Monthly Archives: April 2011

QRP Book: Crystal Sets to Sideband – Version 12 PDF Downloads

Just downloaded and have started reading through the 400 plus pages of Frank K0IYE’s work:

Crystal Sets to Sideband

The Four State QRP Group is very pleased to offer the latest version of Crystal Sets To Sideband by Frank W. Harris, KØIYE. This book has become an icon within the QRP community as an excellent treatise on the homebrewing science/art. When first released in 2002 Mr. Harris donated his work to amateur radio. He provided these Version 12 pdf files to Four State on 21 Jan 2011, they are free and are posted here with his permission. Frank is a retired engineer and an excellent author. His easy to read style makes this not only a fine and informative reference book, but also a very pleasant reading experience.. Click on the links below to download and save each chapter. Enjoy this great book with our best wishes, it’s a FB read.

Now downloading from the QRP ARCI really fast server. Many thanks to Steve Fletcher, G4GXL, for making this possible.

via Crystal Sets to Sideband.

Looks VERY useful and a hats off to Frank K0IYE, QRP ARCI and The Four State QRP Group for making the book available to us all!



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QRPme Kits featured in QRP Ham Radio Station Setup and Operation Video by Jeff VE3ICH

QRP Ham Radio Station Setup and Operation

Videos that take you through the steps, and don’t assume that you have experience or access to knowledgeable Elmer are always a huge help – Jeff VE3ICH has done the QRP community a great service by doing a QRP Station “Setup and Operation” video, and putting it on Youtube:

    Messages from the QRPme Kits and Stuff Yahoo Group Email Reflector:

Jeff VE3ICH announcing his Youtube Video:

Video of QRP Station Setup
Posted by: “Jeff Tranter” VE3ICH
Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:51 am (PDT)

I made a little YouTube video showing how to set up and operate a complete QRP ham radio station using the Two Tinned Tunas ][ transmitter, Sudden Storm ][ receiver, and Tuna Helper T/R switch.

You can view it at

Rex W1REX the man behind QRPme responding:

Jeff’s U-Tube video
Posted by: “Rex Harper” W1REX
Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:03 pm (PDT)


Jeff, THANK YOU for posting that tuna can setup video!

Jeff’s video on setting up a tuna can station is EXCELLENT! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Jeff did a nice job running through setting up and tuning a station made up of separate components, just like the good old days.

He just happened to have used a complete set of station components that fit inside tuna cans…. I even learned some good tips about my own kits! He has a pretty good collection of QRPme tuna can kits but not all:

  • The Tuna Power System (TPS) kit is both a power distribution system for powering 5 tuna can kits AND an intelligent gel cell battery charger. It uses a UC3906 intelligent charger chip to keep your gel cell in tip top shape. It performs the same function as the Penguin mint tin shown in the video …but more. Of course, if you like the Altoids size… the Picnic Table Outlets (PTO) kit could possibly fit the bill. It only has one RCA outlet but you could make a special cable to daisy chain the tuna can power feeds. Just don’t include the Tuna Topper in that chain. The Topper requires a cable that is HEAVY and as short as possible to avoid any voltage drop in the cable.
  • The new Tuna Tunah is a switched inductor antenna tuner with LED matching indicator.
  • Also, If you happen to have the Tuna Topper 5 watt RF amp, it includes an automatic RF sensing T/R switch which will perform the same function as the Tuna Helper shown in the video.


    Hope you have enjoyed and get as much from this video as I have!



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    Make: Online – Catching satellites on ham radio

    Another great MAKE: Magazine/Blog/Online article – this one on Satellite Operations:

    Catching Satellites On Ham Radio

    My favorite ham activity is making contacts via satellites. Not only is there the romantic notion of sending messages into outer space, but you have to trace the orbit of the satellite with your antenna while tuning the radio, to compensate for the Doppler effect.

    The satellites AO-51, SO-50, and AO-27 orbit the Earth acting as repeaters. Repeaters are automated relay stations that allow hams to send signals over a greater distance using low-power hand held transceivers. The satellites allow hams to relay messages from Earth to space and back to other hams somewhere on the planet. The International Space Station (ISS) also has a repeater, but occasionally, if you’re lucky, the astronauts turn on their radios to make contact directly with hams on the ground.

    The following instructions will get you started listening to birds (satellites) on FM, which can be done with a simple VHF/UHF FM radio with a whip antenna, without the need of a ham license. For better coverage, you can use a Yagi antenna (like the one pictured above) connected to a mutli-mode radio and a license (if you want to transmit). A Yagi antenna can also be used to improve the signal of your hand held radio.

    via Make: Online » Catching satellites on ham radio.

