RSGB 2021 Online Convention presentation – Precision microwave engineering: making your components

Neil Smith, G4DBN
This presentation is about the joy of being able to imagine something in your head, mould it into a workable design using computer modelling and electromagnetic simulation, then turn that abstract idea into a working device or mechanism to help make amateur radio even more enjoyable. Neil works through the process of designing, modelling, machining and testing novel antenna feeds, elevation mechanisms for huge moonbounce antennas and tiny millimetre-wave antennas.
He demonstrates how to use electromagnetic simulators, mechanical stress/vibration modellers, thermal flow analysers and CAD tools to develop designs for antennas and amplifiers. Neil’s machine shop is all manual, with lathe, milling machine, TIG welder, metal casting and metrology equipment. None of the machines cost more than a good transceiver, but the quality of work they can produce is very high.
He shows the process of machining, measuring and testing some of the parts that he has designed, and try to explain the enormous amount of sheer fun he gets from making things for himself and others. Machining, like radio, is purely a hobby for Neil, but he has made microwave parts for amateurs in more than twenty countries, and learned a huge amount of science, maths and engineering in the process. “Self-training in the art…” you might say.

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40 Metres
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