N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio

July 16, 2018

              The search took a while but I have found pogo pins and the mating "target" connectors with a 2.0 mm pitch (separation) that the IC-706 radios require. The manufaturer has kindly agreed to send me a few samples and I have also ordered some moldable plastic in a black color that will match the radio. Hopefully I will be able to create a working replacement for the OPC-581 cable that seems to be in ultra short supply right now. Not to mention the ultra expensive price tags the vendors are placing on the few cables still available. The parts have been ordered, they will be here in a few days and then we will see if my ambition exceeds my talents or not. No guarantees until the first one works.

73


July 3, 2018

         I am currently planning a new Go-Box using an IC-706MkIIG. Unfortunately, some time ago, I somewhat cavalierly gave away the extra separation cable (OPC-581) that I had on hand. Now I discover that I need one and there are none to be had at anything approaching a reasonable price. I would even welcome a schematic of the cable as I think I have a source for the "Pogo Pin" connectors that are present in the apparently proprietary housings the original cable has. I know I could convert the connectors to RJ-45's but I would prefer to have the real thing (cable) if possible. Having been on the donor end of things many times, I am hoping that there is someone out there with an extra OPC-581 that they will sell to me at a reasonable price. All I can do is keep my hopes up.

73


June 25, 2018

        I have been travelling a bit lately so the updates have been a bit sparse. Field Day was fun, renewing acquaintances with club members in the club in Connecticut that I still belong to even though I live in Florida. I got my first ham radio license at the Meriden Amateur Radio Club back in 1992 so I continue to support them with my dues even though I can usually only attend 1 meeting a year. 

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May 27, 2018

             An email came through my contact page, today and it was from a ham in the Tampa area, about 50 miles North of where I live. He wrote to thank me for the Information for Hams new to the local area. He apparently travels frequently between Tampa and Fort Meyers and said it was nice to have a list of local repeaters in the Bradenton/Sarasota area to use as he was traveling. That is precisely why I put that info on the site and I can only hope that other hams with web sites would do the same in their local areas. I aim that suggestion directly at club websites since it probably is much easier to find clubs in the area one is interested in than individual hams sites. Just a thought.

73


May 14, 2018

             I have updated the page about headset adapters to note that commercial adapters exist to convert the TRRS type plugs found on newer smart phone headsets and some PC headsets back to the dual stereo plugs that my headset adapters and older PC's require. I am using such an arrangement on my FT-7800R here in the radio room and it works great. I did have to turn down the power on the radios to use the headset adapters but I am still able to hit all the local repeaters full quieting. That had nothing to do with the headsets but was due to an as yet undetermined change here in the radio room.

73


May 3, 2018

              The audio splitters for the ARES trailer have been modified to include a volume control for each side of each splitter. This will allow the operator and logger to set the volume to their own preference. The audio level of the external speaker does not have a volume control because that level is set by the volume control on the radio itself. The units have been tested and both work as expected.

73


April 29, 2018

            The latest project around here was to construct a pair of audio splitters for the local ARES trailer. These will allow the operator and logger to wear earphones while still providing for an external speaker so that others in the trailer can hear what is going on. Since volume control will be handled at the radio, no fancy circuitry is required, just enough jacks so any type headphone can be accommodated. Hence jacks in parallel are 2 x 1/4" mono, 2 x 3.5 mm mono, 2 x 3.5 mm stereo and 1 x 3.5 mono for the external speaker. All jacks are labelled and the connection to the radio is via a 30" cable with a mono plug. Since only two headphones will be connected at any one time no extra circuitry is needed. I did review commercially available splitters to see if there was a need for the extra stuff but several appeared to have no circuitry at all and the ones that did appeared to be for individual volume control only. We will see how they work out as the remodeling of the ARES trailer continues.

73


April 19, 2018

           Well, I can report that the power supply for the mixer that my friend uses when he performs is now working very well. I function as sort of his advance man when he performs at my favorite restaurant. I get there about 2 hours before he is due to start and place a couple of traffic cones out to guarantee that he will have a place to park so he can unload his amp and guitars and all the other stuff that goes along with being a singer/guitarist/songwriter. Often one or more of his fellow musicians will join him for a song or two so the mixer allows the use of at least 2 microphones. Without it, a duet kind of becomes a "who gets the mic this time" deal, with it everyone has their own and the sound is just outstanding. Over the years I have built several gadgets for him that make his life onstage a little easier, like a sun shield for his laptop so he can see his backtracks more easily. It is great to be able to listen to him sing and I always enjoy myself at the restaurant. In fact I took my HT with me when I went to the restaurant last night because it was World Amateur Radio Day. I made a few contacts from the outside deck before we set up for the evening's gig. Lots of fun.

73


April 13, 2018

         The needed transformers arrived today and were immediately put to use finishing the project mentioned yesterday. I actually constructed one power supply  almost from scratch. After I mounted the transformer and verified that the AC voltage coming out of the plug that connects to the mixer was correct, I decided that a safety item that was missing was a fuse. As luck would have it I had the exact item (holder and fuse) in hand so one more hole was drilled and the fuse holder was added and wired into the circuit. The fuse is a 3 amp unit that is rated for 250 VAC. When I began the project I had also ordered a "wall wart" type 18 VAC power supply. It also arrived today so I added the appropriate 3 pin Foster plug to it as well. My friend now has two power supplies for his mixer, one probably will become a back up held in reserve. Fun Project.

