Clifton Laboratories 7236 Clifton Road  Clifton VA 20124 tel: (703) 830 0368 fax: (703) 830 0711



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Software Updates
Softrock Lite 6.2
Adventures in Electronics and Radio
Elecraft K2 and K3 Transceivers



September 2010


21 September 2010

I've updated the Z10046A High Gain Amplifier manual to reflect a few inconsistencies. I've also added top and bottom photos of an assembled Z10046A to the manual.


15 September 2010

I've added a typical butterfly plot to my page on non-linear capacitance.


14 September 2010

I've revised the Z1203A DC coupler printed circuit board to make it easier to assemble and also to add one new feature--a jumper enabled pull up resistor.

All new Z1203As will ship with the rev 02 PCB. I've revised the Z1203A Assembly manual to reflect the new board.

Assembling the  original design required installing several components on the back of connectors. Although this approach is arguably the best from a performance prospective, it's a real chore given the available space and the enclosure design. The new Rev 02 printed circuit board moves all those components onto the printed circuit board. A by-product of the change is that most of the connector cables can now be assembled as sub-modules.

If you are a Z1203A owner with the Rev 01 PCB and have not saved a copy of the manual, I will provide a copy via E-mail upon request.


11 September 2010

I've mentioned collecting signal level statistics with an HP 3586B selective voltmeter and a simple EZGPIB computer control program. For example, and the sample program at

A couple days ago, Bob, W1ICW, sent an E-mail asking a few questions about my sample program as he wished to use it with an HP3586C selective voltmeter. I received a sample plot from Bob today, with his results, and he has consented to sharing the plot with my readers. Bob in in Vermont, so the signal levels are from a New England propagation prospective.

The plot looks as if Bob has post-processed the data with Excel and generated the plot from Excel.

On a more useful point, note how quickly 15 MHz opens and closes; the signal drops into the noise in the space of a few tens of minutes and just as quickly comes out of the noise. 5 MHz, in contrast, has a leisurely increase as propagation conditions improve, followed by a period of relatively stable signal level, with a faster close as daytime propagation conditions are established.


11 September 2010

Reading the Z10042A manual for what seems as if the 100th time, I found a few more inconsistencies, centering around the recommended idle current. I've cleaned up those problems and posted the revised manual.

I'm sure there is more work to be done with the Z10042A and Z10046A documentation, and I'll make corrections as I uncover errors.


10 September 2010

I've made small changes to the Z10042A manual and the notes on installing the Z10042A and Z10046A boards in the matching enclosure. The changes are to add photos of the enclosure with the new top label.

Photographing a black enclosure on a white background with a silver plastic label is taxing my photographic skills. The image below doesn't do it justice.



08 September 2010

A reader pointed out that I failed to update the revision numbers in the manual changes I posted yesterday.

I've changed the manual layout slightly to remove revision numbers, replacing them with the manual publication date. The publication date is automatically inserted by Microsoft Word and should reduce errors on my part.


07 September 2010

I've updated the Assembly and Operations manuals for three kits:

Click on the above links to view the new manuals.


06 September 2010

I've prepared notes on how the Z10042A and Z10046A amplifiers may be installed in the Universal Box A custom enclosure. Click here to read the Notes or you may jump to my Documents page and follow the link  there.


05 September 2010

I've received the custom enclosures designed for the Z10042A Norton Amplifier and the Z10046A high gain amplifier.

The enclosures are available immediately for ordering with a Z10042A or Z10046A amplifier, either assembled or as a kit. Details are on the associated amplifier pages.

The enclosure is an aluminum box, powder coated, with punched holes for an input and output BNC, a 1/4 inch hole for a power-on LED (or a toggle switch) and a 5.5/2.1 mm coaxial power connector. Connections and functionality is indicated by a label unique to each amplifier. (The photo below shows a prototype label. The professionally printed labels are on plastic stock with a protective lamination.)

Z10046A high gain amplifier in the enclosure.

Z10042A Norton Amplifier in the enclosure. (The amplifier in the photograph is missing a few parts as it is used for development work.)
05 September 2010

As usual, the prior month's updates are moved to an archive page, reachable by clicking here or from the navigation box at the top of this page.