Dave Richards AA7EE

September 16, 2014

New “Free” SA602 and SA604 Offer Back – Now With Overseas Shipping

Filed under: Amateur Radio,Ham Radio,QRP — AA7EE @ 6:29 am
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On Saturday, a medium size Priority Mail flat-rate box packed full of IC’s, resistors, transistors and other devices arrived from KV7L. Lynn is the gentleman who made my previous SMT SA602 and SA604 offer possible by shipping me 2 large rolls of SMT SA602’s and SA604’s a few months ago. At a rough guess, that initial shipment contained about 1700 SA602’s and a few hundred SA604’s. Almost all of them went to QRP clubs wishing to sell them to raise funds, people organizing group builds, and the parts bins of individual home-brewers – and all for $4 to cover just the cost of shipping and the Paypal fee.

Now I have another, final shipment from Lynn and can open up this offer again. As well as the SMT 602’s and 604’s, Lynn threw in some bags of 2 and 3 W resistors, some of which will be useful for making QRP dummy loads, as well as some voltage regulators, power MOSFETS, and small signal NPN transistors. A number of people did ask if I could ship overseas, to which I replied that I was trying to keep the distribution process simple (for me) by limiting it to the US only. This time around, I’ll open it up to other countries, though the shipping costs are significantly higher and I’m not sure whether it will be considered worthwhile to those not in the US.

Sprat The QRP Cat wasted no time in thoroughly smelling all the parts. Lynn has dogs so I’m sure there was plenty for Sprat to sniff –

Before detailing the new deal (boy, I feel a little like FDR 🙂 ), there was something else I wanted to mention. Lynn KV7L said to me on the phone that he’d really like to receive QSL’s from some of the home-brewers who have had some of the parts from him so he can get an idea where his parts are ending up. Although I wasn’t shipping overseas in the last round, one gentleman in India asked if I could ship to a friend in the US who was visiting him in Bangalore in the near future and could deliver the parts. He is an educator who will be using his 602’s to encourage his students to build something. Lynn said he’d love to have a QSL from India, and from all the other places his parts are going so that he can put them up on his wall and get an idea of how his parts are being distributed far and wide.  This is not about tracking them – it’s because Lynn’s only involvement  in this giveaway has been to very kindly ship the parts to me, while I distribute them. He is a bit disconnected from the process and being able to look at QSL’s on his wall will help him feel a bit closer to the whole “free parts” operation. If you have already received parts from him (through me), I know that he’d love to receive a QSL from you. You can either send it to him, or to me – and I will forward it on to him. Both of our addresses are good on QRZ. Lynn’s address is a PO Box, while his actual QTH is in a fantastic radio location. He is miles from his nearest neighbor in rural Eastern Oregon,  and not served by any utility (he is 100% solar-powered). He has 5,000 feet of wire buried in the earth for a ground and his resulting noise level is very low indeed. He is the co-net manager of the Noontime Net on 7268.5KHz daily. It’s a regional net that covers most of California, Oregon and Washington, as well as a few other nearby states when daytime conditions are good and it seems that Lynn, with his fantastic radio location, hears almost everyone who calls into the net.

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this offer and would like to, please know that Lynn would love to receive a QSL from you as well.  I think it’s a very modest request from a gentleman who has shipped me something like 2,300 SMT SA602’s and 600-800 SA604’s and asked for nothing in return, other than the occasional update on how the giveaway is going. If you don’t have a QSL then don’t worry about it – and please don’t let it deter you from taking advantage of this offer.

This time around, as well as SMT SA602’s and SA604’s, I have a bunch of 1 and 2 watt resistors in low values, some of them suitable for building QRP dummy loads. There are some 160 ohm resistors and some 130 ohm ones. 2 x 160 ohm and 1 x 130 ohm resistor, all in parallel will give you a total effective resistance of 49.5 ohms. If all 3 resistors are 2 watts, then the final dummy load will handle about 6 watts, which is more than enough for the QRP “full gallon” of 5W. Some of the resistors are 1W, and even if you were to use just those, your final dummy load would still handle 3W,  There are also other values of 1 and 2W resistors such as 22 ohms, 27 ohms, and also 51 ohms. I don’t have many of the 51 ohm ones, so you’ll probably only get one of those, but there are more available of the other values.  Actually, the 51 ohm 2W resistor would make a useful dummy load on it’s own. It should handle 5W for very short periods and of course, if your TX is just 2W, it will be even more able to handle long key-down periods. If you want to make a “classic” QRP dummy load, you can mount your decided combination of resistors in a mint tin, along with a BNC connector for connecting it to your TX and you’ve got yourself an affordable and useful station accessory.

I also have some LM2575T 12V 1A voltage regulators, in a 5-lead TO-220 package. Datasheet here. There are also some F10P03L P-channel power MOSFETS, datasheet here, as well as some PN4275 NPN switching transistors, for which the datasheet is here.  I may throw in a few general purpose NPN transistors too, if I have any left. They have the number F15103477844 printed on them which I haven’t been able to find any datasheets for but that is not surprising. It is very common for mass-manufactured electronic goods to use parts with parts numbers that were supplied specifically for one production run. They are small signal NPN transistors and they may well be very similar to transistors used in many other products, that had different numbers stamped on them. They’ll most likely work fine in many circuits that call for 2N3904’s, BC109’s or similar.

This photo isn’t exactly what you’ll get in your package, but it’s pretty close. You’ll probably get this, along with a few extra resistors and possibly some extra transistors thrown in. As a bare minimum, you’ll get 15 x SMT SA602’s, 6 SA604’s, an assortment of 2 and 3 W resistors in low values, some of which will be suitable for making up QRP dummy loads, 8 x LM2575T 12V 1A voltage regulators, 6 x F10P03L P-channel power MOSFETS, and a small handful of PN4275 NPN transistors –

My supplies of both 602’s and 604’s are now limited but if you need a few extra for a club project or group build, please ask and I’ll try to accommodate you. The 602’s are particularly limited, but I have a few more of the 604’s, so if you have a group project that uses 604’s, I should be able to provide them.

The last offer was just for 602’s and 604’s and for that I was asking $4. To ship these I need a small box, (as opposed to the padded mailer used previously), which costs a bit more, and the extra weight costs a bit more in shipping, I am now asking $6 payable via Paypal for US builders – and also asking if you can send KV7L a QSL card (either directly to him, or to me so that I can pass it along to him – but don’t write it out to me – write it to Lynn KV7L). If you don’t want to use Paypal, you can mail a check for $5.50 (because I don’t have to pay the Paypal fee) to me. This is quite a handy way to do it, as you can include your QSL card for Lynn in the envelope with the check 🙂

Whatever you do, don’t send any money until you have first e-mailed me! My e-mail address on QRZ is good, or you can use mycallsign@arrl.net

If you are anywhere in Europe I will now ship to you, but the shipping costs are significantly higher, I’m afraid.  If you are in Europe, I need to ask for US$17 to cover the shipping box, shipping costs and the Paypal fee. I’d rather not accept personal checks from outside the US, so will have to ask for Paypal for non-US builders, to keep the process relatively simple for me. However, if you are outside the US and are able to mail a QSL card to Lynn (either to Lynn, or to me – but make sure it is written out to Lynn) I will be happy to reimburse you for the postage via Paypal. I’d really love for Lynn to get a whole bunch of QSL’s from many different areas. He’ll love that. In fact, if you’re a US builder who is paying via Paypal, let me know if you plan to send a QSL and I’ll knock 50 cents off the price to cover most of your postage.

If you are outside the US and Europe, I may well be able to ship to you, but will have to get a quote from my local Post Office. It will probably be very close to the price for EU. E-mail me if you seriously intend to take advantage of the offer and I’ll get a price for you.

I hope that all made sense, and that the parts make it worth the expenditure of a few dollars for the shipping. It’s a no-brainer for US builders, and may be worth it to non-US home-brewers too.

