fredag den 1. juni 2018

Lima SDR: Windows 10 USB interface

I am currently building the Lima SDR kit which is an all-band all-mode SDR transceiver with 1 W output. I am following the instructions in "HW/SW Handbuch 2.1, 2014, by DL9WB". Yes, it is in German!

This photo shows the programable synthesizer SI570 (square 2) connected to the USB chip (square 1).

The unfinished RX board (Lima SDR).

The concept is shown below. A test application on the PC controls SI570 via an USB interface.
SI570 controlled by a test application via USB.
However, I had problems installing the USB driver on the PC. I followed the instructions in "HW/SW Handbuch" but it did not work. Here is how I solved the driver problem:
  • Install the certificate (it is on the CD-ROM: AmateurRadioRootCertificate.crt)
  • Download and run PE0FKO-USB-Driver-Installer
Link to the Driver Installer: http://pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/PE0FKO-USB-Driver-Installer.exe

Installation of driver is complete.

The installed driver is from 11/10/2012 and the version is 1.2.6.0. Now the USB connection works, and the SI570 output frequency can be set. Hooray!

USB_Synth.exe controls the output frequency of SI570.
Vy 73 from OZ1BXM Lars

lørdag den 26. maj 2018

Kenwood TS-440 error: dots-in-display

Kenwood TS-440 can develop an error where only dots are shown in the frequncy part of the display. When the microprocessor in TS-440 detects a PLL unlock condition, it blanks the display and shows a row of dots. See the picture below.

Kenwood TS-440 with dots in the display caused by PLL unlock.

There are 5 PLL's in the TS-440 and any of them can cause the "dots".

There are 2 PLL's where glue was added at the factory to protect the circuit against vibration. Over time the glue can become conductive because it absorbs moisture from the air. Conductive glue is poison to a VCO, which is highly sensitive to voltage changes.

VCO5 (PLL-unit) is used on all bands. It will affect all frequencies if VCO5 goes into the unlocked state.

VCO1 (RF-unit) consists of 4 separate oscillators. Together they cover the entire operating range of the radio. If one of the oscillators is unlocked, it will affect the range covered by that device.

What is the solution to the dots-in-display problem?

My solution is radical and labor intensive: I remove all components from VCO1 and VCO5 and clean the PCB thoroughly to remove all glue. Then I fit brand new components and adjust the VCO. The PCB is then reinstalled into the transceiver and a final alignment of the VCO's is performed.

The method above has shown good results, and I have done it twice. You can read more by visiting http://oz1bxm.dk/TS440/ts440-repair.htm

Vy 73, OZ1BXM Lars Petersen
Web-page: oz1bxm.dk

lørdag den 21. april 2018

Microwave meeting in EDR Horsens

Today I attended a microwave meeting in Horsens, Denmark. The radio club EDR Horsens  hosted the meeting. The aim was to introduce the participants to microwaves: 10 GHz, 24 GHz, and 47 GHz. Most participants came from Denmark, but there was also one person from Norway and two from Germany.

During the first part of the meeting, there were lectures on different subjects:
  • Microwave measuring techniques (by OZ2OE)
  • How I started on 10 GHz (by OZ7Z)
  • How OZ5TG  transformed an obsolete radar system into a big EME station
The afternoon was dedicated microwave communication in the field. Most participants drove to a nearby "mountain" called Ejer Bavnehoj (JO45VX). This location is 170 meters above sea level and the third-highest natural point in Denmark. Most stations operated from the brick tower situated on top of the "mountain". All stations used battery power.

The brick tower of Ejer Bavnehoj, Denmark.

LB2S and his 10 GHz station (Ejer Bavnehoj, Denmark)

OZ2OE and his 24 GHz station (Ejer Bavnehoj, Denmark).
The microwave meeting in EDR Horsens was a great succes. Good food, nice people, quality lectures, and successful microwaving in the field - what more can you want?

OZ1BXM (me) in QSO on 47 GHz (Ejer Bavnehoj, Denmark)
Vy 73 from OZ1BXM Lars
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk

tirsdag den 6. marts 2018

Getting ready for AO-92 mode L/v

The satellite AO-92 was launched in January 2018. It carries an U/v transponder (uplink UHF, downlink VHF). One day in the week (usually Sunday) AO-92 runs in mode L/v with uplink 1267.350 MHz, and downlink 145.880 MHz.

I would like to operate AO-92 using the L-band uplink. I own some 23 cm equipment, which is unused right now, and can be put into service. Here is my concept of mode L/v:
Equipment for working AO-92 in mode L/v.
The upconverter is MKU 13 OTX from Kuhne Electronic. It converts 144 MHz to 1268 MHz at 1 W. The upconverter is keyed by injecting a DC voltage into the coax-cable.

The 20 W PA is based on the power module RA18H1213G from Mitsubishi. I bought the PA as a kit from PE1RKI Bert. You can find the circuit diagram and a description of the building process here.

The low-pass filter removes harmonic waves, and monitors the RF power.

The antenna is a helix-antenna for circular polarization (RHCP). As the AO-92 antenna is linear, there will be 3 dB loss when circular polarized waves are received by the satellite.

The 23 cm equipment is housed in an alu-box which is mounted near the antenna.

My 23 cm equipment in the alu-box.
I am looking forward to next Sunday where the L-band uplink is active. I hope to get some contacts via AO-92 in mode L/v!

lørdag den 10. februar 2018

Yaesu FT-847 Doppler Control with PstRotator

I want to work amateur radio satellites, especially those with a linear transponder (SSB/CW). I worked satellites about 10 years ago, but the urge to do it again has appeared. As I have never been able to control the doppler shift, I wanted software for this task. 

The program PstRotator can manage both antenna tracking and doppler correction. However, the configuration of PstRotator was more difficult than anticipated.

The software runs on my PC under Windows 10 Home (64 bit). PstRotator and OmniRig are installed as usual. Hardware and software is connected as shown in this sketch:
PstRotator controls the rotators and the FT-847 transceiver.

OmniRig is a driver for COM-ports. It enables several programs use the same port. This is a benefit, because a log-program often needs access to the same COM-port in ordet to read the transceiver's frequency and mode.

PstRotator is like a "Swiss army knife". It controls both the rotators and performs doppler correction. 

My rotor controller is ERC-3D. It controls both azimuth and elevation. ERC-3D was made by DF9GR, but the controller has been removed from the market and is now obsolete. It is replaced by the ERC-M

ERC-3D rotor controller by DF9GR.

If you would like a detailed description how I configured PstRotator and OmniRig, you can find a PDF-document on my homepage: oz1bxm.dk/PstRotator.pdf

73 from OZ1BXM Lars
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk

mandag den 1. januar 2018

Yaesu FT-920 no transmit

I was surprised when my Yaesu FT-920 HF transceiver suddenly stopped transmitting. RX was ok, but no TX in any mode.

I began checking the backup battery and performing a master reset. This advice was given on eham.net by KB5UBI: "A full reset did not solve the problem, but a button battery replacement followed by a full reset solved the problem".

I removed all power and all cables from the transceiver. Then I removed the bottom cover. I located the backup battery and measured the voltage to 2.32 volt. Then I switched off the Backup switch (next to the yellow capacitor) and replaced the battery (CR2032). Then I swithced on the Backup switch. The voltage of the new battery when fitted was 3.13 volt.

Yaesu FT-920 backup battery.

My Yaesu FT-920 now performs normally. Replacing the backup battery and performing a master reset did the trick!

Happy new Year 2018 from OZ1BXM Lars

Homepage: oz1bxm.dk