09 aprilie 2017

Dipol VHF (UHF) simplu

M-a intrebat un amic ce antena de VHF sa isi faca. Imediat m-am gandit la un dipol deschis, ca varianta optima eficienta/pret.
Ca materiale, am folosit o teava din aluminiu, de 20mm grosime in lungime de 1m si o bara de PVC, tot de 1m lungime precum si o mica platbanda de circa 25mm latime si 1mm grosime in lungime de circa 45mm.

Pentru inceput, am facut suportul (consola) din PVC. Am taiat din bara de PVC o lungime de 30cm si am marcat-o la jumatate. Pe aceasta bucata se vor prinde elementele dipolului.

Restul de circa 70 cm urmeaza sa fie "consola"; la unul din capete am prelucrat-o cu un Dremel astfel incat sa fie concava si sa se imbine pe generatoarea bucatii de 30 cm. 
Am pregatit o mica cantitate de rasina epoxidica cu intarire rapida, am imbinat cele doua bucati si le-am prins cu un holtzsurub.

Apoi, am taiat in doua bucati de cate 50 cm teava de aluminiu si am realizat gaurile de prindere cu o bormasina cu coloana pentru a asigura perpendicularitatea pe generatoarea tevii.

Cele doua bucati de teava de aluminiu se introduc pe bratele suportului in forma de "T" din PVC apoi gaurim si PVC-ul pe tiparul gaurilor din tevile de aluminiu.

Din bucata de platbanda am facut suportul mufei BNC mama cu flansa patrata. Aceasta se prinde cu un surub M4 pe una din tevi, pe gaura realizata la 7mm de capatul tevii. Firul central al mufei se conecteaza la cealalta teava, tot la prima gaura.

Antena se realizeaza in circa o ora cu un cost total, circa 30 lei...

Bratul consolei (circa 70 cm)  asigura instalarea la distanta de cel putin 50 cm (L/4) de un pilon. Atentie insa, pe directia pilonului, diagrama va fi cardioida cu o atenuare de circa 3 db!

Masuratoarea de SWR arata 1:1.2 in banda 118-138 si circa 1:1.5-1:1.6 in 140-146 MHz cu 1:1.6 in 435 MHz, apropiat de simularea in MMANA:

Pentru un acord perfect in 145 MHz, lungimea celor doua elemente ale antenei trebuie redusa la circa 49 - 49.3 cm. Eu le-am pastrat de 50 cm pentru banda aero.

Cum arata antena:

Este pusa cu GND in jos :-) dar merge la fel si invers :-)))

06 aprilie 2017

IF tap for external SDR on a Yaesu FT-840

So, a fellow ham (YO6FPW) has send me his radio to repair and for a very interesting mod!
He want to be able to use his RTL-SDR receiver with this radio.
The repair was nothing interesting. The Rx/Tx relay was fried and the RS signal was not present on the first batch of switching diodes.
The relay was changed with a similar one and the fried PCB was repaired with a wire directly from the Toshiba high current driver.
On the other hand, the asked mod was a real challenge!
The first IF on this radio is on 47.055 MHz so it's suitable to use it with a low cost RTL SDR but the signal is very low before the crystal filter. It's better to have the signal tapped before the filter. Why? Well, the answer it's obvious: to have a whole 2 MHz to enjoy!

So, first, I tried to use the G4HUP schematics (PAT)  but it didn;t work as expected. The signal was very low, maybe because I tapped the IF signal from a different point or maybe because my J310 are fake :-).

This is where I put the IF tap:

It's a low impedance, low signal point so I needed a good RF preamplifier.
Listening with a RTL-SDR produced usable signals only on strong signals so I was looking in my little boxes after some suitable components. I remembered that I have somewhere some Analog Devices AD8008 for a "never started project" and I decided that this is my path!

So, I quickly draw a schematic, I also drawed on a PCB and put it to work.

Here is the schematic, based on the application note from Analog:

Everything was in SMD because I was looking for a small footprint, but the result was nice (at least for what I needed:

I also found some metal sheet to made a custom shield case.

I didn't save the results from the IFR sweep analyser; the amplification is around 12 db at 5V and is very flat, which is what I was looking for! At 9 V, the amplification is around 17 db! Good to know!

The 5V for powering the amplifier is taken directly from the Q1034 on the SMD side of the "RF" PCB board. I didn't took it from L 1012 as is shown on the G4HUP page because there was some problems with that path and I didn't want to stress the PCB. So I took the 5V directly from the TD6278P SMD circuit (Q1034), on pin 12 (RS).
This 5V is present when the radio is on receive only and when transmitting is 0V so the preamp is protected from accidental high RF at input.

As for the output, I had a nice BNC connector with a small RG316 cable, just asking to be on the rear side of the Yaesu FT-840!

This is the final work:

And here is a small youtube movie with the SDR at work:

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