Category Archives: Antenna

10 GHz Dielectric lens Feedhorn

I’m working on a simple, waterproof, reproducible design for a 10 GHz dish feed for folks who are taking part in the group buy project to build F6BVA 10 GHz to UHF transverters. This uses a probe launch into a round waveguide machined from solid aluminium. The lens is made from Rexolite 1422, which is a free-machining cross-linked polystyrene with well-defined relative permittivity and a loss tangent of about 0.0004. This one is designed for a rather flat offset dish I have with equivalent f/d about 0.75, but I will be doing some for more common offset dishes

Finished 10 GHz feedhorn with Radiall SMA connector

The body is turned and bored from a bit of aluminium round bar

The flat area is too large on this one, I’ll make it narrower on subsequent versions so I don’t have to shorten those M2.5 screws

432 MHz Moonbounce array elevation mechanism

I’m working on an elevation pivot plate for a large 70cm moonbounce array for a friend. The design uses a 40 x 30cm plate with clamps and alignment blocks to carry GRP and aluminium tubes to support the array and LNA/phasing harness. This is the first stage, making the knuckle and pivot pin and bearing bushes/carriers. The bodies are aluminium, the shaft is 316 stainless steel and the bushes are phosphor bronze. It will have dust caps and grease nipples. The bushes are in two parts with a 1mm grease groove between them

So far, it is looking OK. More to follow.

One of the bearing bushes and mounting blocks being checked for fit

The original concept for the knuckle is here: http://www.g4dbn.uk/?p=1618 and this is the story so far of the machining,

The 100 x 100 x 150 mm aluminium block
Facing the block, bit of unnecessary slow-mo trickery
Shiny!
Nice rainbow caustic
First stage of turning
Forming the boss on the first side
Turning on a mandrel to form the second boss
Knuckle finished and bored to take the pivot shaft
Pivot shaft machined to size, with flats for the grub screws and locked in place
Machining and tapping the bearing carriers. M10 spiral flute tap clearing the chips very nicely
I made a mandrel with a threaded hole to turn the bearings from a piece of an ancient slab of bronze that I remember my dad using in the 1960s as a soft anvil
Block fitted to the mandrel ready for OD machining and facing
Initial facing done and OD completed
Removing the semi-finished bush from the mandrel
One half of the first bush pressed into one of the the bearing carriers
Boring the completed carrier and pair of bushes to fit the shaft with a 5 micrometre clearance
Test fit of the first bearing carrier

Another batch of 122 GHz W2IMU f/d 0.8 feedhorns

Brass W2IMU dual-mode feedhorn for 122 GHz

I’ve just completed a batch of 24 of these W2IMU feedhorns for the 122 GHz band. Thread as usual is M8 x 0.5 mm. Horn ID is 4.03 mm, 27.1 degree internal flare, 2.00 mm reamed waveguide core, rear duplexer cavity for VK3CV boards, four M2 threaded holes, 4.00 mm reamed barrel, 3.98 mm spigot on the waveguide. This is the version 2 with a flat step as the end stop. Rather than relying on the 7.5 mm tapping drill to make the bottom of the threaded section, I now machine that using a centre-cutting M7 end mill. Part number for this version is DBN-122-IMU-0.7-02 and price to bona-fide 122 GHz experimenters is £14

The coupler body, internal thread M8 x 0.75, 14.85 mm diameter
Core of the horn, threaded M8 x 0.5, reamed to 2.00 mm internally
Rear cavity to fit over the chip on the VK3CV board. The barrel is adjusted for best TX and TX performance

WR90 to SMA transition

I needed a couple of transitions, so decided to try to make a very simple narrowband design, optimised for 10368 MHz with low loss and a good match over a few hundred MHz. I ran up a design with rounded corners to the cavity to make it simple to machine using an 8 mm slot drill. I chose aluminium for the body as it performs well, although without anodising, it is going to need protection from the elements. I used some good quality Radiall SMA four-hole flange-mount sockets.

Although this looks a simple part, the instructions I make for myself show the level of detail.

I’ll publish the measured performance soon. So far, I can get around -23dB across ±100MHz. Once optimised, I will have some of these for sale to bona-fide experimenters. Email neil@g4dbn.uk for details

One of the completed horns ready for testing
CAD model in Fusion360
Modelled through loss and return loss from OpenEMS

Dish Feedpoint Mounts

Tony G8DMU has a 2.4m mesh dish on his van. He uses a variety of feeds, and they are all different diameters. I made up a quick-detach support ring to fit an RF Hamdesign multi-band ring feed, but Tony’s 23cm feed is larger, so I made up some extension blocks and a set of cheeks and spiders to support the different feeds.

The original ring feed, with the adjustable ends on carbon fibre struts, QD sockets and attachment brackets

First step was to extend the ring to fit the large feed

Blocks inserted into the ring to increase the diameter and provide attachments for the spiders and cheeks

I made up a stainless steel internally threaded clamp nut to fit on a stainless threaded bar fixed into the block with Loctite, so I didn’t have to worry about threads in the aluminium getting damaged.

The big 23cm band feed in the clamp ring

Next step was to make support cheeks/crescents to hold the multiband ring feed

Adjustable crescent with a knurled brass head on a pointed stainless steel thread, with a brass insert to spread the force and prevent wear on the Delrin
Fixed crescent, milled from Delrin and threaded M5

The 3.4 GHz feed is the smallest, so I milled a support ring and fitted support rods with threaded ends to fix to the holes in the outer ring. The threads were M5 so they fitted easily through the M6 threaded hole in the clamping block.

Clamping ring and spider for the 3.4 GHz feedhorn
3.4 GHz horn fitted to the main ring.

The 13cm horn is a little larger, and had to be made in two pieces to fit over the backshort.

2.3 GHz feedhorn in the clamp

I milled the rings on my ancient Bridgeport mill using a shop-made fixture plate on a rotary table with a sacrificial plate made from acrylic sheet.

Finally, a photo from Tony of the big dish in use on his van at a portable contest site up in the hills

122GHz free-flange coupler v2

The original flanged coupler has a solid core, so as it is adjusted, the flange rotates. This is fine if it is used with an axisymmetric flange-mounted horn or a dish or lens which can rotate relative to the transceiver board. Where an experimenter wishes to connect the flange to something which cannot rotate, or where adjustment of the polarisation is needed, a new approach is required.

Flanged 122 GHz coupler with spanner flats on the threaded barrel

I separated the flange and central waveguide from the threaded barrel, and reamed a hole through the barrel. That allowed the flange to float and rotate, but it needed a clamp. I decided that a split nut which would fit over a raised ring on the shaft might work OK.

More pics to follow…