    Have to get back at my duplexer & antenna project, and work those birds!

    Oh, did I mention the article is by YL Diana Eng KC2UHB?




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    Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Morse Code

    Now here is a way to mix two interests into one (work and website is by Nathan KE7BOJ):

    Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Morse Code

    – —     -.-. .–     — .-.     -. — –     – —     -.-. .–

    Here are Shakespear’s Sonnets in morse code at 7, 13 and 20 words per minute. I created them to help me practice for my General Class amateur radio (Ham Radio) license. I found it useful and less dull than other exercies. Even though morse code isn’t required any more, you never know when you’ll be trapped in a submarine. The text is from Project Gutenberg and I used Jack Twilley’s morse code generating scripts.

    via Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Morse Code.

    Not 100% what the XYL will make of these when I play them on the iPod in the car, but hey “life is interesting!”



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    Laser Engraved, Wax Filled, High Contrast Panels for Electronics Projects | RedToRope

    This looks promising:

    Laser Engraved, Wax Filled, High Contrast Panels for Electronics Projects

    Posted on February 16th, 2011 by James

    This technique for creating high contrast panels for electronics projects and prototypes using a laser cutter gives great results using cheap and easy to find materials. It’s really useful as an alternative or substitute for more expensive and harder to find laser engravable laminates like SureLase.

    The product we use at work for laser engraved signs on products we ship, SureLase, gives great results, is super easy to use and available in a large range of colours. Its downside for non-commercial users is its price and the fact that you have to buy a large 1 x 1.5m sheet. It’s also not as versatile as a plain piece of 3mm acrylic, you can’t make other parts out of it since that’d be a waste.

    Here are some photos of some items made with a different method, achieving similar results and using just 3mm white acrylic and a black wax crayon. It’s easy, fast (though not as fast as SureLase) and looks dead smart.

    Example electronics project facia, missing the pot and switch to finish it off:

    via Laser Engraved, Wax Filled, High Contrast Panels for Electronics Projects | RedToRope.

    Will need to give it a trial on an upcoming build!



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    The All American Five Radio Receiver

    An interesting bit of American Radio History:

    The All American Five.

    Introduction and Power Supply.

    The All American Five represents a triumph of the bottom line over quality and safety. It was the radio that the Atwater-Kent company went out of business rather then make. Every feature had one purpose, to reduce the cost of manufacture. After World War II there were millions sold under hundreds of brand names from Admiral to Zenith.

    Afterthoughts, Three Years Later.

    Much scorn has been heaped on the little AA5 by myself and others but the truth is it’s a wonder of design and simplicity. The word is starting to get around and local antique dealers are bringing me their AA5s to put into operating condition. I have had the opportunity to see a great many different radios. The marvel is how well they work considering their construction. There’s no such thing as a wiring harness. Wires go every which way, crossing over, twisted around, power next to audio, audio next to RF, power next to RF. Terminal strips are seldom used or used in great moderation. That sometimes means that wires are just brought together in the middle of the air and soldered together. Yet still they keep on ticken. The design has been so well refined that it seems impossible to build one that won’t work.

    It is called the All American Five because all brands were made in America. This was long before the mass exodus of the electronics industry. The five comes from the fact that it used 5 tubes. There were variations using 4 tubes which didn’t perform very well and 6 tubes which costs more. The average person who didn’t stay up late to see how many distant stations they could hear (known as D X ing) didn’t care about the improvements provided by 6 tubes. Consequently the All American Five became a post war standard which did not fade away until replaced by the All Japanese Six, the six transistor radio made in Japan.

    The most prominent feature of the AA5 was that it had no power transformer. The result was that the circuit common was connected to one side of the power line. Because there was no polarized plug there was a 50 – 50 chance that the radio’s chassis would be connected to the hot side of the power line. Very late models from the sixties were carefully designed not to have any metal parts on the outside even going so far as to recess screws in deep holes. In the 40s and 50s there was no such concern on the part of manufacturers. It was common to see chassis mounting screws exposed on the bottom of the plastic case. These radios could be, and sometimes were, lethal. All it would take was for an unwary person to complete the circuit between a metal part on the radio to a kitchen sink. I once owned one that was in a metal case. My friends and I called these radios “suicide boxes”.

    How They Worked

    How did they work? Amazingly well.

    via The All American Five. Introduction and Power Supply..

    Other links:

    I’m looking for an example American Five if you can point me in the right direction!



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