13cm PA progress

Drilled and tapped the ally spreader plate and fixed the 13cm Spectrian PA to the spreader, the bolted it to the DB6NT watercooling plate.  Next job is to fix the power leads, input and output connectors and control connections.  Circulator needs plumbing in, then just pop the amp in between the transverter output and the antenna relay.

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Completed PA assembly ready to solder the SMA sockets. This is a first fix, not slathered it in Arctic White thermal compound yet…

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Initially I’ll use total loss cooling with a bag of water draining through the plate into a bucket.  Once all is well, I’ll plumb this in to the main fluid cooling system.

Building a G4DDK VLNA for 13cm

Nice little project this evening, 2.3GHz VLNA kit from Sam G4DDK. Comes as a board, tin box and bagged and colour-coded SMDs.  I hand-soldered all the SMDs with the help of my shiny new binocular microscope, needle-pointed thermostatic soldering iron and some 0.3mm solder. Finished thing is pretty small, 36 x 73mm

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Close-up with my iPad, too much faff to get the SLR and macro lens out.

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Next step is to fit the input matching coils, then the power lead and the RF-absorbent sorbothane  to keep the thing tame. Watch this space…

GB3BSS and GB3ZME are usually about 2dB over noise on 13cm tropo, with some peaks to +10dB from aircraft scatter.  I’m hoping the VLNA will pull that up by a few dB once I get the input matching right

The Shack – Ham Radio 2016 style

Another G4DDK VLNA on the workbench.  13cm this time…..

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Remember the “Shambolic Shack” feature of the 1980s? Is this just a slightly higher-technology version?  This is the Engineering side of the G4DBN radio room, the operating position is to the left.  Repaired Kuhne 13cm transverter and Anglian 144MHz transverter on the operating table in front of the testgear rack

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GB3BSS 13cm tropo and aircraft scatter

Tropo and aircraft scatter from GB3BSS in IO81SR32 on 2320.924923 MHz (GPSDO locked).  14:25 on May 14, 2016. Elad FDM-DUO/G4DDK Anglian/DB6NT MKU23 G4/40-ele Wimo. Aircraft scatter around +10dB peak over noise, tropo is 2dB or so over noise. Beacon running 40W EIRP at 248km on 13cm.  Pretty much normal conditions.

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33GHz Broadern drivers for 134GHz

Bought a pair of Broadern 33GHz transceivers to use as an LO source for 134GHz bare diode harmonic mixer transverters. Should be a bit of fun for those cold, dry winter days.  2300 IF on 134 would work, so would 432 IF.  Not really any good for 241GHz though, x7 in one step doesn’t sound feasible…

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DB6NT MKU 23 G4 13cm transverter

Another new toy arrived today, the latest 13cm multi-segment transverter from DB6NT

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Feels very solid and precise, reassuringly heavy

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C
onnected to the DDK Anglian transverter

IMG_0426Output spectrum, 20dB attenuation external to the 8562A, so 27.17dBm output on 2320.200MHz.  Close-in noise about 80dB down at 5kHz.  The HP436A shows about 27.8dBm.  Second and higher harmonics are below the noise floor of the analyser.

2320 spectrum MKU 23 G4This is the SDR waterfall with a -156dBm carrier in to the 2320MHz RX input from the E4421B via a Narda 18GHz 20dB pad.

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Binocular Microscope

I finally cracked and decided my eyeballs were not up to SMD work, and holding a magnifying glass was just too clumsy, so yet another bit of kit has appeared.  7x to 45x binocular microscope from AmScope. Very nice working distance and excellent clarity, at full zoom an 0805 resistor looks like a house-brick.  FOV at 45x is about 4mm. At 7x zoom, full frame is about 25mm diameter, with 100mm working distance.

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13cm Spectrian amplifier

I bought an eBay Spectrian 75W amplifier for 13cm to go with the Kuhne transverter.  Spec says 26V at 16A, so the efficiency is extremely low, but it was cheap.  7 amps or so standing current. Thinking of watercooling it.  It has a thin copper heat spreader bonded to the underside of the PCB, so maybe OK just mounting it on an aluminium cooling plate, but I have a bit of copper bar that I can solder the water pipe to directly, so might go for that instead.  Transverter has not arrived yet, so having to test it with a CW signal from my Agilent E4421B

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144MHz Anglian transverter

After seeing the Anglian on Sam G4DDK’s stall at the Martlesham Microwave Round Table event, I bought one of the last of the batch and built and tested it as the IF for the upcoming 13cm and 3cm transverters.  Great fun and it works extremely well with a 116MHz GPSDO locking reference at -10dBm.  Output is very clean at 13dBm output, and receiver is performing as per spec.

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