Date   

Re: How best to inexpensively clean degraded variable caps?

Steve Ratzlaff
 

Now we need to find the least expensive method of cleaning variable caps not requiring (very) expensive DeOxit spray cleaner. Would cheap drugstore isopropyl alcohol work well enough? Maybe used in a spray bottle? Or perhaps something less expensive from the hardware store? I don't have any degraded variable caps to test cleaning methods on, so someone else will have to try.

73,

Steve

On 7/10/2020 2:56 AM, Gary DeBock via groups.io wrote:
Thanks Steve (and Dave),

The possibility that the "Q" of older variable caps degrades over time because of environmental factors is interesting, and I appreciate your experimentation regarding this. That would certainly explain why the brand new variable caps from Mike's Electronic Parts always seem like hot performers out of the box, while the older ones installed years ago seem like duds by comparison. By coincidence I had replaced all of the variable caps in the larger Rockwork Cliff "DXpedition" FSL antennas prior to last year's trip, and did notice improved tuning performance.

<<<   This is beginning to lend credence to Dave Aichelman's comments about these caps seem to deteriorate in selectivity/Q when used in FSLs that are exposed to cruddy conditions such as coastal salt air, and that cleaning the cap can restore it to "as-new" condition.   >>>

I should thank Dave personally for this information, since during the past week I've had several requests from DXers who want me to replace the variable caps in their FSL's with the latest models, and now it seems that this type of work can be done by the DXer himself, without any effort on my part :-)

As for the "cruddy conditions" such as coastal salt air, Steve, I can certainly appreciate how that would accelerate the degradation of a variable cap. But in reality those kind of coastal locations frequently are ideal DXing venues for the compact FSL antennas, such as the wacky Rockwork Cliff in Oregon, where Tom R. has completely shattered the west coast record for South Pacific NDB's received during a DXpedition. Overseas salt water beaches are also prime FSL DXing venues, and they frequently combine extreme heat and humidity along with their salt air corrosion. I suppose it's a situation similar to pushing a race car constantly for top performance-- before you show up at a challenging race track, you need to "pay the piper" with new tires, new brakes and a perfectly tuned engine in order to be competitive. Before using FSL antennas at an exotic beach involving some serious travel $$, installing a brand new variable cap (or detailed cleaning of an old one) should be considered mandatory.

73, Gary

  


 


Re: Tests of variable capacitors using Q meter including latest "0219" version Oren Elliott cap

Tom Crosbie G6PZZ <tom@...>
 

An extremely enlightening discussion. It reminds me of customers trading in gear who handed over a box with nicotine stained fingers and you just dreaded taking the kit out. White lettering turned yellow by heavy smoking and fans in the back dragging the same in through every vent slot. We cleaned it all off as best we could, but it was a lot of man-hours making it ready for sale…

 

As a DXer keenly awaiting delivery of a baby FSL, it has certainly given me food for thought when I visit costal locations. I recall Paul Blundell’s efforts in operating his inside a plastic tote box. From photographs taken at Rockworks etc., I see the FSL’s are covered in what I presume to be some kind of waterproof fabric. It seems this is not as waterproof as one might think. I would have thought that’s a bit high up for direct saltwater spray but with cars and truck roaring past creating wind that blows exhaust fumes, road debris, rain and who knows what in all directions.  Down on the beach it’s a similar story. More at risk of sea spray, even a gentle breeze can blow sand, pollen from grasses and other vegetation.

 

Perhaps this calls for a holistic approach to mitigate the problem.

Gary, would it be possible to mount the 384P inside a small watertight plastic box? A clear box to see the vanes.  I’m thinking a small hole drilled to take the Litz wire could be sealed with hotmelt glue. The shaft could be fed through a tightly fitting grommet in another hole. This might mean the supporting PVC pipe needs to be an inch or so longer, but I suspect Gary has shares in his supplier 😊

 

Just an idea from someone with zero field experience of FSL’s – yet!

