Jerry's Ham Shack   2016   Call sign: K JXH  (Kilo Five Juliet Xray Hotel) 

Please note, any seller of  old used gear to me, be it known, that my words below do not reflect on you, as used gear is like getting dog from the "City Pound" no expectations at all.
To you all , I say "THANKS a million!"

My Ham Radio Shack.    ( My pages are what I did and in no why imply what you should do , nor ignoring high-voltage safety precautions and PPE and procedures)
In all cases, YMMV, your monster may vary. (  One way to live a long life, is assume high voltage is shorted to the case , x10 that on 1960s gear !)
Site Index:

  1. My SB200 project rebuild page:  Plus my ALC mod. board, the SK201 mod  and how to use my SDR as a direct panadapter.  (SB200,ICOM7200 and SDRPLY and TR relay)
  2. The  SB401 project rebuild page  , (+ MIC mod and line filter mod.) 
  3. My SB300 + restoration.
  4. The  SB104 project. (done, here is the story) (I call it day 1 Solid State). Looks like new, and runs like new.  With ICOM Mic mod.(electret)  Super sensitive too..
  5. Wavetek SIG GEN 3006 back from the dead.
  6. Just finished my Cal-Box, a voltage and 10Mhz standard and 10volt standard  (& one variable) to calibrate my scopes and meters.
  7. Got SWR blues?
  8. What I think about any types of  NOISE? (in the shack)-- no, not the XYL !
  9. blank
  10. Microphone mods.( Phantom power and the super good sounding Electret)
  11. DDS usage as a signal generator.  (save a small fortune? doing Alignments?) Thanks to Wes Hayward W7ZOI !
  12. Antenna dreams, of a vertical. (got both now.)
  13. My antenna analyzer
  14. TUBE GAS issues. (all tubes ever made have gas but how much, is what matters! and KIND
  15. blank
  16. General Purpose Scopes, what to buy?, what not to buy.
  17. How to restore old scopes, 3 examples.
  18. What is a PL-259 and how to deal with it. (1943 to now) "crimp the rear, solder the front" end story.
  19. RF Monitors from 1960 to now, and all kinds, Tap boxes, etc.
  20. My Relic Hickok 532 tube tester is ugly but , functional restoration. (and B&K 747 that is still perfect !)
  21. I am also trying to recover 2 Service monitors, or make 2 into 1 The IFR-1000S
My shack is complete now, so going to full time antenna farm mode .  (many of the the things I have were dead when delivered and repaired by me and cost less than $100) Lucky me, not one was in a fire or  flood.
From the top down.
Owon DSO up top  and see  MFJ-784 DSP Noise filter  for the 2 below, receivers.
Then row 2 Heathkit SB104 solid state Transceiver 100% functional, with its DC pack on left. (My gosh I love this rig ! a pure joy to use)
My backup rigs (Heathkit )SB401 and SB300, paired for fun and nostalgia and both work like new too.
That SB401 is really cool.! and modified now for Electret mic and so called phantom power, see #2 above.  I made the SB401 mic work like a newer 104 or like my ICOM, same setup, same JACK.
Antenna tuner  PalStar AT2kd  then SB200 linear (rebuilt) now with the front overlay, making it look new., and now a new meter. (rare and emaculate)
Last row is my MFJ, Rig switch, my main radio  ICOM 7200 transciever and ICOM R70 and the desk top MIC is modified to Electret using ICOM standard wiring.
Note the steel racks for max convective cooling.   I am trying to learn and get a good pan-dapter running, ( SRD + TR switch (fast switch and diode clamps to protect the SDR front end)
The IC7200 runs on a "Mean-Well" SMPS (switch mode power supply) 14vdc/30a hiding  deep under desk on a bracket. The Astron SS30 (new) runs the SB104, (it too is a clean output, SMPS)
Both those signal generator wavetek and spectrum analyzer (IFR) work  now.  (the left side DL380 server is my backup server, and the top workstation HP our   MKV video server. (Serviio)

The single antenna feed , goes to the SB200 and the  MFJ-1706 switch box (bottom), switches in  all rigs. (all receivers and transceivers)
The SB300,  to match my SB401 on the left.
In the attic is a 4 port, antenna switch box Ameritron RCS-4 that now connects to my SB200 output. Its box is seen on top of the tuner.  I have 2 antenna's now.
The SB200 LINEAR PA works like brand new rig.  (with my redesigned ALC, I think I'm the only one that did this ALC mod? See SB200 project link above)
In addition to this, I have a working and tuned up, SB401 now. (I never dreamed I could pull that off) I like new gear, old gear and best off all , antenna designs and techniques.
This SB104 rig has very hot (sensitive) FET front end, picks up even  fast flying gnats.? So it seem to me...

I have high quality coax transmission line.   75' FT  OF LMR-400, to my G5RV (best on 20m) and near there an antenna 4way switch (remote) #1 = HOR,. #2 = VERT.
My shack had this weak 16 gauge 120 AC power feed, to 4 wall jacks,  It's a gutless wonder (with 8v sag) this power feed.
Major AC  power upgrade:
I now have  full 123vac/30amp Power line service to my shack , with  (10/2-AWG +ground ) to the power center.  
When the linear keys up , no more 8vac power line drop, solid a  rock now ! 123vac rms . no more  SB200 final PA tube filiament dimming either ... ouch. and now  the HV runs 2800vdc !
I modified the SB200 for short line cable 3ft, that then connects to a huge, 12AWG, extension cable to the new feed.
I just added a dirt cheap  4 line, old (New-old-stock) VCR (or old DVD RCA) switch box, using its audio Left/Right RCA jacks to switch my ALC and PTT lines, in pairs,so I can use my big PA on all my exciters.

