Sunday, March 25, 2018

NorCal 40A 30A build starts at last..

O.K., this is really it! I am starting the NorCal 40A build -- except that I am building it for 30 meters since I already have a 40A in hand that I scored at TRW from a seller for a decent price. I tuned that one up and adjusted its output to 995 milliwatts so it could rightly work QRPp. Quite a few Qs for the few times it was used, actually. One of my faves was the Maritime Station at Bolinas Beach, KPH. The ham station 700 miles from my QTH, K6KPH, was worked twice and represented an exhilarating accomplishment for me.

Since then, I ordered a NorCal 40A form Bob Dyer at Wilderness Radio before he retired. That kit still awaits the soldering iron. But, in addition to the 40A kit and the KPC1 keyer and frequency enunciator unit, I ordered an additional labeled blue face plate for the original 40A as shown above.

Some time later, in conjunction with K7QO's QRP-Tech 25th Anniversary GOTA project, I ordered the boards form China (surveyed here) and am, as we speak, beginning the 30m effort in order to document WB6JDH's effort. By the way, visit Chuck's website here for additional notes and links to his videos. He has even kept notes on his assembly work that bear looking into. And, finally, the site has links to the videos he produced. Also, I did a page on these for convenience.

A couple of months ago, I had gone up to Dick's house to do some preliminary recon work..

..but had not dug into the project until now. Starting out without anyone looking over my shoulder, I had to take the bull by the tail, as it were, and look the problem squarely in the face. At first, I was going to build and test sections at a time but, after reviewing K7QO's videos on this, I decided to proceed with stuffing the "generic" (i.e., non-band-determining) parts and then do Chuck's basic tests before Dick and I got together to make notes on just how to get the radio on 30 meters.

When that is done, it will be written up here and constitute a rough tutorial on how to build the 30 meter version for anyone who has built a 40A before. So stay tuned.

Along the way, some discoveries and assumptions have been made. Basically:
  • Wayne Burdick of Bob Dyer apparently had a barrel of 0.047 disk caps that he used liberally throughout the kit. Standard 0.1 caps can be used in lieu of these.
  • Q1 is specified as a 2N4124 NPN transistor but, according to Jim Kortge, K8IQY, a 2N3904 is an acceptable substitute. (Note that a 2N2222 is not acceptable.)
  • An MVAM 108 is an acceptable substitute for the called for MVAM 108.
Further bulletins as warranted.

At first, I thought about laying out all the parts on a Styrofoam board to inventory them. But since the project was behind the power curve, I just stuck them into the board figuring that was as good a way as any to see what went where and what was needed. Guess the results can be rightfully described as "the porcupine".

Here's a few shots of the work to date.

UPDATE: See the picture below.

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