TSSOP Soldering

I just want to say that soldering TSSOP at home packages sucks big fat balls. What a pain in the arse this has been. I spent lots of tine chasing out solder bridges. But they are done now and I guess i can start to use them. Oh and if you want to know what it is, its a compander, to be used to make an audio compressor for the uBitx, Bitx and the receiver I am building, and maybe ALC as well.

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Active High Pass Filter

So for the receiver I am building I figured that some sort of filtering is going to be required in the audio stages. Not entirely sure yet on the final make up of things, but to start with I thought that I would design and evaluate a high pass filter to cut out the low frequencies as this is likely to be fixed weather i am receiving CW or SSB. Though for the low pass filter, i do want either variable bandwidth or select able widths. More on that later.

As with all filters more orders, more betters LOL. And so i jumped online to a calculator tool and quickly designed up a 3rd order Sallen-Key highpass with a cutoff of 350hz. The simulation looked reasonable so i then simulated it in LTSpice just to confirm things and check the OpAmp i had chosen was going to be ok.

Schematic of 3rd Order Sallen-Key Highpass Filter.

Simulation Bode Plot

Next the circuit was built on a solder-less breadboard, the OpAmp is an NE5532 and negative supply rail is an LM2662 Charge Pump. This gives the OpAmp plenty of room to swing when powered with + – 5v.

For the initial testing the OpAmp was fed with 1vpp 600hz sinewave.

 

Dumb people do dumb things and I spend 10mins wondering why I had 10x gain in a circuit that should have unity gain, then i noticed i had the scope probe on 1x not 10x where it usually lives. There is my 10x gain.

For final shits and gigles i busted out the bode plotter and swept the filter from 10hz to 5000hz to see just how it really looks, and other than a little noise down close to DC, which i think is just the frequency generator not liking being that low, the filter itself is pretty much as designed. -40db at 100hz should be good enough for the kinds of girls i go out with.

Next job will be to either add in a couple of low pass filters for typical CW and SSB filter widths or have a crack with switched capacitor lowpass filters and make it variable. Thats a job for another day.

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Audio Amp Again?

I have been slowly and by slowly I mean very slowly working on the audio amp stage for a receiver that I am building. Its a slow effort as i try things, fail things and then finally decide on an actual plan. So, I was looking at using a TDA2822 in bridge mode as i have a bunch of those in my parts box here, but after building it and blowing a few up I figured stuff it, its time for a different tack.

Then i saw these on ebay, I have used the PAM8403 boards before but in a different configuration with a dual gang pot on there, they are class E, uber efficient and sound nice, so i figured fuck it, lets stop trying to make the parts count high and lets just use something that works. And yes these things work.

So i busted out the digital calipers and took a few measurements and knocked up a component for Sprint Layout and can now get to the next stage in the audio stage plan, compression, filtering, pre-amp and AGC. That is, if i do not get distracted by something else shiny and play with it for a while. 🙂

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Antenna is Done

So i got the dipole up now in its final position. The coax is now clamped to the mast so there is no flapping about in the breeze. The ends are up at their finished height. All up we have 7.6m apex and about 3m at the ends. Seems to be working ok, rx is certainly up.

 

SWR is as good as it is going to get and much broader banded than the old shortened dipole.

Photo bombed by Buster the Boxer. This is some fancy engenerding going on here. There is a 6ft star dropper 2ft in the ground right up the masts clacker providing the main support, the 2nd star dropper is screwed to the retaining wall and some big automotive clamps tying the 2 together. No idea what the safe working limit on all these things are LOL, but it did not move much during the big storm we had go thought last night. So i think it should be ok.

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New Dipole and Mast

Today i pulled down the old antenna and mast and put up a new and improved version of each. The old shortened 40m dipole was only ever meant to be a temporary solution that stayed in place for 3 years. So it was time to bring her down and put it to rest.

