Date   

Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS

Bry Carling <af4k@...>
 

Good points Cecil.


Can we get some recommendations for the best places to get a short run, or single run PC board made, and what to use to make the art work for them??


Bry, WN4NRR



From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of Cecil Bayona cecil.bayona@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:01 AM
To: 4sqrp@...; Bob Nelson
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS
 
 

I am coming to a similar conclusion, when one considers the cost of the
supplies, the time required, the quality of the final result. One can't
help but come to a conclusion that the time and money required is best
spent by letting a pro do the PCB. There are many choices as to where to
get a board from and the cost involved. There is also the case that in
some cases a four layer board can improve the performance due to it's
inherent shielding capability which is darn near impossible to do at home.

The only advantage left for doing it at home is if you need the board
right now and you can't wait but even then that is a rare situation, and
one can use Manhattan techniques to build a prototype, and since there
are usually in my case several projects in the works the time spent
waiting on the board is not wasted as it can be spent on another project.

On 2/22/2017 9:07 PM, Bob Nelson rln37@... [4sqrp] wrote:
>
>
> Another opinion:
>
> I get ALL my pc boards made by Express PCB (see www.expresspcb.com). For
> several reasons:
>
> 1. I prefer to spend my time on ELECTRONIC design (eg, circuit design),
> not the ins and outs of
> the chemistry and processing required for making homemade
> printed-circuit boards.
>
> 2. When I get done designing a board, and getting it fabricated, I want
> to be CERTAIN the board
> is not part of the problem when trouble-shooting the loaded prototype
> (first version) of the board.
>
> 3. I want to see my home laboratory full of electronic gadgetry and
> tools, not a bunch of chemicals and
> machines I had to buy to make my own boards at home. I want to be an
> electroniker, not a chemist.
>
> 4. I don't want to bear the initial cost of those chemicals and
> "machinery" needed to be able to crank out
> the first homemade boards (which will easily exceed the cost of my first
> two or three professional-quality
> boards made by Express PCB).
>
> 5. I want to work with double-sided boards, with trace widths down to
> 0.010 inches, and plated-thru holes.
> With those specs, I can cram a lot more electronics onto a smaller
> board. FAR more circuit density than I
> could possibly get with homemade boards.
>
> Over the last few years, I have had several boards made for me by
> Express. They provide (free) all software
> needed for drawing the schematic, and laying out the physical board.
> The s/w runs on any Windows machine
> and can be expected to be flawless and frustration-free, if my
> experience is any indication.
>
> Usually I make sure I have a working circuit before going to the
> printed-circuit version. For that, I use one of the
> many kinds of cheap "prototyping boards" that are available from
> companies like Jameco, Mouser and Digikey.
> Then when that "messy prototype" is working, I go to my Windows machine,
> and lay out the pc board with the
> free Express PCB s/w provided for that purpose.
>
> After I get the board layout finished, I click one button, and the board
> design goes over the internet to Express PCB.
> Less than one week later I have two copies of the board in my hand, via
> UPS Blue delivery service.
> And these are professional-quality double-sided boards with plated-thru
> holes.
>
> AND the total cost is always less than $100.
>
> For my time and money, there is no contest - Express PCB wins by a
> mile. And, BTW, I am NOT affiliated in any way
> with Express PCB or any of its management people or employees. I'm just
> one very satisfied Express customer, with
> limited time and money for printed-circuit generation.
>
> End of opinion.
>
> 73 - Bob, K6KL
>
>
>
> On Wednesday, February 22, 2017 7:08 PM, "David Martin
> davemrtn@... [4sqrp]" <4sqrp@...> wrote:
>
>
>
> .016 if more than reasonable when using a PCB House to make your boards.
>
> Years ago I used the tape and mylar method for very complex boards,
> usually laying out the boards, with solder mask and silkscreen and all
> mylars were a minimum of 2x, if not 4x, requiring photo reduction prior
> to the film being shipped to the fab house.
> The iron I use for smt I purchased from radio shack when they still had
> a store here. If you search there website for cat # 6400215, you will
> see a photo of the iron.
>
> More than the size of the iron, the diameter of the solder used will
> have the greatest impact on your success while soldering smt components,
> if you are using a roll of solder.
>
> David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home,
> Ar. -----------------------------------------
> On 2/22/2017 16:26, Bry Carling wrote:
>> 0.016" traces are quite reasonable.
>>
>> We used to make PC boards designed with Tape and Light tables in the
>> mid 1970s
>> and the traces were often as narrow as 0.010" or 0.015" although
>> 0.020" was preferable as a minimum.
>>
>> THAT being said, I would not want to try to solder to traces that
>> small and that close together., Very challenging! What kind of IRON
>> and TIP did you use?
>>
>> Thanks - Bry AF4K
>> ----------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:* 4sqrp@...
>> <4sqrp@...> on behalf of
>> David Martin davemrtn@...
>> [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
>> *Sent:* Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:15 PM
>> *To:* 4sqrp@... ;
>> n5ib@...
>> *Subject:* Re: [4sqrp] Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]
>>
>>
>> Jim,
>> You mentioned minimum trace width.
>> Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this
>> board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower
>> spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.
>> The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick
>> was required from time to time.
>>
>> alt
>>
>> David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain
>> Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
>> On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
>>>
>>> I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other
>>> re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to
>>> soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue
>>> that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the
>>> "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the
>>> time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot
>>> the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float
>>> off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean
>>> copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.
>>>
>>> The raw deposited toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen
>>> under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces
>>> are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil"
>>> product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched
>>> copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils. The
>>> foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.
>>>
>>> Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but
>>> some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have
>>> lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.
>>>
>>> If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen
>>> boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling
>>> was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad
>>> idea. But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then
>>> if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have
>>> interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about
>>> the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are
>>> important..... ask me how I know :^))
>>>
>>> If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly
>>> avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.
>>>
>>> Jim, N5IB
>>

