The downside to modern electronics in this quick-fix age is that sometimes it’s so much cheaper to buy a readily built item as opposed to building one yourself. But don’t kid yourself, 90% of the fun is building your own – possible from a kit or from scratch. I’m really amazed at the amount of knowledge out there – so many youngester designing digital kit without formal training, often just very passionate people.
The most popular construction kits in my heyday in the 70’s and early 80’s were always audio, be it disco, power amplifiers, pre-amplifiers or mixers and in second place were light chasers and radio. Actually the most fun someone can have is to pick up a book about audio design and build your own audio amplifier from scratch. Radio valves (or tubes) held a special interest because of the simplicity and danger to a youngster. There is a lot of fun out there still to be had because now of the interfacing between an affordable laptop and your sound system through audio jacks and control through USB.
There are also brilliant magazines out there – albeit mostly British which cover electronics as a hobby or the professional sector but with the internet on tap now 24/7 we should not forget about the manufacturers – they supply a host of information and indeed in most cases supply the entire details of a project that one may be building due to the specific chip that they manufacture.
Lastly, the age of driving backwards and forwards to pick up components from one vendor to the next is also over. This was always a problem. I remember building a power MOSFET amplifier where the only supplier of a specific Hitachi device was 1600 Km away. So you have the boards, you have the components except the most important – in actual fact all the components could have been purchased from the last vendor. I don’t kid myself when it comes down to building a project, developing countries don’t have the parts and more often than not you may end up buying parts which are inferior in spec (or just don’t work) to the designed requirement. A classic case was building a quasi-comp. amplifier which used 2N3055s. These kept on popping every time we switched on the P.A. but once switching to Toshiba transistors there wasn’t a problem. The previous were manufacturerd by a no-name company out in Asia somewhere. When one considers the time wastage (and money) in trying to get this project off the ground it’s best to go back to the basics and with electronics it’s no different – know your supplier and that the components are of good grade.
The company advertised in this page do a great job of supplying enthusiasts with top quality components as well as affordable radio equipment. It must be noted that in a lot of countries it it is NOT legal to have any device which can transmit over a certain power or within a certain frequency spectrum. Contact your national broadcasting authority to get details before making any purchases.