Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New toy's !! Arduino's for HAM projects.

Hi all....

Today the mail arrived with a new toy....
I ordered an Arduino UNO and a Nano....

I did not have time to do a lot of things with it, but I uploaded a quick program to it.... just watch the orange led blinking SOS in morse....



This is also where I want to use the Arduino's for.... morse stuff... Still looking into fun projects for them....

Ohh and on eBay the imitation ones are really cheap.... if you guy's know of fun morse projects, just leave something in the comments..

73's
Alex
PA1SBM

Friday, March 20, 2015

BITX20 - 24. PA part 2... the story continues....

Well, it has been a long while since the 2 criteria to work on the bitx20 both were valid....
A) I have to feel like it....
B) I need time...

But as i have the week off.... i picked up the project box where the Bitx20 is in and opened it up.....
I took out the PA and started to look what was needed.....

I left off here.....





So i grabbed the manual and started to work with the dreaded coils i had to make......
Fortunately I did not have to make trifilar's, just bifilar and singles, which is a lot better.

So after a bit the board looked like this.......

According to the manual you are done at this point.... but i already stated that  the manual is a bit quirky and not 100% correct due to Indian>English>"Dutch understanding" translations.
If you look closely you will see that a 220pF capacitor, 0.55uH coil and a 1N4001 are missing...
Also a 100pF, but you cant see that due to the heat sink being in front of it.
On the top part you see some missing components as well, but that is only if you wanna use a higher voltage on the PA (or actually on the IRF510) then the standard 12 volts. As I intend to use this with standard 12v (or actually 13.8), I choose the other build method described in the manual. few less components.. (diode's resistors and an lm317)

Now getting back to the non explained missing components.........
This is a mod that was allready added to the PCB and also to the parts.... but not so good in the build manual....
In the mod section you find something , but not how to make this L2....
this is the mod:  Bitx20 Linear AMP mod
As it was still not clear what and how to do with L2 (found out later that it was named L2) i downloaded the build manuals of the Bitx20 ver 3b/c.
In there i found exactly what was needed....... 14 turns on a T50-6.
The diode is used in the version 3b/c as well , so i put it in and i have no idea if i should or not.....
I still need to do some testing and do the measuring to see if all is ok....
At least the PA/PSU looks finished now :)





Onto the next part !!! This will be a rebuild of the VFO from test version to something a bit more neat (Has to be done as well as 1 of my cats decide to chew on all the wires.... grrr)  and i will put the VFO and Counter in HF tin enclosures (or whatever they are called in proper English :) .....
Something like this :)


We're getting near something that will actually work!
Untill the next time!

73's
Alex
PA1SBM

Monday, March 16, 2015

K-PO KPS30SW : Part 2 - adding a bi-metal thermal thingie.....

Hello all.....

About the title... As no-one posted a comment about what the proper name was of the temprature sensor, I still call it a "thingie"........

So yesterday i visited my good friend Hans (PD0AC). If you don't know him, you really should look at his blog as well <link>.

We started to talk about my PSU story and I told him about the bi-metal thermal thingie "missing" in one of them..... and he told me that he had "a few" laying around his shack.... (a few seems to mean between 20 and 30) so he gave me one of 60 degrees Celsius... meaning that it will close (make connection) if the temperature exceeds 60c we started to discus the temperature and we came to this conclusion...
  • lower has no use, because it will turn on too often in the warmer summer days
  • lower has no need as the power FET's will be ok till about 120c
  • higher is not needed as 60c is hot enough...
So today i put it in......

Opening this PSU is easy, flip it over and remove 6 screws....


And then you are left with this......


When you take a closer look at the back near the fan, you will see that K-PO has been nice enough to actually leave some taped holes where you can place the bi-metal thermal thingie without a problem..





So after bending the leads a bit for easier soldering , and adding some Thermal paste, i placed it where it should be....


Just a little tip..... the bolts i used were used to mount a floppy disk drive in the good old days...


Now in my opinion this all smells a bit like K-PO trying to reduce manufacturing costs... and let's be honest, i rather have them cut cost in a thermal switch thingy then something significant that can blow up your PSU.... But still, it's nice to have less fan noise in your shack.... 

And again, this in no way a bad PSU. You won't get more bang for your bucks as with K-PO PSU's
And after using them for about 5 years now, i do not believe they will fail anymore due to bad construction or design.


sneak preview: i also bought myself a K-PO SPS30II (which was 59 euro new!), more about that one in a few weeks.... 


73's
Alex
PA1SBM

Sunday, March 8, 2015

CQRLOG 1.9.0 released

On the 4th of March, Petr OK2CQR, released a brand new version of CQRLOG.....

So, what's new, and what bugs were fixed.....
In the download section of www.cqrlog.com we read the following......

