Attempted homebrewing leads to frustration

Attempted homebrewing leads to frustration. And I haven’t come around to the actual brewing itself!

Let’s leave the project itself for what it is, it’s not all that important right now. Let’s just say I want to build this thing. I have spent countless hours over the last couple of days reading specific chapters in ARRL books, browsing the online QST archives and scrutinizing numerous technical websites. Always about the same circuit.

Striking: each and every design is different. The concept and principles are the same but every design uses other parts and values. At first this was mentally fermenting into frustration. But then I realized that if a handful of circuits serving the same purpose are said to work with different parts and values, this could mean there is a fair chance of success for me to get the circuit working and find the parts.

Aaahhhh, finding electronic parts in Belgium. IMPOSSIBLE unless you look for solace online (i.e. abroad). Which I did for some RF specific parts. Those can be found in the US of A. Click left click right click PayPal and the parts are heading my way. But now on to the REAL frustration. I also need a handful of general yet not everyday components. Easy to find, and hundreds in stock, and not even expensive. Yes those online hypermarkets of electronic parts à la Farnell and RS are a blessing for the hobbyist. Oh wait – no: they only sell to companies and NOT to private individuals. Which leaves me drooling in front of the screen. The parts are on display in the shopping window but the shop owner won’t open the doors and let me spend my money…

There’s a side effect too. I don’t have any T&M device. No signal generator, no oscilloscope, no L/C meter. I only have a stupid digital multimeter. Actually my current meter is pretty smart since it’s new. Two weeks ago I had to solder a small interface for someone (nothing radio related) and it turned out my El Cheapo meter was SK. I tried changing batteries (always go for the obvious first), checked some buttons and switches and resoldered some suspicious joints on the PCB but it’s broken. Reduced to junk. So I ordered a new one, a semi-professional model that came with a current clamp. But it doesn’t measure coils and capacity not small enough for our HF purposes.

5 replies on “Attempted homebrewing leads to frustration”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to build a project only to be stopped by the lack of 1 or 2 key, non-substitutable parts. This has been a constant for me over the years whether the project is a recent article in a magazine or something “retro” from an old ARRL Handbook…there’s always a showstopper. Thus the large number of kits I’ve built over the years.

True, I’m locked in to what the kit is rather than having the freedom to build what I want but having someone else to source & gather the parts removes tedious frustration and has allowed me to have some nice rigs I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Yep, a lot of frustration. I can feel with you 🙄 . So many times I was shure I didn’t make any fault and still the project not working. At the end throw it away. And then a year later I read that “they” had forgotten to draw a part in the diagram. At the moment I’m stumbling over a endfed antenna, it should be easy to make. But not for me I guess.
73, Bas

Sverre, I have seen some cheap and interesting parts from China on eBay, but a) what is the quality? and b) will I ever see the goods?
Two weeks ago I ordered one cheap part in China (<10 Euro), and I'm still hopefully waiting for the part to arrive.

Do you have recommendations of reliable (both in quality and in business) eBay sellers for parts?

I have bought from maybe as many as 10 different vendors. When you have a seller with more than 99% good reports on Ebay then there should be no problem. But delivery time may often be more than 2 weeks. But that’s OK for me since this is a hobby. Usually they don’t charge anything for postage. Only once have I had a package disappear, and then the seller agreed to resend it without cost. In that case I proposed to pay a little extra for insured shipping.

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