 

73 Tom G6PZZ

Nr Chesterfield | NE Derbyshire | UK | IO93he

HF250 | Sentinel 4 | RSPdx | RM50 | TR2 | ATS 808

15m MLB | MTA | D707

 

From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gary DeBock via groups.io
Sent: 10 July 2020 10:56
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Tests of variable capacitors using Q meter including latest "0219" version Oren Elliott cap

 

Thanks Steve (and Dave),

The possibility that the "Q" of older variable caps degrades over time because of environmental factors is interesting, and I appreciate your experimentation regarding this. That would certainly explain why the brand new variable caps from Mike's Electronic Parts always seem like hot performers out of the box, while the older ones installed years ago seem like duds by comparison. By coincidence I had replaced all of the variable caps in the larger Rockwork Cliff "DXpedition" FSL antennas prior to last year's trip, and did notice improved tuning performance.

<<<   This is beginning to lend credence to Dave Aichelman's comments about these caps seem to deteriorate in selectivity/Q when used in FSLs that are exposed to cruddy conditions such as coastal salt air, and that cleaning the cap can restore it to "as-new" condition.   >>>

I should thank Dave personally for this information, since during the past week I've had several requests from DXers who want me to replace the variable caps in their FSL's with the latest models, and now it seems that this type of work can be done by the DXer himself, without any effort on my part :-)

As for the "cruddy conditions" such as coastal salt air, Steve, I can certainly appreciate how that would accelerate the degradation of a variable cap. But in reality those kind of coastal locations frequently are ideal DXing venues for the compact FSL antennas, such as the wacky Rockwork Cliff in Oregon, where Tom R. has completely shattered the west coast record for South Pacific NDB's received during a DXpedition. Overseas salt water beaches are also prime FSL DXing venues, and they frequently combine extreme heat and humidity along with their salt air corrosion. I suppose it's a situation similar to pushing a race car constantly for top performance-- before you show up at a challenging race track, you need to "pay the piper" with new tires, new brakes and a perfectly tuned engine in order to be competitive. Before using FSL antennas at an exotic beach involving some serious travel $$, installing a brand new variable cap (or detailed cleaning of an old one) should be considered mandatory.

73, Gary

  


 


Re: Tests of variable capacitors using Q meter including latest "0219" version Oren Elliott cap

Paul Blundell
 

Great posts and some interesting thoughts on the difference that time and use has on these. I keep mine very well protected.


On Fri, 10 Jul 2020, 7:56 p.m. Gary DeBock via groups.io, <D1028Gary=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks Steve (and Dave),

The possibility that the "Q" of older variable caps degrades over time because of environmental factors is interesting, and I appreciate your experimentation regarding this. That would certainly explain why the brand new variable caps from Mike's Electronic Parts always seem like hot performers out of the box, while the older ones installed years ago seem like duds by comparison. By coincidence I had replaced all of the variable caps in the larger Rockwork Cliff "DXpedition" FSL antennas prior to last year's trip, and did notice improved tuning performance.

<<<   This is beginning to lend credence to Dave Aichelman's comments about these caps seem to deteriorate in selectivity/Q when used in FSLs that are exposed to cruddy conditions such as coastal salt air, and that cleaning the cap can restore it to "as-new" condition.   >>>

I should thank Dave personally for this information, since during the past week I've had several requests from DXers who want me to replace the variable caps in their FSL's with the latest models, and now it seems that this type of work can be done by the DXer himself, without any effort on my part :-)

As for the "cruddy conditions" such as coastal salt air, Steve, I can certainly appreciate how that would accelerate the degradation of a variable cap. But in reality those kind of coastal locations frequently are ideal DXing venues for the compact FSL antennas, such as the wacky Rockwork Cliff in Oregon, where Tom R. has completely shattered the west coast record for South Pacific NDB's received during a DXpedition. Overseas salt water beaches are also prime FSL DXing venues, and they frequently combine extreme heat and humidity along with their salt air corrosion. I suppose it's a situation similar to pushing a race car constantly for top performance-- before you show up at a challenging race track, you need to "pay the piper" with new tires, new brakes and a perfectly tuned engine in order to be competitive. Before using FSL antennas at an exotic beach involving some serious travel $$, installing a brand new variable cap (or detailed cleaning of an old one) should be considered mandatory.

