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Z100 Builder's Notes

This page collects comments by builders and my observations and suggestions for the Z100 CW Tuning Aid kit. My comments are shown in Blue, with my initials JRS in square brackets.

I've grouped this page's contents into three sections:
Assembly and Operations Manual Corrections
Building Comments and Suggestions
Operating Comments

Within each section, observations are by date order.

Version 1.0, Last Revised 09 May 2007

Downloadable Manual Out of Date:  The downloadable manual is one version behind the current documentation. I'll correct that by May 21st, after returning home from the Dayton Hamvention. The current manual is 1.0, Revised 09 May 2007.

Page 22: Bending the LED leads  On page 22, instruction on bending leads for the LEDs. You might want to make clear that it is the the longer lead that is bent closer to the body. [From Raj, N2RD].  Yes, this could be clearer and I will either add text captioning or additional photographs or drawings to the next revision. [JRS]

Page 25, Installing Green LEDs: The sentence at the top of the page is mangled. It should read: "Place, but do not yet solder green LEDs at positions D1.3 and D1.4."  Somehow, a reference to red LEDs crept into the text. To avoid any confusion, the two green LEDs are installed at D1.3 and D1.4. [JRS]

Building Comments and Suggestions
Building Time: Took just a couple of hours to put Z100 on the rig and in use.  Excellent kit and I think I will get a lot of use out of it. [From Raj, N2RD]

Possible Lens Modification: One possible tweak would be to carefully mask the area corresponding to the LEDs and then spray paint the rest of the lens flat black. This will block the PCB and other extraneous parts from view, with the paint being on the lens's inside surface. The gray film can still be used over the LEDs, as described in the Assembly and Operations Manual, Option A. [JRS]

If you decide to try this option, it is non-reversible, as you will not be able to remove spray paint from the lens. I have a limited number of spare lenses, with a replacement price of $3.50, including postage. [JRS]

Installing the 35% Film: If you decide to install film on the complete lens, you may find it useful to first insert the lens into the enclosure while the lens still has its protective paper. (Do this with the paper side out.) With the lens in place (both top and bottom enclosure halves in place) trace around the lens opening with a pencil onto the protective paper. This provides an accurate  template for cutting the film. I found it necessary to cut a bit more away than this minimum, as it is difficult to precisely center the film. [JRS]

When installing the PCB into the enclosure, first mount the condensed operating instructions to the bottom of the lower enclosure half, and trim the openings. Then, remove the len's protective paper and apply the 35% gray film to the lens and insert the lens in the lower enclosure half. Install the PCB into the lower enclosure half, angling it in and being careful not to let the LEDs displace the gray film. Mount the PCB with the four 4-40 machine screws and then install the enclosure top half. [JRS]

Possible Switch Modifications: The only improvement I can think of is to a toggle to the top to select between RTTY and CW. [From Raj, N2RD]

I will help any builder wishing to modify his Z100 with revised software and hardware changes. I won't write the new software for you, but, within reason, I will answer questions and help you fix problems you may find yourself in. I've made the Z100's firmware open to encourage experimentation. To modify the Z100's firmware  requires the free Swordfish SE compiler and a programming cable available from Mouser Electronics for $20. More details are provided at the Z100 main page and in the Assembly and Operating Manual. [JRS]

When considering adding a top side switch, builders should note that the current firmware and hardware use all of the 18F2420's available ports, so it may be necessary to give up something to open a pin to read a new switch. Perhaps the easiest would be either the 25/50 Hz selection, or the high bit for memory select, thereby reducing the available memory positions to 8. Or, you could set the CW tone to memory position 0 and RTTY to position 8, for example, and install an on/off top switch, wired in parallel with the Memory Select switch pin corresponding to Bit 3. That switch would then take you from CW to RTTY, when you are operating in memory recall mode with the rotary DIP switch set to 0. [JRS]

Another possibility would be to replace the 5K cermet trimmer with a small traditional pot mounted on the top, with a calibration scale, although it may be difficult to accurately set the frequency. Or, you could add a second pot and a switch to go between the two, with one set for CW and one for RTTY. [JRS]