Klutz's Guide to Homebrewing

By Gary Johanson, WD4NKA

After being thorougly intimidated by W9TB, ( i downloaded the photos. Might enlarge them and pin them up in the shack. Next to the Arnold Schwarzneger poster. Maybe something will rub off. ) there are a few things that folks like me can learn from careful study of such projects.

One thing i learned in high-school: while the fast cars took the quarters on the strip, the pretty cars took home the dates! Remember that, and take heart, oh ye of little skill.

Even though you can't even successfully snap in a 9v battery, and none of your xtal sets seem to work, You can still impress your BA friends and neighbors with your projects by the simple inclusion of the following:

An HRO Dial: a must for this op, who has a hand fulla thumbs. No matter how lousey and instable your wobbulator might be, this'll cure it. Remember, it's not performance, it's the look. Can't locate the dial and PW box? Go for an Eddystone slide rule on Ebay. Whatever that baby is bolted to has gotta work great! Even if it's . . . . nothing!

Fluted knobs with skirts: Yeah! Whatever they connect to is the essence of function ! Everyone'll know you got skill and class.

Triplett metering: Gotta have those babies. None of those Radio Shed japaneeze things. In a pinch, Westons will do. Maybe a rheostat and a penlight cell just to make 'em move. (Ooops, dang, that's a separate project. Sorry.)

Black or Grey wrinkle finish front panel: No matter how vacuous the insides might really be, the OTers will always tell you "they don't make 'em like THAT anymore!"

Toggle Switches! Lots. String 'em along the bottom of the front panel. Make sure they're shiney. Nothing like efficient switching of . . . uh . . . . circuit type things.

Muffin Fan: Now, that ain't real boatanchory, but you can hide it. It's the sound yer after! Ever turn on a rig, and hear that fan crank up? Didn't something inside of you say "Whoooa!!"??

At least one 807 or an 811a with a storage battery: The idea is to make it glow. It would help if you had a ceramic plate cap and some real thick wire attached to it. Later, you can upgrade it by putting a resistor with a few turns of wire around it between the cap and real thick wire. Make sure wire goes thru a hole in the chassis somewhere.

A big ol' transformer: Just punch a hole for the wires, and bolt 'er on! This is what keeps boatanchors from floatin', y'know!

Big variable capacitors: Very impressive when you lift the lid or look behind that black wrinkle finished front panel they don't make anymore. Might even consider connecting that variable to the HRO or Eddystone dial so that it turns. Really retro, there.

Coils! Coils! Coils! Like the Elvis movie.

A thick cotton covered power line with double fused Johnson wall plug: Make sure the part of the line that doesn't have the plug on it isn't touching anything, or that the wires aren't touching each other. Hey, safety first!

Pepper the table it's sitting on with knife switches, old QSTs, a globe or a Great Polar map of the world. Or a National Geographic Mercator Projection of the world. Either one, same planet. Looks good behind your little marvel. It helps to have a pipe cradled in a glass ashtray somewhere in view. Get that old log-book too! No log book? Use an accounting ledger. Borrow your kid's stereo headphones. Just for effect.

Gotta Key? Hey, gotta Bug? Even if you don't know a dit from an armpit, just park it there on the table. Most folks won't notice there's no wire connecting it to anything. Let me ask you: did you notice that the Monkees never seemed to have their guitars plugged into anything? Hah--- gotcha!

D-104's might be an alternative, but your visitor might wonder what channel you modjitate on.

Now, just guide your visitor in for a brief few minutes. Remember . . . you have to tune it up, yet, so (ahem) it's not in line just yet. That's why you have that broken oscilloscope sitting there. Make sure the light is kinda dim, maybe a small desk-lamp.

Turn it on, hear the fan, see the tubes glow, and shut 'er down before ya hurts somebody.

Whew! Sure is a lot to this Homebrew stuff!

Next Week: Upgrading the HB "Marvel" with purple glowing tubes!

gary // wd4nka