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Friday, 13 July 2018

QRPGuys 80/60m Vertical Antenna

This will be used on 80m QRP as M1K in the RSGB IOTA contest 2018 from EU011 St Agnes.


It is going to basically be a centre loaded GP on 80m.

The last contest on 80m was from C6 and from there I had two full sized phased 80m verticals. Wanted to work loads of G stations, this time I'm 4000 miles closer so this should do fine :-)

Of course I know from St Agnes looking West I have nothing but salt water path to NA.

Propagation might be metaphorically in the toilet but I suspect a contest will test that hypothesis.

Anyway as the build goes on I will add to this post. As per the 40m-10m UnUn there are no antenna wires, I'll add this a bit later as that will need me to get the poles out etc.

All the parts laid out before start.




That winding




Not got any more photos from the build..



Also have a 1:1 and 1:4 balun so will make those up too.


Had to add some M6 screw and nut hardware on the 4:1 as the ones I had failed. My mistake tightened the bolt too much.






M1K RSGB IOTA 2018 from St Agnes EU011





As some might know by now I'm going to be doing the RSGB IOTA contest QRP again from EU011 St Agnes.

The antennas will be approximately where I marked on those images.

This time with a few extra challenges.

Rig will be ATS-3B (Designed by KD1JV)
Antennas will be from QRPGUYS for 80m I'll use the 80/60m Vertical Antenna and for 40/20/15 & 10m I'll used the 40m-10m UnUn Plus

I will also take the QRPLABS Hans Summers, G0UPL designed QCX https://qrp-labs.com/qcx.html on 30m and a SOTA Beams WSPRLite  https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/wsprlite-antenna-tester/ (also on 30m) and will be qrv before the contest as M1KTA and the WSPRlite will be on during the contest.

I found the tiny new Mini USB Keyer from K1EL a must have for contesting with Win-Test as used so well as C6AKT earlier this year in BERU/RSGB Commonwealth Contest (won the Lilliput trophey for winning the QRP category) http://k1el.tripod.com/WKmini.html in UK you'll find KANGAUK have it available. https://www.kanga-products.co.uk/k1elsystemproducts-winkeyer

Got a nice shack too, I had operated from an old shed on exact same location in 2016.


QRPGuys UnUnPlus

One of the antennas for RSGB IOTA Contest as M1K from St Agnes EU011.

https://qrpguys.com/ununtenna-plus

My build... will update as it goes.

Layout all the parts and check with the circuit diagram.

 I can see I have a spare capactor indicator plate but a missing 470ohm resistor. No harm got one in the 'junkbox'


Why do  some find some torroids so hard to wind?
The FT37-43 SWR indicator torroid is not hard.




Watch the orientation of the zip ties as you pass them through the board if you want them to sit flat.


C1 & C2 yes you have to modify, not hard just be really careful taking off the plastic. I use a little bench vice and hacksaw and just cut a couple of slots.



T1. I changed the provided tie wraps for green and orange ones but the provided ones are fine.



T2. again I changes the provided tie wraps for blue and yellow ones

There the kit ends so will have to add wires etc...




I suspect if gets wet might be fun so will craft a cover of sorts.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

2017 Talk

GQRP talk last year at Telford ARS

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

M1K : NFD 02/06/18

That's more like it...

Adjudication report for M1K : NFD 02/06/18

No Errors found in your log

No Reverse Errors found

QSO Error rate = 0.0%

Average Error Rate for this contest = 1.94%

Ended up near the bottom though as operated fixed as moved from /P location while setting up :-(

cnc enclosure covers on part1

It's just a small CNC, will use for PCB milling initially.

Got the base (old kitchen unit shelf) and the frame fixed in place, got the sides one and the top will make it 1/3 close 2/3rds on a piano hinge. It doesn't have lots of room inside but doesn't really need to. I have this sound foam I will add to the sides. But I really just wanted to reduce the noise and contain the dust.



I'll add a perspex door to the front, I have a sheet (Ex.G3ZAY tnx), but it is a bit thin to self support so might make a wooden frame for it. I suspect a couple of carry handles to the base. The CNC will have a couple of rubber plates added so it is less prone to cause vibration.

Got the emergency stop switch (ebay for pennies), I will put that inline with the power cord (probably in a little box on the base) activating it will kill all power immediately, will add lights and a fan, maybe a camera too! Door interlock?

A 12V car vaccum will probably sit on top (rear) or side with the flexible hose going inside to the table for the swarf etc it will create. I might 3D print a hose holder and nozzle. The PCB is bare right now,, no cover, I might leave it like that but might be prudent to cover it too.

ALL the sides can be taken off as are held in place with four 6x3.4" screws as can the frame, so if need to get to stuff I can.

In two minds if I paint it at all.

The CNC doesn't have any limit switches but it could and the PCB does support them so will be looking at if need those. I have checked and if the CNC goes off the end of one direction X,Y or Z the motors turn but don't jam, not sure if that is a good thing or not.

I expect I could RAMPS/Arduino CNC shield convert this at some point in the future but for now it will be USB cable driven. GRBL control so either something bespoke or I like Chillipepr.

I suspect one item I'll need to add will be a jig for double sided milling.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

enclosure for mini CNC

Just rough right now... got to rethink that bottom left corner. Might be fine one the sides are on.





Got plenty of plywood for the sides, base will be a bit thicker.

