N4DDP and Shack

N4DDP and Shack
N4DDP in native habitat

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's so hard

So among my projects (I try to have a few open at any time so I can work on something I feel like doing when I get a few moments.) . . .anyway, I picked up a Kenwood 2 meter rig with no CTCSS tones. A tone board goes from $12.00 to $60.00: a bit much for a radio I spent 40 bucks on! I also used to love to build things. I have recently discovered Eagle Cad and the idea of printing the layout onto a glossy magazine page so it can be ironed onto the pc board material.
The last pc board I made involved rub on transfer pads and tape. Wow, does this do a better job! Not only is it much, much faster, I can do down to 20 mill or less pitch -- that's darn near my limits for hand soldering. Anyway, the key to the process is the correct iron temperature -- too hot ad it smears, too cold and it doesn't stick, For my iron it is two clicks above "woolens." I wish I had a thermometer so I could do this a little more accurately.
Anyway, I decided on my tone encoder to use a MX465 chip and surface mount parts (the chip is a 24 pin wide dip.) By mistake I ordered 603 components instead of 1206. I found that it was not that difficult to solder. I do have to admit to having a bit of experience with hand soldering, and really it is more about technique than some unique skill. It went OK (other than losing a few parts!) and the board works, although I ended up hacking up the rigs case trying maintain access to the dip switch on the tone board. My mechanical engineering skills are still no better than they were 15 years ago!
I also have parts for a smd bitx20 that I laid out the board for. I am excited and a little nervous about it. I would like to build it into a small rig I can use in the car. I am including a mod for CW (yet to be finalized,) and provision for at least 40 and 20 meters (I would like to also have 15 and especially 10, but we shall see.)

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