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Benchmarking an RX(TX) receiver

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  • warrenallgyer
    The participants in this board each bring a different level of knowledge, experience, and test equipment to the process of making these marvelous little radios
    Message 1 of 18 , May 11, 2014
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      The participants in this board each bring a different level of knowledge, experience, and test equipment to the process of making these marvelous little radios work. Because of these variances we often have trouble determining if our particular radio is performing properly.

      When I built my first Softrocks my entire test bench consisted of a $15 Radio Shack analog voltmeter. And I got the radio working. Today the test bench has exploded to include a scope, spectrum analyzer, DVM, GPSDO, couplers, hybrid mixers, attenuators, and digital signal generators (3!). But I still remember the frustration of that first build and wondering, even though it seemed to work, was it working properly?

      The wide variance in audio cards we use, PC capability, software, and software setup adjustments all make it very difficult for people to be sure their particular radio is working as well as one in a different part of the world.

      There is one point that is common to everyone's installation and it is a point where even the most simple VOM can provide precise and valuable information that will verify the performance of your receiver. That is the "Line In" connector, which is actually the output of the RX(TX) that is nomally connected to the PC sound card. Some fun facts about this output:

      1) While the signal is in the audio range, it is not an audio signal per se. The output is IF in the range of 0 - 348 KHz and is two signals, I and Q, carried on a standard stereo audio cable.

      2) These audio signals can be measured using a simple AC VOM.

      3) The frequency of the signal out of this connector is the difference between the RF input signal and the Local Oscillator setting on the RX(TX). If you have a signal source set at 7.040 KHz, and if you use CFGSR to set your LO to 7.030 KHz, then the signal coming out of the Line In connector will be 10 KHz.

      4) This signal will be very low normally. But if you have a strong signal source, like an MFJ antenna analyzer, and you connect this directly to the antenna input of the receiver, then you should measure the maximum 10 KHz signal at the Line In connector.

      5) Most properly built RX(TX) receivers will overload with RF input signals in the -25 to -15 dBm range. The exception is the RXII HF which has 15 dB pads in the 0-4 and 4-8 MHz ranges. For these ranges the overload point will be 15 dB higher. The MFJ output is very stable and is specified at +13 dBm and will overload but not damage a normal RX receiver. If you connect the MFJ directly to the antenna and tune it to 5-30 KHz above the LO then you should measure 1.8 volts AC coming from the Line In connector. If you don't, then you likely have a soldering/coil problem or other issue. The variance in the actual overload point is primarily a function of the coil winding and filter performance.

      6) If you have two 20 dB pads you can do more valuable tests. (If you don't have them, you can easily make them: a series 270 ohm resistor with 62 ohm shunts on either side will do nicely). Put one pad in the RF input between the MFJ and the RX. You should see 1.8 VAC on Line In, both channels. Now add the second 20 dB pad; you should see little or nothing on the meter.

      7) For more detailed benchmarking, if you are lucky enough to have a scope and a variable attenuator, watch the 10 KHz sine wave coming out of the Line In connector as you bring up the RF input level. It will increase linearly, dB for dB, until it reaches 4.98 volts Pk-Pk (1.8 VRMS.... see how nicely that works!). The next input increase increment will cause the sine wave peak to start to flatten. You have just found the maximum signal level your RX(TX) can accept. Signal levels higher than this cause spurious responses and all kinds of mischief. Have a look at the RF signal with the scope. 60 millivolts Pk - Pk equals -20 dBm. Measure it, convert it, and you now have a benchmark for your receiver that is easily understood and duplicated.

      The bottom line is: your RX(TX) receiver should saturate the op amps to 1.8 volts with somewhere between -15 and -25 dBm RF input signal. One bad solder joint can easily reduce performance by 20 dB so, if you can't get 1.8 volts AC out of the Line In then your receiver is not up to par.

      There is lots of math, dB, VRMS, etc in this post. I hate math. Get the free iPhone/iPad app "RF Slide Charts 5.0" and forget the math. "Volts to Power" and "Attenuator Design" get worn out on mine.

      This long-winded post will be redundant for some but I hope it can help the person with simple equipment assure the performance of their rigs.

      Warren Allgyer
      9V1TD
    • Simon Thompson
      What an excellent document! Clear, methodical, and helpful, this is the kind of work that really helps builders. On Sunday, May 11, 2014, allgyer@gmail.com
      Message 2 of 18 , May 11, 2014
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        What an excellent document! Clear, methodical, and helpful, this is the kind of work that really helps builders.

