Tuesday, 26 November 2019

70cm 250W Amplifier from secondhand DVB-T PA Part One

When I last posted in June I mentioned I had bought a secondhand DVB-T PA from a German eBay seller well I've finally got around to putting it all in a box and getting it up and running.

The PA module is simple to modify and in fact I found during an internet search a website by a Dutch amateur PA0EHG who had already modified one of these amplifiers and I followed his instructions which worked perfectly.

The PA is coupled with a LPF again from eBay which looks like it's a based on a design by Jim W6PQL the specifications where 2nd order harmonics -35dB and 3rd order -55dB with an insertion loss less than 0.15dB.

When measured with the VNA I found the 3rd order harmonic weren't rejected as much as specified so I expect it might need another coaxial stub filter to drop the 3rd order harmonic a little more.

70cm eBay LPF filter response.
I put the LPF in a tin box bought from Alan G3NYK though I had to buy a bigger box than was required and trim it down to size using tin snips.

To monitor the amplifier I was going to roll my own controller board but again Jim W6PQL has what he calls the ultimate amplifier controller board which at $50 for a kit I thought was a bit of bargain and a lot less hassle than making my own even if half the features of the board aren't being used.

I stuck all this in a rather large Hammond box so its ended up not being a small amplifier but you go with what you have laying around the shack.

I painted the case in acrylic paint and though the result was good looking I don't hold out much hope for it's long term durability.

Front Panel
Reat Panel
Top View

The amp requires a quite hefty PSU 31V 17A but more on that in later post.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

First EME QSO.

I've just spent a couple of days listening to the moon and getting nowhere using WSJT-X.

When I use WSJT-X with the K3s I have a hell of time trying to the get the RX levels right with the K3s LIN OUT set to 1 the PC Microphone level is set at 0.4dB the RX level indicator in WSJTX is still at 60dB and I haven't a clue why, anyway the upshot is I only had a couple of decodes.

Anyway I switched to MSHV and low and behold multi decodes within 60 minutes of using it, yippie!

So with half an hour before bed I noticed K9MRI in EN70IU and thought what the heck I'd give it ago not expecting much with such a small antenna array and low and behold we completed.

I'm now off to party it's been a hard slog getting that first QSO via EME and I'm ecstatic or should that be over the moon?

First EME contact with K9MRI.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Another change of the 2m antenna system.

Though the 2 x 9 Element Powabeams I put up last year worked well I really wished I'd installed a system that had elevation and so I've now replaced the Powabeams with a small array 4 x 6 Element LFA from Innovantennas.

Justin also provided the H frame as well as a new boom for the 70cm 12 element LFA I had so it could be rear mounted in the centre of the frame.

While I was buying the antennas I also bought a SPID RAS rotator with Rot2Prog controller but more about that in a later post.

The new array took around five days to put but mainly down to the fact I hadn't ever installed this type of system and so it took a lot longer than it would if I was to get it all done again.   The main time consumer is in the fact I don't have a tilt over mast and so everything has to put up with the aid of an Aluminium tower.   

The array tuned up quite well with each beam within a half a dB of RL.

Top Left      Z 50.6, X 3.7, SWR 1.07, RL 28.6
Top Right     Z 52.6, X 3.2, SWR 1.08, RL 28.1
Bottom Left   Z 53.0, X 2.8, SWR 1.08, RL 28.1
Bottom Right  Z 51.9, X 3.6, SWR 1.08, RL 28.2 

The whole array including coupler and 16m of Ultraflex 10 gave an SWR of 1.1:1

Justin kindly send me a theoretical  plot of the array at 8m high with a spacing of 2.2m horizontal and 2m vertical separation.

Theoretical Azimuth Plot.
You can see from the plot the gain is quoted as 17.36dBi with a F/B of 23dB and beamwidth of 24 degrees.  

I took my own plot using the GB3VHF beacon which is near to me and was about to plot the results out by hand when I did a search for a blank azimuth polar plot and instead came across a great piece of software by Bob Freeth G4HFQ called PolarPlot  this small piece of software saved me a good amount of plotting everything myself and I highly recommended it.

I measured the gain as being 18.48dBi with a F/B of 22dB and a beamwidth of 24 degrees so in good agreement with Justins theoretical calculations.

Azimuth plot as actually seen.

The rear lobe are a bit weird but then there isn't much space between the antennas and surrounding builds, hills, slopes, overhead wires but even so it looks very good.