Author Archive

Do You Have a Ham Radio ‘Elevator Pitch’?

ham-radio-elevator-pitchEveryone has an “Elevator Pitch” nowadays. The idea is to have something prepared to deliver in a minute or so (during an elevator ride) to a listener or reader.

Ham Radio can use elevator pitches, too, and you don’t even need an elevator!

One possibility is to use social networks or newsletters to do ham radio outreach. Your piece will be aimed at non-hams, and should catch their interest and tell them how to take action.

For example, I edit “Catalyst,” the monthly newsletter of our Oregon church. One of the perks of the job is a monthly column, “Cataclysm,” where I can write pretty much anything I like. In my experience, most community newsletters are perpetually hungry for material. If you can put together a few sentences with both subjects and verbs, you can deliver an effective elevator pitch for ham radio in a page or so. Pictures, even from a cell phone camera, are a plus in most publications.

The “Cataclysm” I wrote today is not meant to tell readers everything they need to know about ham radio or even about “Summits on the Air,” or SOTA. The aim is to give people a quick idea of what SOTA and ham radio are about, to suggest that they take action to find out more, and to tell them how to do that.

That’s not very much, but it’s a lot for one page. cataclysm

An alternative to the LM-386

TDA2822

As a (now-retired) broadcast engineer, I grew to hate the LM-386.  It always seemed to me to be difficult to control and to be prone to oscillation.

My own solution was to switch to another chip for audio amps.  My own choice was the TDA2822.  It’s inexpensive and easily available from Mouser, Digikey and others.  It’s a dual amp, which is handy for stereo, but I use it in bridge mode even when I design mono amps.  My choice is the SOIC-8 package, which is large enough to be easy to use, but also saves pc board space over the DIP-8 that’s usually used on LM-386 chips.

My general tips are to carefully bypass the power supply for whatever chip you use.  I’ve often used 4.7 ohms or so in the supply line, and tried to bypass it close to the chip with an electrolytic, a .1 uF and a 20-100 pf chip capacitor.

But the MOST important tip for taming IC audio amps is to connect a small capacitor (I’ve usually used 33 pf chip caps) between the inverting and non-inverting inputs.  It tamed lots of otherwise-troublesome amps for me.


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  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor