The Transistor Museum Dedicated to Preserving the History of Semiconductors

The Transistor Museum’s tagline is “Dedicated to Preserving the History of the Greatest Invention of the 20th Century,” and it does a pretty good job of it. On this website you’ll find articles on:

  • The First Germanium Hobbyist Transistors
  • Early Transistors at Motorola
  • The First Transistor in Space
  • Norman Krim, the Father of the CK722 Transistor
  • a whole lot more

Like all good museums, they also have a museum store. They sell a couple of books on the early semiconductors as well as some of those transistors themselves. They’re kind of pricey, though. A 2N60 or 2N609, for example, costs $20.

Who Said Teens Aren’t Into Ham Radio

Who says teenagers aren’t into ham radio? Check out TeenRadioJourney.Com. Written and produced by Paul, KC9QYB, this website contains both blog posts and podcasts for teenaged ham radio ops (as well as us OFs as well.)

The latest version, episode 14, talks about three aspects of Elmering, including:

  • promoting the hobby,
  • Elmering, and
  • study help.

There’s lots of other good stuff there, too.

Learn Digital Logic on the Web

One topic that a lot of people have some trouble with when taking the Extra Class exam is digital logic. I think one of the reasons for this is that while it is electronics, the logic element is different from the other types of technology we deal with in ham radio.

To help students learn the concepts of digital logic, the Department of Informatics at the University of Hamburg has developed the Hamburg Design System, or HADES for short. HADES is an object-oriented, all-Java, Beans- and Web-based, visual design and simulation environment.

With this system, you can play with digital logic without actually building any circuits or connecting up any test equipment. There are canned demonstrations, such as this digital clock, or you can build your own circuits with HADES’ graphical editor, library of component models, and the discrete-event-based simulation engines.


The C. Crane Company has for many years sold radios that they claim have superior AM band performance. They used to advertise a lot on the Coast to Coast AM radio show, touting how the radio was capable of pulling in the show, even if your local station didn’t carry it. They probably still do, for all I know.

There is, of course, a ham radio connection. Art Bell, the longtime host of the show, is W6OBB.

At any rate, C. Crane is now selling the CC-Radio2, which not only touts it’s AM-band performance, but also includes coverage of the 2m ham band. The website says,

The addition of the 2-Meter Ham band may make the CCRadio-2 a life saver during an emergency like hurricane Katrina. 2-Meter Ham operators are early on the scene and they donate their time while handling perhaps 90% of the emergency coordination efforts. The CCRadio-2 can act like a simple radio scanner and search the five memories for ham operator communications. The sensitivity (squelch) can be adjusted for best results.

The C. Crane website has a whole Web page devoted to the 2m band and ham radio in general.

C. Crane sells a whole bunch of stuff that might be of interest to ham radio operators. It’s a site worth checking out.

Wired Wiki Helps Hams-to-Be

There is a section of the Wired magazine website devoted to how-to topics. There you’ll find information on how to compile software, photograph the stars, and a bunch of other things, including how to become a radio amateur.

The interesting thing is that this site is actually a wiki, and your contributions are not only accepted, but also welcome. The Become an Ham Radio Operator wiki could use a little help. I just played around with it myself, but it could use more. Please feel free to hack on it a bit. I’ll be checking in myself from time to time and doing some editing and writing.

Three Random Links

Three random links from my pile of “links to post one of these days.”

  • HP Archive. This site is run by Glenn Robb, an Electrical Engineer and HP aficionado. It’s goal is to help others collect, preserve and enjoy vintage HP equipment and literature. By making hard-to-find documentation easily available to all, it is hoped that others will begin collecting HP, and help preserve the shrinking supply of vintage materials. This site will serve to organize a community of collectors, experts and gather volunteers to work together towards a common goal of preservation.
  • Simple CPO. Build this simple code practice oscillator (CPO) in an Altoids tin. The straight key is mounted on the lid.
  • Surface-Mount Kits. Nightfire Electronics offers a number of different kits and prototyping boards for surface mount circuits.

MAKE: Links

I recently took out an old Make: magazine from the local library. It had a lot of cool links. Here are some:

  • USBCell. These rechargeable, AA batteries plug into a USB port. A two-pack costs £11. Their website says that AAA, C, D, and 9-V batteries are in the pipeline.
  • Octopart. Type in a part number, and let Octopart find it for you. They now have a “parts list” feature that lets you build a parts list online or import a list from a .csv or .txt file.
  • All Electronics. Surplus house. Sells everything from cable clamps to wall warts. Some good deals.
    Weird Stuff. Another surplus house. Sells a lot of old computer gear (think Sun) and industrial equipment (valves, pumps, blowers).
  • Hobby Engineering. Tagline: A supply store for people who want to build robots, electronic gadgets, kinetic art or anything else that moves, beeps or flashes. Carries a variety of educational kits as well as microcontroller parts and electronic components.
  • FlyABird. Totally unrelated to ham radio. Sells machines called ornithopters that fly by flapping their wings. Very amusing.

Just Surfing

Here are some random things I’ve come across recently while surfing for other stuff:

  • The Freer Men of Ham Radio: How a Technical Hobby Provided Social and Spatial Distance. This looks like an amusing article. It appears in the October 2003 issue of the academic journal Technology and Culture. Here’s a quote:

    It would be shortsighted to ignore the personal cultural value of amateur radio. . . . Amateur radio gives to ordinary men, leading the circumscribed lives of ninety out of a hundred people, a release from humdrum existence and routine compulsions; it makes them freer men.

    I’m going to have to see if the University of Michigan’s library carries this journals so I can read it.

  • Sarah’s Transistor Radios. This site features photographs of more than 1,000 radios that she has in her collection.
  • EYB’s Kits. WD9EYB sells a variety of kits, including a Field Strength Indicator and a PICAXE microcontroller board.


I recently purchased an iPod Touch. One of the cool things I can do is to subscribe to podcasts. There are podcasts on any number of topics, including ham radio. Here are some of the podcasts I found for free in the iTunes store:

  • SolderSmoke
  • Practical Amateur Radio
  • Resonant Frequency
  • ICQ

And, for the CW-obsessed, theres is QOTD at 20 WPM and QOTD at 5 WPM.

There were some others, but I’m not listing them here because they haven’t had new episodes for quite a while.

To subscribe to these podcasts, I use the iTunes program that came with my Mac. If you use a PC, don’t worry, though. You can get iTunes for the PC now, too.

Two Net Links

Got these two links from the latest Electronics Development e-mail newsletter:

Tips & Tricks for Digital Logic Circuit Design
Digital logic circuits are widely used today, from simple circuits consisting of just a few logic gates to complicated microprocessor based systems. Get some hints and tips on designing and using digital logic circuits in this free tutorial! You’ll get guidance on decoupling, earthing, layout and unused inputs. Learn what the most common mistakes are and how you can avoid them.

Calculate Inductance for Toroids & Solenoids
Make your inductance calculations easy with these two calculators. They calculate the inductance of toroids and solenoids based on the values entered.