Saturday, October 8, 2016

Back to the shack!

We've had some abnormally nice weather here in the Detroit area over the past few weeks, so I haven't been spending much time melting solder in the dungeon.

I did discover something new a few weeks ago: About 10 miles from me is an outlet of the computer chain Micro Center.  What I didn't know was that they started carrying Arduino stuff and other electronic parts and supplies - cool!  Better yet is that they've been running some sales: Uno boards for $5.00 and Pro Minis for $3.99.  So, I've stocked-up!

With my newly acquired boards, I've done some clean-up on the all-band rig and planker: The haywired breadboards have been replaced by (relatively) neatly-wired Nano and Pro Mini controllers on perf board, so the rigs look a little less scary.

I ran into something noteworthy when installing the Pro Mini in the Planker:  The "Raw" power supply input on the Arduino board is claimed to be good for up to 16 Volts, but nope... Good thing I bought extras, because the first one smoked at 12 Volts!  Not a big deal, I've had a bunch of LM78L08 regulators that I've been looking for something to do with.

About the only other thing I've accomplished is building the PA for the Planker.  Last year, I'd built Farhan's RF-386 amplifier, and abandoned it because I couldn't get it to behave.  The design looks solid, so I figured it had to be something in my layout - possibly the Manhattan construction?  I dunno.  Anyway, built another version and it's very well behaved and delivers a solid 5+ Watts on 60M with about -20dB/m input.  Cool!  Getting close to being QRV!

Right now, my bench looks like a disaster, so I'll post some updated pics after straightening things up a bit.  Hot dogs are tasty, but nobody wants to see the slaughterhouse.

73 de Steve N8NM

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