Radio at Ylab: New tech, old school and quiet summer

Posted on Updated on

Based on the lack of posts and updates, people say it’s been quiet the last couple of months.

Over the spring and summer, we’ve received some interesting equipment donations, and they’ve been put to good use. This picture of ylab member Gilles at work in the space says it all.

It's been quiet. Sometimes, that's a good thing.
It’s been quiet. Sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Gilles has been  working away almost every night we’ve been open this summer to restore an old Philco tube radio from the early 1930’s. It’s owned by a  DDO volunteer who’s carted it around in moves across North America, hoping to eventually get it working. It’s been on display in the DDO library for… like, ever. We thought it came with the building.

Starting from the left side of the picture, there’s a partial shot of a gray device with a black knob in the middle. That’s one of a donated batch of 40 year-old voltmeters we’ve repaired and calibrated and have available for our classes. Watching the needle swing from side to side can tell you a lot more than flashing, unreadable numbers on a digital unit.

Then there’s the beige box with a big huge dial. The dial is part of a variac,  a variable voltage  AC transformer that can handle big power. The kind of thing you need if you want to gently power up and test an old tube radio instead of slamming it with 110 AC volts. The varactor arrived in a batch of components donated by member Nick. Gilles spotted it,  and built the custom case for it using our laser cutter. He learned to do that in our 2D design/laser cutter class. Notice how nicely the panels fit together.

To the right of the radio, there’s an oscilloscope loaned by member Richard. If you come by and see Gilles working , you’ll notice a different Philips oscilloscope. Another donation.

The table he’s working on and the workbench next to it? Yeah, they were donated too.

We paid for a few things. The soldering irons, the solder, and the digital multimeter that he’s clearly not using.

The work is not complete.  Gilles has carefully checked every component. He’s replaced all the capacitors, tested  and re-soldered connections, and moved up to testing one sub-circuit at a time. He’s getting some sound out of it now, but at last report, he may need to rewind a coil.

Take a nice quiet place to work, add some decent equipment, and top it off with some patience, skill and training, and it’s amazing what can happen.

Nicely sums up why we’re here, doesn’t it?

Click here to comment on the facebook page.


Things will get noisy this week with our laser cutter class on Monday and Wednesday, and even more so with Thursday being the first night of our 8-week ham radio licensing program being an open house. We’ll be demonstrating lots of technology and some amazing new digital radio stuff.

Simultaneous with the radio class, YRARC volunteers will be in the radio room with ylab members who received their certification earlier this year.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *