Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Ham Radio-from humble beginnings to an H.N.D.

Ham Radio-from humble beginnings to an H.N.D.

I gained an H.N.D. and enjoyed  thirty years' experience working in the Telecommunications Industry, but please do not let information cloud your judgment when thinking about repairing Ham Radio transceivers or receivers, learn by doing-build kits, see below.

A trio dip meter

A trio dip meter handy for tuned circuits

When I went off to college to learn all the fun stuff about core issues surrounding the electronic component, I realized that I had already gained knowledge about what the lecturers were talking about, since my early years as a schoolboy; I have always played with electronics.

It all started with wonder, I would wonder what was inside a torch or inside my sister's toy vacuum cleaner. I found out what was inside the vacuum cleaner; however, it took me longer to figure out how you put it back together.

Torches were the thing in my day if you got one with multi-colored Perspex colored circles that slid over the white light, wow I discovered a whole new reason for having a torch. If you placed the red light onto your face from your chin end, you looked very scary.

Pulling out the battery from the torch gave me an idea of how it worked. Sliding the switch on the top connected two pieces of metal together which connected a simple circuit inside the torch. Ham Radio repairs use a very similar philosophy as talked about above and how the torch works.

None of us are born with Ham Radio repair knowledge, we must learn it.

There are many ways to repair Ham Radios, but eventually you figure out how to do it quickly and effectively, but all of this only comes with endless curiosity, and trial and error.

Never buy a valve Ham Radio off an auction website and think you can figure out how it works by trial and error, valve receivers need high voltage supplies so do not attempt a repair like this.

My interest in vacuum cleaners and torches developed into building crystal set receivers. By this time I knew about how components interact with each other and how to do simple maths.

I would buy low powered kits, many are still available from hobby shops and Radio ham Rallies. If you build them you can test them by learning where voltage points are located, this will also help with theory.

Ham Radio repairs are easier when you have built something to do with radio yourself, if you make a mistake with the kit, learn how to repair by examining the components, sometimes the eye is better than a meter, and especially if you are looking for solder blobs which have shortened out a component.

Kits and fundamental theory books work hand in hand, read the theory and build the circuits, may book lead you to step by step through a logical process, from identifying components to measuring them before you solder them onto the P.C.B. board.

Ham Radio accessories including Standing Wave Ratio meters are easily built with a little patience and some time. Don't feel as if you have to rush through things like the speed of light, take your time and enjoy building, it's a great deal of fun.

When you look at the maths, most people shy off, but if you build a circuit and then redraw it together with the simple maths surrounding the components it really does help your understanding and before you know it you will learn the skills required to not only repair Ham Radio equipment you may have the knowledge to repair other electronic devices too.

Ham Radio repairs are great fun and so it should be, don't get too serious about all this stuff keep it entertaining and enjoy it, take your time and learn to enjoy not only repairs but what you are doing. Research is the key, none of us were born with the knowledge we are naturally nurtured sometimes by ourselves sometimes by others.

My conclusion to this story, you must start somewhere, buy a transmitter or receiver kit from an auction website, build it and buy a book on fundamental principles and they work hand in hand, but above all have a great time doing practical Ham Radio, its great fun.

Ham Radio-from humble beginnings to an H.N.D.