73, Gary

  


 


Re: Tests of variable capacitors using Q meter including latest "0219" version Oren Elliott cap

Gary DeBock
 

Thanks Steve (and Dave),

The possibility that the "Q" of older variable caps degrades over time because of environmental factors is interesting, and I appreciate your experimentation regarding this. That would certainly explain why the brand new variable caps from Mike's Electronic Parts always seem like hot performers out of the box, while the older ones installed years ago seem like duds by comparison. By coincidence I had replaced all of the variable caps in the larger Rockwork Cliff "DXpedition" FSL antennas prior to last year's trip, and did notice improved tuning performance.

<<<   This is beginning to lend credence to Dave Aichelman's comments about these caps seem to deteriorate in selectivity/Q when used in FSLs that are exposed to cruddy conditions such as coastal salt air, and that cleaning the cap can restore it to "as-new" condition.   >>>

I should thank Dave personally for this information, since during the past week I've had several requests from DXers who want me to replace the variable caps in their FSL's with the latest models, and now it seems that this type of work can be done by the DXer himself, without any effort on my part :-)

As for the "cruddy conditions" such as coastal salt air, Steve, I can certainly appreciate how that would accelerate the degradation of a variable cap. But in reality those kind of coastal locations frequently are ideal DXing venues for the compact FSL antennas, such as the wacky Rockwork Cliff in Oregon, where Tom R. has completely shattered the west coast record for South Pacific NDB's received during a DXpedition. Overseas salt water beaches are also prime FSL DXing venues, and they frequently combine extreme heat and humidity along with their salt air corrosion. I suppose it's a situation similar to pushing a race car constantly for top performance-- before you show up at a challenging race track, you need to "pay the piper" with new tires, new brakes and a perfectly tuned engine in order to be competitive. Before using FSL antennas at an exotic beach involving some serious travel $$, installing a brand new variable cap (or detailed cleaning of an old one) should be considered mandatory.

73, Gary

  


 


Tests of variable capacitors using Q meter including latest "0219" version Oren Elliott cap

Steve Ratzlaff
 

I received my Mike's Electronics latest version of the Oren Elliot-manufactured latest version "0219" N50-384P variable cap with vernier today.

There is a way to test the relative Q of a capacitor on the Q meter using a reference inductor. You use your best cap as the reference cap noting its Q at the various test frequencies. Then you test other caps and see how their Q's compare to the best cap. My best variable cap is the so-called "holy grail" TRW variable capacitor from the URM-25D signal generator--it has ceramic insulation, silver-plated plates, etc.  Xtal Set DXers prize this cap as the best. It has a 14-495 pF range, quite a bit higher max capacitance than the nominal 385 pF of the N50-384P. Of course one just sets the cap to the same 385 pF when testing. I have two older Oren Elliott caps, both unused, so with the latest one I have 3 of them to compare. I have a number of Russian caps with vernier tuning and ceramic insulation that used to be inexpensive and plentiful on eBay 5-10 years ago (in the $5-8 range)--now only one or two sellers offer them at much higher prices in the $25-30 range; and several unknown brand caps with ceramic insulation (no vernier). Mike's Electronics also offers a custom-made dual gang polyvaricon with about 320 pF per section; it does not have vernier tuning. (The URM-25D cap doesn't have built in vernier tuning either.)

I will say right now that the latest "0219" version cap does not test any better than the previous two Oren Elliott caps and actually tests somewhat poorer/lower Q. This is beginning to lend credence to Dave Aichelman's comments about these caps seem to deteriorate in selectivity/Q when used in FSLs that are exposed to cruddy conditions such as coastal salt air, and that cleaning the cap can restore it to "as-new" condition.

My tests are at three frequencies, near 540 kHz for the N50-384P max capacitance; 1000 kHz; 1700 kHz.