--
Cecil - k5nwa
http://thepartsplace.k5nwa.com/


OzarkCon 2017

WA0ITP
 

With a month left to register online, registrations have already broken 100 !!  Check out the attendee list here  http://www.ozarkcon.com/AttendeeList.php

If you haven't already registered, please consider attending.  The registration page is here http://www.ozarkcon.com/Reg/RegisterForm.php Read the info, scroll down, complete the form, and attend the greatest QRP only conference in the Central Time Zone. Paypal is accepted.

OzarkCon Coordinator Paul Smith, N0NBD, has done a great job pulling it all together again this year.

We have an excellent banquet on Friday night, catered by the Golden Corral, and we have been able to hold the price with no increase for several years.  Also the FREE catered lunch on Saturday for attendees and spouses is very popular.

A Super Saturday is on tap, with terrific speakers with terrific topics.  Check out all of the Saturday activities here http://www.ozarkcon.com/agenda2017.php

The "OzarkCon At A Glance" page is a good way to get a flavor for the conference, view it here http://www.ozarkcon.com/index.php

The are many family activities in Branson, attractions, shopping, etc. Also SOTA activations and a transmitter hunt are activities held in conjunction with the conference.  

Thank you and hope to cu in Branson, at the Stonecastle, on April 7 and 8.
-- 
72 WAØITP
I love this radio stuff.
www.wa0itp.com
www.4sqrp.com


Re: Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver

WA0ITP
 

GM Mike,

Yes, except for the mixers.  But now that I think abt it a bit more, the mixers were ADE-1

tnx
72 WAØITP
I love this radio stuff.
www.wa0itp.com
www.4sqrp.com
On 2/22/2017 10:04 PM, Mike WA8BXN hubby2k@... [4sqrp] wrote:

 

Didn't the 2N design just use transistors and no ICs?

73/72 - Mike WA8BXN




From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of WA0ITP wa0itp@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:52 PM
To: 4sqrp@...; Joe
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver
 
 


If it has lots of parts densely packed on the board, it might be Jim Kortge's well known 2N2/40.
72 WAØITP I love this radio stuff. www.wa0itp.com www.4sqrp.com

http://www.wa0itp.com/w8dizcntr2.jpg

WAŘITP Home
www.wa0itp.com
WAØITP's Ham Radio Web Site Devoted to QRP Operating.