Version 1.9.0
  • added support for setting the QTH Nickname in eQSL.cc download dialog (Florian, DF2ET)
  • configuration can be stored into database or local computer only (Preferences -> Program -> Configure storage settings)
  • second directory path to auto backup added
  • Ignore changes caused by LoTW/eQSL upload or download option added
  • CQ and ITU zones are taken from previous QSO if exists
  • added new band map filter
  • CALLSIGN, BAND, MODE, FREQ macros to dxcluster allert command added
  • "Capitalise first letter in QTH field" option added
  • Propagation window improved, now shows more information (Saku, OH1KH)
  • after change of callsign, report, date or time, the QSO was still marked as uploaded to LotW/eQSL - fixed
  • LoTW upload - when Export all QSO was selected, only 500 QSO were exported - fixed
  • buttons caption in CW type window didn't use values from settings
  • online log upload of edited QSO fixed
  • uploading QSO to HamQTH fixed
  • downloading data for web dx cluster fixed

The 2nd new feature, to store your settings in the database is for a single user, in my humble oppinion, the best thing ever.... now you just have to backup your database which contains everything....

I run Linuxmint 17.1, and I installed it in the usual way for me....
Download the new version, and in a shell i run sudo dpkg -i cqrlog_1.9.0-1_amd64.deb
This installed without any problems....
Also running CQRLOG was without any problems... all works as expected so far.....

Again a big thanks to Petr for making this program....

73's
Alex
PA1SBM

Monday, February 16, 2015

PACC 2015... Looking back at 24 hrs of fun....

Hello all,

After 24 Hrs of HAM fun, it's time to evaluate......

Just be for the PACC.... RED ALERT!! PRIORITY ONE INCIDENT......

For the people who know me, it's not unknown that i drink a lot of coffee, and i love a good cup....
There for i have an Illy X7..... and just before the PACC the Illy broke down!! PACC without coffee is just not done..... It kinda works still, so i am gonna try to fix it, but to be sure i bought myself an new Illy X7.1

 The left picture is the old X7 , the right picture is the new X7.1


Preparing for the PACC  the last day be for......
As i always had a problem with 80m and making contacts there... i thought it would be a good idea to set up my full size ZS6BKW... 2 times 14.6 meters wide..... And as i live in a small house, i would need some extra space.....
It is unfortunately not really clear but it runs from the tree to the bottom of the highest antenna.....
This was a good choice to be honest... booming signals on 20, 40 and 80 for Europe.....



So, shack ready and almost time to begin......



The first day i was joined by 1 of the 2 cats we have and she stayed till i was going for a few hours of sleep....


So how did the PACC go for me....

When it started, i made the choice to go look around on 20m, which might not have been the best choice.... It probably would have been better to start snooping around on 10m to get some more multipliers there..... but i started out on 20 so be it... When 20m started to die out a bit i went to 40 and later to 80m.... Unfortunately i ran into a problem i noticed too late.... my headset decided to not like 80m and started to interfere when transmitting... the compressor and ALC went crazy.... No problem with the normal mic though...
That is for sure something i need to look into.... When i found out i really needed a few hours of sleep, and at 7:00CET i was back in the shack again.... After i looked a bit on 10 and 20m, I spent a lot of time on 15 and 40 meters which was very nice 40m was jam packed with dutch people, it was crazy!
15meters was really nice too.... i usually never come there , but after this weekend i am going to check it out more often....

I wanted to do better then last year... and i did, but not by very much :)
Last year results were: 194 QSO's , 11020 points....
These are the scores i logged this weekend.... probably i will loose a few QSO's, but still it should be just over last year....



ON TO NEXT YEAR!!!! Hope to work you all in next years contest....

73's
Alex
PA1SBM




Friday, January 23, 2015

We all know someone who does this......

Normally I do not blog about funny things....
But when i bumped into this picture on 9gag.com I could not resist to shamelessly rip the picture and post it here....

Reason be that we all are HAM amateurs and have some level of electronics skill....
There for we get people who come to use asking to fix something for them which they have successfully sent to electronics heaven with the following method..... Especially the tin foil....



I hope this made you laugh as well..... (the slow-blow comment did it for me :) )

73's

Alex
PA1SBM

Sunday, January 11, 2015

K-PO KPS30SW : Fan noise and differences

Hello all,

At the last HAM fest, 2 fellow HAM's, William (PE1BZF) and Herman (PE1GDF), told me that one salesperson was selling low-noise PAPST fans which fit in my PSU's.

My PSU's are 2 identical K-PO KPS30SW PSU's.... well, I thought they were identical......

Let's start with the first one......
The KPO front and back.. with crappy fan....


So what am i replacing it with..... This nice PAPST fan.... Twice as beefy :)



So i open up the first PSU....... And swap over the fan.....


Here you can clearly see the fan is twice as thick....

So after the fan was fitted, I installed the psu back on it's spot and turned it on... just a little less air noise, no more rattling and humming, but more important, at least twice the airflow.
I am one happy HAM with this change.....

So, time to start the second PSU..... and i was in somewhat of a shock....
Biggest difference was..... A bi-metal thermal switch thingie... Or whatever they are called in English.. (please let me know in the comments... ;) )


This was not the only difference... This one was build much cleaner, less past and glue stuff...

So a big thanks to the people at KPO for making cheap PSU's which do the job quite well, but who are in no way consistent in what they build :)

Dont get me wrong , both PSU's do the job well, and are in no way bad PSU's, especially when you remember that for 30 Amps you only have to cough up 80 euro's....

73's
Alex
PA1SBM