ANTENNA#1  :  (with related parts, balun's, etc)
Phase 1, done. G5RV  dipole, in attic,  inverted V,  35ft top, 15ft ends.
It works so-so,  20m great ! , not so great otherwise, but works, pulling contacts out of deep static. (5 radios (tranceivers and one R70 all show same results)

I installed this HORIZONTAL  so called  new multi band dipole in the attic peak  30 'foot off the ground, "G5RV (MFJ-1778)"  but needed a skyhook here 
I used a pulley up top and and small 1/4" rope to pull it up and tie off bottem end. Getting the pulley up there 20' up was a challenge.  (120F)
With air Balun. (ugly on sewer pipe) 

The Roof Slope is 1/1(rise/run)   45 degree's  steep.  As you can see have room for more antenna's , and plan to  more.

One of the best BALUN pages in the web,  and coverage on pro/cons of materials and methods!

Just as good or better Rick Westerman

See My Phase 2 vertical antenna here. (  does Antenna work end.... ?)

ICOM IC-7200:
My first real rig. (off The IC-7200 ,  just ended production )    (My last HF TX rig was in the NAVY, (took the full ET "C" school , on it)  on the AN/URC-32)
It's compact and easy to use the 7200. (not as easy as my SB104) but easy,  The PBT is a pure joy to use.
I'm still learning how to use the 3 DSP, noise buttons and knobs, but is a very very nice rig... and features,   my guess is this  rig is all  a new HAM needs on HF (low band) and the best antenna you can build.
The best bang  for the buck if ever there was. Here.

Heathkits?,  ( best for getting parts/mod kits,  on old rigs and full documentation.)
The most fun for the buck, are my Heathkits, a joy to see them working like new, in 2016. (for pennies)
 A total blast from the past !  it's an  addiction now... but this sends it, with the SB300...

Too HIGH VSWR?  ( If you know your system , only you know what is normal)
The VSWR meters are not all the accurate,  it can in fact lie to you.  (if VSWR is horrid at the actual antenna (5:1?), it ,may look ok at your transmittter.
First off, when I say Antenna turner, I mean Transmatch. (tranmitter to transmission line matcher)
Not like my gear back in 1968-74. (see here for just how complex antenna's can be (small spaces)
(Like I  used in USN at the HF antenna ends ! yes this pig was mounted at the actual antenna's FRAM-II Gearing class DD, for The URC-32's had the remote tuners at the base of 35' whips. )

We ran URC-9s for for short range 1750 channels, VHF (task force) at 20watts, (100w linearPA's  not once ever turned on)
I do not mean that this device actually tunes the antenna nor is mine located there., (yes a real antenna tuner is part the actual antenna)  (Some guys put a coil at the base of the antenna with aligator clip to tune the antenna to resonance)
I'm talking  the  match box, or better a TRANSMATCH box in the RADIO SHACK)
or  "a transmitter, antenna feed, match box) but to cut down on long phrases  I will use the simple word TUNER
Make no mistake here, a real antenna tuner at the actual antenna works the best. (remote controlled or under computer auto controls)

One of the best short articles on this topic is here at ARRL, and this quote "If this same cable had an open circuit instead of an antenna, and was several hundred feet long, the SWR meter at the transmitter would read 1:1.  "
One more example of this fact, read the book by the late SK  , Walter Maxwell, W2DU  (or this gem)

VSWR is at issue in 2 ways, when building a system , a feed system , and antenna systems., (et cetra)
or when using the system and suddenly VSWR jumps high, Halt and find the cause now.

What your system consists of , is what matters most,  from a simple 1 band QPR or a complex system of many transmitters, and antenna's.
One decides first what antenna's he wants or can afford.

Some hams have 2 acres of trees and just use a potatoe cannon to shoot a long wire over many trees at 75foot up. called a RANDOM length antenna.
Or buys a commerical 1 band antenna or multiband antenna, of many types. Dipoles to Monoploes, what ever you want. (or build your own)
If I had the space, I'd run a  very tall,  trapped vertical, with over 16 radials. 1/2 wave  on all HF bands.  (dreams are only dreams.)

Most hams use a simple antenna tuner in  the shack, it's not expensive and is very useful. (or none) If running none, you will be limited to your transceivers capabilities.

Here is a list of good things, a tuner can provide. (plan ahead now)  (not just the top goal of line impedance matching)
  1. Has and internal Balun that allows using ladder or window line antenna's or that random antenna.
  2. Handles the power you run now and in the future.
  3. Has a external roller inductor, like the PALSTAR has.  (and a log counter for same)
  4. Can match down to 25ohms.  (like my Palstar can)
  5. Has a dummy load port.
  6. The VSWR meter, quality type.
  7. Don't expect any autotuners to work, of all antenna's you may own now or the future.
  8. If running legal limit power, the tuner can prevent damage from arcing.

Links on VSWR, (etc)

Read this page. ("see the ingenious diagram stemming from a French amateur")

Read this page on  mobile rigs. but he talks both systems base and mobile,  in one of the best reads on hype, I've ever seen on this topic, of magic antenna's, K0BG ( THANKS !)

I like this low loss coax LMR400

Arcing can happen.
  (Any transmitter PA can arc over inside, see how and why here,,,W8JI) 

  Check for  parasitic oscillations with a scope or grid dip meter .

  On old gear tube, there is a neutralization step in the manual for the rig, did you try doing those steps?  or damaged parasitic suppressors.

Try to keep I mind, some of us run a mix for 50 year old gear and new.... so things are not all perfect all the time and some times you don't have some fancy DSP brain protecting you from yourself or from acts of fate (wind/water damaged feed lines?)

If you run the tuner into a dead open feed line or  antenna , the tuner my arc over.

Some arcing , not caused by TUBE (gas) can be cause by   POOR TUNING.

Use a cheap analyzer  to see what you have.

Keep the tuner (trans-match or match-boxes) clean and never hot switch band switches, if it has them.  (mine only has AIR Caps and roller inductors) I like external rollers over internal so they can be cleaned 10x more easy.(PALSTAR)
Before using any tuner , please read this and the great warnings there .  (by: BARNES, DAVE J, WB4KDI , Thanks! Dave )

At the least , use a log book on tuning:
Use a log book and log all tuning knob settings, on the PA, and Tuner, and the Frequency, and seen reflected power.  So you know what normal looks like.
I do know that with modern gear, the operator does nothing much, the auto tuner tunes and then one day the tuner shows an error.   (near plug and play/ near appliance like?)
All like magic.  (My ICOM rolls back Power, and shows high SWR at the LCD) 

Learn the basic safe practices running high power.  (SAFE PA?) (NOT QRP at all)
  • Tune to the dummy load first make sure the PA even works ok here at low power. (if not , don't expect it to like any antenna , correct this first of this fails) My dummy is a CANTENNA.
  • Starting at say 20watts, at exicter can you tune up correctly  to your feed line(antenna) with the PA bypassed. yes?  Good ! back to dummy.
  • Then put the PA on line, "mine does this power on" then starting low power at exister, I  tune the transmatch (my PALstar)  ok now?  still on dummy load.
  • Go to full power an trim again. Ok my shack gear is  working great,  so I drop exicter power to minimum . and switch  from dummy to antenna 1, (or whatever you have )
  • I key up and tune my PA  and tuner to the antenna. using low power.  20watts from exciter, and then go to full power. (not landing on hams talking, for sure)
  • Sounds like lots of steps, but is not really.  (each time I do this my log book shows what were my last settings)
  • The alternate is just throwing 500PEP watts onto the antenna at the drop of a hat.  (good luck there)
  • Or buying $5000 ICOM with there PA option and autoturner package, and let the ICOM protect you, from all the bad things, yes, it's near appliance now.

Go here to see my Antenna Analyzer tests:  ( It measures,  antenna's,  feed lines, inductors, Capacitors, and resistors)
RF and Modulation monitors,  from simple to more complex.
The questions using he word "monitor" can mean, a scope, a meter, hear your self on a nearby 2nd receiver with headphones.(or other hams listening to you)
Or make this:
Reasons to do this, curious? to see the signal, as I talk in SSB is a great
idea. What a better way to learn ? Watch this video first.
See that SSB has no carrier, if the mike is off and that the RF only happens when you talk. (and amazing bit of efficiency, no?)
SSB uses carrier suppression technology and is extremely efficient and allows many hams to work side by side in a narrow band and not bump in to each other.
Band efficiency.

  What will the RF signal levels be?, in most cases 100w is 100v.   or with a medium power PA  250v peak. (the voltage is by Ohms laws)
So if using a scope, (of the 1000s of scopes made from 1930 to now) we don't know what you have, as many posters never tell on 
  • Get any scope that is at least 1/2 the frequency of your, TX signal, and try that.  Just about any scope made will see 7mhz, the levels may read wrong, (for sure RF above scope BW limit) but you are only looking...
  • Second rule of scopes, is don't blow up your scope,  that $25 fleabay new tiny USB scope, may blow up, above 5volts, or 50v.  (my Tek scopes run up to 600v with a tek probe or 2000v with my other probe)
  • Third rule is not to use a direct connection to your scope ever, so  if  a ground in your interface fails?, you don't blow up your scope (eg bad RG58 coax failure or ?) 
  • The best way is use a 10:1 scope probe 600v rated, and connect it to the below attenuators.
Attenuators or not:  (coupling methods are many, direct, a local antenna to scope, capacitor coupling, inductive coupling , or resistive divider coupling.)
  1. Direct way to scope probe using a PL259 Tee fitting , but  Wes Hayward W7ZOI, warns that power readings will not be correct with scope probe (mid transmission line) so go  directly on dummy load to measure and calculate watts.
  2. The so called monitor box using resistive coupling. Seen below. (and sold in stores)
  3. The inductive in-direct way seen below, with a green jumper leads, warped on the coax. (works on cheap lossy coax) (or a RF transformer for such task)  Or using my $1 Toroid donut seen below.
  4. My antenna tuner, inside its case, is rife with RF, so many of the jacks (not used) on the rear are hot with RF, keyed up.  Some were grounded unused, but not ALL. (my unbalanced jacks are flush with RF)
  5. Just put a small antenna, on the end of your probe  and when you key up,  you See RF, not easy in my shack, I have very effective shielding and Faraday shields in place, on all gear .  ( If your antenna is just outside the shack this always works)
  6. The W7ZOI way, is to use or add a test point to your dummy load (as I did with 1 BNC jack), to get accurate power levels. P = E / R. (for sure not of any use on the AIR)
To see only the RF and simple modulation and not needing true power out, any method can work.  (or if just curious, please do be but don't get shocked on the 200v RF)

Method 6 is best (I think), because, I can measure true power out, with an accurate dummy load. Best of best way.  R = 50ohm (measure it with an ohm meter). P = E / R.    The scope tells you E and R is 50.  bingo watts peak.
What you do here depends on your gear and what you are trying to do.... (Curious only? ,RF power, Modulation %, IMD, spectrum analysis. Frequency checks... etc.)
The best way for all other checks is my monitor tap box.

THIS below does not work with my LMR400 cable due to its super low losses.    (after my coax upgrade) How ever this tap box does work.
So insert a cheap section  cheap coax here, and I promise it does work. RG8x or cheaper, it works, great. 
Or as some do , wrap 1 turn of wire round the antenna tuner box.

I wanted to to see a nice trapezoid on my scope, you can easy on old gear, it's easy, but not with my ICOM, later I will show how to do this with my SB301/401 pair.(later, not now...)
SSB topic,  (what complex topic!, and we see great arguments online, on this tropic, but in many cases each are correct to a degree.  (due to total lack of specificity, yes I read every word on this on Eham.)
This waveform below, is  raw modulated RF. In color,  my Tek 465 shows, this in green on black, CRT ways and means.
This is NOT a true spectrum analyzer, it's just a scope view, but has FFT mode in this DSO scope, that works pretty good.  The real spectrum analyzer would be the best choice for seeing IMD products, for sure!
 In SSB mode , bandwidth is a function of complex vocal tones (and rates of change in said tones) and with my ICOM DSP software code, vastly more complex.
The Digital Signal processor (DSP) issues.
Trying to see percent modulation on SSB is not easy, this is not a 1960s exciter here, (simple) using a monitor in Trapezoid mode.
Mine here is the  ICOM 7200 and the DSP chip is connected directly to the mic with just one fixed gain OP amp (a tiny chip) before the DSP input pin. The DSP does it ALL.

