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Life Gets In The Way
The kind of post I hate writing
Unfortunately, today’s post is another brief “proof of life” entry, but I do have something valuable for you below. Between getting knocked out of commission for a few days with an unexpected health issue, and then having to deal with a red-alert dropped onto me at the last minute regarding our pending house delivery, I have not had much time for Project Yamhill. The house thing still is not quite resolved yet, so I may or may not be pulled off of work for a bit more while I tend to this very pressing matter.
My last post about the problems of running an open source hardware business seemed to be received favorably, for which I give thanks. There were some very thoughtful comments on that post as well, which is one thing I’m happy to see, as I want to foster such discussions on this stack. The post was featured in the last issue of Zero Retries, which really helped with exposure! I’m very close to having 100 subscribers now, and quite a few of those came from Zero Retries readers. Thank you!
A Valuable Resource
Wes Hayward, W7ZOI has been one of the top sources of RF design education in our hobby for a long time now. His amateur radio books, especially the now-out-of-print Experimental Methods in RF Design, have been in the top-tier of resources for ham homebuilders. His books have the rigor that one would expect from lifelong engineer with a very successful career, but also are approachable enough for the ham without a deep educational background in mathematics and physics. If I can sum up the philosophy that I take from his work, it’s that in order to be a successful homebuilder, you have to actually build and then measure what you build. There’s no substitute for actual characterization. Don’t rely on lore. This is the philosophy that I will live by here on this stack.
Wes has also had his own website for a very long time as well, and he would often post supplemental papers related to RF design on it. It has been a treasure trove of valuable analysis and commentary on RF, available for free. Unfortunately, some of the papers would come and go, for reasons not entirely sure to me but perhaps may be due to abuse. I hadn’t looked as W7ZOI’s site in a few years and just remembered to check it again. It looks like Wes has recently restored a lot of the old papers to his website, which is such a wonderful thing. I would say that if you have any interest in learning more about RF design, please peruse Wes’s site and personally download any papers that may be of interest to you. Please do not hotlink them from other places, offer them from your own website without permission, or use scripts to mass download them. Please do responsibly use these valuable archives, as there aren’t many people with a pedigree as distinguished as Wes’s that is willing to give us such hard-earned knowledge for free.
Until Next Time
Building, measurement, and iteration are definitely going to be the precepts that this project will thrive on. There’s no reason now why most homebuilders can’t make nearly all RF measurements that used to be only available to those with access to a very expensive lab. SDR is great, but classic RF design will also never completely go out of fashion. Let’s make the most of this opportunity to launch a new generation of RF experimenters.
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