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Color Burst Liberation Army

Today I can celebrate the oscillation of my Michigan Mighty Might, at least I hope that’s what I am seeing here.

This story starts with two great guys in the QRP/ Homebrew movement, Bill Meara N2CQR and Pete Juliano N6QW both of whom have been on the Soldersmoke Podcast of late.  I had it in my mind to do a small Manhattan style build of a small transceiver and on the podcast Bill and Pete were suggestion the Michigan Mighty Mite as it has a small number of parts and has a good deal of documentation out on the web. Master Meara was kind enough to put out a generous offer; to anyone that would build the Mighty Mite he would send a free 40 meter Color Burst Crystal for the project… free for the asking!  I quickly jumped on this offer and was greeted by kind emails by Pete with encouragement to take it on.

Pete even contributed a pencil layout of how I could put the mePads on the copper board (figure 1 below).

Fig 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to say I learn everything in the right order and never let my excitement take over but I have to say I went off quickly without using the layout and I built this, it didn’t work and I realized that there were two points where I made rookie mistakes and kicked myself… but every experience has a lesson and mine was not to rush too much. So I set out to build it again laying it out using the N6QW method.  I even used Adobe Illustrator to refine Pete’s pencil layout with some wire color coding, the image below (figure 2) is what I used to help me build my second MMM transmitter.

 

Fig 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This made is clearer and more idiot proof for me to connect the right component together, I didn’t put in the values as I was working from the pete’s drawing as well but I will do that and post a link to a pdf later.

So the next step as to draw a grid on my copper board using a quarter inch grid plane drawn with a soft lead pencil found in art supply stores (HB softness), this made it easier to lay down on the copper clad board. (fig. 3)

fig 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next I glued down the mePads using super glue and a pair of tweezers, using care I didn’t glue my fingers together! (fig 4)

fig 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I went and soldered down all the components it was a much happier and calm experience as I didn’t have to snake any surprise wires in weird places or re-solder anything.  This approach had the added benefit of soldering each pad together without having to go back and melt everything again to add a forgotten component.

 

This last photo is of my finished board for the Michigan Mighty Mite next to an inexpensive Radio Shack General coverage receiver for SW listening.

Michigan Mighty Mite for 40 Meters

My first home brew Manhattan style transceiver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To say I’m “Chuffed” is an understatement!  You can’t believe the feeling of building a transceiver from scratch, there are no words adequate to fit the feeling of accomplishment.  I’ve done kits before, including Dave Benson’s Rockmite but sorry the feeling of satisfaction is not there for me.  I love the Manhattan style, the way you can see all the connections and components on one side and also the simplicity of laying something out.  When I tuned to the crystal’s frequency I heard a tone, and felt a rush of excitement inside – almost like I was walking in the large footsteps of Marconi, Morse, Armstrong and DeMaw.  I have definitely gotten the bug now.  Many thanks to Pete and Bill 73

A short video posted on Youtube:

 

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