73


April 12, 2018

        This week I have been working on a non-ham radio related project. A friend's audio mixer went dead and I was asked to take a look at it. It turned out that the mixer appears fine but the semi wall wart/power"brick" that powered it was DOA due, I think, to the fact that bare wires in the connector got crossed up when they should have been repaired and shorted out the transformer. Naturally, the transformer is in a hermetically sealed container. Not wanting to saw through the sonically welded case, I simply purchased a new 18 VAC transformer (actually 2 of them). The project is almost completed. Wiring is done, connectors installed, just waiting for the transformer to arrive to complete the job. Just another week at N1GY

73


March 31, 2018

        I have added a paragraph to the bottom of the web page on my new resistance soldering system that I built over the last week or so. Most of that was waiting for parts to arrive. Testing on various tasks such as installing SMA connectors have gone very well and even tests with welding rods as the test subjects have resulted in secure solder joints with no excess solder blobs or other difficulties. I even surprised one of my fellow amateur operators when I told him and showed him the completed SMA /coax assemblies that I had built. I have to say that the construction of the system was much easier than I anticipated, mainly because I got very lucky at my local electronics store and found the perfect transformer for the project. The transformers are still available but may require an extensive search to find the right one. One might look for a 6 volt battery charger that could be scrounged for the transformer or even just convert a similar battery charger into a power unit. Then all one would have to do is construct a hand piece that could be fed from the battery charger. As the old saying goes-"there are many ways to skin that cat".

73


March 24, 2018

       This morning I went shopping and got an appropriate enclosure for the resistance soldering tool project. A 4" x 4" x 4" NEMA box filled the bill perfectly. The only parts I am waiting for are the brass connecting devices that are coming from Michigan. In the meantime the article is posted with pictures of the progress so far. More will be added once the tweezer set up is complete. Saturday turned out to be a busier day than I thought. I checked my snail mail and discovered that the last components for my aviation headset to ham radio adapter had arrived so I spent a very enjoyable evening putting together 2 units, one for me and one for a friend. It turns out that I could have ordered an enclosure that was one notch taller but a small amount of "plastic" surgery made everything fit just fine. There certainly is no extra space, however so things like switches for UP, DOWN and FAST where available must remain on the hand mic. There simply is no more room.  On another note the page about the resistance soldering rig has been posted. It is not complete, I am still waiting for a few more parts but the vast majority of the work is done and posted.

73



March 23, 2018

         Unfortunately, when I requested a replacement working resistance soldering rig I was told that they were out of stock and would not be back in for several weeks. I thus changed my request to a refund of my hard earned money and got it . In the meantime, I discovered a design for a DIY version of the a resistance soldering rig and discovered that I had most of the parts already in hand. A morning of shopping today secured an appropriate transformer and the bamboo tongs for the tweezer  version of the rig. Now I just need to find an appropriate enclosure and await the arrival of some small brass parts to connect the tips of the tweezer to the wires that supply the necessary voltage and current to the tips. I made the tips out of 3/32" copper clad steel welding rod. When I get the beast built I will add a proper page to the site with photos and a circuit diagram. Let me make it clear that I did not dream up this circuit nor the DIY method of building a resistance soldering tool. I did much research on the Internet and am combining parts of several articles to create my rig. Proper credit will be given to the authors of the original articles.

73


March 20, 2018

        Last week I ordered a resistance soldering set up from a company in New Jersey. At the price of only $86 it was hard to pass up and I thought I could use it for my SMA connector installs. Unfortunately, it arrived dead as a doornail. I requested and got a return label from the company and I checked today and they received it today. Hopefully they will be just as speedy in sending me a working replacement. In the meantime, I checked out a couple of sites online with reference to a DIY version. One in particular used a standard soldering gun where the only change was to cut off the tip of the soldering tip to create two separate legs. By shaping these legs to fit the need of the item being worked on and then placing both legs in contact with the item, one could then apply power (ie: pull the trigger) and the item would heat up between the two contacts of the soldering gun. I tried it, and much to my surprise it actually works! So far I have only tested it on some scrap solder but it melted the solder repeatedly. My only caveat is that the soldering gun has to be held on it's side in order to make both legs of the device touch the item being worked on. A relatively instant conversion from normal soldering to resistance soldering without spending scads of money. Plus the soldering gun can be returned to normal operation by simply replacing the tip. These replacement tips are available from virtually any hardware or DIY store. I will report further when my replacement resistance soldering rig is sent to me and I have had time to play with it for a while.

73


March 14, 2018

         Yesterday I discovered a problem with my headset setup. It worked fine on my IC-706MKIIG but was all messed up going to the FT-7800R. I disconnected the radio selector box where the headset plugs in and did some testing. The mic selector under the FT-7800 worked fine so I added a second headset and plugged it via the adapter directly into the mic selector box for the 7800. That worked fine as well. Today, I removed the radio selector box and plugged the headset for the 706 directly into it's mic selector box and it also worked fine. Looks like the radio selector is going under the knife to see what went wrong inside it. Goody, more projects to repair or modify. 

73


March 6, 2018

          I was just tweaking my web site today when I found that I had forgotten how to edit the wording on the Navigation Panel. Naturally, I contacted GoDaddy to assist. The support tech was very helpful and in short order the problem was solved. A very nice company to work with. They might be a bit more expensive than some other web site companies, but the level and helpfulness of the staff is simply marvelous. Thank you again Go Daddy. These tweaks that I do seem to come up so seldom that I forget how to do stuff I did last year and they have to walk me through it yet again. Their patience is very much appreciated.

73


March 4, 2018

           As you can plainly see, the Updates have required a new page. I figure that when the entries on the page add up to the length of the Navigation Panel, it is time for a new page. Page 6 achieved that goal so here we are at page 7. My last entry on Page 6 was today so the next entry will begin on this page.

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March 5, 2018

         I have replaced the diagram in the page about the mic selector with new much simpler diagrams. Eliminating all the extraneous circuitry  has made a marked improvement in the readability of the diagrams. Sorry it took so long to get it right.

73

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