73,

Steve AA7U

URM-25D variable cap ("holy grail" cap)

536 kHz 816Q     996 kHz 716 Q     1698 kHz 505Q

Small Russian dual gang cap with vernier, single gang tested

537 kHz 791Q     1000 kHz 695Q     1699 kHz 495Q

Larger Russian dual gang cap with vernier, single gang tested

538 kHz 780Q     1000 kHz 678Q     1701 kHz 464Q


Unknown brand dual gang cap with ceramic, no vernier, single gang tested

539 kHz 757Q     1000 kHz 660Q     1701 kHz 455Q


Mike's Electronics custom dual gang polyvaricon (about 320 pF max per gang),1 gang

(575 kHz 561Q)     1004 kHz 536Q     1702 kHz 409Q


N50-365P Oren Elliot cap with vernier (385pF)

538 kHz 604Q     999 kHz 503Q     1701 kHz 274Q


N50-384P version 0217 cap with vernier

538 kHz 614Q     1004 kHz 499Q     1700 kHz 276Q


N50-384P version 0219 (latest) cap with vernier (395pF measured)

532 kHz 555Q     999 kHz 386Q      1698 kHz 195Q



Ultralight Radio DXing Go Case - July 2020

Paul Blundell
 

My constant search for a radio carry case has continued...

With my focus on Ultralight radio DXing, my radio kit has changed, a couple of radios have been removed and I was finding my previous case with it's custom wooden dividers to be too heavy. After looking at the price of replacement foam, I decided this was not worth the price, being almost as much as a totally new case.

I was out doing some shopping recently when I called passed my local Bunnings store, here I found this new case for $30, I decided to replace my previous case as I found it was not working as well as I would have liked. My plan being to use my previous case for my work tools and use this new case for my Ultralight radio DXing kit.

I started off at home by sitting all my radios and other pieces of my DXing kit on the foam to see how they would all fit best. After this I cut the foam to suit and pulled out the required sections. I have now added some cloth tape to hold the foam in place.

Overall, I am very pleased with how well this case has come out, I am able to carry and store multiple radios, log sheets, pens, notes, spare batteries and ear phones, everything I need for portable sessions. It is also small enough to fit in my back pack. For $30 it provides a great level of protection. Using the foam means that each item has a home and that they are well protected, it is also much lighter than my previous cases, meaning I will carry it with me more often. It really wins on the price v size v quality scale.

While this case was designed for ultralight DXing the same ideas could be used for amateur radio, radio scanning or any other radio storage need.

 

 

 

 

 


Long Term DX Project - 9/07/2020

Paul Blundell
 

Date: 9/07/2020
Time: 8:00
Location: St Georges Square, Launceston Tasmania
Notes: A portable morning session using my AR-1780 and 3” FSL aerial. Some excellent signals on the Victorian 50kw big guns and even 2CA on 1053kHz hit an average signal level.
 
 
Freq
Callsign
Logged
531
3GG
GOOD
549
2CR
AVERAGE
594
3WV
EXCELLENT
621
3RN
EXCELLENT
774
3LO
GOOD
1053
2CA
AVERAGE
1179
3RPH
WEAK
1341
HPON GEELONG
AVERAGE
1422
HPON MELBOURNE
AVERAGE
1503
3KND
AVERAGE
 

https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/


 Long Term DX Project - 8/07/2020

Paul Blundell
 

 
Date: 8/07/2020
Time: 19:00
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Notes: A session at home using my AR-1780 and 3” FSL aerial.
 
 
Freq
Callsign
Logged
531
3GG
Excellent
549
2CR
Excellent
594
3WV
Excellent
621
3RN
Excellent
774
3LO
Excellent
1053
2CA
GOOD
1179
3RPH
AVERAGE
1341
HPON GEELONG
GOOD
1422
HPON MELBOURNE
GOOD
1503
3KND
AVERAGE

https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Gord Seifert
 


    Thanks again Gary,

    Those 140mm rods look great! Don't know how I missed them. Ordered 40 of them this morning. They cost only about $32 Canadian more than 30 of the 125mm rods I was considering would have. If I decide to go with the 1162 strand Litz wire, with 60 feet of it, and 40 ferrite rods, I should be able to build something somewhat larger than the 3 inch, 28 rod, 'Baby' FSL. Waste not, want not. And it will, no doubt, work better.

