Favourites

Some links to some of my favourite makers, sites, blogs and suppliers.

Bricks-and-mortar shops

Rockby Electronics in Clayton, Melbourne is a clearing house of electronic parts and components, usually at great prices. Impossible to visit and not find a bargain. The clearing stock area (only open on Saturday mornings) is a treasure trove of old stock from the electronics industry, it takes me back to the electronics radio stores of my childhood.

Altronics, general electronics supplies, well-stocked stores, firmly catering to electronics businesses and hobbyists.

Jaycar, commercial end electronics retailer, carries a good range of general components, lots of stores so they are never too far away.

Online suppliers

Minikits, Australia’s premier supplier of general and specialty HF, VHF/UHF and microwave kits and parts. My first stop for most semiconductors, toroids and other RF parts. Mark’s designs and technical notes are of high quality and the service is first rate.

PK Loop Antennas — VK3KHZ’s shop is the first stop if you want a loop antenna, but even better, Paul brings down to VK certain unobtainiums such as silver mica caps and crystals for homebrewers on 1825, 7125 and 7146kHz.

Kits and Parts — A site that fully documents its kits for every imaginable homebrew radio module from balanced modulators to bandpass filters. I have scratch-built a number of BPFs from the information on this site (notably for kits which are now no longer offered).

Tayda — Hobbyist supplier in Bangkok, Thailand with a useful catalogue and quick service.

Dans Small Parts — Just when you thought that part was extinct, Dan offers them in a bag of 20.

RF Parts — Great range of hard-to-get parts, including RF transistors, silva mica capacitors and compression trimmers.

American Morse — Beautifully made paddles and keys that will last a lifetime. One day…

OzQrp — Australian supplier of DSB and SSB rig kits; my primary 40m SOTA transceivers are built directly or derived from these designs.

Core Electronics — Australian supplier of everything you’ll ever need for that Arduino/digital VFO or controller project.

QRP Me — Everything you need for manhattan construction, and a pantry-full of things fitted into tuna cans.

Toroids.info — The definitive site for toroids including a turns-length calculator for every imaginable donut.

Communication Concepts — QRP connoisseurs look away. Solid state linear amplifier kit and part specialists. You have to invest a few dB to gain a few dB.

Surplus Sales of Nebraska — Suppliers of unobtainiums such as brand new air variables, transformers, and the kinds of gems that might have been buried in the boxes under the tables at a 1979 ham-fest.

QRPLabs — Hans Summers puts so much research, thought and care into his kit offerings, and still manages to sell them at great prices.

Nut and Bolt (Australia) — Have you ever tried to buy bolts (screws) nuts and washers smaller than M3? It’s oddly difficult. Closest thing is the model shops which sell bubble packs of four M2.5 12mm bolts for ridiculous prices to R/C hobbyists — like $1.50 a piece! Come on! Turns out that these parts are universally hard to find AND expensive. Hobbyking is the best source but I found a lot of their stock was in HongKong. For domestic (quick) supply, Nuts and Bolt Australia is an online store with good range that try delivers in standard AusPost timeframes.

Pages of Cobram — a boutique bookseller with an eclectic range, including a catalogue of radio books, situated in the bucolic township of Cobram, a few hours drive north west of Melbourne. ARRL, RSGB and some unusual titles. Support a local, Bezos is rich enough.

Hams and homebrewers par excellence

VK3XU — Before e-commerce, Drew Diamond’s four legendary books published in the 1980s and ’90s gave VKs and ZLs repeatable and buildable designs without unobtainable parts such as 2N3553s, 40673s, toroids and Neosid pre-made coils. Drew’s books and designs are legendary these days, but if you click on the link you will see that he eschews most things digital.

VK3YE — Peter Parker’s comprehensive Youtube channel, books and resources, Peter is the indefatigable figurehead of the Melbourne QRP scene.

AA7EE — Dave’s perfect manhattan-style homebrew rigs and the insightful and reflective way he writes about them take radio crafting to a new level.

N6QW — Pete Juliano from Soldersmoke turns out more excellent homebrew SSB rigs in a month than most do in a lifetime.

W6JL — Don is well known for combining CW and homebrew over many decades. His 50 watt linear has been widely built and his homebrew CW rigs exhibit attention to performance reminiscent of W7ZOI and the EMRFD crowd.

<a href=”https://nt7s.com/”NT7S&#8211; Unlike my approach to building things (which can be best described as ‘solder it up and see if it smokes’), Jason takes an engineer’s approach, breadboarding circuits (like a single BF998 MOSFET amp stage) and measuring and adjusting to achieve utmost performance. Anyone who buys a Rigol spectrum analyser ahead of a commercial amateur transceiver gets my attention. His early evaluation, promotion and library development for the si5351 made a significant contribution to popularising this IC.

AD5GH — Rod’s Express Receiver is a superbly designed and built 80 to 10 meter communications receiver (non-SDR) in which each module is optimised, but achievable. If Wes Hayward updated his Progressive Receiver (1981) this is what it would look like.

Podcasts

Soldersmoke — Bill Meara N2CQR and Pete Juliano N6QW, the voices of homebrew culture, are solely responsible for putting the soul back into homebrewing.

ARRL The Doctor Is In — Steve WB8IMY interviews Dr Joel W1ZR for a slightly more cerebral but eminently listenable chat on various technical topics.

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