30 July 2021

Winding QCX toroids as left-handed

The other day I resumed building the QCX transceiver kit I bought a couple of years ago in 2018. I had left it to the point of winding toroids.

All seemed fine for L4 (the red one), a bit loose but can be moved to match the PCB silkscreen.

Then comes the middle one from the output filter (L2) and ... I realised that winding toroids is another thing that left-handed people do differently! Loose ends of the winding end up on the opposite side vs. what is expected on the PCB and the inductor sits diagonally.

QCX toroids by a left-handed
QCX toroids by a left-handed builder.

When winding L1 I paid attention to the position of the wire and it matches better the silkscreen. Since I've had to remove L3 I might fix L2 as well so that these coils are perpendicular to each other as designed by Hans Summers.

Regardless the toroid is done with the right-hand or with the left-hand in the direction expected by the PCB, it really goes against the left-handed nature!

05 July 2021

From Tortona 2021, Nixie and CRT

The picture shows part of the spoils from Tortona June 2021 flea market.

On top is the original box containing a DP7-32 CRT. The letter "P" in the name means "long persistence, dual color". It has been opened to check the content presence and integrity, and that's all.

On the lower part of the picture is the display board from R&S receiver, showing a nice algorithm of hand routing PCB traces. Something had burned in this board because a resistor had been replaced but another one has a different [lower] impedance which causes lots of current to pass into a Nixie and the associated 74141 driver, which, in turn, is not functional any more. So the board gives 7 sockets, probably 6x 74141 and 5 good ZM1182 Nixies.

01 July 2021

Testing the equipment by testing other things

I found myself stuck in a testing loop while learning on-the-field how to use the Hantek oscilloscope: I was creating test cases for the oscilloscope that dubbed into test cases for accessories.

See this. The scope has a -3dB 150 MHz bandwidth, so I picked up my 14 MHz Marker Generator and tried to visualise the output terminated on a 50 ohm dummy load. The marker generator creates a short impulse in the time domain, which results in many peaks in the frequency domain. The short square impulse should be 10 ns long inside a period T of 71 ns at 14 MHz.

Grab all the probes in the lab and see which one renders better the impulse train. Don't forget to set the probe to 10x.

Probes were tested in this order:

  1. P6100, 100 MHz
  2. P6100, 100 MHz
  3. PK-8150, 150 MHz
  4. PP150B 150 MHz, Hantek
  5. 88025, 250 MHz, Greenpar

The first stitch below shows 4 periods of the test signal, while the second image is a zoom-in on one impulse.

According to the screenshots (wow!), all five probes behave almost in the same way! Even the input square wave show ringing.

Well, I do want to see an impulse train so I will either change the XTAL in the marker generator or use the arbitrary function generator embedded into the scope. Or both.

When time allows I will repeat the experiment with a 200 MHz Siglent oscilloscope (not mine).