After finding some old radio projects I was working on during a clear out of my overflowing office it dawned on me how long its been since Ive picked up a soldering iron.
Its not that I was spending every spare moment building circuits but there always seemed to be a couple of projects on the go, evident by the half finished radios I discovered. Most of the unfinished radios are familiar but there.s what I think is a HF linear (judging by the output stage) that I don’t remember starting and hasn’t got past the stage of a bunch of nested components on a copper board.
Always believing that someone with a better understanding of how radios actually work gets much more out of the hobby, many years were spent whacking stuff together until recently.
The Consumer Age
Early pioneers in radio had no blueprint to follow and no readily available off the shelf modules to work with, meaning if they wanted something a little leftfield it had to be made from scratch. We no longer have this problem and if your willing to spend the money there’s enough ready made sub stages out there to wire a transceiver together without ever turning on a soldering iron.
But even this is slightly old hat with the increasing use of software defined radio technology on both the transmit and receive side of the radio hobby. The experimenting is still with us but its moving very quickly over to software instead of hardware environments, which surprisingly lowers the skills needed over traditional electronics.
On a side note, its going to be interesting to see the changes that SDR will make in the design of SW and ham radio gear over the next 5 years.
Home Brew Not Always The Cheaper Option
For simple builds like modifications and simple radio homebrew projects going the DIY route can give you exactly what you want cheap enough but this doesn’t apply for more complicated affairs.
When you can snap up middle of the road radios like the one of the eton discontinued models (now Eton have renewed their catalog) pretty cheaply it takes real passion to build something instead.
The RX side of making radios has never really interested me with only going so far as to modify a few and a one poor attempt at fitting a BFO. Would much rather spend time on the transmitters that held more fascination for me and this is where home grown radio kit still excels.
The Half Way House Of Kits
There.s a range of kits that will make passable radios and are good for those just starting out but its a little like painting by numbers if you already have a firm grasp on electronics. The other thing with standard kits is they’re very RX heavy with only a scant few designed to allow the production of anything with an effective power output.
Looking at these part finished TX projects makes me realize how much I used to make. Most of them are of no interest to me now but the HF linear is worth having a bash at.
Its strange but most of this work was done after a day job working with electronics and now I can choose when to do it Ive lost the motivation.
I suppose these websites are keeping me busy enough now.