AARC/W4UVA Build Party, 21 March 2015, 8am-noon

555 KitPlease join your colleagues from the AARC and W4UVA for a Build Party on Saturday, 21 March 2015, from 8am until noon at the Observatory Mountain Engineering Research Facility (the Old Reactor Building on Observatory Hill at the University of Virginia) at 675 Old Reservoir Road, Charlottesville, VA 22904 (https://goo.gl/maps/sfWAE). There is no fee for participating in this workshop, but space will be limited, registration is required, and there are workshop materials that you will need to acquire in advance in order to participate.

To register, please go to http://vols.pt/RHAzed Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

The purpose of this Build Party is to give an introduction to basic soldering and assembly skills, and to provide a mentored environment for those new to electronics construction to start work on their first project. Kit-building is fun and rewarding!

You may bring any project that you like, but we recommend that you choose from one of three simple kits, all of which are well within the abilities of a beginning builder. Starting your building experience with a kit reduces the frustrations of purchasing individual components for the project and increases your chance of success. Completion of any of these kits will leave you with an attractive and useful working device that will become a part of your shack. The recommended kits are:

Ozark Patrol Regenerative HF Receiver ($40 plus shipping): http://www.4sqrp.com/ozarkpatrol.php

Build notes: This is a somewhat unconventional kit that is easy to assemble. Instructions, available on line, are generally well written. The back surface of the front panel is the circuit board. All components are normal in size, but are mounted on solder pads, similar to surface mounted components – that is the unconventional part. There is one toroid for the builder to wind. The radio tunes from 3 to 12 MHz, copying AM, SSB, & CW on 80 & 40 M bands, as well as commercial SW signals. It works well when attached to a long wire antenna and a good ground, and is a gem for the price. (I copied a JA0 on 40M SSB the first day I used it.) Parts for these popular kits are compiled by members of the Four State QRP Group, and shipped from Iowa. Check the above website for information on availability. [Bill -K4IB]

The Three Fives Kit: A Discrete 555 Timer ($35 plus shipping): http://shop.evilmadscientist.com/productsmenu/tinykitlist/652

Build notes: This is a fantastic “disintegrated” replica of a 555 integrated circuit, composed of 17 resistors, 26 transistors, and a few pieces of hardware. All components are mounted “through the hole.” The kit can easily be assembled in less than two hours. When finished, the builder has a functional timer that works like a 555 IC and looks like one as well. Because the components are exposed, the interested builder can explore the inner workings of the “chip” if so inclined. The completed kit is a beauty that would go well in a modern art museum. Shipping is two-day via USPS. [Bill – K4IB]

FC4: 500MHZ Frequency Counter and RF Meter ($49 plus shipping; be sure to select the option with the surface mount components pre-mounted): http://www.foxdelta.com/products/fc4.htm

Build notes: This kit ships from overseas, so there is significant delivery time involved. This device assumes that you have either a Windows PC to run the display software, or a Project Infinity Graphical LCD/CPU http://www.foxdelta.com/products/gcpu-0613.htm to provide the display. It will not function on MACs. [Mike – KQ9P]

Don’t wait until the last minute to order your kit. At least a couple of them have significant (weeks) shipping and delivery time.
You will also need some basic tools for electronics construction.

A good introduction to putting together a soldering toolkit is available at https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-guide-excellent-soldering/tools. That article makes some specific recommendations, but anything that meets the basic specifications will work just fine. The components of a soldering toolkit can be acquired through many online retailers. Also, because the space we have arranged for this event wasn’t designed for soldering, you’ll need to bring a soldering board to protect the tabletop. Many variations, sizes, and shapes are available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Soldering-Board-6in-X/dp/B0058ECU92, for example).

Although you are free to bring your own if you have them, we will provide some basic test equipment such as digital voltmeters (DVMs) to pass around.

If you are like us and have middle- or old- aged eyes, you might want to get something like this, as well: http://www.amazon.com/Jewelers-Lighted-High-Power-Magnifier-Visor/dp/B005VR19ES/ref=sr_1_27?ie=UTF8&qid=1421275021&sr=8-27&keywords=lighted+magnifying+glass.

If you have any questions, please contact Mike KQ9P at mike@kq9p.us or Bill K4IB at wparnold3@gmail.com.

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