21 August, 2012

Fixing my Lithuanian oscilloscope

I visited Riga, Latvia with a youth group which we as a family were involved with in 1992, and there I stumbled upon a Soviet oscilloscope in a department store. It was from the neighboring country, Lithuania, and was manufactured in Vilnius, the capital. The markings say what I guess means "Made in the Soviet Union". At least it says CCCP in the upper right-hand corner. I remember these letters very well as all Soviet athletes used to have them on their backs.

The oscilloscope came with full documentation, even with a bilingual manual. I had grown fond of this oscilloscope as it was lightweight and simple to use once I had learned what the Russian markings meant. It is a typical instrument for TV-repair with a 7 MHz bandwidth.

Now after 20 years, I was therefore very sad when it malfunctioned. This was the time to test if the manual was helpful or not. The symptom was that the beam no longer could span the whole screen in the X-direction. Even with the Horizontal positioning all the way to the left one could barely see the beam.

I opened the bilingual manual only to discover that the two languages were Russian and Lithuanian!

16 August, 2012

Transformerless tube power supply

In 2012 bulky power transformers that work directly from the power grid at 50/60 Hz have mostly disappeared. My objective here is to modernize the power supply for a one-tube transmitter in the same way.

The circuit is based on an electronic transformer for LED or halogen lamps. Electronic transformers usually have a minimum power rating, below which they will not start. This one can tolerate a lower load than most and gives out 12 Volts for a load from less than 10 W and up to 60 W.

07 August, 2012

Nostalgia from LA3ZA in 1949

My friends know that I wasn't even born when this LA3ZA QSL-card was issued in 1949. This is because I am second generation LA3ZA after my father. When the callsign was reissued to me in 2001 it had been inactive for 40 years or so.

I still have the Hallicrafters S40A receiver which my father used with a 2 W input homemade tube transmitter. The S40A (image below) was what introduced me to shortwave listening during the good conditions of the solar peak in the late sixties, despite its mediocre performance I would say.

01 August, 2012

Vertical antenna on a turf roof

A vertical wire antenna based on a MFJ-1904H 6.7 m (22 feet) telescopic fiberglass pole as shown here is easily tuneable for all bands from 40 m to 10 m. Here it is placed on top of a turf (sod) roof with quarter wave radials for all the 7 bands going to each of the two sides sloping down as they follow the contour of the roof. The antenna seems to work satisfactorily at least on the 30, 20, and 17 m bands which I have been able to test so far.

A turf roof is a traditional Scandinavian type of green roof covered with grass. It dates back to the Viking age and before. In modern times it has seen a renaissance in e.g. mountain cabins.

But how does the turf affect the antenna or to pose the question more precisely: Can it be used to improve the ground plane and the antenna's performance?