 

73 for now,

Dave  AA7EE

PS – I have 100 of these Molex connector shells. The total width is 1  1/8″  (1.125″). Let me know if you’d like some of these too, but you have to ask as I know that most people won’t want them.

Update (Sep 18th) – I am out of all the transistors and the voltage regulators but do still have a few SA602’s, resistor packs, and plenty of SA604’s left. At this point, I can still make up a package for you containing SA602’s, SA604’s and the resistor pack. Prices are the same (as the shipping is very nearly the same).

Update (Sep 22nd) – I have a good amount of SA604’s left, a few SA602’s, and the Molex connectors. Everything else is gone.

Update (Sep 24th) – All that is left is the SA604’s and the Molex connector shells.

August 30, 2014

SA602 and 604 Giveaway Update, and SA604 Circuits

Filed under: Amateur Radio,Ham Radio,QRP — AA7EE @ 6:04 pm
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I’ve had a busy few days. Since posting details of the reels of SMT SA602 and SA604 IC’s that a very generous ham sent to me with a request to distribute them to other homebrewers and building groups, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time cycling to and fro between my house, the local print and copy shop (for supplies of padded mailers), and the Post Office. The first day’s worth of envelopes looked like this just before being bundled into my backpack for the short trip to the Post Office (names and addresses inexpertly blurred out in order to protect the identities of the innocent) –

I mailed out 18 packets on the first day, and almost as many the next day. Most went to individual builders and experimenters, though a few did go to groups for group builds. The response has been very encouraging. I wasn’t too sure how many people would be interested in SMT parts but it seems that quite a few folk do indeed experiment and build with them – and they are not all young ‘uns either. One gentlemen who requested a set is 83 years old. Excellent! With the help of breakout boards, like W1REX’s MePADS, or these ones from OSH that Sanjay KI6VFH told me about (only $1.50 for 3, including shipping), once you’ve got the device mounted to the pad, building Manhattan-style with these IC’s is straightforward. Incidentally, the boards from OSH are SO-8, so will work for the 602’s but not the 604’s, which are SO-16. Also, Rex’s pads can be glued straight onto a copper substrate as there are no contacts on the flipside, while the OSH one will need to be suspended above the copper groundplane with short, stiff ground leads. Perhaps someone has posted a design for an SO-16 breakout board on OSH?

Standing in line at the Post Office has it’s good sides, one of them being the notices that I spotted attached to the plexiglass divider at the customer service counter –

As I thought would be the case, everyone wants the 602’s. I was expecting only a few people to also want 604’s but as it turns out, a majority are also asking for a few of them. Many don’t yet know what they will do with them but are hoping to find a worthy project. A few actually have projects planned. One gentleman is planning a group build with his club, in which they will build pagers. I didn’t ask for more details on what the frequency of operation will be, but I am curious. Another is going to build a weather satellite receiver.  Paul K0EET mentioned that 604’s turn up in home-brew spectrum analyzer projects as an IF strip and a logarithmic RSSI (to drive the y axis).  He also told me about an article in the July 1993 issue of QST by OH2GF for a synchronous AM detector using an SA604 and a couple of 602’s. It is designed for receivers with an IF of 450-455KHz, so would be a great addition to many existing shortwave receivers. Thanks Paul (makes mental note to remember this project). In it’s application as a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) it could also be used as an S-meter for a direct conversion receiver (a quick Google search should get you a circuit).

So quite a few circuit ideas for the SA604. The application sheet also shows how, with an SA602, you can make a simple FM receiver. Personally, I can see wanting to try it out as a synchronous detector for AM signals at some point.

Oh – one idea for the 602’s which I thought was very novel, was one gentleman who plans to rip out the guts of his HW-8 and replace them with a DDS-tuned superhet. Cool!

I started out with quite a large reel – bigger than shown in the picture of Sprat The QRP Cat performing QC. By the time I took that picture, several hundred had already gone out to various experimenters and builders. With the encouraging response to these posts, I will probably run out soon. Not to worry though, as the gentleman who sent them to me still has some left that he has promised to send. I am not sure when those will arrive, but I’ll post updates to this blog. I don’t think it will be very long.