On 2/22/2017 9:17 PM, 'Joe' n4yg@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 





I received a homebrew QRP CW transceiver as a gift from Gary, N5PHT. I have no information on it, but it is a great design and works great. It was built by WB5MAJ who is now a silent key. I would very much like to obtain a schematic for it and any other information that I can find. The following is information that I obtained from just and inspection of the circuit board and from operating:
 
40 Meters Only
IF Frequency 4 MHz
Circuit contains a crystal filter made from three 4 MHz crystals
Two additional 4 MHz crystals
Circuit has three SA612 mixer chips
Output power is about 3.5 watts measured
VFO is very stable and uses varactor tuning and runs from about 3 MHz to about 3.150 MHz
 
The design appears to be very similar to the “Cub” which is sold by MFJ.
 
I am hoping that someone either has a schematic or article on this little rig.
 
Joe, N4YG




Re: Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver

Jim Kortge
 



On 2/22/2017 11:38 PM, 'Joe' n4yg@... [4sqrp] wrote:
The construction is Manhattan. There is no PC board. I can send a photo of the unit if that would be helpful.
�
Joe, N4YG

Sounds like a home brew NorCal SST design to me or maybe something earlier than that by K1BQT.

72,

Jim, K8IQY



Last evening's net

Wayne Dillon
 

Good morning all,
What an outstanding net last evening, really tremendous turnout and all copyable despite some QSB.
WA9PWP - Paul - WI
KV6Z - Bill - OK
WA0ITP - Terry - IA
NK8O - Chas - KS
KF0XV - Joe - KS
AB4QL - Barry - AL
The band faded to nothing at the end of Barry's contact and I heard nothing after so closed the net just after 20:00 local time but a huge thank you to you all for making it a really stellar evening. Looks like 80 is the new 40, at least for now.
C U all next week although I will try and be on 80 in the evenings as time/responsibilities permit. 40 during daylight hours over the weekend if othe "stuff" permits, around the "spy" frequency.
vy 72/3 es God Bless all de Wayne - NQ0RP 

--
 
QRP -  EFFICIENCY AND SKILL, NOT POWER. 
 
I'm British by birth but American by CHOICE!

Jesus came to pay a debt He didn't owe because we owe a debt we cannot pay...

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you
The Lord lift up his contenance upon you and give you peace.

God Bless from Wayne Dillon - NQ0RP

Joshua 24:14-15
2 Cor 5:17
1 Jn 2:17
 
NAQCC MWN NCS
NAQCC Net manager
NAQCC # 0759
Membership Chairman - 4SQRP Group
4SQRP 40m NCS
4SQRP #95
FISTS 17184
FPQRP #342 (Flying Pigs QRP Club)
G-QRP-11504
QRP-ARCI #11505
SKCC #1155T
SOC #848
30MDG#1176
NEQRP #693
GORC #192
DMC (Digital Modes Club) # 06686
Zombie# 1186


Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]

Cecil Bayona <cecil.bayona@...>
 

I am coming to a similar conclusion, when one considers the cost of the supplies, the time required, the quality of the final result. One can't help but come to a conclusion that the time and money required is best spent by letting a pro do the PCB. There are many choices as to where to get a board from and the cost involved. There is also the case that in some cases a four layer board can improve the performance due to it's inherent shielding capability which is darn near impossible to do at home.

The only advantage left for doing it at home is if you need the board right now and you can't wait but even then that is a rare situation, and one can use Manhattan techniques to build a prototype, and since there are usually in my case several projects in the works the time spent waiting on the board is not wasted as it can be spent on another project.

On 2/22/2017 9:07 PM, Bob Nelson rln37@... [4sqrp] wrote:


Another opinion:

I get ALL my pc boards made by Express PCB (see www.expresspcb.com). For
several reasons:

1. I prefer to spend my time on ELECTRONIC design (eg, circuit design),
not the ins and outs of
the chemistry and processing required for making homemade
printed-circuit boards.

2. When I get done designing a board, and getting it fabricated, I want
to be CERTAIN the board
is not part of the problem when trouble-shooting the loaded prototype
(first version) of the board.

