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Wombaticus 16th May 2012 01:05 PM

Raffling a boutique tube guitar amplifier for charity
Hey Guys,

Despite my fairly frequent lurking about this joint soaking up some theory from the big boys, I'm generally more of a guitar amp guy. I realize that I haven't posted here as much as on some of the other forums (except for my occasional forays into build tube studio gear), but as this is for a good cause I hope it's well received nonetheless. I post frequently over on under my real name Paul Fawcett, and on the Music Electronics Forum as Wombaticus, I probably know some of you from over there.

On 3 June, I will be running the San Diego Marathon as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The L&LS is a wonderful charity that funds research and patient support in the battle against blood cancer.

I have been a participant, fundraiser, and coach for the L&LS since 2007, and I've squeezed my direct circle of family, friends, and colleagues pretty well -- so this year I thought I would do something a little bit different to help out my fundraising efforts for this great cause.

In short, I am designing and hand-building a unique guitar amplifier that will be raffled off following the race and sent to the lucky winner.

Every $25 donated on my L&LS fundraising page counts as one ticket in the raffle. My Fundraising Page

The amplifier itself, I'm hoping, will be something really special. Several of my amp building buddies from other forums (largely AX84) have kicked in substantially to make this happen.

Ben Sykora of Sykora custom amps has very generously agreed to donate a beautiful Cherry wood head cabinet that he is hand-constructing. Take a look at Ben's work here: Wombat Amplification: The raffle amp cabinetry is coming along!

Brian Schmittling of Dirty Dawg amps has donated one of his custom 12 gauge aluminum chassis: Amp Chassis

Finally, the amp will have a custom faceplate donated by MasonAtom of TMI guitar amps: TMI Guitar Amplifiers

On my side, the amp features:

2x6V6 power section
3x12AX7 preamp
Three-band tone stack (James style B&T, Framus style mid)
Channel switching - clean and Dumble-style OD
Built-in reverb (LM386 driver, LND150 initial recovery)
Footswitching for trem, verb and OD
DC heaters for preamp tubes

But enough chat. Building has begun.

Please visit my Wombat Amps blog to see the current schematic and layout: Wombat Amplification: Raffle Amp Main Board

I'm going to try and document this build so that you can follow along as it comes together during the next few weeks. I've just posted some pictures of the construction of the mainboard (in the link above), and also the power tube board Wombat Amplification: Raffle amp power tube board. I'll add more as I go, and should have a pretty good set of documentation by the end suitable for any DIY types that might wish to have a go themselves.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through all of this, and I hope you'll consider making your tax-deductible (in the US) contribution to the LLS and getting in on the raffle! As you can see from my donations page, we've already collectively raised over $2200 for cancer research. But my goal is to reach $3000 this fundraising season. So I would really appreciate it if you would share this link on your facebook page, or where ever really! Help me make this go viral, and let's kick cancer's butt!

Here again is the link to the donations page: My Fundraising Page

If you make a donation, and have a friend or family member that has been afflicted by blood cancer that you would like me to run in honour or in memory of, please let me know, and I will gladly include their name on my race day shirt.



A note to international members: The amp is constructed with a PT that will let me switch readily between 120VAC/60Hz and 230-240VAC/50Hz so there is no reason why you shouldn't get in on this raffle. I would, however, ask that any non-mainland US or Canada residents cover the cost of overseas shipping in the eventuality that they win the raffle.

Wombaticus 21st May 2012 02:38 PM

Hi guys,

Things are progressing rapidly now. As of this weekend, I've finished all the point-to-point boards (main, power tubes, bias, DC heaters), and also had a chance to make the PCB for the relay/reverb driver. The only major component remaining is the PCB for the tremolo, and I hope to get that done this week.

The really cool news though is that Ben Sykora has finished work on the gorgeous cherry wood head cab he has so generously donated. Check out the pictures of the completed cab! Wombat Amplification: Raffle amp head cab is complete!

This amp is going to be really special... and it could be yours. Remember each $25 donated to my fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society counts as a ticket in the raffle for this amp!