If you build something cool with these chips, please let me know!

NOTE – SA602 and 604 offer on hold until further notice. I’m almost out, but the very kind gentleman from Oregon who sent me this batch has some more he will be sending soon. I will make a new post to this blog when I have more IC’s in stock.

August 26, 2014

Free NE602’s and 604’s

Filed under: Amateur Radio,Ham Radio,QRP — AA7EE @ 8:29 pm
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It’s been on my mind to make this post for quite a while now. Some time back, a very generous ham in Oregon gave me a sizeable quantity of SA602 and SA604 SMT IC’s. They were part of a production run that didn’t materialize. He got a deal on them and has been hanging onto them ever since. Now he would like to pass them on (for free) to other home-brewers, so he asked me to help out. He wants them to go into the parts bins of people who may well use them, and does not want them to go to people who will merely resell them for a profit. He’s perfectly OK with them being used for a club group build, or a club kit designed to raise funds for a QRP club – just not in large quantities to individuals who will turn around and sell them. The idea is to encourage people to build something.

I’m sure you know all about the NE602/SA602/NE612/SA612 oscillator and double-balanced mixer IC. It has, of course, been used in countless numbers of simple direct conversion receivers such as The Sudden. It’s not ideal in the front end of a receiver, being very susceptible to overload in that usage, but it sure does make it easy to build a very simple DC receiver.  It can be used to good effect as the 2nd mixer in a receiver, and as a balanced modulator. In any application where the input levels are within certain defined limits, it performs well. The SA604 is a low-power FM IF chip. I’ll leave you to do the research and check out the datasheets.

Oh – and these IC’s have been through rigorous quality control. Here’s Sprat The QRP Cat checking the roll of SA602’s. They passed the test 🙂

Sprat The QRP Cat performing quality control on the roll of SA602’s.

The SA602’s are in an SOIC-8 package and the SA604’s in an SOIC-16 package. Here is one of each, placed on a sheet of W1REX’s MePADS –

Jason NT7S built a really neat SSB rig based around an Si5351 PLL/VCXO chip. He used 2 of these SA602’s as part of the design. you can read about (and see) Jason’s “Simple SSB” rig here. He describes the rig’s architecture in an earlier post here. It’s great stuff and very much in the spirit of ham radio.

I don’t want to make any money from this, but would like to cover my expenses, so I will charge a small fee to cover the cost of a padded mailer, postage and the Paypal fee. Here’s the deal. If you are an individual home-brewer in the continental US who could use some of these SA602 SMT IC’s (which are exactly the same as NE602’s), send me an e-mail – either to my e-mail address on QRZ, or to mycallsign@arrl.net to let me know you’re interested. I’ll reply to let you know what e-mail address to Paypal the money to. For $4, I’ll send you 15 SA602 IC’s. If you’d like some SA604’s as well, let me know but please only ask if you think there’s a chance you might use them.  If you would like a larger quantity for a club kit or group build, send me an e-mail with the info and I should be able to help you out.

Oh – and unlike my recent variable capacitor give-away, I have quite a lot of these, so you don’t need to be the first (or even the 20th or 30th) person to reply. As not too many builders use SMT, I suspect this offer will be available for a while.

I am very grateful to the gentleman in rural eastern Oregon who is the reason for me to be able to spread this little piece of home-brew goodwill!

NOTE – to the gentlemen who left comments, I have deleted them. It occurred to me that having your e-mail addresses and info in the comments section might cause some enterprising scammer to pretend he/she was me and ask you to send the money to them. Having said that, they would have to be pretty desperate to go to all that trouble to make an extra $4!  Best to e-mail me at my e-mail address on QRZ, or to mycallsign@arrl.net

NOTE – SA602 and 604 offer on hold until further notice. I’m almost out but the very kind gentleman from Oregon who sent me this batch has some more he will be sending soon. I will make a new post to this blog when I have more IC’s in stock.

 

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