The Bullet Electronics Se Sound Effects Generator

As a boy. the ability to make the sound of a six-shooter or of a machine gun was a prerequisite for growing up on the west side of townf Today's children, however. do not need to strain their vocal chords: instead, they can use the Bullet Electronics SE-01 Sound Effects Generator,

The SE-G1 is a complete sound effects Kit which is built around (he Texas Instruments SN76477 integrated circuit. The SN76477 is a complex sound generator which employs ana log and digital circuitry in one 28-pin dual inline package. The chip includes a noise generator, a voltage-controlled oscillator ivco), and a super-iow-frequency oscillator (SLFi which, when coupled with a noise filter, a mixer, attack/decay circuitry, and associated control circuitry, can produce a wide variety of entertaining sounds. So ver satile is this chip, in fact, that it finds major applications in such equipment as arcade and home video games, as well as in a number of home and industrial timers, alarms, indicators, and controls.

While the SN76477 is readily available (e.g., from Radio Shack), only Bullet Electronics appears to offer a complete kit of parts with which to exercise this chip. Thus. 1 didn't waste a minute in securing theSE-01 kit!

The kit comes comptete with a compact printer circuit (PC) board and all of the parts necessary (except for the battery and a speaker) to utilize the func-dons in the SN76477 Included in the kit are numerous switches and potentiometers >vhich allow the user to program various sounds. The kit also comes wttft a complete set of instructions on how to build the kit as well as with documentation on tests to be performed to ensure that the kit has been properly assembled.

The components are of high quality, though the markings on a few of the capacitors were somewhat inadequate. Nevertheless. the kit went together quickly (even given the fact that my 9- and 11-year-old daughters did most of the soldering). Best of all, the kit worked from the first time it ,vas turned! on.

Our first attempts to program sounds such as white noise and a siren were highly successful and only served to whet our appetites! t hus, it was not long before the room was filled with the sounds of birds, running water, a rapid-fire ray gun a horse galloping, and a two-tone warbte. Other sounds followed and included a steam train (with whistle) and a female scream (the girls favorite!).

But the fun did not stop there. By experimenting with the controls, we discovered that we could make the sound of a per son walking or running through a grassy field. And delight of delights, the burning of a little midnight oil produced the sounds of a two-engine airplane (one could hear the engines beating against one another), a machine gun, and the screaming dive of an airplane out of control.

Because of the chip s unique capabiiiues. a cult of sound-effect addicts has developed among the users of the SN76477 This group is best represented, perhaps, by the SE-01 Users Group, Using Bullet Etec-ironies as a clearinghouse, the users group will share informa-iion on the kit and the sounds it can produce through a set of published notes. Information on the Users Group is included with the SE-01 kit.

The kit, including a 5% ship* ping charge, sells for $17.80, and it makes a fine littie project for those cool spring nights .. . that is, of course, if you can get the kit away from your children! The SE-01 Sound Effects Gener ator is available in kit form from Bullet Electronics, PO Box 401244-A, Garland TX 75040. Reader Service number 12.

Theodore J. Cohen N4XX Alexandria VA

1980 RADIO AMATEUR'S HANDBOOK American Radio Relay League, 1979

By now most amateurs have probably recovered from the shock ihey suffered when the new, large size, revised 1979 ARRL Radio Amateur's Hand-book appeared. The 1980 verĀ» sion of the Handbook does not outwardly appear much different than the 1979 edtlion, but as the new look coniinues into a second year, more refinement and a few changes in content can be found. The price of the 1960 Handbook, like just about everything else, didn't stand si ilk Ten dollars is the list price for the fifty-seventh edition, up 25c from 1979.

inflation may not be entirely to blame for the price increase, since this year's Handbook is slightly longer antf has what is advertised as better paper. Among the other improvements a sharp reader might notice is improved layout and graphics. Htghiy detailed diagrams have been enlarged ^hiie less important sketches have been shrunk. The fuzzy photos that plagued last year s edition are gone, and the only smeared artwork is a printed circuit template in the chapter on VHF and UHF receiving

As the "standard manual of amateur radio communications, the new edition is expected to contain information about the components and circuitry used in state-of-the-art gear. Discussion of digital logic is still limited to a few pages and there is no mention of the micro processor and its role in amateur radio. Several construction projects make use of digital logic, but the League has not recognized it as an important part of the current technology. Most of the new gear is digitally oriented, yet the ARRL has made little effort to universally educate its members to this trend. In other areas, the Hand book does try to stress recent in^ novations. The 1980 edition has a section on the use of VMOS field-effeci transistors and a discussion of high performance receiver design. Technically-minded hams may also find the design tables for Chebyshev filters useful.

Many hams were dismayed by the deletion of all the material on "specialized communications techniques" irom last year's ARRL guide The editors apparently decided that such modes as RTTY. slow scan, and fast scan amateur television are indeed legitimate amateur pastimes and they once again have a special place in the Handbook, The discussion of satellite techniques has been greatly expanded and improved, perhaps in expectation of interest in the AMSAT phase ill program. A TV has been allotted several additional paragraphs with schematics and block diagrams, but the SSTV and RTTY sections no longer have descriptions of home brew gear.

Several chapters have been heavily edited and projects that were favorites in the past have been replaced by ones seen recently in OST. These changes are especially noticed in the sections on antennas and mobile/portable operation. The tube and semiconductor tables that were conspicuously absent in last year's Handbook have been reinstated. Special emphasis ts given to rf and low-noise transistors, and, for the first timeT a package overview diagram is included.

Providing a book that covers alt aspects of amateur radio is not a simple task. The diverse nature ot ihe hobby combined with the inevitability of rapid technological change makes the Handbook susceptible to criticism from all sides. The 1980 Badto Amateur's Handbook shows that the shortcomings of previous editions can be remedied and that a practical, up-to-date, comprehensive manual can still be published.

Tim Daniel N8RK Terre Haute IN


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