It Works!! NORCAL40 building story


From: Warren E. Lewis (
Date: Thu Jun 23 1994 - 11:31:21 EDT

Well Folks...I've actually completed the NORCAL40 and it works!!
It took me about 2 weeks total time to complete. I worked on it a couple
of hours every other day. This was first project that I have ever
built (Unless you can count the Radio Shack spring loaded AM/SW receiver
kit). The first couple of hours were spent learning how to solder
properly. It is actually very funny to look at the really poor soldering
job that I did on the first 20 or so components. The most frustrating
part of building was counting and recounting the turns on the VFO toroid.
Counting 62 tiny wire turns is pretty tedious.

When I hit the power switch the first time I was waiting for smoke and
flames...but, alas nothing...not even a warm component. I had the
multi-meter in series with the power supply and I was only getting .1 ma,
not the required 15 ma. I got the magnifying glass out to see if I had any
solder bridges or splashes. Everything looked good. Humm...maybe I should
re-heat all the joints and see if maybe I had a cold solder joint. Before I
did that I started tracing the voltages in the circuit. And sure enough I
found the culprit a bad joint right after the voltage regulator. Re-soldered
that joint and hit the power thinking to myself, "Now here comes the smoke!!"
But again, no smoke. I put the headphones on and to my surprise I hear that
old familiar atmospheric static. The rest of the receiver and transmitter
alignment was a walk in the park.
I attribute my success to the great instructions, great board layout, and
to the fact that I was very meticulous and took extra time making sure
each component was in its proper place and orientation before I soldered
it on. Also only working on it a couple hours at a time kept me from getting
fatigued and making any silly mistakes.

It sure is a thrill to see something that you put together work properly.
Now I need to get an antenna up that will tune up on 40 meters with my
antenna tuner, so I can do what I really want to do...make that first
contact with a rig that I have built!!!

Thanks NORCAL QRP Club(especially Wayne and Doug) and everybody on the QRP
list for your words of wisdom and encouragement!!

                  - Warren
Now I want to build one of Jeff Herman's QRP projects...finding some of the
replacement parts should be interesting. Has anybody tried building the 80 Meter
transmitter with VFO?

Warren E. Lewis                       
Technical Support Division                    (919) 677-8001 x6542
SAS Institute Inc.                                         PP-ASEL
Cary, NC                                      KD4YRN      DOD#0021

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