Saturday morning, not usually a day for mail here, but because its christmas the parcel guys are working weekends to make sure they keep up with the volume of mail at this time of year. It also means I have the new uBitx sitting in my hands.
So Ashar Farhan the legend has brought out a new Bitx radio, the uBitx, its 10w multi band rig, with CW and SSB. I have one on order and should see it I hope before Christmas. Its going to be my permanent portable radio. I am going to sell off the FT897 and just use this for portable. Kind of excited.
Well its the pigeon pair. I got the matching tuner to go with the HB-1B. The plan is to use it with a SotaBeams 10m pole and vertical wire and a couple of radials with the HB-1B and the Bitx 40 in some of the more space limited places I wish to operate from. I have everything here to acheive this, its just a matter of going down the local park with the laptop and antenna analyser and the rigs and getting things all sorted out.
So i have finished putting the Bitx into a box, adding in a Si5351a for the local oscillator and making the radio very frequency stable. I did have trouble with digital noise leaking into the audio amp, but I got those issues sorted out mostly, with only the rotary encoder giving chirps into the audio. I think with some more decoupling and use of shielded cables throughout even that would be taken care of. Whats there I can live with. I have made some contacts with the radio and worked my first DX with it in New Caledonia. Even with a nice report.
The radio being used on air to make contacts with Steve VK3MEG.
The receiver in action
The transmitter as being received by VK3MEG 1500km away.
While listening to the 7.130 DX Net I generally keep my hands busy building something. Tonight it has been a Pixie. Super easy build of course, but I have a need for 4 of them, pairs on different frequencies, for a radio demonstration for a bunch of kids. Next job is to make a straight key for this one.
Gotta make sure its working and making signal and not harmonics 🙂
Build and powered up for testing.
Started to button up in a box.
All done and ready for use.
“5 By 7” CW transceiver you might ask. Well i have been kicking about a name for this project for some time. For a long time it has been called Robs Improved Pixie as it pretty much started with a collpits oscillator and had grown from there. A lot of what is going into this rig has been built up Manhattan style on scraps of single sided FR4 and found to have done the job nicely.
So what started out a couple of weeks ago as learn some CAD software to design the CW Audio Filter, has grown into a full blown all out assault on laying out circuits using Sprint Layout, and etching the boards and learning from all the little mistakes you make along the way. All going well I will etch these boards tomorrow and use up the last of the toner transfer paper I have, a sum total of 2 sheets. I have more on order from China but they will not arrive till mid January, as there is no way Im paying $25 for 10 sheets from Jaycar, when i can get 50 sheets for $10 off Ebay.
Oh and the name, “5 by 7” while it sounds like a signal report, its really about the size of each board. Part of the design of this has been that each stage needs to fit on a 5cm x 7cm piece of single sided FR4 PCB. I just want to also mention that none of this is really revolutionary, it has all been taken from various sources on the internet and Experimental Methods in RF Design and other books. All i have done is pick and choose bits that are easy to build and work well enough and are easy enough to build as a stand alone module.
First stage is the Bandpass filter and RF preamp, there is a switch missing off the 180 ohm resistor which allows for muting the preamp for large signals. This circuit was taken out of the DC Receiver section of EMRFD.
Now i know this is 2 5 by 7 boards in one, it was 2, but it was jumper madness and I might yet make this a double sided board and send off to have 10 of these professionally done and sell off the extras. I should also mention that board edge SMA connectors and coax are used throughout to join most of the stages together, in other places 2 pin jumpers are used.
The Arduino Nano is configured as a DDS VFO, with LCD screen and controls the AD9850, the sine wave is boosted by a buffer amp to an amplitude suitable for the ADE-1 Mini Circuits mixer, mixed with the RF from the Bandpass RF Amp, giving audio out. This circuit is a common one found on the internet. The code came from AD7C originally, but i have added a number of features to it to suit my own needs.
Audio from the mixer is run through an audio diplexer to narrow up the bandpass and improve selectivity. It is also amplified somewhat before being sent to the filters. From here things get uncertain, as im not sure how much gain the audio filter will take without causing distortion. This circuit was taken from EMRFD.
Audio from the diplexer then comes to the OP Amp Audio filter. A quad OP amp is used to cascade 4, 2 pole filters to make an 8th order Butterworth CW filter 200hz wide. Centre frequency is 600hz, where i like to listen to code and the bandstop is -35db down at 600hz.
Finally, narrow filtered audio is pre-amped and finally amplified in the last stage and should drive a speaker with very loud audio. Both circuits here are very common ones that can be found all over the internet.
There are a couple of things missing, virtual ground to power the negative rails of the OP Amps, TX RX switching and LO out to the TX. A couple of small things i will need to look into and solve. Maybe by the end of January next year i will have this all built as well as the transmitter, to go with the home brew antenna tuner i have built already. Home brewing, is such fun.