A Practical Glue Stick Oscillator

A few months ago we brought you some experiments from [Bill Meara, N2CQR], in which he investigated the use of a glue stick as the former for a permeability tuned inductor. His set-up was very much in the spirit of experimentation, and we’re very pleased to now see [Nick, M0NTV] has taken the idea and demonstrated it¬†for the 7 MHz, or 40 meter, amateur radio band.

The result can be seen in the video below the break, and is housed in a tin enclosure that we’re guessing once contained toffees. The oscillator circuit comes courtesy of [Ashar Farhan VU2ESE] of BitX transceiver fame, but we’re most interested in the glue stick coil former which makes use of a small bracket for stability. With the glue removed, he’s mounted a ferrite ring in its glue carrier which is moved in and out of the coil. We’re guessing this could also be done with other permeability-altering materials, for example we’d follow [VU2ESE]’s lead and try a piece of brass.

The knurled glue feed knob protrudes through a hole in the tin, and we’re guessing there’s enough separation for an operator’s hand not to drag the frequency too much. All in all given that variable capacitors are now something of a rarity, it makes for a useful demonstration of a very cheap replacement. Meanwhile, you can read our notes on [N2CQR]’s work here.

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Permeability Tuned Oscillators Made Stable With A Glue Stick

For over a century now, radio amateurs have made tuned circuits using a coil of wire and a variable capacitor. In recent decades the supply of variable capacitors has dwindled, as SDR technology has supplanted the traditional tuning capacitor. No more tuned circuits for the radio amateurs? Not quite, as [Bill Meara N2CQR] shows us in the video below the break by making variable inductors using permeability tuning. This is hardly high-tech, the major component is as simple as a glue stick.

A permeability tuned inductor has a core that is moved in and out of its center by means of a screw. A glue stick has a glue core on a lead screw from a knob at its end, so an old glue stick with the glue replaced by a ferrite ring makes a reasonable permeability tuned former. The coil is wound on its outside, and when assembled into an oscillator it gives a useful tuning range. This is hardly a new idea as permeability tuning could be found in car radios and TV tuners among other applications back in the day, but it’s still a good trick to bear in mind.

We’ve featured plenty of Bill’s videos before here at Hackaday, most recently tracking down an unusual early TV.

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