Group Build at the Mason Dixon Hamfest

Frank Gentges fgentges at
Mon Oct 25 14:23:57 CDT 2010

We took our gear up to Westminster MD to attend the Mason Dixon Hamfest 
yesterday, October 14.

We were set up to apply solder paste to the Charleston PC board with the 
stencil and then for builders to put down the parts under some 
magnifying glasses.  Once placed, we then put the PC Board into our 
converted toaster oven to reflow the solder using the recommended 
temperature curve.

One person noted that he worked where they reflow soldered at the place 
of work and our reflow looked nicer than their company was getting.

Two builders build boards and were able to get their boards reflow 
soldered.  We could have used a couple more builders but we learned a 
lot on how to bring the lab stuff needed to a remote site and build 
surface mount boards right there during the hamfest.  We think this may 
have been a first being similar to the Maker Faire type event being run 
on the West Coast.

I think doing this kind of thing may be a nice addition to hamfests and 
be a reason for more hams to come out to hamfests and participate in the 
making of small kits and things on site.  We should think of other 
things we could also build at the same time since we have much of the 
key gear needed to deal with the surface mount components.  Once we have 
introduced the builder to our equipment and the techniques, we hope they 
will feel more comfortable with taking on projects with surface mount 
parts on their own.

While we only had two builders, we got to talk to a lot of people and 
show how we were doing the work so our thoughts and ideas were spread to 
a much larger group.

In addition to assembling the boards, we had the Quisk HF radio software 
up and running as a demonstration that also caught peoples attention.  
We are now getting a version of Ubuntu that can be run that includes the 
files for Quisk and the Charleston receiver.  We should be able to 
distribute DVD disks that will bring up Charleston/Quisk/Ubuntu on a 
computer either as a live load or as a hard drive install.  AMRAD member 
Rob Bowers has been working on this and a big tip of the AMRAD hat to 
Rob.   Stay tuned.

Frank K0BRA

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