   Will likely order one of those caps from Mike's, but I have a brute of a dual section with about 440 in one section and 500 in the other and a three to one geared drive. Will see how that works to start.

   Thanks for the history lesson too!

   Regards, 
   Gord


Re: Review - Digitech AR-1780 Multi-band Radio Receiver

Marc Coevoet
 

Op 8/07/2020 om 12:54 schreef Paul Blundell:
<https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SgPgkmcIVBA/XwWlUHPuZxI/AAAAAAAAMtQ/GsdRrkN6SHkk7qfrQCaRdle82b-FCD6bwCPcBGAYYCw/s1600/AR-1780%2BReview_July2020%2B%25284%2529.jpg>
The AR-1780

The buttons of the XHDATA D-808 are exactly the same!


Marc

--
The "Penguin" has arrived - and he's not going away - ever.
For former Apple users: Xubuntu.org (menu's up left)
For former Windows users: Lubuntu.org (menu's down left)


Review - Digitech AR-1780 Multi-band Radio Receiver

Paul Blundell
 

 

 

 
 
The AR-1780 is the big brother of the AR-1733 which has been my go-to ultralight DXing radio for a number of years. The AR-1780 covers the AM and FM broadcast bands along with the shortwave, long wave and air band. This includes RDS on the FM band and SSB on the shortwave band.
 
From the Jaycar website:
“This is a very compact world band radio, covering the most popular frequencies. It features rapid digital tuning, 1000 memory presets, and an easy to read display. Single Sideband Modulation (SSB) is used to listen in on 27MHz CB radio, short wave amateur radio and morse code. The large internal speaker provides clear audio, and you can connect your favourite set of headphones for personal listening. Powerful enough to receive what you want, and compact enough to take wherever you want.”

Features:
- FM/MW/SW/LW/AIR Bands
- Single Side Band (SSB)
- Telescopic Antenna
- 3.5mm socket for external antenna
- Selectable Bandwidth: 1 - 6kHz
- Radio Bands:
    FM 87.5 - 108MHz
    MW 522 - 1620kHz / 520 - 1710 kHz
    SW 1711 - 29,999kHz
    LW 150 - 450kHz
    AIR 118 - 137kHz
 
Product Dimensions
Height
95mm
Weight
0.253kg
Depth
30mm
Width
150mm
Radio Receiver
MW(AM) Frequency Range
522kHz-1710kHz
Power Source
Battery
SW Frequency Range
1711kHz-29999kHz
SW Frequency Range
150kHz-450kHz
Type of Radio
FM
FM Frequency Range
87.5MHz-108MHz
Power from disposable battery
Battery used for
Main Product
Size / Shape
AA
Battery quantity
4pc
Batteries included
No
Batteries can be replaced by user
Yes
Warranty: 12 Months
 
 
AM Band:
The performance on the AM broadcast bands is very good, in most cases better than my AR-1733, this has made the AR-1780 my current “go to” radio. It is very sensitive and tuning across the band is very enjoyable. The built-in ferrite antenna works well, and it matches up nicely with my 3” FSL aerial for long distance / serious DXing needs.
 
FM Band:
The AR-1780 features RDS which shows station names, song names and other information, this works well. Side by side testing with the AR-1733 shows a slight edge to the AR-1780 on audio quality and ability to pull in signals, a couple of community station which are iffy at best on the AR-1733, are much better and clearer on the AR-1780.

Shortwave Band:
Shortwave coverage is from 1711 kHz to 29999 kHz in 1 kHz steps. The main rotary tuning control on the side of the radio can be set to 5kHz or 1 kHz steps and there is a fine-tuning control on the right-hand side that is used for the USB and LSB modes. The radio uses the inbuilt telescopic antenna for the entire shortwave band. My experience and focus is not on this band so my experience is limited, from my limited testing it works as well as a radio of this size / price point could be expected to.

Longwave Band:
Coverage is from 150 kHz to 450 kHz. Our local beacon on 242kHz comes in well enough. Again, this band is not an area I know much about and it has very limited use here in Australia.
 