The DSP in this ICOM controls all SSB modulation and  beyond, my 2 dial knobs (Mike gain is DSP and  DSP Compression knobs, is DSP, controlled at all times, and MORE !!! ).  
Not only that, if you read the book with the ICOM, it tells you the audio signal is , allowed to clip, then is reformed from scratch (DSP code) as a new clean sign wave audio signal. (based on what you spoke in the mike)
 (the details of which are a trade secret at ICOM as is  the DSP code inside...)
The DSP in this case is like a NANNY filtering and compressing audio  full time that creates all SSB modulation ,see here for just the modulation methods, get a basic idea on how this works.)
My guess is that it uses, the DSP with code for  Compression and gain regulation and that clipping corrections, and filtering all at once. This can cause odd phasing (or delay) relationship in the output.

That means all you can really do, see is the below. Modulation as I talk in the MIC. (and RF sign waves seen,  if you move the HORZ knob way faster sweeps... see the RF as seem here)

ALC 101: (first off , there is  no universal standard on ALC, not those voltages that leave the rig on that ALC cable) What I mean here is one makers cable ALC sigs do not match the other companies needs. (it's not standard)
Say (Heathit ) to ICOM or the reverse. (the gear must all match to work, like kids today call Plug-n-Play (pray) yes, it's no toaster.  To make mine work I used ICOMS rules and then forced my Heathkit to obey them.

The ALC local  inside each BOX, the Exciter box and the Linear PA box too, and all boxes made 99%  have a fully working internal ALC, (even with no cable) (read your Ameritron book) or read the schematics !
No PA is made, lacking internal (super secret ?) ALC.  It's there look , see it?  (if you over drive most PAs, the ALL roll back)
If your PA is home grown, no man can say what you have, lacking full documentation, or if your PA came new as CB illegal linear amp converted?, well we are not talking illegal gear here. (exceptions here are rare)

If fact, the book on your PA tells you the internal always wins first. (they are smart doing that, so it don't blow up over driven, it's REGULATED at all times even to the point of shut down with high SWR).
The same is true on my ICOM 7200 , same facts, same rules same protection all the time can NOT BE TURNED OFF at all. (The book tells you that and the free schematic shows you this to be true!)

The external ALC (that missing cable?) is the LOOP ALC gain control it can ADD to the total ALC, effect so that the external PA works in cooperation with the Exciter, (but is not a standard for levels nor attack/decay speed)
 My SB200 page covers why and a cure for the ALC total  LOOP
SSB on my ICOM is also using compression (set low), and both AMPS use ALC and also are ALC cross connected. (a cable) (that be 3 way, ALC)
I see posts on where many folks don't know there is ALC inside the transceiver, that the local ALC can not be turned off, only the ALC cable to the external linear can  be cable yanked  to kill 3rd tier, loop ALC.
That is the modern Transceiver protecting both itself and keeping the amp in the linear region of the PA, in said modern gear. (all gear works like this with only very old rare and bad exceptions )
Many hams don't seem to know, the same is true in the Linear PA, the ALC local can not be turned off, in FACT, that is how it protects itself from wild actions of some users. (self preservation and no warranty claims rule here) All good things.
Not only this, but  modern PA shut  down for SWR and excessive PA driver heat .  (and more) ALC is just part  of  the protection schemes.
If you blow up the amp?
Imagine not mailing a 50lb PA  3000 miles 2 times, and down time for that free warranty fix....

All we can do   is unplug the ALC cable, from exciter to PA.  That does kill the 3rd tier ALC sure, but not the other 2 ALC's sorry it will NOT !
I can kill any ALC sure, but you won't like me cutting wires or PCB traces, and then grounding nodes inside your gear!, nor will Ameritron like me, after I did that, under warranty period.
The 3rd tier ALC (that cable), allows my ICOM to decrease its exitation levels (smart that) to avoid PA overload and IMD, that works on mine, only because is made it work as een here.,
Please know that the ICOM is backing down the PA drive, to protect the PA and exessive IMD outputs.
The ICOM is fully protected, internally , but the ALC  cable lets the ICOM do more.  with its 0 to  minus -4vdc ALC signals (input) (that be an  Icom standard that I used)
The ICOM backs off on Excition... and The PA limits it self.

Try to know that there is no ZERO IMD.   (only FCC legal amounts) Zero's are not common in nature, or machines, but only in bank accounts. (or bounce negative)
There is no zero noise either, not as long as electrons move and atoms shake. (or only just before the Cosmic Egg exploded? RIP Carl Sagan.)
The only tricky part of ALC is getting the attack delay correct, and not too slow. ( the levels part I found to be easy, kinda....)

This is basic scope mode below, and  you can see the RF (period) directly with a faster sweep or as below the SSB modulation. (I'm yelling in to a dummy load here)
When I stop talking or shunt the mic wires, still keyed, (try that) the audio goes to near zero (dead mike out can get you there) and carrier suppression is very very little RF at the antenna, but we are still transmissing, but RF is nill.
If that is confusing try AM mode, then go back to SSB, now you know how SSB works.  (it makes RF only with your vocal cords are rattling about) It's a beautiful thing this...
Some like to leave this scope connected all the time, just for fun,  most humans can't tell if it's wrong, unless the signal clips badly. ( most includes me)
For sure the color scope here, adds sex appeal to a shack?, (not my bag)
Please do have fun and experiment, that is pure HAM like, endless learning,,, a life time.. of it... If you so desire. For some it starts a new career, or starts a new company. (GOOD LUCK TO YOU)
Audio SSB modulated RF, direct. 
Please google how to know what good modulation looks like, ok?, there are 1000's of examples online, endless for sure.... I am not putting that here. Sorry ! (but clipping is bad, look for "flat topping")
A 2 tone test here would be better. As a test, but what matters is what your real voice does out of the dummy load and on to the Antenna.