Working out adding a small LED strip, vaccum hose and emergency on/off switch. Front will eventually have a door.
Not the quietest of machines when milling pcb.

The spindle is c80W so that looks like the weak point, got a few ideas for alternatives. Might not be controllable off the PCB though.

Yes will be milling PCB with it. Max size about 250mm x 180mm

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Enclosure for the 3D printer and 3D CNC

As seen a few heating/cooling issues when using ABS as opposed to PLA filaments decided to box up the 3D printer. Will also box up the 3D CNC but that is for sound proof reasons.


The frame is held together with the same 40mm screws the insulation boards are held with. The little wood blocks help with the frame being square.


The access door will probably be on this large side panel with the longer side board on the left. Which I'll cut out. The door I will likely rebate into the foam.
I'll keep one side board longer that the other on top as the board will just butt up to it. And will add the top later.
Looking down inside, important the blocks are NOT hindering the floor etc. As the printer will be just lowered into this once built.

Will add a door on the facing side, space to store the filament (will need an extra box added internally), cooling and cable entrances etc. I use  a Meanwell type 24V 10A PSU to power this so that will probably sit on top, I'll add some ventilation and a small 12/24V fan for the electronics. The top will be another piece of board with access to the filament storage. Maybe top will have a bit of wood on one side as I'll add an emergency ALL STOP button to the top. Internal lights some goose head LED things I have already.  The base is some odd bit of chip board I had in the workshop, cut to fit, frame, some 15mm square section I had and the insulation is 25mm insulation board with aluminum foil backing (cellotex is common brand name). The sheets were attached with some 40mm plaster board screws, as the boards are Aluminium foam backed, the screws hold the boards in place nicely. I had parts of sheets spare so they were applied to this. The dimensions are to fit the printer and bits... was originally a K8200 in case interested.

The jury is out if there is any point painting this as I don't care what it looks like outside.

Once built will have a place on the workshop bench and I expect will be less vulnerable to being used as a dump ground for projects.

I have a part built 3D object scanner and I might see if I can fit it in side. If I do that the insides will be sprayed Matt Black, I have some chalk board paint. Or that will get it's own enclosure too and sit on top of the printer.

The 3D CNC will use  (mocked it up first) 15mm x 25mm wooden frame, covered in 8mm ply (again was in workshop), the door will use a piano hinge I have and one whole side will open. I expect will line the box with sound reduction foam and the printer will sit on 25mm (at least) rubber blocks (cut from old mouse mats and drive shipping pieces)  so that the sound of PCB milling doesn't send one nuts. It is much smaller but will build with a 500mm width base I expect. Internal storage for CNC 'bits', I'll add a vacuum hose and LED light same as 3D printer.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

IOTA 2019

Maybe a QTH for July 2019.

Call would be MD1K

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

CNC plotter from DVD

Just played with few old DVD had been given.

Once stripped the guts to the centre frame and stepper drive connected up to Arduino CNC shield.

DONT do what I did and pull off the connection on one of the stepper motors.

Donor DVD, old Woodpecker 3.0.2 board (faulty).

The sharp eyed in the last image might see an HP ESP120 and some bits for a W6PQL SSPA and some R3KO bits I am building for another.


Friday, 4 May 2018

A 3 way 1kW switch for < £20?

Ok this I had to see after it had been mentioned to me so I bought one.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CB-Radio-COAX-Antenna-SWITCH-Compact-Metal-Housing-Ancable-1000-Watt-3-Position/202298988520


just opened it... you have got to be kidding! I used a phone camera and have a problem transferring images but I'll add them soon.




Zero manufacturers markings.

Couple of videos..


I think mounting might be interesting..

https://youtu.be/557BjcO03zI

I'm a qrp op but there is no way you could put probably 100W though one of these.

I will put it on the analyser and see how it does.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Binocular torroid transformer winding

Was asked about this so here are a series of photos that hopefully should explain the process. I am sure there might be other (better?) websites and videos out there.

I have deliberately used larger wire than you might normally and used two different colours to make it clearer.

The torroid, doesn't matter what type it is the principals are the same.


I didn't show the stage but sometimes the torroid has small sharp edges. If you are using wire that is effected (you will find out if you are) then the easiest option is to use a circular needle file and make sure the hole edges are rounded (just slightly you do not want to file away the torroid!)
 Turn one. Pass the wire up through one side and back down through the other. That is ONE TURN.
 Pull it tight.
 Repeat for however many turns you need.
 The free wire end
 The other side of the transformer, you can start on the same side or the opposite side, most transformers in PA stages, ATU, the X-Phase eliminator etc prefer them starting on the other side.
 Same process... through one side and back down through the other...

Pull tight... that is ONE TURN
 Repeat as needed.



That's it. In this case a 2T:2T transformer, if you need a different number of turns wind a different number of times.

There are lots of other possible winding options the other frequently seen option is for a bi-filar or tri-filar winding. Simply take the wires and wind two or three of them together FIRST and then wind them through the torroid.

I note a lot of chinese ebay projects seem to use power feed line chokes often using a single winding with these binocular cores.

VSWR bridges sometimes use winding's about the outside of the torroid. You will find examples of these on this blog too.

You might see the winding's also using hardline, coax braid or even solid brass tubes and PCB ends soldered on but the photos above are for the wire version the X-Phase QRM eliminator uses. It has 2t:8t so two tuns on one side and 8 turns on the other. Here is a photo of mine as I fitted it.