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BTN page 1
Yep, that's me, HAMMING it up! ;)

This page is about...
Thinking OUTSIDE the box!


BTN Thing

BTN Thing 2
These images are effective optical illusions, and are also neat examples of "On-Paper BTN".

I am an...

Alfred E. Neuman's School of Soldering

DROPOUT, and proud of it!!! ;)

When I saw this picture, I instantly loved it!!!
This is BTN at its WORST! LOL!!!
Hey, do me a favor... DO NOT try THIS at home, OK? ;)

Visitors to THIS PAGE since 5/27/06 :)
Page last updated: 5/19/2013

WHAT is "BTN"???

The ORIGINAL 'BTN Membership card'

I'm glad you asked! :) The initials, BTN, stand for Bent Technology Network. It's not REALLY a "NETWORK" like ABC or CBS, no, it's an informal name given to the use of unusual means to accomplish something, especially using technology. It can also be used to describe utterly impossible or ridiculous things, too... but the BEST aspect of using BENT TECHNOLOGY is to accomplish a REAL task! Taking old junk and cobbling it together in ways the original designers NEVER envisioned... making it do something it was NEVER intended to do... that is what makes BTN so special to me! On this page, I will share some of my most nutty BTN inventions! Most of this relates directly to Ham Radio, of course... that's why it's here on this site! :)

There are practical uses for BTN in almost every aspect of life. For example, using a butter knife as a screwdriver. That's a pretty common and "everyday" application of a form of BTN... but it's not really TRUE BTN! A better example is an old car I once drove... the starter solenoid sometimes didn't want to work, so I would start that car with a quarter! I'd use it to short the solenoid terminal to the 12v power terminal, and that baby would start right up!!! BTN to the rescue!!! the looks on my friends faces when I did it was what made it so much fun!!! They were INCREDULOUS that I could LITERALLY start that car with a quarter!!! <:D Ya see... there's HUMOR in BTN, too!!!

The image, above, is a postcard that was made for me by my friend Randy, KA1UNW back in 1992. (He is now SK - 5/12/2013. R.I.P, Randy.) In fact, he made it before I had my license, that is why my callsign is not on it! :) Randy was the one who "invented" the name BTN. I'd been doing BTN stuff for years, and so had Randy. Although I don't know when he actually invented that name, as soon as he told me, I loved it! :) I told him that I'd been doing stuff like this for many years, and thus he bestowed upon me that postcard! I treasure it to this day! :) (He eventually created a 21'st century version, but it just didn't have the "charm" of this hand-drawn, one-of-a-kind card... so, I will continue to proudly display this one, and keep it here on the site!)

The "SFN" endorsement is the "Solder Flinger's Net" which simply means that a person is proficient in the fine art of soldering. :)

I wanted to create this special page, just to highlight some of my really unusual and interesting exploits into the wonderful world of BENT TECHNOLOGY! :) It is my hope that you will find not only practical ideas for things you can do, but also to appreciate the HUMOR of the whole thing! This card can now, also, serve as a fitful online memorial to his very inventive, imaginitve mind. RIP KA1UNW SK 5/12/13

Here is an example of what I call BEAUTIFUL BTN!

HOMEBREW Ribbon Microphone! (Version 1.0)
HOMEBREW Ribbon micorphone

What makes this one "Beautiful BTN"? I built this whole thing, totally FROM SCRATCH, in just ONE HOUR! I then put it on the air, (3879Khz AM on 11/24/06 around 11:45am EST) and had a QSO with it! It sounded tinny- but it WORKED!

For MORE INFO, please click here: RIBBON MIC

If you liked THIS, you'll definitely LOVE THIS: INSANE BTN #1!


Now, try to imagine, for example, the faces on the designers of a computer CD ROM drive and Sound Card, when they learn that those two very different devices became the MODULATOR stage in a low-power TUBE transmitter which is based on 1950's technology! :) Yes, *THAT* is BTN... and it is a TRUE STORY!!! Read on!

