Monitoring 147.270/R and 145.670/S(FM/DV) and 442.750/DV in Toledo, Ohio

Electronics Theory

These pages, and the related menus to the left deal with electronics theory.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), this hobby is also going the way of solid state electronics.  Remember that tape deck or record player you had to fix?  Simple just replace a moving part and your back in business.  Did that Apple iPod stop playing?  Too bad, you'll probably just have to pony up the cash as you'll be unable to fix it - even if you can find parts for it.  It's just too hard and time consuming to diagnose.

Same goes for radios.  If a tube or capacitor went bad on a board, you'd just take it out or de-solder it, put a new one on and go on with life.  Good luck trying that on some of the newer radios.  Most of the control is embedded in some proprietary code on a micro-controller soldered on a circuit board...and you're at the mercy of the radio manufacturer for firmware updates, etc.  Surface mount technology is a pain to work on - it's really just more practical now-a-days to replace the entire device….which is a shame - for a whole host of reasons I won’t get into.

The days of hacking (and cracking) are probably numbered.  Don't like the way a manufacturer makes equipment?  Build your own.  These guides might not help you do it, but they'll give you some background to get started.  Beware of your own government also.  I'm not going to get on my political soapbox here, but attempting to reverse engineer or crack DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) technology and publish the results will get you in some hot water with the United States Federal Government.  Do so at your own risk.  Just because you bought it - doesn't mean you own it.  I know, sounds strange, but that's the way our society is moving…mostly due to plain old ignorance and apathy by your fellow citizens.

Anyway, I'm a software developer by training.  Sure, I've take some hardware courses and electronics theory.  But I'm not going to sit around and build some crazy CMOS Class AB Tri-State Op Amp.  I've got stuff to do.  You can't make or sell hardware for any real money in any large quantity.  It's a commodity now-a-days, but it's nice to know how things work and build something if you had to.  Software Development and Design hasn't been replaced by machinery that can mass produce it (yet) so you'll always need people to architect and develop man's ideas for now.  That's really why I chose the software industry to focus on, instead of the hardware side of things.  However, I find hardware development a little more fun - I get to get my hands dirty!

REMEMBER - CURRENT KILLS!  It's not the volts that'll kill you (car battery versus lightning, etc), it's the AMPS!  BE CAREFUL.  If you don't know what you're doing and/or aren't confident enough to do it, then don't!  Leave it to a qualified professional!  YOU'VE BEEN WARNED (and if you die because you did something stupid - you hold only yourself responsible - say "Hi" to the big ham operator in the sky for me)!

4/1/2012 - After some further consideration, I was really going to start a course from the ground up and "teach" some of this stuff on my site, but there's just so many "stupid" people out there.  I can't tell you how many requests I get from a YouTube video I posted that shows exactly how to do something, or an email from somebody asking basic common sense stuff.  It's a little scary.  So I'm not going to attempt to re-create content already online.  You can search for it yourself.  It's unfortunately a litigious (look it up) world out there - and I'm not sure I appreciate where our society is headed.  Some moron would probably sue me because they stuck a 9-volt battery to their tongue and died!

To the right are zipped-up PDF's chock full of information provided courtesy of the United States government (my tax dollars paid for it), so you might as well use it and learn from it.

73 - Zack