I bought a flag pole cause it seemed like a quick and simple way of putting up a new dipole and a balun because i want to be one of those balun guys who has to tell you what kind of balun he is using even though its kind of not important to the conversation but the word balun gives the air of technical know how and ability especially when you say its a 9 to 1 balun which is really an unun or as I call them 9:1 onions, because endfails will make you cry, but I digress. <– this is called sarcasm to anyone who is going to get hurt feelings over their antenna of choice, don’t email me call your local politician and complain to them.

Erected the flagpole and hoisted up the balun and new dipole cut for 40m on the flag raising rope, saluting while humming the national anthem and got the ends up in a temporary fashion to check the long or short of it with the analyzer, when the wife gets home from work. She comes out the back, looks at the new flag pole and remarks, Oh great, its storm season and you go and erect a dirty great big lightning attracter. Chuckles to herself and leaves me to antennaring like i know what i am doing. And if my Pythagoras is correct, when i put the ends up about 4m in the air, i should have 50mm to spare. The joy of living on a postage stamp block in the city.

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2018 Major Project

I have been slowly clearing things off my bench either to the its complete pile or the it does not work look at it another day pile. And not that that is done, it is time to start on a major project that will take sometime to complete. I really wish I had the time to knock out  rig a week like Pete Juliano, but alas I am neither that skilled or that time free LOL. Anyway, so what am i going to build, well a receiver to start with that might eventually morph into a transceiver.

Starting initially as a direct conversion and later becoming a single conversion superhet, It will loosely follow the simple-ceiver, simple-ceiver plus builds by Pete, which can be read about on his blog HERE: and a few bits off the bitx hacks page which can be found HERE:

Mixers will be Mini Circuits ADE-1, oscillators will be SI5351a with an Arduino powering it, audio will have AGC and some kind of audio filtering for both CW and SSB, I am currently not sure if i will go passive or use a Teensyduino and DSP audio filtering, I have the bits for both so either or can be done quite easily, but filtering will not be part of the initial audio amp build, all the rf amps will be Pete’s J310 as dual gate mosfet amps, bandpass filters will probably be my own 3 band switched module.

So that is the rough details of what I am planning to do, now its a matter of starting to build it. With that in mind, I will be starting tonight on the audio amp stage, using the AGC from bitx hacks for the bitx 40, a 2n3904 preamp by Pete Juliano and a TDA2822m in bridge mode. I will be building each stage on its own scrap of board for testing in isolation using manhattan construction and Me Squares.

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uBitx First Run

So i got busy today and wired up the uBitx. Turned it on and tuned around a little to find some signals, well there was not much going on anywhere but I did manage to find this one ZL on an other wise dead band. Its good to know that the receiver works, now i just have to wire up a mic and check its working on transmit. But that is going to be another day.

 

 

So I recorded a little video from tonight’s 7.130 dx net. I have been giving the receiver a good workout to see how I like it. So far, to be honest, I think i prefer the Bitx40 over the uBitx. Though, it might be I just need to play with the IF and BFO settings to move the bandpass around a little to where I think it sounds better.

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Ubitx Build

Started to put the uBitx into a case. I did the front panel up on a mini cnc and it certainly has turned out better than anything i have hand cut in the past. Used 1mm aluminium plate with is nice and easy to work with and the filing to clean it up at the end did not take long at all. Its not perfect, there are a few things that could have been aligned better, but it is what it is and that’s how its going to stay LOL.

Something i was not happy with was how the heatsinks were mounted flush to the board. If you use this radio portable eventually they will rub through the soldermask and short out on traces. So i grabbed a couple of other heatsinks i had laying about here, drilled and tapped for some isolation between heatsink and board. I also using insulating hardware as well because the fets tab is live and things go bad when you short things to ground that are not meant to be LOL.

Board is now mounted and just awaiting wiring up.

 

Front panel now with knobs on. Just have to wire it up and be done. Oh and yeah I use a speaker not headphones so I can use 1 less jack and I also use a 4 pin mic socket rather than jacks.

 

 

 

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