FDIM/Flying Pig's Frequency Counter

This nifty little frequency counter has been a workhorse here for several years. I'm suprised that it lasted that long because the board bounced around all that time on the bench waiting for an enclosure. It is accurate, stable, and does not inject display multiplexer noise into the rig in use, at least in the rigs to which I've had it connected. The lone exception was my MAS-80 So it may need some isolation for regens. Click on any of the pictures to the right for full size images, here is a link to to more photos, and please scroll down for the whole story.

While perusing the meat case at the local grocery store, a picture of this counter suddenly came to mind (I must have been looking at bacon :o) So I began a quest to find an enclosure for it. Ten minutes later I found the perfectly sized container, but it was made of cardboard! Actually, that seemed like an easy solution to cutting the rectangular opening for the display. So, with a small utility knife in hand, the Pignacious Baking Soda Flying Pig Frequency Counter was created. It couldn't have been more appropriate since Arm and Hammer™ is the perfect description of my sending technique.

The kit was originally provided by the Flying Pigs for the FDIM 2003 Buildathon. In 2009 Diz, W8DIZ, made them available again for a informal FDIM kit building session. I was in that build group. After returning home to Radar O'Reilly's home town, I put it to work as a bench counter, and it has performed very well in that role. Diz at Kits and Parts has an improved version, which was described in a series of articles in QRP Quarterly.

I set it up as an outboard counter so as to use it with multiple rigs, as well as a bench counter. Now that it's glued into an enclosure, it will have to serve as a bench counter or DC rig display, since it cant be offset for the IF frequency of superhets. The counter input is via a 1/8" mono plug and the rigs to which it connects have a mating jack on the rear panel. The jack is coupled to the rig's VFO buffer with a 4.7 - 10p capacitor at a low impedance point, usually the emitter or source. Other places may work as well, just probe around until you see the frequency and the counter doesn't load down or pull the oscillator.

The recycled computer ribbon cable idea came from Dave Rogers, WB4CHK, several years ago. In fact it is the actual cable that he sent to me for this very same counter. Talk about a loong "round tuit". Thank you Dave, sri it took so long. Note that the unused holes in the connectors are plugged with glue so it can only be plugged in correctly.

Hot melt glue was my friend in this project. it seemed like the best option for securing the board in the box. The front "panel" had to remain intact for strength, and using the box in this manner prevented the use of screws, washers, and nuts from the bottom. One of the pictures shows the rear folded up and glued in several places. Without this glued flap, the box was far too flimsy to be useable. It is not strong at all, but it is firm enough for bench use.

A free label is offered to anyone who would like to duplicate this project. Go here and print it out on card stock, I printed it on the back of a blank QSL card. Label application tips can be found on this page. My display is 1" x 2 7/8". if your's is a different size, I'll re-size the opening for you and add your call at the bottom if you wish, just let me know.

That's it for this project, for a 68 cent enclosure, it isn't too bad. If you've read this far, I thank you.
...WAĜITP 8November2012
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