Wombaticus 30th May 2012 12:54 PM

Chassis and Cabinet have arrived
Yesterday was pretty exciting, as I both completed the tremolo PCB (that's the last of the boards for this amp), and UPS also dropped off a big package with the head cabinet and chassis. This means that everything is here in Richmond, and the final assembly phase is now beginning!

So who wants to build an amp!? Here's an update with a pic of all the components ready to be mounted and harnessed up, and some news about the timing of the raffle and how it will be conducted.

This amp could be yours! Each $25 donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on my fundraising page counts as a ticket in the raffle. Help me reach my fundraising goal of $3000 and help stamp out blood cancers!!

Wombaticus 6th June 2012 01:13 PM

Race day wrap up
The day of the race has come and gone (it was Sunday), and I'm back home in Richmond, tired and happy, having completed my sixth Team-in-Training event in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

As for the race itself... Well, I had some challenges with my training for this event, getting sick during a few critical weeks, and missing several key long runs. In the end, my level of preparation just wasn't where it needed to be to run the full marathon as I had intended (it would have been my fifth). So in the end, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and dropped back to run the half marathon. This turned out to be a very wise choice, and I ended up finishing the race in a fairly dismal time of 2h:13m, which is a full 25 minutes slower than my best time for the 13.1 mile distance. But don't get me wrong, it was a great day and it was wonderful to be out running with the sea of TnT teammates with their distinctive purple Team in Training shirts.

The crowd support from the people of San Diego was also outstanding, with lots of funny signs along the course.. My two favourites were a Leave-it-to-Beaver looking kid holding a sign that said "Worst. Parade. Ever.". And also the attractive young woman with the sign that said "Your stamina is pretty good. Call me, maybe?"

All in all, of approximately 30,000 registrants for the San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon, over 2,500 were raising funds for LLS. In total, I'm proud to report that, collectively, over $7.3 Million dollars was raised for blood cancer research through this one one event alone. This year, the majority of donations to my personal fundraising efforts came from generous people on online forums like The Amp Garage. Together, we have so far raised over $3150, so please, if you have already participated in the amplifier raffle, give yourself a nice pat on the back. If you haven't, please remember that the drawing will be on 24 June, so you have until then to make your own contribution, and to get in on the raffle. This weekend should see the final assembly of the amp.

My Fundraising Page

Thanks to all!

Wombaticus 24th June 2012 01:00 AM

LAST CHANCE! Amp raffle is tomorrow!
Hi guys,

The big day is almost here, the amplifier raffle to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma society is happening tomorrow, 24 June!

So this is the last chance to get in on the action. Remember, each tax-deductible $25 donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through my Team-in-Training fundraising page counts as a ticket in the raffle.

To count towards the raffle, you need to donate before noon EDT -- that's when I'm going to upload all of the donor names to the Randompicker website, which will pick the lucky winner.

It looks like tomorrow, semi-coincidentally, is also when the amp will get its first juice. I'm finishing up the wiring to the sockets and the pot tonight. Of course, there will likely be a brief period of troubleshooting and final tweaking, but the finished amp will be shipped off to the lucky winner as soon as possible.

Check out yesterday's build shots on my blog.



Wombaticus 24th June 2012 05:07 PM

We have a winner!!
The raffle for the Wombat Amps Quest amplifier was conducted today using the website. You can see the details and the protocol that was used.

I'm excited to announce that David Morin of Monmouth, ME is the lucky winner!

Many thanks to everyone that so generously donated to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and this project. Special thanks are also in order to my collaborators from the Gothik Amps consortium that so graciously donated time and materials for the amp project.

This includes Ben Sykora of Sykora Custom Tube Amps, for his donation of a beautiful hand-built head cabinet, Mason Atom Wolak of TMI amplification, for the engraved faceplate, and Brian Schmittling of DirtyDawg Amp chassis for the custom aluminum amp chassis.

In the end, we raised almost $3800 for cancer research, with donations coming from five countries (USA, Canada, Slovakia, Australia, and the United Kingdom) and three continents. Many thanks and sincere gratitude to all.

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