3. I want to see my home laboratory full of electronic gadgetry and
tools, not a bunch of chemicals and
machines I had to buy to make my own boards at home. I want to be an
electroniker, not a chemist.

4. I don't want to bear the initial cost of those chemicals and
"machinery" needed to be able to crank out
the first homemade boards (which will easily exceed the cost of my first
two or three professional-quality
boards made by Express PCB).

5. I want to work with double-sided boards, with trace widths down to
0.010 inches, and plated-thru holes.
With those specs, I can cram a lot more electronics onto a smaller
board. FAR more circuit density than I
could possibly get with homemade boards.

Over the last few years, I have had several boards made for me by
Express. They provide (free) all software
needed for drawing the schematic, and laying out the physical board.
The s/w runs on any Windows machine
and can be expected to be flawless and frustration-free, if my
experience is any indication.

Usually I make sure I have a working circuit before going to the
printed-circuit version. For that, I use one of the
many kinds of cheap "prototyping boards" that are available from
companies like Jameco, Mouser and Digikey.
Then when that "messy prototype" is working, I go to my Windows machine,
and lay out the pc board with the
free Express PCB s/w provided for that purpose.

After I get the board layout finished, I click one button, and the board
design goes over the internet to Express PCB.
Less than one week later I have two copies of the board in my hand, via
UPS Blue delivery service.
And these are professional-quality double-sided boards with plated-thru
holes.

AND the total cost is always less than $100.

For my time and money, there is no contest - Express PCB wins by a
mile. And, BTW, I am NOT affiliated in any way
with Express PCB or any of its management people or employees. I'm just
one very satisfied Express customer, with
limited time and money for printed-circuit generation.

End of opinion.

73 - Bob, K6KL



On Wednesday, February 22, 2017 7:08 PM, "David Martin
davemrtn@... [4sqrp]" <4sqrp@...> wrote:



.016 if more than reasonable when using a PCB House to make your boards.

Years ago I used the tape and mylar method for very complex boards,
usually laying out the boards, with solder mask and silkscreen and all
mylars were a minimum of 2x, if not 4x, requiring photo reduction prior
to the film being shipped to the fab house.
The iron I use for smt I purchased from radio shack when they still had
a store here. If you search there website for cat # 6400215, you will
see a photo of the iron.

More than the size of the iron, the diameter of the solder used will
have the greatest impact on your success while soldering smt components,
if you are using a roll of solder.

David Martin - NA1MH <https://www.qrz.com/lookup/na1mh> - Mountain Home,
Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 16:26, Bry Carling wrote:
0.016" traces are quite reasonable.

We used to make PC boards designed with Tape and Light tables in the
mid 1970s
and the traces were often as narrow as 0.010" or 0.015" although
0.020" was preferable as a minimum.

THAT being said, I would not want to try to solder to traces that
small and that close together., Very challenging! What kind of IRON
and TIP did you use?

Thanks - Bry AF4K
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*From:* 4sqrp@... <mailto:4sqrp@...>
<4sqrp@...> <mailto:4sqrp@...> on behalf of
David Martin davemrtn@... <mailto:davemrtn@...>
[4sqrp] <4sqrp@...> <mailto:4sqrp@...>
*Sent:* Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:15 PM
*To:* 4sqrp@... <mailto:4sqrp@...>;
n5ib@... <mailto:n5ib@...>
*Subject:* Re: [4sqrp] Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]


Jim,
You mentioned minimum trace width.
Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this
board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower
spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.
The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick
was required from time to time.

alt

David Martin - NA1MH <https://www.qrz.com/lookup/na1mh> - Mountain
Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... <mailto:n5ib@...> [4sqrp] wrote:

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other
re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to
soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue
that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the
"Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the
time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot
the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float
off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean
copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen
under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces
are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil"
product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched
copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils. The
foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but
some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have
lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen
boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling
was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad
idea. But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then
if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have
interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about
the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are
important..... ask me how I know :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly
avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB


Re: Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver

Joe <n4yg@...>
 

The construction is Manhattan. There is no PC board. I can send a photo of the unit if that would be helpful.
 
