2019 State Of My Hobby Address

You know, this time last year I sat at this very keyboard and typed out quite a lengthy post about what I would like to achieve throughout the year, the kits I would like to get built, the advances I would like to make in my other homebrew projects, make more youtube videos and the like. I do not even have to go back to that list of things to know that I actually ticked off very few of these things.

All in all I am really ok with what I did manage to get done in among family commitments and extra pressure and stress at work that really took up the bulk of my time. But I still did manage to learn many things and advance both my knowledge, skills and even some of my projects as well as posting here on my blog most weeks at least once.

There has also been some rationalization happening here within my view of the hobby. I have cut somethings out, I have not been portable in a park for over 6 months, I just have not had the time, or when I have had the time I have not had the energy to really do anything at all. But the biggest change here and the one that has had the most impact on my personal outlook has been dropping out of all ham radio related social media. Facebook, qrz, eham are all now gone from my life and you know what, its the best thing i have ever done.

The things that really killed it for me are normative questions being answered with strawmen and ad hominem attacks, dick waving my self proclaimed internet experts on everything and dealing with the same old butthurt because someone got touched on the frequency one time and so they are mad at the world. I just cannot in all good conscience entertain such fuckwits in my life on a daily basis. I would like to think that I am better than all that and I certainly do try to be and aspire to be better tomorrow than I am today, so, there comes a time when one has to say enough is enough to the same whine topics that get posted over and over because people just want to bitch. Well, I want to just be happy and enjoy the time I have doing radio, so goodbye social media.

So that was this year, so what about the new decade that starts for me in just over 7 hours at the time of writing this post. Well, next year and next decade is an interesting proposition here. I am not going to write a big list of things that I am going to do because you know as well as i do, that none of it will happen. But instead, I want to get 1 project completed and that project is the hand held 40m rig. Other than that, I have a couple of other boards being made currently in China and one is a test jig with circuits on it for BJT, FET and Op Amp amplifiers stages on it and one MMIC circuit. I have a ton of parts here I have been collecting and I wish to test them all out and see what I want to use in other projects.

So, to all the home brewers out there, who for the most part sit in their labs and do their own thing I wish you all a very happy new year and I wish you luck with whatever it is you are building.



9mhz IF Filter

Well i did not think i would get any bench time so soon, or feel enthusiastic for that matter, but here I am tinkering today and doing McRadio at the McBench. Anyway, i think i posted about this IF filter sometime back, I should go and look but I wont LOL, anyways its a Cohn Min Los design and what I did differently was not to use transformer matching, but rather to use LC impedance matching to get the 50ohm up to the 200 ish ohms of the filter.

Now i did also build one using transformers, the difference was, this one has less of a stop band but better shape and much more symmetrical, the other one had a better stop band but its shape was not very good at all. Greater attenuation would be nice and I think the reason for the lower stop band is the Q of the LC match, which is going to be rather low, somewhere lower than 10. After doing some reading, I thing by using a T or Pi match I can improve the Q a lot and that would improve the stop band. Its an experiment i plan to do sometime soon to see if it improves things.

This is the PCB board i laid out and had made, the xtals I used were just whatever 9mhz junk xtals I could stuff in there. No matching, nothing, just grab 8 xtals and stuff them in. The block of wood is the former I used to make the shielding can.

The shielding can is made from some 0.1mm brass sheet. I placed it over the former, clamped it in place with a g clamp then beat the crap out of it with a hammer and soldered it in place.

50db stop band is not all that great, but it should be usable. Pass band is a little lumpy, but should also be acceptable. The shape is quite nice and could be used upper or lower side no problems at all. the width is 2300hz. Good enough for the kinds of girls I go out with, as they say.


Merry Christmas 2019

Its been a long year, I have not achieved half as much as I would have wanted to, but that is how things go. I do hope to get some bench time next week and move a few projects along that have been sitting waiting for attention for months. Things are winding down at work, so I should have some time next week. Anyway, if I do not post again before hand, have a very merry christmas and a happy new year. Bring on the new decade.


A Reason Why I Don’t Do Clubs

Its funny you know, I have never been a club guy and there are many reasons why I am not a club guy, but one of the bigger reasons why i more generally do not like people all that much is that they tend to disappoint. Personally, i think its better to be agnostic on what people are like and thus not think bad of them. So i tend not to give them much of an opportunity to disappoint.

Take trying to upgrade a license here in Australia, you are stuck more or less in having to deal with the old boys club who think they are the gate keepers of all that is holy in ham radio, rather than just being mere cogs in the process. So it was kind of funny to get a reply to a post i made to a local club some 18 months ago about sitting an exam at their ham fest.

I guess they have had a change of leadership and club vision as the new guy in charge is actually replying to all the dead posts. But, for me, its been this type of experience over and over in many areas of ham radio that clubs and people are pretty much dead to me. I just do not have time for the small minded politics and empire building.

LOL it is what it is.