The best (and worst) scopes to use are listed on my scope page, here.
From simple monitor to really useful.

Even a new tek scope works, (there new low prices)

Here is a link to some answers on monitors. See WB2WIK great responses.

Nobody sells new station monitors today, that is  why everyone uses a lab scope.  (or nothing) See the old ones here.
Mostly it's useless to most normal  users.
Your happy, your contacts are happy and no pink slips from FCC so they are happy,  all just a happy gang.
The ham gear works, great, in most cases , blind (no scope), by setting compression low, and listening on a second receiver your signals. (or ask others to) and keeping SWR meters active and in your face.
Don't set the linear amp load knob to full mesh and win. (max capacitance avoid, on my SB200 that is avoid MAX CCW)
There is no shortage of scopes in the USA, now that vast engineering and manufacturing left CONUS, here, and went to main land China. (and most scopes now for field work are tiny note book sized.)
There is a glut of scopes. (aka boat anchor scopes)
I have 3, because I  was  full time tech, and because I restore gear. (any gear , I like and  can lay my hands on, if cheap, and most times DEAD)
Just find a cheap old TEK scope, avoid the pre 1985 tube scopes.  the best scopes autocalibrate now.... (a great idea if ever there was)
I restored a SB401, and now a SB301, but found one near mint. (9.5 grade, can eat off insides, grade)  Near mint means like going back to 1970 and buying one used 1 year old. Like that.
I run mine with a modern Freq counter, so no need for wondering my exact freq. (one can also make a cheap VFO, (DDS chip based))
 I finished my SB104.
 And SB401.

SB301 (soon)
end monitors, next is my tap box.

 The RF monitor tap  Box,  can be made easy or buy one, or you can tap the dummyload and put the box on top of the DUMMY load this way and not need  any PL259 jacks seen here.
The RF tap works but the demod, does not work right, for Trapezoid readings, I'm told because, of  my ICOM7200 autocompression and the ALC x2,  I have ALC in the PA and in the ICOM. (this makes the TRAPezoid fail )
I will later use my tap box on the SB401, it has only simple SBB modulation.
Now revised 2 ways, for the last  change, I went to a  passive transformer,  20 turns of teflon 22ga wire, on type 43 toroid. (for vastly better protection for my digital scopes)
The coax zero turns. (hi hi)
I get 100volts, with 100watts transmitted (ICOM) at my RF BNC (open circuit testing), so I put a load of  1k ohm resistor to ground from secondary out, and now I  get  20v peak at 100w watts. 
Next up is the newer detector by W2AEW  works better than mine, so... in it goes.. done.
I added a 100k , pot , that allows me to lower the signal into the first 1nF cap (input).   The pot is needed, when I kick on the linear PA, and the  coil below shows, 100v peak.
A W2AEW design. But I used a different diode pair from
 The diode I used above are  MBR160G Schottky. 60v (PIV)rated. ( RF rated up to 200mhz.  I found super small modern caps and resistor, below at yes ,   I hot glue gunned, the core so it did not flop around.
I'm tempted to change D1 to a TVS EMF protect diode, at 50v. but the capacitance will upset usage at very high freqencies.
I'm no RF engineer, but this is my best shot.  It works great.  (Indirect methods, win) I removed the 1nF and went  ferrite donut coupled.
new photo: TAP BOX.

Do not wire  RF directly to any random scope BNC, (learn what your instrument can withstand first, (todays new world of  dirt cheap 5v scopes are problematic)
My Tek scope is limited to 400v peak direct, the jack is clearly labeled, but many cheap scopes are limited to, (5v, 50v, 100v, 200v, etc) what your limit is , I can't guess, but do heed the warnings in YOUR SCOPE manual.
Keep in mind your scope is grounded ,so do not connect that grounded scope probe clip to just any where, watch don't blow things up first.
The  gear you connect to , can in fact blow up some cheap scopes.  (it cuts both ways,  blow up scope or blow up your gear) 
In our case the RF jacks on my Radio (gear, rig)  are grounded.  (not floating and not sitting on top of  a large  DC offset power supply rail voltage)
All scopes have  limits.  Look here at my RF signal, and see why not to blow up your $50 fleabay cheap scope.

NEXT UP;  Looking for harmonics or any kind of IMD here. 
 I used the  FFT mode on my OWON scope. (push math button)  "poor mans spectrum analyzer"
The grass seen here is antenna noise, static.   (and much is  scope noise! or other shack noise) with dummy load far less noise.
This cheap FFT mode and  tool , can not do anything more that see crude readings of illegal spurs or the amp Oscillating illegally. (aka VHF parasitic suppression failures or other bad artifacts.)
Here is 100watts out (avg) (before I replaced a bad final tube)
Just after  a full alignment of my SB401 (can go to 100v-p (after new final tubes) but is backed off to drive my linear) CW mode 40m. (about, my LMO not calibrated. yet)
(again, don't touch this with body parts or get burned) This is my scope with 10:1 probe directly connected to the RF out pin tap I made.

Now 100v peak with 2 new final tubes. (this is the composite of all harmonics in the RF)

And LAST , with   my  SB200, I get 250v peak easy. (100volts per division) This too, is direct connection of the scope, to RF out pin via a 10:1 probe, rated over 300v.
If running a SB220 , that is :
Description: a 2kw pep input amp uses qty2;  3-500Zs  , so will be twice mine)  I'd love to own one, now that my shack power is prefect 123vac/30amp service.
My scope view is also the same  with  Antenna direct connect method (with 50ohm dummy load a real 1.5kw Cantenna ) I get the same reading, at the dummy resistor to.
The SB200 looks like this:   (DON'T TOUCH This with body parts,  OR  GET RF BURNS)  Do not operate any PA Amp lacking a proper chassis ground.
This is with my new custom ALC working and active !