Joe, N4YG
 

Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver
 
 

Didn't the 2N design just use transistors and no ICs?

73/72 - Mike WA8BXN




From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of WA0ITP wa0itp@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:52 PM
To: 4sqrp@...; Joe
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver
 
 


If it has lots of parts densely packed on the board, it might be Jim Kortge's well known 2N2/40.
72 WAØITP I love this radio stuff. www.wa0itp.com www.4sqrp.com

http://www.wa0itp.com/w8dizcntr2.jpg

WAŘITP Home
www.wa0itp.com
WAØITP's Ham Radio Web Site Devoted to QRP Operating.

On 2/22/2017 9:17 PM, 'Joe' n4yg@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 





I received a homebrew QRP CW transceiver as a gift from Gary, N5PHT. I have no information on it, but it is a great design and works great. It was built by WB5MAJ who is now a silent key. I would very much like to obtain a schematic for it and any other information that I can find. The following is information that I obtained from just and inspection of the circuit board and from operating:
 
40 Meters Only
IF Frequency 4 MHz
Circuit contains a crystal filter made from three 4 MHz crystals
Two additional 4 MHz crystals
Circuit has three SA612 mixer chips
Output power is about 3.5 watts measured
VFO is very stable and uses varactor tuning and runs from about 3 MHz to about 3.150 MHz
 
The design appears to be very similar to the “Cub” which is sold by MFJ.
 
I am hoping that someone either has a schematic or article on this little rig.
 
Joe, N4YG



Re: Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver

Mike WA8BXN
 

Didn't the 2N design just use transistors and no ICs?

73/72 - Mike WA8BXN




From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of WA0ITP wa0itp@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:52 PM
To: 4sqrp@...; Joe
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver
 
 


If it has lots of parts densely packed on the board, it might be Jim Kortge's well known 2N2/40.
72 WAØITP I love this radio stuff. www.wa0itp.com www.4sqrp.com

http://www.wa0itp.com/w8dizcntr2.jpg

WAŘITP Home
www.wa0itp.com
WAØITP's Ham Radio Web Site Devoted to QRP Operating.

On 2/22/2017 9:17 PM, 'Joe' n4yg@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 





I received a homebrew QRP CW transceiver as a gift from Gary, N5PHT. I have no information on it, but it is a great design and works great. It was built by WB5MAJ who is now a silent key. I would very much like to obtain a schematic for it and any other information that I can find. The following is information that I obtained from just and inspection of the circuit board and from operating:
 
40 Meters Only
IF Frequency 4 MHz
Circuit contains a crystal filter made from three 4 MHz crystals
Two additional 4 MHz crystals
Circuit has three SA612 mixer chips
Output power is about 3.5 watts measured
VFO is very stable and uses varactor tuning and runs from about 3 MHz to about 3.150 MHz
 
The design appears to be very similar to the “Cub” which is sold by MFJ.
 
I am hoping that someone either has a schematic or article on this little rig.
 
Joe, N4YG


Re: Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver

WA0ITP
 

If it has lots of parts densely packed on the board, it might be Jim Kortge's well known 2N2/40.
72 WAØITP
I love this radio stuff.
www.wa0itp.com
www.4sqrp.com
On 2/22/2017 9:17 PM, 'Joe' n4yg@... [4sqrp] wrote:

 

I received a homebrew QRP CW transceiver as a gift from Gary, N5PHT. I have no information on it, but it is a great design and works great. It was built by WB5MAJ who is now a silent key. I would very much like to obtain a schematic for it and any other information that I can find. The following is information that I obtained from just and inspection of the circuit board and from operating:
 
40 Meters Only
IF Frequency 4 MHz
Circuit contains a crystal filter made from three 4 MHz crystals
Two additional 4 MHz crystals
Circuit has three SA612 mixer chips
Output power is about 3.5 watts measured
VFO is very stable and uses varactor tuning and runs from about 3 MHz to about 3.150 MHz
 
The design appears to be very similar to the “Cub” which is sold by MFJ.
 
I am hoping that someone either has a schematic or article on this little rig.
 
