Building the Breadboard Radio “Splinter” – Part III

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Tonight I tested the receiver of the Splinter, attached an antenna, performed the final alignment adjustments and attached the knobs and “straight key.”

While I had a functional rig late last night, I had no way to thoroughly test and align it without an antenna. My first order of business this afternoon was simply to determine if the rig could receive other stations. I needed to get a signal into the antenna port, which on the Splinter is an RCA jack.

I have a handful of RCA audio-video cables that we don’t use anymore, so I grabbed a video cable and cut the cable about 10 inches from the male end connector. I stripped back the covering and discovered separating the shield from the center conductor was a snap. For tonight’s test, I simply taped the separated wires to the center conductor and shield of my dipole’s PL connector. As soon as the wires touched, I heard no less than three CW stations on frequency. A closer listen revealed a shortwave station somewhere down in the mix also.

I tuned to a weak CW station and adjusted the IF up and down for maximum signal strength. Next, I switched the rig to transmit mode and turned on my Yaesu 847 so I could monitor the output while tapping out a CQ call. My signal was perhaps 2 khz down from 7.030 where it needed to be, so I adjusted the VXO capacitor in increments until the Splinter’s output was as close to the pitch of the sidetone of the 847 as possible while on 7.030.

By now I felt like the radio was calibrated about as good as my amateur skills would allow. Time to prepare the base and go buy some paint.

I was thinking about staining the wood and going for a Steampunk look, but my wife is a fan of Dr. Who and suggested “TARDIS Blue” instead. Fine by me, as blue was my second choice — it matches my car, and the displays of my Yaesu radios, hehe.

After a good sanding, the first coat of paint went on the base late this evening:

The Splinter base, as close to "TARDIS Blue" as I could get it.

The Splinter base, as close to “TARDIS Blue” as I could get it.

Once that paint dries, I intend to sand it again and give it another light coat. In the meantime, I took some photos of the rig from all angles.

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