My linear RF direct at dummy tap

End RF probing... (fun)
My covey of joy boxes and home brews.  The ESR box does,  L-C-R-diodes-tranistors (by discovery software...)

Antenna Dreams: (the endless story...? ) (My guiding light is, DJOIP ,
Rick Westerman)<< thanks for all that !  (see my slide show)
 My 5+ receivers all tell me my in the attic antenna is , (poor, to horrible)  (the #1 horizontal) 33' to 12' ^ slop .

After spending a 1/2 year pondering this, I decided to go VERTICAL DIPOLE.  (reading all ARRL books and 73/CQ mags back to 1967 on topic, off stack of CD's)
The one I'm buying is this, for my antenna #2  (#1 is G5RV)
The 33 Foot ZeroFive Antenna's
Free standing, and no 360deg,  radials possible, to lay down on my small cliff, behind my home.
Hot linked of their photo page below. 
One can see the ladder line , and mine will connect to a 100ft long 
LMR-400 cable.  (there is a remote antenna switch there)

I will use a high power BALUN there to interface that ladder line
.  Comes swith 50ft. ladder line,  to my Balun designs 4116ocf  , and 100ft back to my AT2LD tuner.
The only question now is if the 4:1 works better than the 1:1 for CM Current reductions. (the answer is BOTH to do this correct and best).
I'm planning a 6-8 foot whip (antenna like)  on a gutter to catch the ladder line up high. (or a fishing pole? shaft) it must be flexable or the main antenna flexes and breaks my ladder line.(they must move together and keep stress off the ladder ends)
I used steel plate and angle iron all welded to a 3/8" NPT pipe nipple (fits chimney brush end) and is now mounted to the facia plate at rear of gutter, hidden from sight. Then a poly pipe fits over this, to make it stronger and taller.
This is a tilt up antenna, all Aluminum and SST clamps. (hose clamps)   I like the quality and happy to pay more for that and not use say bamboo. NO GUY's ! (if I wanted guys, it just use a Spider pole for sure) (or old reject military slip sectioned poles, used)
Rugged, looks good, less angry neighbors,  no guys,   far better than my attic antenna, (hope) (tilt up base, for easy service) (done 4-20-2017)  No cutting fruit tree roots, for radials, yeah.

Very  few  random Balun's work right, but  this one will. The upper core (Toroid) is The 4:1 transfomer, and that lower one is 1:1 and blocks all RF off the outer skin of my long COAX. 
I am doing all things posssible to prevent the feed line from radiating RF....
We  Modified from OCF to "T" terminals. ( maker  Balun designs 4116ocf  did it for me.)  below is stock photo, commented in Red.

Performance is great. (need to block common mode currents , so the 4116T is best for sure.)

The bottom of antenna  insulator is seen below, the box just emptied.   ALL PHOTOS are here in my SLIDE SHOW:

Fitup all matching sections by size after loosening all  clamps, and after fit up, to the black line above, tighten the clamps to spec.(max 20 in/lbs, 10 is recommended .
That overlap is 3-3/4 inches, (95mm)
The only down fall here is that window line is heavy, and on a 25ft run it pulls on the antenna and causes the insulator in top of photo above to bend, and antenna tips about 1 foot. Seems to me solid plastic be best there.(Delrin?)

DIG for the BASE:
Super easy to make base,  (call before you dig, yes)  $26 pipe at Lowes  (I'm sure cost them $2 wholesale from China),  4x 50lb Crete bags. (see slide show for all details at link above)
 A Zinc galv water pipe, 3ft, crete deep. 18" above ground. (post hole digger easy work)  5foot pipe or 6foot best.

The ribbon window line, 450ohm cable ) has rules,  4:1 BaLun used (with 1:1 in series).    My total power loss end to end would be 15% LMR=Window line losses. 20m band.
  1. Twist 1/2 turn per linear foot. (wind flop reduction)
  2. Keep 3 inches or more from metal.  (but ok to cross metal close at 90 degrees, like window sill edge)
  3. Immoblize the ends. (no metal fatigue on terminals or wire ends)
  4. 90 deg. ribbon cable bends are ok, not sharp.  12" or more radius.
  5. Good feed length's and bad,  for the line is: per this graph, (excel below... WIP )
  6. "You want to avoid feedline lengths that are multiples of 1/2 wavelength on any band you plan to use the antenna." 16.4,19.7,24.6,27.8,39.8,49.2,65.6 feet avoid multiples there of. 10-40meter bands.
  7. In my case, the 450ohm feeder ends must be 90deg. from side of antenna, to do that, I have 6ft+ fiberglass rod on a gutter 32ft distanct,with a 8 degree drop from 90 to 82degree, which is deemed ok. (using a chimney brush rod for this component)
  8. Windowline can be put in a ZigZag form , never ever coiled up   like this "Z"  this ZigZag form allows each section to cancel magnetically. (preventing in a huge inductor from forming)
I think this is wrong its for 1:1 balun, mines both + 4:1(note to self, correct this later)
My 3/8" fiberglass pole bent too much so over it I placed a 3/4" inch poly pipe, and now works perfect and drilled 2 holes on top to tie-wrap my ribbon cable.(see my new verticle antenna, slide show)

I can't wait to try it on the air.
The below is my setup, (antenna switches in attic and  transceiver switches not show) Balun on the roof drain gutters. (lots more photos soon, details for sure)

Only 1 questions, remains, where is my ground for lightening protection. ? (no done, best I can )
Answer is:
Home protection from lightening hits, direct is but a dream but I have supressor, at the BaLun.   (with dedicated 8ft, ground stake, 9feet down to ground, due to feed line 90deg. rule and flying that high)
This is what I am using, and is made in Texas, not in China!

Later I will put up photos of my antenna analyzer data here. (for this antenna feed end)

My Attic Horizontal antenna, uses:

My Air core balun for my G5RV

The remainder of this one web page , is just really good links on any RADIO topics. (show and tell)
Topic 1:
Why 50 ohms was selected? For Coax. (long long ago)?