Back in 1992, Randy and I built a QRP CW transmitter (for 80 meters) out of parts salvaged from a discarded B&W TV set. (Yes, MORE BTN!!) The case came from a broken TV test fixture. (See pix) (Use browser BACK button for quick return here.) Eventually, I lost interest in CW and put that transmitter into storage. Well, in 2001 (when I upgraded to Extra) I decided to modify that old transmitter into an AM rig, and move it up to the AM subband of 75 meters. (3870 - 3890 Khz, AKA: The "AM Window". It worked well enough, but QRP on AM isn't very effective.)

In this picture, you can see the seperate components... it's just alligator-clipped & tack-soldered together. The scope is showing approx. 50% sinewave modulation. Unfortunately, this setup started to distort quite a bit beyond 50%. (While it sounded 'OK' on voice, the sinewave test proved it wasn't practical.) The whole point was just the fact that I actually DID THIS with parts from a lightning-fried computer, a discarded B&W TV, and a broken TV test rig! :) With BTN, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, if you put your mind to it!!! :) Just "Think outside the box" a little, be safe, and HAVE FUN!


BTN AM radio

Here's an AM radio that I put together from the remnants of an uncompleted kit that a friend got from another friend's school (they were discarding a pile of stuff from their Electronics class.) The board was missing many components, but he gave me a whole pile of parts (leftovers from other kits) and let me borrow his completed (working) unit to use as an assembly guide. With that, I was able to finish this board. I then proceeded to BTN it! :) I added circuitry to drive the signal meter, and provide a BATT indication when the little black button (far upper right) is pressed. Below and to it's left is the power/volume control. To it's left is the power LED, which also serves as a voltage-drop. This radio has a 12v NiCd rechargeable pack inside, but the board is designed for 9v... so, I added a few diodes in series with the LED to drop 3v, then put a 1000 uf cap across it. I added some tissue paper inside the abinet to act as an audio damper, and the sound is quite good! With the 3x5" speaker, this puppy CRANKS! It works perfectly! That's successful BTN!


This is another example what I call "Beautiful BTN"! What is it? It's the audio portion of a fried modem! The red & black wires are +12v & gnd. The yellow/grey twisted pair at the right is the audio input. The jack on the left is a standard 1/8" mini audio jack. The brown unit next to it is the tiny "squeaker speaker" which works well enough to use this unit as a signal tracer. (Plugging-in a jack for an external speaker cuts-off the "squeaker".) Underneath that tiny electrolytic cap in the lower-right, is a 1K "chip" resistor and a micro-sized LM386! The chip resistor is in series with the cap, across pins 1-8, to give the unit more gain. Trust me, working on eentsy stuff like this is NOT EASY when you don't have the special tools & a powerful magnifier! I managed it with a pair of tinsnips (to cut the board down to size) a small pair of needle-nose, and a very pointy soldering iron! ;)

So, this is just another example of SUCCESSFUL BTN! A dead modem becomes a very useful, TINY audio amp! I call this one "Beautiful" because it is TINY! (As evidenced by the quarter!) This whole audio amp could be hidden inside a cigar tube! (You'd probably have to replace that large electrolytic to make it fit, tho.)

1-tube AM radio
Here's some cool BTN, done "just for the sake of it"...

WHAT IS IT??? It's a wall-wart-powered one-tube AM radio! It is built around a 15BD11 tube, which was slavaged from an old TV set, who-knows-how-many-years-ago! It's got two triodes and a pentode in one envelope, so it gives me three stages to work with! The first triode is the regenerative RF stage, the second is an audio amp, and the pentode is the audio output stage. It's really a pretty basic regenerative radio, but it qualifies for BTN status because of how it's been implemented. :) Using a 15VAC "wall wart" feeding a 12VCT transformer in "reverse" gives me a 140v B+ and 15v for the filament. a 6v transformer is the audio output. More information about this radio can be found by clicking HERE.

So... instead of throwing something away, see if you can BTN it into something USEFUL! :)
If not, sell it at a HAMfest to a nutcase like me who WILL! ;)

Here is how you can move a TRC458 CB to 10M!



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