Sierra Weekend

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From: Doug Hendricks (dh@deneb.csustan.edu)
Date: Sun Feb 27 1994 - 22:58:35 EST


It was another good weekend for KI6DS. I have spent the last 3 weeks
gathering parts and building the Sierra, Wayne Burdick's next offering for
the NorCal QRP Club Project. Wayne ordered 3 prototype boards from Far
Circuits, and he built number 1, and gave Bob Warmke, W6CYX, and myself the
other two. He figures that by doing so he covers the extremes. Bob is an
expert builder, engineer type. I am the worst. All thumbs, nothing I ever
build works. So he has it covered. Both of us were to build the rig and
keep notes on any abnormalities or problems encountered.
     It took 2 and 1/2 weeks to find the parts, and only about 3 evenings for
me to finish the Sierra. It has 160 parts, including the band module, and
I built mine for 40 meters. The rig will be a kit from NorCal, and will only
be sold to members. It will come complete with case, knobs & connectors,
plus 5 band modules on 80, 40, 30, 20, & 15. The cost is projected to be in
the $250 range, but is not firm yet. When we are ready to take orders, we
will send a mailing to all NorCal members. DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY TO JIM
CATES until you get your mailing. It will be a CW transceiver with 150 KHz
coverage of all bands, and use plug in modules to change bands. By the way,
you can change the module with the power on, and you can plug it in backwards
without causing any problems. It took me 17 seconds to change modules the
first time I tried. That is from cover on to cover back on.
     Ok, back to the Sierra and this weekend. Friday night, I finished the
rig and excitedly called Wayne on the phone to have him take me through the
alignment procedure. That is where the problems began. My oscillator was
there, then it was gone. Plus, my scope probe was acting up. I couldn't
decide if the scope probe was bad or there was a problem with the Sierra.
After an hour on the phone, I gave up. Wayne suggested that I bring the rig
to San Carlos and we would debug it together. I agreed and that is where I
spent Saturday.
     Watching Wayne Burdick debug a rig is like watching a Roger Clemens
throw a fastball. He is an artist at what he does. He took a couple of
measurements on my rig, then got a puzzled look on his face. The next thing
that he did was to take the bottom off. He grinned, said "Here's your
problem." and pointed to the two leads of the VFO toroid that I had forgotten
to clip. They were an inch long, and both of them were shorting to ground.
Gosh was I red faced and embarrassed. Wayne clipped the two leads, and I
had a rig that worked!! He aligned it, did some mods that he had figured
out since ordering the prototype boards, and gave it back to me to use.
     Today, I used the rig, and it is a dream. Puts out 3 watts with a
2N3553 final, has a hot receiver, and everyone that I work comments on how
good it sounds. Speaking of that, it was amazing on the air. Everytime I
finished a qso, someone else was calling me! They all wanted to know about
the Sierra. My impression is that it is another winner from Wayne. I love
it, and can't wait to get the rest of my band module boards so that I can
get on the other bands. But, I will have to wait another 3 weeks for the
special ordered crystals to arrive. (Now I know how all of you who have been
waiting for your NorCals feel).
     On the way home from Wayne's, I stopped by Bob Warmke's to show him the
rig. He promptly hooked it up, and I was a witness to the first ever Sierra
to Sierra QSO. We called Wayne on the repeater, and he gave Bob a call on
40 meters. What FUN! Bob couldn't wait to get started on finishing his
Sierra, and as I left, he was plugging in the soldering iron. Today, he
called me on the phone at 1:30 and we had a Sierra to Sierra QSO too. It was
my first, and his second. The rig sounds great on the air, I know, because
I have worked one. Another great QRP weekend in California. By the way,
the Sierra will be at Dayton.
72, Doug


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