Why 50 ohm's many ask.  (but the free space  dipole ohms is not 50Ω, it's (i.e., a dipole without ground reflections) is 73 Ω , so many ask why?
 Answer: most antenna's are tuned and designed for 50 ohms it's a old BELL standard, as used in your radio.
Graphic #1,
My favorite. Why 50Ω? It sure was not a coin toss!
  See the compromise they made, long long  ago?
This graph makes this very easy to see why. (you can also see what has the least losses.. 75ohms ,as in all engineering, it's about compromise.
Attenuation is loss.

My feed lines are all LMR-400 cables. (.88db loss at 50mhz/100ft {0.67 at 30mhz})   It's really RFC400 cable.
The less loss means no RFI in the home.
 I want to send the RF  power out of the shack to the antenna, and not soak me and others inside in RF. (nor drop wife off Skype or TV goes nuts)
(next best feed line (not talking real Heliax here) is Belden 9914 RG-8U)

Matching the source impedance to the load works best  (per these rules) (as does a matching transmission line, called a FEED line)

A famous, "EE" and Ham, words are :
You should have written "... should match the COMPLEX CONJUGATE of the source impedance." and " It’s crucial that the reactive components cancel each other"

I seal my joints out doors  with  Amalgamating tape.(Like I did in US NAVY , way up the antenna mast)

Some folks just use Silicone grease in all connectors, and works ok.  (fresh water rain is way more forgiving that salt ocean spray)
I can tell you with 100% assurance, you don't want any water to suck up into the actual coax. (via osmosis ,hydrostatic pressure,(storms) or what ever means)!!!

Last is my most favorite photo of all. (a GIF).
In NAVY ET "A" school they had a real "Letcher wire" Demo,  with neon lamp so the students move the lamp up and down the ELF antenna segments,  and we saw this "E" field effects.  Now we have this little wonder, below.. 

Now lets see how the classic dipole antenna works, that is its impedance and now that varies by distance to ground, in free space its 72 ohms.  A Dipole can be  7 ohms at 7 feet off the ground .  Graph by: W5ALT.
Tricky how this works, no? and is not black and white, easy.
The most complex of topics is ground effects,  it does make my brain hurt.  
Perfect means,  very conductive ground, like a swamp, not any dry rocky desert.
Some of the FCC POOL tests questions, assumes a perfect line. (really, nothing beats, x/y plots and real data.) 

Jargon:  (endless)
(Coils (air inductors) )
A Trap (coil) this is an antenna coil that is a high Z to higher frequencies(multi band antenna),  this allows say a very long 80meter antenna, look and become, shorter for higher band frequency's .
The real trap is a tank circuit.  It can have a capacitor across it, or just the air between the winding is the cap.
The trap is like short (a switch ) at Fo ( F sub oh) or say at resonance. X sub L equals X sub C at resonance. (the Q factor is how long it SINGS and damps out.  or rings like a bell, or as some say a flywheel, spun)
A Loading coil. As seen on small (short) portable antenna's make the short antenna, look (RF wise)  like a long antenna, but not work as well as a full length ,say 1/4 or 1/2 wave base station resonant antenna.

A STUB.... this word is covered here, and is related.

My favorite links. This is the future, of RADIO,  from now forward. (it's unstoppable)  I use  mine as a spectrum analyzer and a "Pan-adaptor".
See the antenna  signals here,  those GIF photos, of the propagated "E"  fields.

A.k.a,  SDR receivers. (Software Defined Radio's) ,  See more here, even a nice block diagram !

Click this image to see PDF on new radio designs
The future is here...!
I have a cheap one, that I use for a spectrum analyser, and one used as a "Pan-adapter".(wired in to the 1st 'I.F" of my Sb104)using its spare jack.

Rare charts for rare parts:

Last is the Marconi Radio CAP rules.  (used back before computers, (machines) could print tiny numbers on parts.)  All this is ARRL books but the parts are retro cute, to me...
the lower right top parts, are dog bone caps (radial)  You must be in the dog house  to find dog bones?

NOISE: (QRM)  man caused noise, be it bad devices, or bad layouts, or whatever. (all noise from 60/120Hz to RF of any kind)
Noise in the HAM shack. (orginating from or near by, or on your feed lines)

Be that computer noise, RF feedback from PA or High SWR, or from 40kHz choppers in an SMPS.
The first step is always finding the prime source and turning off all things 1 by 1, is a big help, or using the homes breaker panel 1 by 1, leaving on  the one thing that is hearing NOISE. (receiver is a good example)
All my gear has Faraday shields, so the indirect path is blocked (air wave path or ether), leaving noise on all wire paths possible.(called the direct path, or copper)
For your receivers, turn off all computers now, and enjoy no noise from them.  (keep and open mind on this, even a silly lamp or wall thermostat might have  $1 processor inside, making huge noise) (I trashed a nice LED desk lamp from this)
Best is having all CLASS "B" FCC devices. Case in point
SMPS power supply problems, tests, , and what is CLASS B certs?.  (many of these SMPS are horrible noise makers)

Finding SMPS supplies with clean no HASH chopper noise is not EASY.
 I looked in inside my IFR1000S and see how the maker, got the CHOPPER hash below <= 75mV.  ) this is about , 4 times better then most sold open frame, power supplies.