Joe, N4YG


Newbie - Looking For Info on 40m QRP CW Transceiver

Joe <n4yg@...>
 

I received a homebrew QRP CW transceiver as a gift from Gary, N5PHT. I have no information on it, but it is a great design and works great. It was built by WB5MAJ who is now a silent key. I would very much like to obtain a schematic for it and any other information that I can find. The following is information that I obtained from just and inspection of the circuit board and from operating:
 
40 Meters Only
IF Frequency 4 MHz
Circuit contains a crystal filter made from three 4 MHz crystals
Two additional 4 MHz crystals
Circuit has three SA612 mixer chips
Output power is about 3.5 watts measured
VFO is very stable and uses varactor tuning and runs from about 3 MHz to about 3.150 MHz
 
The design appears to be very similar to the “Cub” which is sold by MFJ.
 
I am hoping that someone either has a schematic or article on this little rig.
 
Joe, N4YG


Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS

Bob Nelson
 

Another opinion:

I get ALL my pc boards made by Express PCB (see www.expresspcb.com). For several reasons:

1.  I prefer to spend my time on ELECTRONIC design (eg, circuit design), not the ins and outs of
the chemistry and processing required for making homemade printed-circuit boards.

2.  When I get done designing a board, and getting it fabricated, I want to be CERTAIN the board
is not part of the problem when trouble-shooting the loaded prototype (first version) of the board.

3.  I want to see my home laboratory full of electronic gadgetry and tools, not a bunch of chemicals and 
machines I had to buy to make my own boards at home.  I want to be an electroniker, not a chemist.

4.  I don't want to bear the initial cost of those chemicals and "machinery" needed to be able to crank out
the first homemade boards (which will easily exceed the cost of my first two or three professional-quality
boards made by Express PCB).

5.  I want to work with double-sided boards, with trace widths down to 0.010 inches, and plated-thru holes.
 With those specs, I can cram a lot more electronics onto a smaller board. FAR more circuit density than I
could possibly get with homemade boards.

Over the last few years, I have had several boards made for me by Express.  They provide (free) all software
needed for drawing the schematic, and laying out the physical board.  The s/w runs on any Windows machine
and can be expected to be flawless and frustration-free, if my experience is any indication.

Usually I make sure I have a working circuit before going to the printed-circuit version.  For that, I use one of the
many kinds of cheap "prototyping boards" that are available from companies like Jameco, Mouser and Digikey.
Then when that "messy prototype" is working, I go to my Windows machine, and lay out the pc board with the 
free Express PCB s/w provided for that purpose.

After I get the board layout finished, I click one button, and the board design goes over the internet to Express PCB. 
Less than one week later I have two copies of the board in my hand, via UPS Blue delivery service. 
And these are professional-quality double-sided boards with plated-thru holes. 

AND the total cost is always less than $100.

For my time and money, there is no contest - Express PCB wins by a mile.  And, BTW, I am NOT affiliated in any way
with Express PCB or any of its management people or employees.  I'm just one very satisfied Express customer, with
limited time and money for printed-circuit generation.

End of opinion.

73 - Bob, K6KL



On Wednesday, February 22, 2017 7:08 PM, "David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp]" <4sqrp@...> wrote:


 
.016 if more than reasonable when using a PCB House to make your boards.

Years ago I used the tape and mylar method for very complex boards, usually laying out the boards, with solder mask and silkscreen and all mylars were a minimum of 2x, if not 4x, requiring photo reduction prior to the film being shipped to the fab house.
 The iron I use for smt I purchased from radio shack when they still had a store here.  If you search there website for cat # 6400215, you will see a photo of the iron.

More than the size of the iron, the diameter of the solder used will have the greatest impact on your success while soldering smt components, if you are using a roll of solder.

David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 16:26, Bry Carling wrote:
0.016" traces are quite reasonable.

We used to make PC boards designed with Tape and Light tables in the mid 1970s
and the traces were often as narrow as 0.010" or 0.015" although 0.020" was preferable as a minimum.

THAT being said, I would not want to try to solder to traces that small and that close together., Very challenging!  What kind of IRON and TIP did you use?

Thanks - Bry AF4K

From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:15 PM
To: 4sqrp@...; n5ib@...
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]
 
 
Jim,
    You mentioned minimum trace width.
    Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.
The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.



