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Oren Elliot latest "0219" series variable cap?


Steve Ratzlaff
 

Hi Gary,

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

On 7/5/2020 11:05 PM, Gary DeBock via groups.io wrote:


To make matters even more interesting, Oren Elliott seems to have recently improved his manufacturing process in the later "N50 384P" variable caps, so that the N50 384P caps with a "0219" series number are clearly superior to those with a "0217" series number. I don't know if he has been improving the dielectric, rotor or stator, but these newest variable caps are extremely sharp performers-- to the extent that every FSL antenna heading for the Rockwork Cliff this summer will have one of the latest variable cap upgrades. With Hawaii and all overseas travel temporarily scratched out because of the Pandemic, the Rockwork cliff should be a dream DXing venue for both Tom R. and yours truly, who both broke our records for South Pacific NDB-DX last August. Tom told me that he's still uncovering new South Pacific NDB-DX from that trip, in addition to his record-breaking haul already posted.

Gary


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



 


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


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


Tom Crosbie G6PZZ
 

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

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

15m MLB | MTA | D707

tom@...

 

 

 

 

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


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



 


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


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


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
  

   


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