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What was your first homebrew project?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W4ZD, Jul 11, 2018.

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  1. W4ZD

    W4ZD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why I think about these things is anybody's guess, but I was recollecting on my very first radio project, as a kid of 14 or so, many years ago. At the time I was fascinated by radio, and when I could I bought the latest periodicals. As in Popular Electronics, Electronics Illustrated, etc. One issue featured a simple construction project, a regenerative receiver based on the 6U8, a dual triode-pentode. For whatever reason, I decided I just had to build this thing.

    My younger brother and I set out on a mission. It took a long time, but eventually we obtained the parts necessary and put it together. Mostly we bought new parts, from Allied Radio catalogs and the like. Didn't know any hams at the time. Gotta start somewhere, I guess. There was a CBer down the street that lent us his Heathkit VTVM for awhile, bless his heart.

    Finally had all the parts, put it together. Damn thing didn't work. It used a Hammarlund 100-pf variable cap for main tuning, and when I fired it up I heard a Spanish language broadcast station, no matter where I set the dial. I was crestfallen to say the least.

    But it was only the first, there were other projects. And a few of them worked pretty damn well. I wonder, how did it fare for you?

  2. W9BFZ

    W9BFZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tried building a QRP Labs QCX. I screwed something up somewhere. The side tone is barely audible and none of the readings move during the alignment procedure. I'll get around to figuring it out eventually.
  3. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was probably when I punched a 3/4" hole in a coffee can to mount a 2m antenna when I was a kid. A local welding supply provided welding rod to use for radials.

    The antenna projects haven't stopped since then... :eek:
  4. K3KIC

    K3KIC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Best I can remember a voice operated relay. Not sure why I wanted to build it. Back when I was about 12. Being an engineer and designing products at work I haven't built anything at home for many years. Now in my second childhood I'm designing a FET linear amplifier for portable use.
    VK4HAT likes this.
  5. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    First hombrew radio project was an antenna analyser, currently scratch building my first single converstion superhet, manhstten style.
  6. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    A Knight Kit regen receiver kit. I think it was a star rover or star ranger.

    Got it second hand partially built from an uncle who had gotten shocked while trying to fix it plugged in! My dad had me unsolder and unmount everything back to a kit and then guided me through the rebuild. Worked fine.
    KK5JY likes this.
  7. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    A microphone switchbox for my TS-830--I had a few different mics at the time and didn't want to disconnect/reconnect them all the time. Ugly soldering job, but it worked! I learned a valuable lesson while building it, though: It's never a good idea to hold a metal project box by hand when trying to drill big holes in it, especially without pilot holes.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  8. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ham radio homebrew project? Not a kit? That would be a low-pass filter I built when I was 13, awaiting my novice ticket in the mail. First ham related kit was my Heathkit HW-7 that I built in January 1975.

    But homebrew in general I'd been doing since I was about 8. Just little projects - nothing major. A crystal radio when I was 10 was pretty rewarding, using a 2" dowel as the coil form. It sat on my nightstand and ever night I would listen to hear distant AM stations like KSL in Salt Lake.

    K3KIC likes this.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    First homebrew radio was a "foxhole radio". Coil wound on a toilet-paper core (120 turns, #26). Detector was a white single-edge razor blade and pencil graphite. Headphones, a wire out to the crabapple tree, and a ground to the radiator. WPEN 950, blasting in.

    Second homebrew radio was a 2 tube regenerative built from parts of an NRI instructional kit found at a flea market for 50 cents. 6SN7/6K6 with 5Y3 rectifier. Worked well enough for me to learn code.
    KK5JY likes this.
  10. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    My very first "homebrew" project, age 8 or 9, was also a regenerative receiver, built around the 1S4 battery tube.
    Next became a few super-regenerative VHF receivers and a code practice oscillator.

    When I decided to learn Morse in 1968, a small two-tube 80/40m receiver and a mains power supply were built in order to be able to listen to on-air code practice and learn about amateur radio operating.

    KK5JY likes this.

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