        On Sunday, May 11, 2014, allgyer@... [softrock40] <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
         

        The participants in this board each bring a different level of knowledge, experience, and test equipment to the process of making these marvelous little radios work. Because of these variances we often have trouble determining if our particular radio is performing properly.

        When I built my first Softrocks my entire test bench consisted of a $15 Radio Shack analog voltmeter. And I got the radio working. Today the test bench has exploded to include a scope, spectrum analyzer, DVM, GPSDO, couplers, hybrid mixers, attenuators, and digital signal generators (3!). But I still remember the frustration of that first build and wondering, even though it seemed to work, was it working properly?

        The wide variance in audio cards we use, PC capability, software, and software setup adjustments all make it very difficult for people to be sure their particular radio is working as well as one in a different part of the world.

        There is one point that is common to everyone's installation and it is a point where even the most simple VOM can provide precise and valuable information that will verify the performance of your receiver. That is the "Line In" connector, which is actually the output of the RX(TX) that is nomally connected to the PC sound card. Some fun facts about this output:

        1) While the signal is in the audio range, it is not an audio signal per se. The output is IF in the range of 0 - 348 KHz and is two signals, I and Q, carried on a standard stereo audio cable.

        2) These audio signals can be measured using a simple AC VOM.

        3) The frequency of the signal out of this connector is the difference between the RF input signal and the Local Oscillator setting on the RX(TX). If you have a signal source set at 7.040 KHz, and if you use CFGSR to set your LO to 7.030 KHz, then the signal coming out of the Line In connector will be 10 KHz.

        4) This signal will be very low normally. But if you have a strong signal source, like an MFJ antenna analyzer, and you connect this directly to the antenna input of the receiver, then you should measure the maximum 10 KHz signal at the Line In connector.

        5) Most properly built RX(TX) receivers will overload with RF input signals in the -25 to -15 dBm range. The exception is the RXII HF which has 15 dB pads in the 0-4 and 4-8 MHz ranges. For these ranges the overload point will be 15 dB higher. The MFJ output is very stable and is specified at +13 dBm and will overload but not damage a normal RX receiver. If you connect the MFJ directly to the antenna and tune it to 5-30 KHz above the LO then you should measure 1.8 volts AC coming from the Line In connector. If you don't, then you likely have a soldering/coil problem or other issue. The variance in the actual overload point is primarily a function of the coil winding and filter performance.

        6) If you have two 20 dB pads you can do more valuable tests. (If you don't have them, you can easily make them: a series 270 ohm resistor with 62 ohm shunts on either side will do nicely). Put one pad in the RF input between the MFJ and the RX. You should see 1.8 VAC on Line In, both channels. Now add the second 20 dB pad; you should see little or nothing on the meter.

        7) For more detailed benchmarking, if you are lucky enough to have a scope and a variable attenuator, watch the 10 KHz sine wave coming out of the Line In connector as you bring up the RF input level. It will increase linearly, dB for dB, until it reaches 4.98 volts Pk-Pk (1.8 VRMS.... see how nicely that works!). The next input increase increment will cause the sine wave peak to start to flatten. You have just found the maximum signal level your RX(TX) can accept. Signal levels higher than this cause spurious responses and all kinds of mischief. Have a look at the RF signal with the scope. 60 millivolts Pk - Pk equals -20 dBm. Measure it, convert it, and you now have a benchmark for your receiver that is easily understood and duplicated.

        The bottom line is: your RX(TX) receiver should saturate the op amps to 1.8 volts with somewhere between -15 and -25 dBm RF input signal. One bad solder joint can easily reduce performance by 20 dB so, if you can't get 1.8 volts AC out of the Line In then your receiver is not up to par.

        There is lots of math, dB, VRMS, etc in this post. I hate math. Get the free iPhone/iPad app "RF Slide Charts 5.0" and forget the math. "Volts to Power" and "Attenuator Design" get worn out on mine.

        This long-winded post will be redundant for some but I hope it can help the person with simple equipment assure the performance of their rigs.

        Warren Allgyer
        9V1TD

      • John Williams
        Another fine document to be filed away for later in my Allgyer folder! John (now AC9HY, previously KE5SSH)
        Message 3 of 18 , May 12, 2014
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          Another fine document to be filed away for later in my Allgyer folder!

          John (now AC9HY, previously KE5SSH)
          On 5/11/2014 11:14 PM, allgyer@... [softrock40] wrote:
           

          The participants in this board each bring a different level of knowledge, experience, and test equipment to the process of making these marvelous little radios work. Because of these variances we often have trouble determining if our particular radio is performing properly.

