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Author Topic: "Homebrew" definition?  (Read 2306 times)
VE3ENG
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« on: April 27, 2007, 10:00:54 AM »

What's consider as "homebrew"? If i were to buy a radio kit with all the parts and chassis included is that considered as homebrew? Or do you have to make the radio from scratch including etching the PC board? Just curious...

Thanks, James
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AB2MH
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2007, 11:55:51 AM »

When I got my electronics merit badge as a boy scout, one of the requirements was to build two circuits, one of which was a radio receiver.  They couldn't be built from kits.

Therefore, I'd consider a kit, a kit.

Homebrew means that you built something either from pre-published plans or of your own design, but you had to go get the parts yourself, unlike a kit.

Etching the PC board has nothing to do with it.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2007, 03:01:16 PM »

I define it as beer brewed from original raw ingredients, except for the yeast.

:-)
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ONAIR
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2007, 10:19:43 PM »

   The term is derived from the ham hillbilly moonshiners of the '20s who brewed their own booze!  They were the first to use radio to warn each other if the "Feds" were in the area.
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KG6OMK
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2007, 03:34:06 AM »

The term covers a wide range.  But I think the best definition is that "If a piece of gear is home brewed it is unique."  This would exclude the more professional and complete kits.  
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2007, 09:12:44 AM »

I had an acquaintance whose idea of "homebrew" was to bend and punch a chassis, turn knobs on a lathe, wind coils and transformers, etc.  Anything less to him was unacceptable.  

I take a less stringent approach.  I buy knobs but, do drill and punch prefabricated chassis and boxes.  I also like to find coils and transformers that are pre-wound.  

40+ years ago, there were radio/tv shops that actually had parts and tubes in stock.  Now, it is fill-in the form on the internet and hope that something eventually shows up on your front step.

Dennis KG4RUL
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N0IU
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2007, 11:02:15 PM »

This is like the old joke about the engineer and the accountant that were applying for a job. The interviewer asks the engineer, "What is 2 + 2?" He answers, "4". He then asks the accountant, "What is 2 + 2?". He answers, "What do you want it to be?"

Scott N0IU
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WN2RUJ
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2007, 06:23:23 PM »

Homebrew? Making something out of nothing!
I don't consider a kit homebrew but building a kit is a highly  respectable practice. Doing anything for yourself today is great. To some, at least where I live doing things for yourself makes a person a freak. The first thing people ask me when I do anything for myself is."did you take a course". No I didn't take a course. I tried and failed and tried again to the point where I had the confidence to try anything. Real Hams are can-do people.
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KG6OMK
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2007, 04:36:45 PM »

The FAA has a well defined definition of "home built" and they apply it to licensing.  the concept culd be applied to radio

First they define "common parts" as those that are not specific to any one kind of airplane.  These would be wheels, engines, sheet metal, steel tubes, plywood, wire, bearings and so on.

Parts specific to the airplane are things like wing spars, ribs, bulkheads or pre-welded landing gear struts that have been engineered for the specific plane.

They define "home built" as having at least 51% of the work performed using "common" parts.

There is a large an booming airplane kit industry and the FAA need a way to stop kit suppliers from making "kits" consisting of and airplane and one small bolt that the user instals the complete the kit.

It would work for radio if we defined the "work" of wiring the circuit.  Obviously a pre-made PCB is close to 100% of the wiring and so almost all ham radio kits would fail the 51 percent rule.
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AC0CW
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2007, 10:23:17 AM »

How about conversions?  Taking a piece of equipment and converting it for the Amateur service?  Hams have a long and illustrious history of this.

"Making stuff" is what attracted me to Ham Radio in the first place.  I've always held the vague notion that homebrew is not an "it is or it ain't" situation.  I've kinda figured that it's anything where the sum of the pieces does not equal whatever those pieces originally were.  So, if you replace one part out of 100 and change something into something else, then it's 1% homebrew.

Or so I figure.

7 3,
AC0CW
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NA0AA
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2007, 10:34:51 PM »

I suppose it depends on your capabilities.  I cannot possibly build a radio from scratch, although I could probably cob up a simple rig from basic instructions and given a parts list and diagram.

But I do build antennas and support parts, and I enjoy that part of the learning.  Maybe I'll do more.

I admire anyone who puts together an Elcraft kit and has it work, that takes skill to make it work well.

To use the airplane analogy is a good one.  Used to be you built a plane by ordering plans, wood and fabric and you cut the entire thing out, etc.  Like the recent QST article about the guy who built a full-function HF tranciever - over 8 years time.  I want a bit faster gratification, thanks!.

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