This article is broken into two parts. First comes the “Oscar” preselector/preamplifier. As I said, I intended it to be either part of the overall receiver or used as a standalone where desired. The second part deals with the WBR upgrades. Both designs were built using the same techniques and I’ve tested both and found that—especially in concert—they do about as well as some of my boat anchors! So if your soldering iron is ready, I’ll start by describing “Oscar.”
To simplify things, this voting controller sits in “front” of an ordinary repeater controller, taking the audio and COS inputs from the various receivers and outputting a single audio and COS signal.
If the repeater system in question uses subaudible tones, it is recommended that “discriminator” audio (e.g. that which has not been de-emphasized) that has not been subject to a squelch or tone detector audio gate be applied to the voting controller from the link receivers as well as any “local” receivers as this will assure that the voted audio will contain the subaudible tone.
What are you thinking — I am not trying to break any world record? My XYL asked me that question today — why are you building another rig? Followed up by a snide comment that I had so many rigs now why do I need another one. Well the answer plain and simple because I can!
For the longest time in the late 60’s early 70’s my success rate with homebrew SSB transceivers was miserable. At that time I lacked the more sophisticated test gear and let’s face it some of the technology wasn’t that great. Crappy Analog VFO’s were high on the list of impediments! I also had to work and to give a fair share of my time to the family — it is that balance thing.
But today that is all changed –better test gear, better technology like Digital VFO’s and a bit more time. The latest project is to demonstrate that some of the components out of boat anchors can indeed be reworked to provide a very modern, very capable rig.
With the integration of POCSAG/DAPNET features into the MMDVM/MMDVMHost I came to think about if it would be possible to combine an MMDVM repeater/HotSpot with a DAPNET tranmitter. The advantage in Germany is that there is a single coordinated frequency for POCSAG tranmissions on UHF. 439.9875MHz is used for fixed-frequency pagers which are modified to receive on that frequency. With latest hand-programmable pagers (e.g. AlphaPoc) it would basically be possible to set them to the repeater frequency but that wouldn’t work while one is en route.
In the programming software for Motorola GM3x0 radios I found an interesting GPIO setting called “Channel Steering”. Some line of the help function revealed that it would exactly do what I expected. You can trigger a GPIO and the radio switches channels.
One of the issues common with using a broad-band, direct-sampling SDR (software-defined radio) like the KiwiSDR is that of overload by strong, low-frequency signals, such as those on the AM (mediumwave) broadcast band – but there’s another problem that should be considered as well: The high generally-high signal levels at lower HF frequencies. If one looks at an spectrum analyzer connected to a broad-band receive antenna during the evening, one will immediately note that the lower the frequency, the higher the signals seem – particularly the background noise.
This tutorial is inspired by dg0opk’s videos and blog post on monitoring QRP with single board computers. We’ll show you how to set up a super cheap QRP monitoring station using an RTL-SDR V3 and a Raspberry Pi 3. The total cost should be about US $56 ($21 for the RTL-SDR V3, and $35 for the Pi 3).
With this setup you’ll be able to continuously monitor multiple modes within the same band simultaneously (e.g. monitor 20 meter FT8, JT65+JT9 and WSPR all on one dongle at the same time). The method for creating multiple channels in Linux may also be useful for other applications. If you happen to have an upconverter or a better SDR to dedicate to monitoring such as an SDRplay or an Airspy HF+, then this can substitute for the RTL-SDR V3 as well.
Vasily Ivanenko @ QRPHB writes, “I sought a low distortion, single supply, AF power amplifier for my transistor radios. I’ll present my experiments, some musings, test equipment and a reference to some wonderful books & their wise author. Sadly, some amateur radio receiver builders diligently craft their RF stages, but skimp on the PA audio stage. Actually — many commercial radio designers also do this.”
If you follow Bill, N2CQR’s SolderSmoke blog, you know that he’s working on a simple DC receiver of his own, which, along with his aversion to using the magic chips, served as inspiration for this rig, which is how it got it’s name: $20 is my guess at what it’d cost to duplicate, and Bill, of course, is Bill. The alternate name is based on my belief that the last thing the world needs is another 40m DC receiver.
Above — All 4 boards were built in re-purposed Hammond boxes. A PIC-based counter sits on top of the offset mixer. I build modular gear and this allows modification and fosters experimentation. When I build a final transistor radio receiver, I plan to place the offset mixer, PLL circuitry and VXO on the same board inside the radio with some shielding. My VCOs always go in a RF tight container. A 0.0033 µF feed through capacitor connects the VCO varactors to the outside world.