David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 
I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB





Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]

Johnny AC0BQ
 

Nice Work Dave!
Solder bridges on SMD is inevitable!
I have better luck using solder paste and putting the boards in a skillet!
72
Johnny AC0BQ 

On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 2:15 PM David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...> wrote:

Jim,

    You mentioned minimum trace width.

    Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.

The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.




David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB


--
Sent from Gmail Mobile


Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]

David Martin <davemrtn@...>
 

.016 if more than reasonable when using a PCB House to make your boards.


Years ago I used the tape and mylar method for very complex boards, usually laying out the boards, with solder mask and silkscreen and all mylars were a minimum of 2x, if not 4x, requiring photo reduction prior to the film being shipped to the fab house.

�The iron I use for smt I purchased from radio shack when they still had a store here.� If you search there website for cat # 6400215, you will see a photo of the iron.


More than the size of the iron, the diameter of the solder used will have the greatest impact on your success while soldering smt components, if you are using a roll of solder.


David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------

On 2/22/2017 16:26, Bry Carling wrote:

0.016" traces are quite reasonable.


We used to make PC boards designed with Tape and Light tables in the mid 1970s

and the traces were often as narrow as 0.010" or 0.015" although 0.020" was preferable as a minimum.


THAT being said, I would not want to try to solder to traces that small and that close together., Very challenging!� What kind of IRON and TIP did you use?


Thanks - Bry AF4K


From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:15 PM
To: 4sqrp@...; n5ib@...
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]
�
�

Jim,

��� You mentioned minimum trace width.

��� Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.

The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.




David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
�

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited� toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.� The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.� But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know�� :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB




Tonights net

Wayne Dillon
 

GE All,
Quick reminder of the net procedure:
I call the usual CQ 4SQRP de NQ0RP QNI K
Drop in your call and I will acknowledge it by re-sending your call followed by R R then pse AS (stand-by)
I will then call QRZ? an invitation for more calls. each stat ion will receive the same response. 
When I've got a few I'll call you back one at a time, in order until we're done.
When we're all done I will formally close the net.

If you're interested the station is a KX3 into an LDG AT100ProII to a 124'6" antenna with a 9:1 UnUN at the feed poine.
I'm using the LDG ASTU instead of the KX3 internal tuner because it's part of the "normal" base station set=up. The normal "base" transceiver which is currently on it's way back from repair.

Hope to copy some folks this evening, it's always a blast!

Vy 72/3 es God Bless all de Wayne - NQ0RP

--
 
QRP -  EFFICIENCY AND SKILL, NOT POWER. 
 
I'm British by birth but American by CHOICE!

Jesus came to pay a debt He didn't owe because we owe a debt we cannot pay...

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you
The Lord lift up his contenance upon you and give you peace.

God Bless from Wayne Dillon - NQ0RP

Joshua 24:14-15
2 Cor 5:17
1 Jn 2:17
 
NAQCC MWN NCS
NAQCC Net manager
NAQCC # 0759
Membership Chairman - 4SQRP Group
4SQRP 40m NCS
4SQRP #95
FISTS 17184
FPQRP #342 (Flying Pigs QRP Club)
G-QRP-11504
QRP-ARCI #11505
SKCC #1155T
SOC #848
30MDG#1176
NEQRP #693
GORC #192
DMC (Digital Modes Club) # 06686
Zombie# 1186


Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]

WA0ITP
 

NIce board David.
72 WAØITP
I love this radio stuff.
www.wa0itp.com
www.4sqrp.com
On 2/22/2017 2:15 PM, David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp] wrote:

 

Jim,

    You mentioned minimum trace width.

    Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.

The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.




David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB




Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]

Bry Carling <af4k@...>
 

0.016" traces are quite reasonable.


We used to make PC boards designed with Tape and Light tables in the mid 1970s

and the traces were often as narrow as 0.010" or 0.015" although 0.020" was preferable as a minimum.


THAT being said, I would not want to try to solder to traces that small and that close together., Very challenging!  What kind of IRON and TIP did you use?


