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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

815 Xmtr parts

Here's the collection of parts needed to build my transmitter (the power supply is separate). I'll mount the male 8 pin plug on the back of the chassis for power. The barrier strip is for metering points and for the key connection. I'll be able to connect in a plate modulator here also. In the final transmitter the two 25 watt pots will be replaced by wire wound resistors.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Additional 815 xmtr Mod

Another feature missing from most pre-WWII transmitters is some sort of spotting capability. Two reasons drive the need for spotting capability today. First, with transceivers being the norm, operators rarely tune the band looking for a response to a CQ. If answering a CQ, you need to be close to on frequency. Operating in an open spot on the band is the second reason for a spotting switch. Choosing the right operating frequency/crystal requires spotting capability.

To add a spotting switch to the 815 transmitter I'll try a DPDT switch connected in the cathode circuits of both the oscillator and the final. In the "spot" position it will key the oscillator just as the key and also open the cathode-to-ground connection on the 815. The crystal oscillator should operate normally letting me locate myself in the band but I'll not have 50 watts of RF overloading my receiver.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another layout

Here's another thought on layout ... move C2, the final plate tuning cap, from on top of to under the chassis. This frees up space top side and there is still enough space below for the parts around the 815. C2, a major shock hazard, is now safely under the chassis. I also found ceramic plate cap connectors for the 815. L4 is still exposed with voltage on it but it is set back from the edge fairly well and it is opposite the crystal socket.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

815 Xmtr - Safety mods

Someone asked me about modifying a vintage design in the name of safety. Sounds like a good idea to me. I already modify vintage receiver projects to keep B+ out of the headphones ( see ). I also try to keep transmitter B+ away from accidental touching. This design, unfortunately, has 500 VDC exposed on the final tank coil and C2. I plan a couple of things to to help. First a front panel. I'll probably use a piece of masonite painted wrinkle black. As a bonus this gives me room for a plate current meter should I decide to add one. The second modification is to move the crystal socket to the front panel. No need to be reaching around behind the front panel to change frequency. The rest needs to be handled by being careful. Obviously power down when changing bands and short the tank coil to ground before touching it. Not so obvious is the key. Cathode keying allows one side of the key to float to B+. Usually one side of a key is more protected than the other. Connect this side to R1 and don't diddle with the key contacts with power applied.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

815 Xmtr Parts Subbing

As I search for parts, the topic of subbing parts has come up, particularly for C1 and C2. Miniture 140pf dual section variables are called out for both of these. In my junque box I fine slightly larger (physically) parts and, for C2, only a 100pf dual section variable. I can probably work around the 100pf problem by adding two fixed 50pf caps to L4, a 80JVL plug-in coil. The physical size increase appears to be OK for C2 but C1 is going to cramp the wiring around the oscillator stage. Can I shift C1 to tune L2 rather than L3? That reduces me to needing only a single section variable. Unfortunately is also means that I need to insolate "C1" from ground. The mounting starts to take up any space that I saved by changing to a single section cap. Looks like I'll stick with the parts I've found and just carefully lay out the oscillator stage in the space I have.

Monday, March 19, 2007

815 xmtr

I'm to the point of starting to layout my 815 transmitter. Here are a couple of figures from the 1943 ARRL handbook describing this transmitter along with a picture of my preliminary layout. My chassis is 3"x 8"x12" so I have a little more room. Good thing, since I didn't have the small size variable caps called out in the original design. I'm also allowing room for a VR150 (seen on the back left corner) in case the oscillator stage needs regulated B+ for stability. The original design used only 3.5MHz crytals to cover 80, 40 and 20. I'm going to use 3.5 MHz crystals on 80, 7MHz crystals on 40 and 7MHz crystals on 20. This leads to one change. I'm adding a switch across L1/C3. This will be used to short out the cathode coil/cap when I'm running the tri-tet oscillator straight through.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

815 transmitter

According to the 1942 ARRL Handbook the 815 requires less then 2/10 of a watt of drive. A 6L6 is rated for much more than that. The 6V6 has the same base pinout but lower rating. I'll switch over to a 6V6 for the oscillator stage. My power supply will deliver about 500 VDC for the 815 but I don't want to run the 6V6 at 500 volts. I'll need to somehow drop 500V down to about 150 VDC for the oscillator stage. Depending on current requirements a VR150 and a dropping resistor might work. I don't want to use just a dropping resistor since then the 6V6 plate voltage could go as high as 500VDC with the key up.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

6L6 - 815 three band xmtr

I've always been interested in the 815 based 50 watt transmetter that showed up in QST and the ARRL handbooks just before WWII. The 815 is a dual "beam" tube designed for UHF (150 MHz in 1940). I'm starting to plan a tramsmitter using an 815 as a push-pull final (as shown in Feb '41 QST) driven by a 6L6 tri-tet oscillator such as used by Millen in his 6L6-807 rack moount transmitter.


Welcome to my blog about my ham radio activities. Here's where I plan to "talk" about what I'm doing in the shack. Feel free to comment and/or email me if you see something of interest. 73, Niel