Book Review – Learning the Art of Electronics: A Hands-On Lab Course 1st Edition

Learning the Art of Electronics: A Hands-On Lab Course 1st Edition

Paperback: 1150 pagesart-of-electronics-lab
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0521177235
ISBN-13: 978-0521177238
Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.6 x 10 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds

If you are an electronics hobbyist or student you are likely to already be familiar with the textbook The Art of Electronics. The Art of Electronics is the current academic standard in teaching the principals of electronics at a college level. Last year they added this hands-on lab course. What I found most useful is that the lab book can actually stand on it’s own. You do not have to have or have-read the textbook.

This lab course book seems to have been written with self-study in mind. In fact, the lab course even explains basic principals. Through the book you will have many hands-on labs with full parts lists. Not only does the book cover principals, but it includes techniques and troubleshooting. You learn how to do diagnostics with oscilloscopes, multi-meters, and other tools.

I’d say this book is a must have for beginners/students and will easily be useful and fun for up to intermediate hobbyists. Advanced and Expert hobbyists may want this book for teaching or simply as a review reference.

Software: CadSoft EAGLE

I’ve used Microsoft Visio for many years to create flow charts, diagrams, maps, etc and started to use it to design circuits. I quickly discovered that Visio has it’s limitations. Off I went to find an application that I could use to design my circuits and circuit boards. Everything I found was very expensive, considering I don’t like to pay for any software these days, or if it was free it didn’t have the functionality that I liked.

Enter CadSoft EAGLE. Continue reading

Review: Arrow II Satellite Antenna

Well this is Christmas in April. My Arrow II LEO antenna came in yesterday! Woot! I’ve been budgeting for a while to outfit my shack. This antenna was at the top of my list.

This is a product of Arrow Antennas. They have a solid reputation.

Arrow II LEO Antenna

There are many, many YouTube videos out there about this antenna so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about it’s construction other than saying, it is well built.

I do have a few suggestions is you choose to purchase this antenna:

1. You will need a carrying case for it. Arrow does sell one on their website, but I wanted something more sturdy than what nylon/canvas could provide. So I opted to buy an inexpensive “Telescopic Art Tube” from Office Depot. It’s ridged, plastic, and has a carrying strap.

2. It too me a few minutes to figure out the correct positioning of the UHF elements; one is only about a 1/4 inch shorter than the next. Anyway, once the antenna was assembled I took a Sharpie and numbered each element pass-through hole: 1-7 for UHF and 8-10 for VHF. Then I labeled each end of the element with the number corresponding to its position.

3. The last thing I did was apply a small bit of Loctite to one side of the mounting threads. Let me explain. Each element comes in 3 parts: The two equal length ends of the element, in purple with the red tips; and one thread stud. The threaded stud passes through the boom. Each element half screws onto the stud. Now, when I say “a small bit” I mean, a small bit; a light drop will do it. The idea is just to hold the stud in place so it doesn’t get lost while disassembled. You don’t want to add too much, it could swell and actually damage the inside of your element.

Just as every review that you’ve read about this antenna, it works well. I connected it to my Baofeng BF-F9V2+ And went hunting for AO-85; which was a total failure since it was only 10 degrees elevation and I’m in a highly urban area. However, SO-50 passed this morning at 89 degrees and the Arrow worked like a champ. Very, very low noise. I made 3 contacts.

Next on the agenda for this antenna is to rig a mount for a camera tripod. Adding this one to my future project list. I want to be able to attach an HT to the same mount along with an android device running ISS Detector.

Review: BL-5L Extended 3800mAh 7.4V Li ion Battery



First off, the purpose of my purchase was so that I would have some extra battery power for my new BF-F9V2+ for LEO field operations. I’m planning on using high power which is 8W.

I picked this battery up on Amazon for about $15.00.

The battery fits my Baofeng UV-5R and BF-F9V2+.

On the BF it doesn’t quite lock in place. I had to stand it up and apply some light pressure to the top of the radio to get a secure click. This is the only reason I have not given it 5 stars.

The build quality is solid and cosmetically matches up great with both the UV-5R and BF-F9V2+.

I like being able to plug a car charger into it. Although I wouldn’t recommend trying to run it while charging. I tried and the battery pack heated up a bit. Fortunately I was just testing so didn’t leave it sitting for a long time. While charging I’ll just use my spare, stock battery pack.

In closing, a word of caution. My first purchase was an OEM version of this battery pack under the Tera name brand. I am not totally convinced that they are made in the same factory. I had a number of problems with the Tera. First, I left it to charge for two full days and the light was still red on the charger. I was using the stock UV-5R charger. When I tried plugging in the car charger, the battery pack immediately started getting hot. Lastly, it did not fit the BF-F9V2+. The BF-F9V2+ and UV-5R accessories are supposed to be interchangeable. There are actually YouTube videos on how to modify the case to make it fit. It is totally within the realm of possibility that I just got a bad production run battery. However, based on my current experience, I would stay away from the Tera labeled battery pack. Stick with the Baofeng.

73, KG5AXF, Anthony

Review: The Easy Digi

Well, this is more of a preview than a review. Along with a couple of Raspberry Pi’s I ordered an assembled Easy Digi. The Easy Digi is an external sound card board. The one that I ordered is coming fully assembled. I want to see a working one before I experiment with the actual kit. You can find the kit on eBay for under $10.00 and fully assembled, tested, and with cables, for under $40.00. This is a huge price difference, $80.00 is the next cheapest one, from other units. Continue reading

Tech Talk – Coax Wrap – Self Adhering



I was strolling threw the HRO online store when I came across an ad for coax wrap and thought I’d share some information with you.

I swear by this stuff. As a fiber and cabling technician with 20+ years experience in the field I can attest to you that self adhering wrap is the way to go for water proof sealing of connectors. Continue reading