I’ve been a big fan and not-as-active-as-I’d-like practitioner of homebrewed electronics, building homemade electronic equipment, especially for my amateur radio hobby.   I even wrote a fairly detailed page on this website relating my homebrewing experiences.   One of the things I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do was build and operate a completely homebrewed amateur radio station.   Hereinafter, I will refer to it as THE GOAL.   But, alas, building up a station of this nature would take time, and, if I kept my expectations high (you’d have to know me, this isn’t negotiable), it would likely have a level of complexity that I just wasn’t all that eager to deal with.

Well, fast forward to about a month ago.   For some reason (I KNOW the reason, just keeping it to myself), I’ve finally moved off-center regarding THE GOAL.

About a week or two before the Dayton Hamvention, I sold-off on eBay my only working HF station, a Flexradio 1500 SDR transceiver and Tokyo HyPower HL-45B power amp.   BAZINGA!   At Dayton, I picked up a few parts from indoor vendors that I might need for… this endeavor, and tried to stay out of the outdoor flea market as much as possible, lest the temptation to purchase some old P.O.S. boatanchor took me over. 😉

So, I am currently off-the-air on HF.   Like Cortez, I’ve burned the ship that brought me here, I can only move forward now.

I haven’t settled on the design or even the form my station might take yet, so I’ve decided to begin by building up the kits and project boards I’ve collected over the years.   There’s quite a few.   First out of the box?   The W7ZOI Spectrum Analyzer with tracking generator, a piece of test equipment that will come in handy for reaching THE GOAL.   But for a first project out of the chute, that’s either a very bold stroke or incredibly stupid move.   If something doesn’t work, will it dash my hopes?   Time, as they say, will tell.

While you’re scoffing and snickering, have a look-see at a few pictures that show the damage thus far. 😉

Click on the picture for a better look.   From L-R, upper row, the 1stLO/1st Mixer board, the Time Base board, and the Resolution Bandwidth Filter board; second row, the Tracking Generator board, the 2nd LO/2nd Mixer board, and the IF/Log Amp board.   You’ll note the IF/Log Amp board is still bare.   That’s because the board was made for a MC3356’s RSSI section as the log amp.   There’s a better design now using Analog Device’s AD603 and AD8307 for an IF amp and log amp, respectively.

Here’s a closer view of the Tracking Generator with the 1st LO/1st Mixer above it.   Builders of this SA will note my solution to the (3) RF chokes, 2 turns of #26 solid magnet wire on a ferrite bead (Mix 43, I think).   I didn’t have any of the molded RFC’s called for in the BOM (Bill Of Materials) so I made my own (isn’t that what homebrewing is all about?).   Each measures about 2uH.   Click on the picture for a better look.

My intent is to post something about this and future projects about once per month.   In any case, I’m now on the path to THE GOAL.   Of course, my enthusiasm TODAY is quite high.   I’ll be curious to know if my intent, and THE GOAL, actually becomes reality. 😉