Thanks - Bry AF4K


From: 4sqrp@... <4sqrp@...> on behalf of David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp] <4sqrp@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:15 PM
To: 4sqrp@...; n5ib@...
Subject: Re: [4sqrp] Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]
 
 

Jim,

    You mentioned minimum trace width.

    Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.

The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.




David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB



Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS [1 Attachment]

David Martin <davemrtn@...>
 

Forgot to mention I was using the transfer paper and foil from Pulsar.

David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------

On 2/22/2017 14:15, David Martin davemrtn@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 

Jim,

    You mentioned minimum trace width.

    Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.

The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.




David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------
On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB




Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS

David Martin <davemrtn@...>
 

Jim,

    You mentioned minimum trace width.

    Playing around making a smt board for an oscilator I made this board with 0.016" (16mil) traces, and fortunately the even narrower spaces between (near the chips) did etch out ok.

The worst thing was dealing with solder bridges, so use of solder wick was required from time to time.




David Martin - NA1MH - Mountain Home, Ar. -----------------------------------------

On 2/22/2017 12:57, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:
 

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB



Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS

Jim, N5IB
 


Forgot to mention something in the previous post...

Some folks are put off by the cost of the hot laminator we've been mentioning.

Like Doug pointed out, there are some bargain deals to be found, though they seem to be not as plentiful these days. And don't discount an iron and some elbow grease.

But I found my laminator to be well worth the dollars. It may nigh have paid for itself (compared to having Office Depot do it) laminating insurance cards, med lists, photos, membership cards, even the odd souvenir fall leaf collected on leaf peeping trips.

It also does a dandy job of making a panel overlay for radio projects. I found it was possible to make a full color panel layout on a laser printer, then put it down of a piece of copper clad PCB material, cover it with just one side of a laminating pouch, and run it through. The films sticks to the face of the paper nicely, but you can easilly peel it away from the copper and be left with a very flat, but well protected panel overlay. Trim and cut/drill/punch holes as needed. It lies flatter on the panel surface than if it were laminated on both sides.

Nick and I will try to work a demo of that also into out talk.

Jim, N5IB




Re: MAKING YOUR OWN PC BOARDS

WA0ITP
 

Sounds like an informative and timely presentation, even for us ol dudes who
have been making our boards forever (seems like).  I'm looking forward to learning about new processes and materials. I've had pretty good luck using ink ink jet photo paper and an iron on the kitchen counter.  But this foil thing has me very interested.

Many thanks to Jim and Nick for presenting on this interesting subject.
72 WAØITP
I love this radio stuff.
www.wa0itp.com
www.4sqrp.com
On 2/22/2017 12:57 PM, n5ib@... [4sqrp] wrote:

 

I've tried out Chucks's suggested paper, and a couple of other re-purposed alternatives. they certainly work, but it took a while to soak off, and I always had trouble cleaning off the paper residue that remains stuck. For a while even I tried working with the "Press'N Peel Blue" plastic transfer film (more costly, but at the time it was on the boss's nickel). But I was convinced on the spot the first time I used the Pulsar paper stuff and saw it just float off the board in about a minute, leaving nothing but toner and clean copper behind - ready to pop directly into the etch bath.

The raw deposited  toner has some porosity and pitting can be seen under magnification. Not nearly enough to be damaging unless traces are really thin. Recently I've started using the"Toner Reactive Foil" product as well and find a much cleaner surface to the un-etched copper and ability to get consistent traces down under 10 mils.  The foil pretty much eliminates the pitting.

Now, for DIY, I just about never use traces smaller than 15 mils, but some of the text legends and such that I'll etch for ID will have lines of 6 or 8 mils, and they usually come out clean.

If you were going to do a "mini mass production" of maybe a few dozen boards (I did that once for a club kit - never again, the drilling was a drudge - hi), a more economical alternative paper is not a bad idea.  But nowadays my DIY boards are just about always one-off, Then if it turns out to be a useful project that others might have interest in, off it goes to a fab house. Nick and I will talk about the "gotchas" for that process. There aren't many, but they are important..... ask me how I know   :^))

If you like Pittsburg style, or SMT, where drilling can be mostly avoided, the DIY route is really attractive, even for modest quantities.

Jim, N5IB