HP-8116A Reborn

I replaced a single cap in my HP-8116A, and it’s in great shape again!

The HP-8116A reborn out of the ashes… Credits: Jan de Jongh [pa3gyf].


My First Nichicon

[20210305] Today an interesting batch of Nichicon capacitors arrived from I needed a replacement cap for the repair of my HP-8116A and decided to start collecting a stock of electrolytic capacitors. I know, I know, shelf life and all… But waiting two weeks in lockdown for a single elco is no fun either…

Today’s batch is (my first) from Nichicon; of course… Temperature rating 105 °C.

Batch of Nichicons. Actually, my Nichicon Baptism-of-Fire.

The Paperless HAM

Right after my last walk to the waste container and while backing up content and pushing it to this web site, I can now declare myself a paperless HAM. Over the past three weeks or so, I got rid of all physical documentation on instruments, HAM gear, ancient projects or just plain thoughts put on paper. Replaced by endless bit arrays either obtained by scanning or by downloading.

I must have scanned over a thousand pages and downloaded tens of documents (the latter to prevent me from having it to scan myself). Highlights (if you will) of the scanning activity were service manuals for the Yeasu FT-208R and the Rohde&Schwarz ESH-3 Test Receiver.

It feels as if I finished something big and important, despite the fact that I still stubbornly prefer reading and studying from paper, and prefer pencil and paper for designing or, say, just doing some (simple) math. But with dozens of high-end (yet old) instruments, a couple of transceivers and dozens of past projects, it is just impossible to have all documentation physically at hand in a small hobby loft. It would take fifty A4 binders, and that’s a conservative estimate. And in this case, it is either all or nothing for me, and all digital it has become. So I finally got rid of the final ten or so binders. At last; I should have done this years ago :-)…

Remarkably, I was one of the first to purchase a scanner with ADF in order to get rid of the massive amount of personal administration that only grew larger and larger. Likewise, to ditch my Vinyl, CDs, DVDs once they were all ripped. Too bad it took me almost thirty years in total, but this is just one of the last steps towards the fully digital experience my kids and so many of my young colleagues are already accustomed to :-)…

I still have a drawer stuffed with those annoying Safety Instructions and manuals in languages that use complete paintings as characters… And while I’m at it, just above it (it’s a chest of two drawers) reside over a hundred cables and connectors just to remain backwards compatible (you know, including that high-end Monster SCART to RGB patch cable you thought would finally solve all your video incompatibilities for the foreseeable future).

So, still work to do, but I’m almost there (‘story of my life’)…

ham ham-archived

The pf0a/pa3gyf pa-144-1kW

[20210215] Rediscovering Personal HAM History

Today, as part of my larger objective to archive my past (HAM) projects, I scanned various documents related to a project Frank van Vliet, pf0a nowadays, and I undertook around early 1999. I actually think more people were involved (like Vincent and Jurgen), so I hope I’m not failing on the credits here…

The idea was simple: We would build a 1 kW (or 400W legal-limit, if you prefer) Power Amplifier for 144 Mhz around “The Russian Tube” that became available in rather large quantities around that time. In those days, I had the ability, financial means, interest, and willpower to deploy a serious 2-meter station…

As far as I can recall, we managed to design and order the HV transformer (I still have one!) and the custom-made combi-transformer for auxiliary (screen/control grid and heater). My job was to order the latter transformer and design the screen-grid power supply. So I designed the circuit, with quite some safety measures, and the PCB, and built (at least) one prototype.

Unfortunately, due to personal issues later in 1999, I had to abandon the project (and HAM as a whole for several years), but I think I managed to hand over the results to Frank and others, and I think Frank managed to complete the build for the (pe0mar) Lighthouse Contest Group. The combi-transformers (I’m pretty sure I had to order 10 of them) and the screen-supply prototype I built seem to have gone lost after 1999, but I still have to HV transformer waiting for a new destiny…

Current Status and Future of this Project

Well, I’m no longer that active as a HAM anymore, and I no longer have the antenna options I used to have. So finishing this project would only serve as a rehabilitation of my ego for bailing out in 1999. Hence, for now, the project is archived as unfinished.