10th Anniversary Giveaway!

On April 30th, it will be ten years since the "W2LJ - QRP - Do More With Less" blog was born.

In appreciation for all who read this blog, I am going to give something away to one lucky reader. I have a new, mint condition, unused, complete sheet of fifty United States Amateur Radio stamps, issued in 1964 on the 50th Anniversary of the ARRL - Scott #1260. I am going to have the sheet matted and framed - ready for display on some deserving shack wall. All I ask is that you send an e-mail to w2lj@arrl.net - entitled "Blog Anniversary Giveaway". Include your name, call sign and mailing address.

Any Amateur Radio op worldwide can enter. I will package and ship the framed stamps to any destination that the United States Post Office will accept.

The names and call signs will be loaded into a software program such as RandomPicker on April 30th and a winner will be determined. The winner will be announced here, and then the framed stamps will be posted.

Good luck, and thank you for reading!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

PFR3A success (for a change) !!!!!

A few weeks ago, I received the replacement 50 MHz clock oscillator chip from Dan Tayloe N7VE, for my PFR3A. I soldered U11 in; and was disappointed with still no receive signals on 40 Meters. All the voltages were now more or less correct - due to the tolerance of my VOM, they're a bit off from the PFR3A manual; but they were right in the neighborhood.

Due to a very busy work schedule, I have not had time to tinker until yesterday. Starting with the easiest thing, I replaced the 612s, thinking somehow I might have screwed them up. Still nothing - zip, zilch ...... the big donut hole. I really didn't want to mess around replacing already soldered in active components, if I didn't have to. Feeling clueless and out of frustration, I fired off an e-mail to Steve Weber KD1JV, asking him if he thought anything else might have been damaged by U11 being installed incorrectly. He answered me VERY quickly with this reply:

It's not likely anything else is damaged. Make sure you did indeed make good connections to the clock chip, they can be tricky. If you have a scope, you can check to see if your getting the 50 MHz clock signal out of the chip, down in the lower right corner.


I was going to play around some more; but then, the power went out as I posted earlier. So this afternoon, I went down to see what I could see. First thing I did was to yet again check the solder connections from the clock oscillator with my Ohm meter. From each corner of the chip, I received a gratifying "beep" telling me that I had connectivity. But I figured that "The Designer" must know what he's talking about; so I gave each corner another hit with the heated tip of my iron.

I hooked up the circuit board to my 12V SLA battery; and ran two jumpers from my Inverted L's feed line. I really didn't expect anything; but ..... lo and behold! The sweet tones of a CW signal greeted my ears! And what was even more beautiful and gratifying was when I fired up the K2 to find that the frequency read out for the K2 and the PFR3A were spot on! The only thing that I can guess as to what was happening was that I didn't have a good solder connection at U11; but when I pressed down with my Ohm meter probes, it APPEARED that I did. Doing the actual re-heat (again) finally made a good and very necessary electrical connection.

So right now, I feel like the contented cat that ate the canary. I am doing the happy dance (big time) knowing that A) I haven't wasted the money that I have spent on this kit; and B) that with some help, I was able to overcome this obstacle. From this point, I can continue onward - after I bask in the success for a few moments.

Thanks to Steve Weber KD1JV, Dan Tayloe N7VE and Bob W3BBO for their help, guidance and encouragement!

72 de Larry W2LJ

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