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A Discussion on dBs and RF Power Meters

This article discusses basic theory on the decibel unit and its role in electrical measurements of power, etc. It also describes the construction of an RF power meter which in the past has been difficult to use and expensive to own. With the breakthrough of new ICs in recent years, most of the former problems and expense have been eliminated. This is a simple and inexpensive unit to build, but has the accuracy, resolution, and dynamic range that was only obtainable in lab quality test equipment a decade or so ago. This kind of test equipment is almost mandatory for amateurs, radio frequency work, or test equipment calibration. Also, when built as described, it’s a very professional looking piece of gear that anyone would be proud to display on their test bench.

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Build the NixieStar Clock

The NixieStar clock is the second timepiece kit I’ve developed. My aim was to have a kit that’s reasonably easy to build with intermediate soldering skills (i.e., minimal SMD components). I also wanted a clock kit that once it was built, any spouse (including my wife!) would accept it on their wall — even with a power cord hanging from it.

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REVIEW: Dr. Duino’s Starter Kit for the Arduino Uno

In addition to making breadboarding easier, the new Dr. Duino Starter Kit can be a useful tool in learning Arduino hardware and software design. Getting into microcontroller development for the first time can be a daunting undertaking and anything that can simplify the process will be welcomed by many. Plus, there are many other possibilities for how this kit can be used.

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Turn Your Computer’s Sound Card into a Scope

The oscilloscope is my go-to measurement instrument in every electronics project I work on, helping me debug and fine-tune hardware and software projects. In this article, I’ll show how you can get started with a simple-to-use scope you probably already have. Best of all, it’s free! When you graduate from this simple scope, you can purchase a more powerful scope using the exact same user interface. I think the free scope control software, Waveforms, is the simplest to use, most feature-rich pro-level software of any of the available options. Using a sound card as the hardware interface with Waveforms puts a simple yet powerful scope in your hands for free.

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Build a 3D Printer Filament Scale

One thing you want to check before you start a long 3D print job is to verify you have enough filament on the spool to complete the print. You don’t want to come back to your printer at the end of a two-day run (as I have!) only to discover that the machine ran out of filament and the top part of the object is missing! This project describes a dedicated “spool scale” that provides a real time readout via an Arduino of just how much material you have left.

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Four-Position HF Antenna Switch with PC Control

Meet the SW-4U: A four-position ham radio antenna switch with PC control via a USB connection. The switch is controlled by an application program running on the PC that allows you to select any of four antennas, ground all for safety, and to power the switch on and off.

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Build a Headphone Amplifier — Times 3!

There are situations where a low output impedance to A headphones is required. This article discusses three different versions of headphone amps to fit your particular application: a stereo amp powered by the power line; a battery-operated mono amp for a crystal set; and a battery-operated amp for a ceramic cartridge.

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