John's homebrew page

My interest in electronics goes a long way back - I think the Ladybird book "Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries" was one of my earliest tutors; that had me hunting for double cotton covered wire at the time when it was becoming difficult to get. I remember making a working electric motor from a cork, a darning needle, two short pins, four long needles, two drawing pins, a magnet, some DCC wire, and a battery. Very satisfying - I found my old book and here it is (the horseshoe magnet goes over the top) ...

Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries motor

For real electronics I was lucky enough to be given a "Phillips Electronic Engineer" kit for Christmas in 1964 (I think). This enabled me to build a real transistor radio - but also gave me the components to experiment with.

Current project - Microwaves - VHF/UHF - HF - Miscellaneous - Old projects

Current projects - optical communications, satellite tracking, and the 23cm single board transverter

I had been taking a break from my project to build a single board transverter for 1.3GHz (23cm) but have now (August 2014) returned to it - it's been a busy year with lots of other things going on, many of them musical!

Earlier in 2013 I bought some bits and pieces to build a simple setup for communication using modulated light, making use of the very bright optical LEDs that are now available. This will use SSB to make it more interesting and let me play with phasing techniques, which I've wanted to do for a while. I'll report progress in due course, though this is slow.

However that in turn got interrupted by some experiments with satellite tracking, when the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) satellite was launched on 21 November 2013. I'm hoping that what I have started will eventually let me set up a proper satellite ground station which eventually I can use for a whole range of satellites, including the use of the microwave bands.

The most recent progress was in getting Python software to talk to Orbitron satellite tracking software. Here's a screenshot of it happening:


All good stuff, but I need to do some real mechanical engineering next to give me something to drive using the software!

As usual, more as it happens ...

Microwave projects

VHF/UHF projects

HF projects

Miscellaneous stuff

Recent projects in calendar order

There are also a few new things that aren't written up yet - I finished a 2m portable (!) dish antenna for 23cm (and possibly 13cm);  and I did a bit of playing with QRSS on HF. There's also a DL6WU Yagi for 13cm. Notes on these will appear eventually.

This list is growing reasonably rapidly - here are the recent projects (most recent first):





Old projects

The old projects are described on a separate page; they include all sorts of stuff, from my first (valve) oscilloscope to my first computer, programmed with a screwdriver, and a telephone modem.