Air Band:
This covers from 118 MHz to 137 MHz in the AM mode. I have programmed in my local tower, ATC and AWIS frequencies and I find I often leave this locked on one of them while I am working, the gentle sounds of the ATC controllers and pilots are good background noise. While not a “scanner”, this does have a one-time search mode and will save any found frequencies for later review. Performance wise, it works as well as any of my scanners would and for listening over an extended period, the squelch mode is very helpful. I find around a 3 the best setting.
 
Pros:
It works well given the price and size of the unit, as a step up from the AR-1733, it fills the gap between this and the full-size radios. AM performance is an improvement on the AR-1733 and the choices of AM bandwidths really helps with hunting down stations. FM BCB is covered well. Airband is acceptable with no issues.
 
Cons:
Slight gap in audio while changing frequencies, delay in switching between USB and LSB modes. Weird charging voltage. Lack of carry case included.
 
Summary:
I am a big fan of this radio and it has taken over from my AR-1733 as my main DXing rig, for $99 on special, it is excellent value.


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Gary DeBock
 

On Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 12:19 PM, Gord Seifert wrote:
   I just looked on Mike's site and can not find a part with any reference to Oren Elliot. I do see this..
 https://www.mikeselectronicparts.com/product/384pf-air-variable-capacitor-with-81-planetary-reduction-drive/   But, the price is SO much less than on the Oren Elliot site that I can hardly believe it is the same. No problem with Mike's price, but no way am I paying well over twice as much to Oren Elliot. And, in the photo, the one on Mike's does not look anywhere near as pretty. Is the Oren Elliot version really that beautiful, or is that simply a computer generated image?

Hi Gord,

     The "N50 384P" variable cap from Mike's Electronic Parts (at the link you posted above) is exactly the same as the one from Oren Elliot Products, despite the much cheaper price. Oren Elliot is the OEM for the component, and has always charged higher prices (I have ordered from both sources, in the past).

<<<    Also, I have been looking for ferrite rods. I came up with this: https://tinyurl.com/ybk5amyr   Looks to be the same material you use (same seller too) but is considerably shorter at 125mm. Also MUCH less expensive. Would this work reasonably well for someone who does not need the absolute nth degree in performance? The 10mm x 200mm version is completely out of the question due to price.   >>>

The 125mm x 8mm ferrite rods are perfectly fine for FSL use, although if you would like significantly cheaper 140mm x 8mm ferrite rods than the ones that "Alexer1" sells (which are also slightly higher in gain than the 125mm variety), try this link from my friend Dennis ("sovtube," on eBay)  https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Russian-Large-balun-ferrite-rods-8x140-mm-Lot-of-20-NEW-High-Quality/164167133643?hash=item26391fa9cb:g:PekAAOSwYaFWfwfH

I have dealt with both of these sellers multiple times on eBay, and can assure you that Dennis will always provide the best price and service, if he has the ferrite rods that you are looking for.

<<<    One other question. Did you actually test the various different ferrite mixes for suitability while designing you FSLs? Or is it just a basic, known, fact that, for this frequency range, NiZn 400 permiability works best for this application?   >>>

To be honest, the reason why I use the Russian surplus 400-permeability ferrite rods in almost all of my FSL antenna designs is because back in 2011 (when the U.K.'s Graham Maynard introduced modern FSL antennas), the cost of this Russian surplus ferrite was dirt cheap, and the early FSL experimenters like Steve Ratzlaff, Kevin Schanilec and yours truly bought up a ton of it. I still have loads of this stuff stashed away, which cost about a third of what it costs currently. Of course I have nobody to blame but myself for the explosion in ferrite price, since immediately after I publish an FSL construction article the Ukrainian eBay sellers quickly jack up the price on the ferrite type I suggest, so that some weird cases result like the 140mm x 8mm ferrite rods actually costing more than the 160mm x 8mm ferrite rods in 2016. After noticing this in 2016 I published a 3.5" FSL construction article using the 160mm x 8mm ferrite rods, and the eBay sellers promptly evened out their prices :-)

Gary
  

   


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

daiche
 

DeOxit is not cheap here either! We use it here mostly for scratchy pots, with the F5 formula having more lubricant compared to the D5 formula. They both remove corrosion and protect the contact surfaces without leaving an oily film, which is why I tried it on the variable caps of my FSL's too, to 'freshen' them. I use both formulas on my phasers to keep them running smooth. You don't need much so it lasts a long while......

