I picked up a "almost" complete lot of machining tooling for a set of lathes. One item that was missing was a clamp for the tapping head. I reasoned out a quick idea of how it worked and what was missing and did a quick sketch in Fusion and produced a quick part without the outer filet. I also drilled the corners so I wouldn't need to broach the corners. Saying still holds, if you can't find it, make it.
Sometimes I get something I really like and discover a big flaw in it's design. In the following case, my nice shiney new riding mower deck shaft had just given way again. I believe this was the third failure.
The pot metal frame and weak steel direct shaft was a problem and after spending several hundred dollars over the past few years I decided to do something about it. Off to the big shop. After some quick layout in Fusion 360 and a quick 3d print of the housing for test fit, I started work on the shaft while the mill was cutting the housing. I've gotten 2 complete mowings now before fall and it works great. I was pressed for time on this but I did manage to snap a few photos of the new shaft and threading.
I also had to slightly modify a new tool holder I purchased as the ways were too tight for my liking so that took a bit of time to finish up. Now I have a nice shiney new dedicated HSS cut off holder and a mower that won't fail me.
BFDX TD-503 DMR RADIO
I've been using the BFDX TD-503 for several months on the local DMR repeater and NCPRN. The main reason I really like it and its found its place above my Mototrbo and Hytera is it the GUI by default shows the Frequency and Channel Name. Controls are standard and easy to use. The case is high quality and it has some heft to it.
It has been left out in the rain, taken on swift-water calls (submerged in the river), dropped, banged, and otherwise abused with no issues whatsoever.
Programming is easy and the cable is inexpensive. The audio quality is better or on par with both my Hytera and Mototrbo's in both analog and digital mode. This radio works great on analog repeaters as well. I've been using this pretty much exclusively for any outdoor adventures (UTV'n, Rafting, Swift-water Rescue, Climbing) without fail, mainly because of its price point and performance. At $250 brand new its much less expensive than a used Mototurbo or Hytera.
I had some issues with the audio on this so bear with it. Also standard definition only.
Just a quick video of what's next in Ham radio and some projects I've been working on, as well as others, to get there. Some highlights:
- MultiCodec - Codec2, AMBE...
- Remote Standardized Head Unit / Retrofit
- Less PC .. More Embedded
- More modular
- Easier to use and the possibility of installing station away from Radio.
- DSP development in the hands of more people.
- Older Designs get updates.
- Powerful Tools getting more accessible
- KiCad (New stable, RF Traces (Curved), Diff Pair Routing (USB, etc))
- Inexpensive STM32 and other DSP platforms
- Filter Creation and Simulation
An open source codec for compression is up and going (CODEC2).
AMBE is much easier to implement and get ahold of.
Remote heads are beginning to pop up commercially in the FlexRadio line.
More embedded projects/products including SM1000, FlexRadio head unit, and many many DStar node adaptors.
DMR radios have hit the market to warm up the digital voice market, many which are under $300 new.
ICOM IC-208H Background
Looking for something to play with I was the lucky bidder on a non-working IC-208H ICOM Dual Bander radio on Ebay. It looked ok but was listed as non-working. They also disclosed it would not power all. All of these things were correct. A more accurate description would have been "Used on the show Deadliest Catch but the boat sank to the bottom. Recovered 2 months later".
I'm guessing it was installed on a boat and wouldn't surprise me if said boat was at the bottom when this radio was removed. The head unit was in great shape so not a complete loss.
Since there was severe damage from the apparent reverse hookup and water damage it wasn't something I could or would repair. I did end up with some spare parts, a good IC-208H head, new power cord, and a working Mic.
The mic connector was completely trashed with green tented heavy corrosion. Inside both side of the board had been exposed to water and dirt. Even without the badly damaged PCB craters it was deemed a lost cause as soon as I opened the case. Stay tuned for a teardown of the IC-208H head unit as this appears to be in great shape and I want to see if and how it ticks before parting with it.
ICOM IC-208H Teardown Video
Teardown video of a beaten down ICOM IC-208H. I'd really like to know what this radio has seen.
What in the heck is in these?
I've alway wondered what was inside these. I'll never find out because of the weatherproofing epoxy. The face LCD cover is milled and it hints of low volume production. These are used to control the flow of water to a horizontal direction drill (HDD). This Vermeer unit fits many different models of their drills. This one was programmed for a 24x33 Vermeer.
Proof is in Vermeer Waterproofing
HAMTRONICS REP 200 VHF REPEATER
The local club came to me to add TX PL Mod to the local VHF repeater. It's a well aged Hamtronics REP 200 that had one tone board installed for RX. They specifically requested that the TX board only transmit during reception of the RX PL tone. This is to allow you to setup a RX PL so that you only hear voice traffic.
I reviewed the new tone board and the REP-200 schematic and whipped up something that worked. I mounted the new Tone Board close to the existing one. I used a transistor on the new board to control the existing REP-200. Before giving it back to put into service, a slight alignment was done and thorough testing, including burn in. Its been on the mountain working now for at least 2 months with no issues.
AmScope SE400-Z Background
I have several implements for PCB inspection including real time macro video, several usb type microscopes and the old trusty head mounted magnifier. Many times the real time view of a microscope is the best option and most used one.
The AmScope SE400-Z is a stereo boom mounted scope with a flexible gooseneck LED light. There are several options available and I have the 10x and 20x wide-field eyepieces along with the 1x objective lower section. Other options can be purchased later if you so desire.
The theory is this will be realtime while soldering unlike the usb scopes, put you close to the work being done and still provide stereo vision for soldering and inspection of PCBs. This scope delivers exactly that and doesn't take up a lot of room on the bench. This scope is very economical and works great for PCB soldering and inspection.
At bit more use and the more I like it. It's just a pleasure to use. The LED light works well for changing the angle of light when needed. The optics are really nice now that I've gotten used to the height. Still highly recommended for PCB work.