Switch Mode Power Supplies all make noises, all do, only how much, and by direct or indirect matters, (measurements matter) (and sure CLASS B FCC certs)
I do not buy SMPS for low cost, no, I do so for size and efficiency.  But they can be hard to find that pass CLASS B certs.  (with proof of of it passing x10 harder and many are (made) tested now in CHINA, and no doc.'s from them or not in ENGLISH)
I make no claim to being any expert on noise measurements, but my scope can find most noise, up to 100mHz. (my service monitor (when fixed) can do up to 1gHz..)
SMPS all have choppers, many  are like 40,000 hertz , square waves,  if you study square waves they are RICH in harmonic "noise".   (for sure a perfect square wave is the worst noise source there is, with zero rise and fall times, is just that, horrid)
A weak square wave is odd harmonics, but a perfect one is infinite harmonics,  odd and even, really even and odd don't matter here, just noise into the shack is bad.  (they all mix and make a sum and difference of noise)
The top SMPS makers must block the radiated noise (E&H flux rad.) using a Faraday shield or its just a rotten mass of junk noise to put in to any SHACK. 
Next, the  makers must have huge Pi filters, even 2 or 3 filters cascaded using low ESR caps and low inductance caps, like IFR did,  link 1 above. (yes, hardware matters)  Below 100mV would be a nice goal (5v /12vdc)
If SMPS engineer might even use a poorly shaped, square wave on the primary of the transformer to keep the harmonics ODD and weaker, then the filter section is more easy, the transformer tries to make a sign wave  out, but is very distorted, and this helps too.
What they should do and don't is use a sign wave oscillator,  in the primary.  at 100khz.  The higher the freq, the smaller the transformer and filter sizes.... (filtering just one fundamental noise frequency is must more easy)
But if only conducted noise is a problem , one could do this:
One could make a box, and with 4 lugs, 2 in and 2 out, and  huge filter  (Pi) inside the box. same as the drawing shows in the 1st  link above.
A spectrum analyzer is best to find noise, by antenna or on copper lines.  But is way over my budget, (I have one, but its broken, bad, a live time project on the side for me ,seen in link 2)

Back in the dark ages, we did not have plastic incased linear amps, they were all metal. (however  a cheap A.C-DC , AM radio did  then (60's) If not you'd bet shocked for sure. (MANY DID)
Not only that, but the wall jack had no GROUND WIRES then (maybe the neutral did, but you tell me , which of the 2 it was,  hummmmmm?) You sure don't want the black hot wire on the case , no.

A.C Line power from the dark ages. (Ground is everywhere, but not here?)
Here is why 1960's (or before) the cases are not ground by default...  Metal cases and no ground, just plugged in, but there is a ground stud on all my cases, and I use them.
Back then the biggest common damage was 2  things,  the Infamous AC/DC radio, the ones that run from Niagra Falls DC lines, (omg) and you touch that ungrounded case and net nailed (shocked) and the washing machine with no ground and the pump leaks water on the motor and bam you get nailed (I did in 1961) on both. I at a tender young age grounded them  both the hard way. (cold water pipes copper)

No ground here, is dangerous.   (fix this first) Upgrade the Jack and power feed first.! (with GFCI? or a real ground and new jack 3 pins)

Design the grounds for 2 paths, RF and  NEMA/NEC/UL ground safety.  (say RF and the SAFETY grounds)
The RF ground keeps the RF out of you shack /home and the second prevents any possible electric shock hazards.
For RF grounds, consider the wall jack ground as an RF OPEN.  (it really is, due to the Z at your Freq. used)  My wall jack is all 10gauge  grounds, 30 amp service.  This feeds my 15amp x4 power box.
Most web sites show grounding in the wrong way,  they forget there are 3 grounds, at the PA, (more actually)
 To talk about grounds, one needs to show them all, not skipping any so the reader is not confused.
The Service ground, missing above Is but one ground, and  once upgraded does form a ground loop that is hard to cure,
 (so make them all go to one power box and only one ground from there to the service entrance panel ground.) 10gauge wire is best.
RF ground is another matter.
Use heavy wire for all  grounds.  (the more circular  copper surface area ( based on skin effects , 3.5mHz  =35uM deep)) the better)   sold wire for non flex use and standed for flex use.
Best practice is to use a ground stake very near your PA, Say 10 feet or less. (less than 1/4 wavelength long !) 20m needs  mutch less than 16ft(5m)   and using  mecca ground topology,  all grounds to 1 single point, ending ground loops.
There are 2 ground loops, (bad) 60Hz and RF.  (if the mix and land on the antenna,  your modulation will be junk)

The Ground stake at the shack PA bank (rack of Transceivers and PA and linears)  Keeps RF ground solid and good.
The COAX antenna feed line is grounded,  both at each PA and at the end of my antenna feed line, at the lightening arrestor box.
This ground is really 2 grounds,  my shack stake ground and the wall plug ground to service entrance. (due to the case ground stud and line cord is same point)
The Ground also goes to all other rack boxes.  (wired mecca, topo style)
Mecca means all gear , grounds studs are not Daisey chained, no, they are all wired to a single point or you will get ground loops. (some call it STAR ground)
Ground loops are simple to think of, pretend in your mind, one ground is not same as the other, this causes a voltage DROP there, and this drop is from ground loop currents flowing at RF rates, that forms a very bad RF antenna radiance inside your shack.
Mecca means everyone (or thing in this case) points to one place, in this situation the case grounds do that.
The PA and all Transceivers need to be connected to one, AC power box, with power jacks and all grounds very close to each other) In my case it's only 4 transmitters and 4 jacks in a box) to my SINGLE 30amp service wall power jack. L5-30
The Antenna end of coax is also grounded (can be) but is not my RF ground (it's my lightening ground and is not so hot, at 12' ft off the earth)
I must say I do not trust 2800vdc in my PA to the GFCI device protections, it's rated at only 2000vdc isolation, and take 25/1000th of a second to trip. (got a pace maker?)

Favorite books and links.
My most loved book of all, is out of print now,  It is one of the best ever, is "Experiment methods in RF DESIGN" top author in list , Wes Hayward  W7ZOI, ISBN: 0-87259-879-9 or ARRL #8799
Hard to find, used, do not let price scalpers scare you  off.
(what a treasure !)

Version 10:   11-13-2016, passed my Extra Class test, today... hooo hooo.     \_(ツ)_/ 
From the greater  East Texas, the Green parts ! (all year)
This page is dedicated to my late  SK in 1980 uncle,  Seth, W6HNX < 1953 contester! July QC mag..


version 1.  7-21-2016  (first) My Journal.