Mission Statement and Information

Photographs by VE7BPO except as indicated

Welcome Friends!

Welcome to the QRP and SWL Homebuilder web site. I write about my experiments with relatively simple electronic circuits.

Avoiding excessive algebra and obscure parts, I emphasize and show fundamental bench practices.

Through real experiments I examine topics to challenge and intrigue amateur designers — providing examples and describing ways to plan, problem solve, breadboard and measure your circuits.

As amateur experimenters we ought to advance in our hobby; not just perform cookbook electronics. Designing and improving your circuits requires considerable knowledge and effort. Fortunately, others selflessly share their ideas to teach us.

In time, you may recognize your electronics workbench as your greatest teacher. Bench experiments involve us thinking about and measuring our circuits so we know what's happening instead of relying too much on folklore, guessing and copying others. Designing and/or simulating circuits with software can enhance your learning but does not obviate the need to spend time in the trenches with meters, wires and solder.

People often learn skills by modeling others. We need sound examples of how other builders work and think to inform our own designs — inspired, creative and active learning driven by experience and reflection.

At some level, our bench experiences are stories of growth and realization sparked by going and doing. For example, why did the designer choose a particular resistor value? You try different resistor values while measuring the results and increase your knowledge. Collecting schematics, kit building or just thinking do not provide as intimate a learning experience as soldering your ideas on a bare copper board. Talking, tweeting or day dreaming about design is not the same as doing it.

Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky describes the contrast between real life and passivism; "love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams", The Brothers Karamazov, Братья Карамазовы. Dare to dream, but better yet, dare to innovate — to design and build your own circuits. You may start by just modifying a favorite circuit or scaling a stage to another frequency. We need more innovators and less imitators to grow and sustain our great hobby.

Electronic design produces more than a completed circuit. On the bench, even joy is experiential – a moment of discovery (or several discrete moments) yields more pleasure than stuffing a circuit board or operating a piece of gear. Creativity trumps process every time!

I hope this site demonstrates my passion for building basic, "popcorn" circuits and sharing ideas. Please remember I am just a lay person experimenter and not an electrical engineer.

Regards, Toddly, VE7BPO

Web Site Changes in 2010 and on

Building or buying test equipment and acquiring a good reference library are important to your experiments. Spurred by the realization that sound bench measurement practices are at the heart of good design, test equipment receives greater focus in 2010 and on.

A reference library is vital to our electronic experiments; good examples lead to better experiments. Poor circuits are everywhere and some builders can't tell a good design from a bad one. Minimalism and simplicity aren't excuses for sloppy design when your goal is to learn. Collecting and sharing well designed circuits helps us avoid wasting time and experiencing frustration. Circuits with attributes like well defined input or output impedances, low noise or harmonic distortion are desirable to fuel experimentation. Look for better quality circuit examples in 2010 and on.

The Internet is changing how we read and write. The prevalence of small portable web devices such as iPhones, ever increasing numbers of web sites and blogs, and the use of search engines create fierce competition among sites. Modern sites attract your attention with varied visual, aural and textural media and unfortunately, hype and pseudo-journalism. Narrative writing is more skimmed than read. Brief is in — bullets, subtitles, lists and graphics replace long lines of narrative prose which no one seems to have time for anymore.

Have you noticed the changes on this website? New content still contains lots of narrative writing, but assumes an active voice, with emphasis on brevity, clarity and speaking directly to you, the reader. Sharing mostly obsolete, analog 1970's-style circuits, QRP/SWL HomeBuilder attracts a tiny, niche audience. I believe the success of this website depends on providing good and diverse content — not Tags, RS feeds, adopting net-speak, or self promotion. You be the judge.

My special thanks to Wes Hayward, W7ZOI for his generous support and elmering over many years.

EMRFD is the main reference of my site

All circuits excluding junk box page content are built and tested. Schematics are drafted as carefully as possible. Please accept that bench and/or drafting errors may occur. No liability arising from the application, use, or misuse of these projects that results in direct or indirect damage or loss is assumed.

Full price is paid for all parts used and no monies are or were received for promoting any products or companies on this web site. Any ads, hyperlinks or mention of commercial products or companies is out of courtesy only.

"Until you build and measure it, you don't know what you don't know";
Rick Campbell, KK7B; VHF Open Sources — Design of Low Power High-Stability Low Phase Noise Single Frequency VHF Sources with High Spectral Purity; 2008

Information Regarding the Compression of Schematics

I see many electronics web authors compressing black and white schematics as jpg files. This results in distortion of the schematic. Schematics are best compressed using the 8-bit, lossless LZW algorithm which means converting the file to a png, gif, or even pdf format. The files sizes will typically be smaller than .jpg compression, have no distortion and can be edited easily.

  1. RAC is the National Amateur Radio Society of Canada
  2. For my web page concerning support of the Radio Amateurs of Canada, please click here

Photographs by VE7BPO except as indicated

Photographs by VE7BPO

The hand drawn image bitmaps on this web site (logo etc.) are by Rod Adams. All website photographs were taken by VE7BPO except as indicated.