Solid-State Radio Equipment

New Directions Radio shares information on news about New Directions and Earthmind, and an in-depth look at the advantages of amateur radio enthusiasts using solid-state radio equipment.

| November/December 1975

  • Copthorne Macdonald, New Directions Radio
    New Directions Radio news and solid-state radio equipment update.
  • 036-067-01
    Solid-state equipment: a small crystal-controlled CW transmitter from MFJ Enterprises, and the complex Heathkit SB-104.

  • Copthorne Macdonald, New Directions Radio
  • 036-067-01

Copthorne Macdonald is an amateur radio enthusiast, inventor of slow scan television, and founder of New Directions Radio. New Direction Radio article MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 36, November/December 1975.

The folks at Earthmind have concentrated much of their effort on the development of Savonius rotor wind generators, but have also worked on techniques for restoring old Jacobs and Wincharger machines. Now they have an electric vehicle project going and are experimenting with solar collectors.

Recently, Mark Dankoff (WA2HVY/6) — who has been involved with New Directions activities for some time — moved to Earthmind to join Vanessa Naumann and Michael Hackleman (primary author of Wind and Windspinners and the newly published Homebuilt Wind-Generated Electricity Handbook). Mark has his ham station on the air, has been in frequent contact with Randy Brink (WA7BKR) and others in the West Coast New Directions group, and is eager to get in touch with still other radio amateurs who are involved with energy projects. You can reach him through the Sunday New Directions Roundtable sessions or by mail at Earthmind, Saugus, California. (Incidentally, Earthmind's publication list and general information sheet is available from the same address for 50 cents.)

More West Coast doings: Randy Brink recently chaired the ham radio workshop at a large alternative media conference in Olympia, Washington. As an outgrowth of this meeting, Randy has started a Northwest Alternative Ham Network to explore what radio freaks can do in the Pacific Northwest to promote community media, locally oriented public services, and a regional information exchange. The net meets Saturdays, at noon (Pacific Time) on 3898 kHz.

By the time you read this, the new Midwest and East Coast regional Roundtables will — I hope — be functioning smoothly. You may recall from the schedule in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 35 that these gatherings are held on Monday and Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m., local time. The exact frequencies will depend on just where we can find spaces between other net operations, and will be published in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 37. In the meantime, Midwest participants should start looking up and down from 3949 kHz, and East Coast hams from 3944.

Solid-State Radio Equipment

While most of the amateur radio gear in use today employs vacuum tubes, solid state radio equipment (which uses transistors and integrated circuits instead) is becoming increasingly popular. Advantages of solid state radio equipment include lower power consumption, cooler running, smaller units, and fewer tuning controls . . . plus a benefit of special interest to back-to-the-land and nomadic folks: direct operation from a 12-volt storage battery (that of a vehicle, maybe, or one charged by a small wind generator).

Shown in the photograph are two examples of currently available solidstate gear . . . at opposite extremes of cost and complexity. The small handheld unit is a crystal-controlled CW (code only) transmitter for the 40-meter band. Its power input is about 5 watts with a 12-volt battery and 7 watts with 14 volts. This instrument performs very much like the homemade one-tube transmitter described in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 34, and is available assembled and tested (less crystal) from MFJ Enterprises, Mississippi State, Mississippi for the very low price of $21.95.

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