Dave Aichelman     N7NZH     Grants Pass, Oregon


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Gord Seifert
 


    Hi Gary,

     I just looked on Mike's site and can not find a part with any reference to Oren Elliot. I do see this..
 https://www.mikeselectronicparts.com/product/384pf-air-variable-capacitor-with-81-planetary-reduction-drive/   But, the price is SO much less than on the Oren Elliot site that I can hardly believe it is the same. No problem with Mike's price, but no way am I paying well over twice as much to Oren Elliot. And, in the photo, the one on Mike's does not look anywhere near as pretty. Is the Oren Elliot version really that beautiful, or is that simply a computer generated image?

   Also, I have been looking for ferrite rods. I came up with this: https://tinyurl.com/ybk5amyr   Looks to be the same material you use (same seller too) but is considerably shorter at 125mm. Also MUCH less expensive. Would this work reasonably well for someone who does not need the absolute nth degree in performance? The 10mm x 200mm version is completely out of the question due to price.

 One other question. Did you actually test the various different ferrite mixes for suitability while designing you FSLs? Or is it just a basic, known, fact that, for this frequency range, NiZn 400 permiability works best for this application?

   Regards, 
   Gord


Long Term DX Project - 7/07/2020

Paul Blundell
 

Date: 7/07/2020
Time: 12:30
Location: St Georges Square, Launceston Tasmania
Notes: A portable session at St Georges Square around lunch time. Some good signals were logged around the bottom of the band and the use of my 3” FSL made a real difference with it lifting a few signals from average to good signal levels. 2CA on 1053khz which is the furthest station of this project really struggled and was a very poor signal with only traces heard.
 
 
Freq
Callsign
Logged
531
3GG
AVERAGE
549
2CR
POOR
594
3WV
GOOD
621
3RN
GOOD
774
3LO
AVERAGE
1053
2CA
POOR
1179
3RPH
POOR
1341
HPON GEELONG
GOOD
1422
HPON MELBOURNE
GOOD
1503
3KND
POOR


 
 
 


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Gary DeBock
 

<<<   Or the one with the 8:1 drive here: 
 
 
I’d like to substitute the one on my shiny new 5” FSL and see if I can detect any difference in performance. Glad that this secret leaked out—now about those lottery numbers….   >>>

Les,

Your new 5" FSL is one of the many ones built here during the Pandemic, and almost certainly has the latest variable cap installed. You can confirm this by noting the "0219" stamp on the back of the variable cap, after the "N50 384P" stamp.

For ordering, always purchase the 8:1 drive variable cap-- otherwise you will feel like you are at a casino when you try to tune in a station.

Gary



 


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Tom Crosbie G6PZZ <tom@...>
 

Dave,

I looked up DeOxit D5 from Amazon UK. Almost £30.00 for 142ml. This side of the pond we pay around £10.00 for 400ml of contact cleaner, with several good brands to choose from, excluding WD40, which I class as for mechanical use only! I guess your D5 is more of a pro product. This piqued my curiosity as last year I purchased three 500+500pf airspace variables with reduction drives, described as new old stock. That’s what I got wrapped in layers of tissue. A squirt of air duster took care of disintegrating tissue but you’ve made me think about hitting them with some isopropyl. Next time I find myself looking at them again!

 

Tom | G6PZZ

Nr Chesterfield | Derbyshire |UK | IO93he

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From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> On Behalf Of daiche via groups.io
Sent: 07 July 2020 00:29
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

 

Gary and Steve,

I had noticed a difference in older vs newer Oren caps also, although I saw no physical difference between them. I tried something on the 'older' ones that seems to work to freshen them up. I have used DeOxit D5 and/or 91-99% alcohol on them to clean the blades, keeping away from the bearings and gearing. That seems to perk them up also. So maybe it is plain old corrosion from bad city air, causing a problem, rather than a new manufacturing technique. I have always used canned air to dry them off after a treatment, as a finishing touch. You might try one or both treatments on one of your old caps to see if that helps. I'd be interested to hear if my improvement method is real or imaginary. Ha!

