Re[2]: Operating semantics


Date: Mon Feb 14 1994 - 12:21:36 EST

Bruce, KN6MN, sez:

>It would never occur to me to call my HW-8 "homebrew." That term implies
>some participation in the design, mechanical if not electronic. Building
>a kit doesn't qualify. On the other hand, building a kit _can_ provide
>training that's available in no other way, if the builder cares to take
>the time to figure out why the kit was designed the way it was. It's
>decidedly more educational, and more in keeping with the technical
>justification for ham radio (as given in Part 97) than appliance
>operation. So the builder should get some credit for that.

>Having built dozens of kits, I'm looking forward to doing some real
>homebrew as soon as we get moved into the new house -- finally
>a house with enough space for a small workshop and a real antenna!
>The Heathkits I've built have taught me something about electronic design
>and a lot about mechanical design and layout, knowledge I'll put to use
>in designing and building my own radios. (I've designed and built a number
>of digital circuits, but that's mostly just connecting the dots -- playing
>apprentice to the RF designer's sorcerer :-). I'll still use other
>people's published circuits for things I don't have
>the design skills to do myself -- high-performance front ends come to
>mind -- but IMHO the result will qualify for the label of "homebrew."

I've been grappling with this issue myself lately. Suppose one purchased
NN1G bare boards from FAR circuits, purchased/scrounged the parts and during
the course of construction (or maybe assembly would be a better term)
performed modifications to a greater or lesser degree. Does this qualify
as homebrew as opposed to assembling a kit from Dan's?

Probably not, one might be tempted to say. But suppose another individual
copied the NN1G circuit verbatim but built the rig using *ugly* construction.
Does this qualify as homebrew?

Does all of the circuitry in a rig have to be an *original* design (sorry for
the excessive use of astersisks and parenthetical statements) or does it
suffice that a rig be built from the available smorgasbord of mixers, vfos,
product detectors, etc. to permit one to call a rig 'homebrew'? I realize I'm
asking more questions than providing answers, but these are the issues as I
see them. This is the fine line we tread here.

My opinion lies somewhere in the middle. If I copied the NN1G or Ugly
Weekender and built it on whatever substrate and packaged it myself, I think
it should qualify as homebrew, even if the circuit design was not original
with me. If I purchased a complete kit from, say OHR, S&S or whomever, then
what I really did was assemble a kit, not homebrew a rig.

With so many good, 'standard' circuits available, it sometimes isn't worth
the effort to come up with an original design. Let's face it, we're not all
RF designers with 20 years of experience. Perhaps the deciding factor in
whether a rig is homebrew should depend on the amount of effort placed into
the sheet metal work and circuit mods. In that case, the NN1G rig I'm working
on could be considered homebrew.

Just some thought fodder...

Bob - N3MBY

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