or ‘experts’ alike and also makes a perfect gift. Can be assembled in one evening by a ‘beginner’.

A great conversation piece for every QRPer’s bench!”

The build was very straight forward, with a single undersized hole to deal with.  Product improvement does have a couple bottom size grounding jumpers added, which I nearly missed. 

Power options towards the end of the build are for either use of a 9v Battery or for drawing power from a 12v supply.

I’m not certain this is the kit for our club project, most due to the the need to appeal to pre-HF members, but it was a fun build and went together very well. 

Good fun & recommended!  Tell Rex W1REX I sent you!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Would two BoArduino Kits built be BoArduini? More from the Arduino Family and Lady Ada 6 - November - 2007

Posted by k9zw in K9ZW Built, K9ZW Just Rambled, K9ZW Recommends, The Rambling Series.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

While Winston KC9FVR was building his K-502 Stereo Amp Kit I built up a couple BoArduino “Arduino-less-onboard-USB” kits from Adafruit.

Two BoArduinos and a Arduino with ProtoShield Daughter Board

The two mounted on top of the breadboard circuit boards are called BoArduinos and the front one is a Arduino with a ProtoShield prototyping daughter board on the top.

I had the Arduino & ProtoShield previously built, but whipped up the two BoArduino units.

Had myself worried as I had special glasses made for fine detail work and somehow I was mixing them with my regular glasses. Thought my vision was taking a turn for the worse, where I really was just wearing the wrong spectacles!

The three boards are being powered by a USB cable for the Arduino with Protoshield, a USB-to-TTL Conversion cable for the USB-less BoArduino on the left and a a nine-volt battery for the USB-less BoArduino on the right.

These boards are imbedded microprocessor controller prototyping modules. Once programmed they do not need the computer to run their programs anymore.

Check out my previous Arduino related posts (use the search on the right) to find out more on these neat kits!

Oh I should admit that unlike Winston KC9FVR I did need to unsolder one resistor… grrrr, I guess I am slipping!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Paper, Scissors, RockMite – the Small Wonder Labs QRP Kit Radio 26 - October - 2007

Posted by k9zw in K9ZW Built, K9ZW Recommends.
1 comment so far

The RockMite Exposed

The ‘Rock-Mite’ was designed by Dave Benson K1SWL, and as he puts the reasons so well, from his website:

The ‘Rock-Mite’ grew out of my desire to offer a ‘one-evening’ CW transceiver kit which would be both affordable and easy to construct. It first appeared at ‘Lobstercon’ – a QRP gathering on the Maine coast- in early July, 2002, where it was provided to all attendees courtesy of Small Wonder Labs and the NorCal QRP club.

The Rock-Mite is a crystal-controlled direct-conversion transceiver available for 80M, 40M, 30M or 20M. It features an on-board 8-pin PIC microcontroller which controls a T-R offset on key-down. A brief tap of a pushbutton control switch reverses the offset to yield a second operating frequency. Pushing and holding on the pushbutton activates the speed adjustment routine for the built-in Iambic keyer. If you’d rather use an external keyer or straight key, there’s a ‘drop-through’ mode which allows use of an external keying source.

You’ll note in the image above that the Rock-Mite uses two crystals. The first is used in the local oscillator for transmitter and receiver. The second is used as a receiver front-end filter. This crystal significantly reduces the SWBC energy present at the receiver mixer; as a result, unwanted SWBC reception is dramatically reduced.

The Rock-mite uses one surface-mount part with fairly large spacing. There are no toroids to wind, so assembly should be a snap! The Rock-Mite uses subminiature epoxy-encapsulated RF chokes instead of toroids

SPECIFICATIONS:

Double-sided PCB 2.0″ x 2.5″, plated-thru-holes, solder masked & silkscreened for easy assembly
0.5W power output at 12V supply.
Supply voltage range 8-15V
Automatic T/R offset, reversible
Built-in Iambic keyer, 5-40 WPM
Built in sidetone, 700 Hz
Includes assembly instructions and operating tips
All on-board parts supplied in kit

AVAILABLE FREQUENCIES:

3560 kHz, 3579 kHz, 7030 kHz (DX QRP calling frequency), 7040 kHz (N. America QRP calling frequency), 7122 kHz (US Novice/Tech+), 10106 kHz or 14060 kHz

ROCKMITE LINKS:

Small Wonder Labs

WY3A’s “The RockMite Rocks” pages

N0RC’s “The RockMite Files” pages

Yahoo Groups RockMite Group

eHam RockMite Reviews

Google Search on RockMite

Mity Box enclosure by American Morse

BUILD EXPERIENCE:

This kit is a blast to build. Though I took more than one evening to build mine, mostly due not being organized for the build. I put mine in a Mity Box by American Morse and the results are awesome! This is one fun build!

I am afraid I lost my in-process build pictures when the Macbook’s aftermarket large hard drive stopped driving, but the RockMite is well documented on the web.

Highly recommended!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Building with Nixies, Dekatrons and Other Unusual Display Tubes 16 - October - 2007

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW Built, K9ZW Just Rambled.
add a comment

A Dekatron Tube in ActionA Dekatron Tube in ActionA Dekatron Tube in ActionA Dekatron Tube in ActionA Dekatron Tube in Action

There is a whole wonderful world out there of really interesting display tubes from the 1950’s on that used a variety of methods to display numbers, control displays and in some cases like the Dekatron even count data and display the results.

You can do a web-search on any of the tubes and come up with various websites ranging from offers to sell artwork grade clocks featuring the retro-tubes driven by modern circuits to do-it-yourself projects.

One website that has a great amount of explanation on how the tubes work and includes some of the least common interesting tube type is

Roland’s Electronic Project Site

Roland covers an amazing variety of of these vinatge tubes with repeatable projects. His father started him on the path by bringing home strange tubes and taking the then young Roland to the speciality shops where they could be found.That youthful introduction has lead to lifetime of building and experimenting with the neatest of vintage display tubes!

Some of the Tubes that Roland Explains and Builds with in a Montage

I found that I have returned to his website many times as we design our Nixie Tube clock project.

Recommended Website!

73

Steve
K9ZW

The Rambling Series – Crumhorns Ahoy 13 - October - 2007

Posted by k9zw in K9ZW Built, The Rambling Series.
1 comment so far

Some of you will know that in addition to Amateur Radio I pursue several musical interests.

Often I can be found playing Baritone Saxophone or its larger sibling the Bass-Saxophone with various groups, occasionally doing arrangements & leading a saxophone ensemble, and building early instruments.

Currently I am mid-stream in building a Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass consort of Crumhorns.

An Angel Playing a Crumhorn

I’ve started with a set of NOS (New Old Stock) kits from the Renaissance Workshop in the North of England.

Renaissance Workshop

Back in the mid-1980’s I had helped a Workers’ Cooperative of early instrument makers that later sold their strings & products to RW and knew the quality of the kits on offer.

The Bass and the Alto are nearing completion, with the Bass having made some growling noises already. 

This winter seems realistic for the first two to be finished into playing form.

Crumhorn resources are a bit few and far between, and here are some of the best I’ve found:

Building a Cornamuse in F (Alto)
Crumhorn Home Page

Expect more on the Crumhorn Build!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 740 other followers