On the qrp-l.org mailing list, someone asked about signal generator/function generator kits. Ken, N9VV, came up with the following list:
- Sine, square, and triangle wave signal generator electronic kit MK105, $5.69
- Elenco FG-600K, $45
- Elenco FG-500, $41
- DEV-09002 Function Generator Kit, $35
As always, there was a lot of back and forth on the topic. One guy noted that none of these were really “good” function generators. My comment was that for such low prices, they might be fun to play with.
A third commented that by looking around at hamfests one could probably purchase something much better for just a little more. He’s right about that. A couple of years ago, I scored a 2 MHz B+K generator for about $120. It even does amplitude modulation.
Of course, another approach is to use your PC’s sound card as a signal generator. This works fine if all you need is audio signals. You could even get fancy and do modulation or other types of arbitrary waveforms. Two software packages that will allow you to do this are Marchand Function Generator Lite (free) and NCH Tone Generator ($20).
Finally, someone suggested using an iPod for audio test waveforms. Using a computer’s sound card, you can generate all kinds of test waveforms, record them on the iPod, then just select the tracks you want when you want them. That’s a neat idea. Someone should prerecord a bunch of commonly used waveforms and make them available on a website somewhere.