Category Archives: Projects

Pic-A-Star Project Build – Part 3

In episode 3 of our Pic-A-Star Build, we install the components for the RS232 interface and start installing the components for the DSP and CODEC section.

I find that I made a mistake and installed a 10K thermistor instead of a 10K resistor in the audio amp section, so first I remove that and replace it with the correct component.

I have found that I prefer the 0805 component size over the 1206 or 0603 size.  The 1206 is a little big and doesn’t give you as much wiggle room as the 0805 and the 0603 are just a little small for my tastes.  Call it the Goldilocks syndrome or something, but next time I order, I know what I am going to try to spec.

On the Combo P1 boards, in the DSP section there is a capacitor that isn’t marked real well,  it is C199, I point that out in the video.  I also discover that I need to pay attention to the soldering tabs.  When you put the components on, make sure the long part of the tabs are a crossed from each other.  The space is tight, so sometimes the markings are twisted around and if you are not careful, you can mount them in the wrong direction.

The voltage check in the final section checked out correctly, so next step will be to burn the EPROM with gmon.hex and mount it along with the DSP chip and the CODEC chip.  I am waiting for the CODEC chip, since I had to order it from overseas.  So it may be a week or two before we move on.  In the meantime, I will do a video about burning the EPROM.

L/C Meter IIB Build

I just completed a build of a L/C Meter Kit made by Almost All Digital Electronics.  I have included a video of the build to show how easy it was.  Sorry for the length, I tried something new.  I thought I would tape the whole thing and then edit it.  I won’t make that mistake again, it took too long to edit and I still ended up with a long video.

The build was easy as I said and the kit is really high quality.  I plan on using it to test the inductors for the Pic-A-Star project and my son Brad KD0JCP is finishing up a Genesis G59 and then he will be building the matching GPA10 power amp.  We will use it to check those inductors also.

The IIB measures inductors from .001 uHy to 100 mHy and capacitors from .010 pF to 1 uFD.  It does not check polarized caps.  That range covers most needs and it boasts an Accuracy of 1%.

Take a look at Neil Heckt’s page at  Tell him KB0ASQ sent you.

Pic-A-Star Project Build – Part 2

In Part 2 of our Pic-A-Star build, we assemble the “Buzzer” tool and install the components of the AF audio amp.

Since it is my first real experience with soldering a large amount of SMD parts, I have to take it slow and perfect my soldering skills with these types of components.

After some practice I am able to get both of the tasks completed with only a few diodes and transistors being sacrificed.

The next episode of our project build will cover the RS232 installation and some DSP building.

Power Management Unit Build – Part 5

Part 5 of our Power Management Unit Build will cover the final physical construction and some information on the sketch we did for the Arduino.

I show you how I wired up the front panel LEDs, Buttons and the project board.  I used the following sources from the internet to determine how to wire up the controls and write the sketch:

  1.  // Turn the LED on and off.
  2.  // Monitor the momentary push buttons.
  3. // Display information on the LCD.
  4. // Calculate the voltage and convert it to use on the Arduino.
  5.  // Monitor current with a YHDC SCT-013-000 sensor.
  6. // 5v 7805 1A Regulated Circuit.
  7. // Webserver Tutorial.

I would like to thank those authors for sharing the information.  I took bits and pieces from them to build the project.

In my next post about the project, I will share the Arduino sketch and provide a wiring diagram.

I am going to leave this project as is for now, but at a later date I want to add the ability to use DHCP for the webserver and then be able to set a static IP address.  I also need to add a security/login method to the project.

ARAN Tower Removal

The Amateur Radio Association of Nebraska recently had to move their Ham Shack.  After many years at the Red Cross in Hastings NE, we have had to move.

Luckily the Hastings Fire Department has be gracious enough to give us space at their two locations.

However, we had to remove a 40’ tower from the Red Cross location.  The Fire Department offered to help us take it down.  In the clip below, you can see a fast way to remove a tower if you have the correct resources.

We want to thank the Fire Department for all their help and also the Red Cross for giving us a home for the last 25 years.

Power Management Unit Build – Part 4

In part 4 of our Power Management Unit Build, we start to wire things up.  There are essentially two separate sections we have to wire.

First we wire the power to the power supply and then to the relays, fuses and power poles.  I have a fuse that protects the hot side of the power supply and then each port has a 10 amp fuse installed on the hot side to protect the devices attached to the unit.

I show how I don’t trust the crimp connectors, so I remove the plastic insulators from them and crimp, solder and finally use heat shrink tubing to protect the connectors.  I also use WAGO LEVER-NUTS for the first time.  I am really happy with how they work and plan on using them again.

To wire up the connections for the controls and the Arduino, I use jumper wires from Pololu and some of our own connectors from Flatwater Trading Post.

The 5v power supply is also hooked up.  I have a heatsink on the LM9805 since it runs so hot.

At the end of this episode we have the Unit running like it was on the breadboard.  So we have to finish the wiring of the momentary switches, port LED’s and the current indicator circuit.

We will do that in Part 5 of the series.

Hallicrafters S-38B Restoration – Part 2

In part 2 of our Hallicrafters S-38B restoration, we will media blast the cabinet and then prep and powder coat it with Black Winkle powder coat from the Eastwood Company.

We show the steps we take to prep the metal after we have media blasted it and how we apply the powder coating.

The process works pretty good this time, but we do have a few blemishes.  We decide to live with them on this restoration and hope we learn some valuable lessons for the next time we use this process.

I think you will agree that at the end of the process we have made considerable improvements to the case of the radio.

Next episode we will try a new process to us on applying the decals to the front of the case.

Hallicrafters S-38B Restoration – Part 1

Just to show that we like the old as well as the new, we have started a restoration project on a Hallicrafters S-38B.  This particular radio we purchased off of Ebay a year ago.  It is in pretty rough shape, so this should be interesting. Whene we got it, it had shredded newspaper in it for packing.  We didn’t get charged extra for the dead mouse living in the newsprint. (Tip, when storing old radios, don’t fill them with newspaper, great home for rodents and it really holds in the moisture.)

The case has so much rust on it, there is no way way can get away with just a touch up paint job.  So we are going to try a different approach, powder coating.  We found some crinkle powder coating from Eastwood that we are going to use.  If successful we should have a very durable finish that will last for a long time.

The biggest challenge on this one will be the top of the chassis.  It has plenty of rust, so my first thought is, we will have to probably paint it.  I don’t usually like to do that, but I think this one will require it.  We will know more once we get the navel jelly on it.

The speaker looks like it has some tears in it, but it also looks like a good candidate for repair.  Other than that we will recap what needs it and I think I might put an upgraded BFO circuit in it.

So take a look at what we have and follow along as the the fun begins.

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