73's

Dave Aichelman     N7NZH     Grants Pass, Oregon


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Les Rayburn
 

Looking on the Mike’s Electronics Parts web site, I see three different air variable capacitors. 

Is the desired part the 384 variable capacitor here: 



Or the one with the 8:1 drive here: 


I’d like to substitute the one on my shiny new 5” FSL and see if I can detect any difference in performance. Glad that this secret leaked out—now about those lottery numbers….



73,

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC

Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy + Discovery, SDRPlay RSP-2 Pro, Sony XDR-F1HD [XDR Guy Modified], Dennon TU-1500RD, Sangean HDT-1X, Ray Dees RDS Decoders, Korner 9.2 Antenna, FM-6 Antenna, Kitz Technologies KT-501 Pre-amps, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip. 

“Nothing but blues and Elvis, and somebody else’s favorite song…” 

On Jul 6, 2020, at 6:29 PM, daiche via groups.io <daiche@...> wrote:

Gary and Steve,

I had noticed a difference in older vs newer Oren caps also, although I saw no physical difference between them. I tried something on the 'older' ones that seems to work to freshen them up. I have used DeOxit D5 and/or 91-99% alcohol on them to clean the blades, keeping away from the bearings and gearing. That seems to perk them up also. So maybe it is plain old corrosion from bad city air, causing a problem, rather than a new manufacturing technique. I have always used canned air to dry them off after a treatment, as a finishing touch. You might try one or both treatments on one of your old caps to see if that helps. I'd be interested to hear if my improvement method is real or imaginary. Ha!

73's

Dave Aichelman     N7NZH     Grants Pass, Oregon


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

daiche
 

Gary and Steve,

I had noticed a difference in older vs newer Oren caps also, although I saw no physical difference between them. I tried something on the 'older' ones that seems to work to freshen them up. I have used DeOxit D5 and/or 91-99% alcohol on them to clean the blades, keeping away from the bearings and gearing. That seems to perk them up also. So maybe it is plain old corrosion from bad city air, causing a problem, rather than a new manufacturing technique. I have always used canned air to dry them off after a treatment, as a finishing touch. You might try one or both treatments on one of your old caps to see if that helps. I'd be interested to hear if my improvement method is real or imaginary. Ha!

73's

Dave Aichelman     N7NZH     Grants Pass, Oregon


Re: Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?

Gary DeBock
 

Hi Steve,

<<<   Where are you obtaining the latest 0219 variable caps--from the manufacturer or from Mike's Electronics? This is certainly a very interesting finding.
73, Steve >>>

During the Pandemic I have been doing a lot of FSL experimentation, and have been buying these new "N50 384P" variable caps from Mike's Electronic Parts in batches of 7. Around March I first noticed that one of 3" Baby FSL's recently constructed was outperforming one constructed in 2018, even though all of the components were exactly the same. The only difference was that the variable caps used in 2018 had a "0217" series number, while the new ones received in 2020 had a "0219" series number. Both of those were received from Mike's Electronic Parts, with Oren Elliott as the OEM. Kind of curious about this, I substituted another "0219" variable cap for a "0217" variable cap in another 2018 FSL design, and immediately got the same noticeable performance boost (sharper tuning, and a greater sensitivity peak when zeroed in on the radio's frequency, which only happened when you tuned the FSL to exactly the right point). This "0219" variable cap performance boost was most noticeable on the extreme low band frequencies (such as 530, 531 and 540), although it was detectable all the way up to 1700 kHz. The effect was enough to motivate this fanatical tinker to replace all the FSL variable caps headed for the Rockwork Cliff this summer, ensuring that they all have new "0219" upgrades.

This is the first time that I'm sharing this discovery with anyone, Steve-- I had actually considered keeping it a secret :-)

73, Gary



 

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