          When I built my first Softrocks my entire test bench consisted of a $15 Radio Shack analog voltmeter. And I got the radio working. Today the test bench has exploded to include a scope, spectrum analyzer, DVM, GPSDO, couplers, hybrid mixers, attenuators, and digital signal generators (3!). But I still remember the frustration of that first build and wondering, even though it seemed to work, was it working properly?

          The wide variance in audio cards we use, PC capability, software, and software setup adjustments all make it very difficult for people to be sure their particular radio is working as well as one in a different part of the world.

          There is one point that is common to everyone's installation and it is a point where even the most simple VOM can provide precise and valuable information that will verify the performance of your receiver. That is the "Line In" connector, which is actually the output of the RX(TX) that is nomally connected to the PC sound card. Some fun facts about this output:

          1) While the signal is in the audio range, it is not an audio signal per se. The output is IF in the range of 0 - 348 KHz and is two signals, I and Q, carried on a standard stereo audio cable.

          2) These audio signals can be measured using a simple AC VOM.

          3) The frequency of the signal out of this connector is the difference between the RF input signal and the Local Oscillator setting on the RX(TX). If you have a signal source set at 7.040 KHz, and if you use CFGSR to set your LO to 7.030 KHz, then the signal coming out of the Line In connector will be 10 KHz.

          4) This signal will be very low normally. But if you have a strong signal source, like an MFJ antenna analyzer, and you connect this directly to the antenna input of the receiver, then you should measure the maximum 10 KHz signal at the Line In connector.

          5) Most properly built RX(TX) receivers will overload with RF input signals in the -25 to -15 dBm range. The exception is the RXII HF which has 15 dB pads in the 0-4 and 4-8 MHz ranges. For these ranges the overload point will be 15 dB higher. The MFJ output is very stable and is specified at +13 dBm and will overload but not damage a normal RX receiver. If you connect the MFJ directly to the antenna and tune it to 5-30 KHz above the LO then you should measure 1.8 volts AC coming from the Line In connector. If you don't, then you likely have a soldering/coil problem or other issue. The variance in the actual overload point is primarily a function of the coil winding and filter performance.

          6) If you have two 20 dB pads you can do more valuable tests. (If you don't have them, you can easily make them: a series 270 ohm resistor with 62 ohm shunts on either side will do nicely). Put one pad in the RF input between the MFJ and the RX. You should see 1.8 VAC on Line In, both channels. Now add the second 20 dB pad; you should see little or nothing on the meter.

          7) For more detailed benchmarking, if you are lucky enough to have a scope and a variable attenuator, watch the 10 KHz sine wave coming out of the Line In connector as you bring up the RF input level. It will increase linearly, dB for dB, until it reaches 4.98 volts Pk-Pk (1.8 VRMS.... see how nicely that works!). The next input increase increment will cause the sine wave peak to start to flatten. You have just found the maximum signal level your RX(TX) can accept. Signal levels higher than this cause spurious responses and all kinds of mischief. Have a look at the RF signal with the scope. 60 millivolts Pk - Pk equals -20 dBm. Measure it, convert it, and you now have a benchmark for your receiver that is easily understood and duplicated.

          The bottom line is: your RX(TX) receiver should saturate the op amps to 1.8 volts with somewhere between -15 and -25 dBm RF input signal. One bad solder joint can easily reduce performance by 20 dB so, if you can't get 1.8 volts AC out of the Line In then your receiver is not up to par.

          There is lots of math, dB, VRMS, etc in this post. I hate math. Get the free iPhone/iPad app "RF Slide Charts 5.0" and forget the math. "Volts to Power" and "Attenuator Design" get worn out on mine.

          This long-winded post will be redundant for some but I hope it can help the person with simple equipment assure the performance of their rigs.

          Warren Allgyer
          9V1TD


        • R. R. (Robby) Robson
          I second Simon s comments. I took the liberty of adding a link to this posting to the OpAmp stages of both Ensemble kits documentaiton on wb5rvz.org On Sun,
          Message 4 of 18 , May 12, 2014
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            I second Simon's comments.

            I took the liberty of adding a link to this posting to the OpAmp stages of both Ensemble kits' documentaiton on wb5rvz.org 


            On Sun, May 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM, Simon Thompson simonthompson67@... [softrock40] <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             

            What an excellent document! Clear, methodical, and helpful, this is the kind of work that really helps builders.



            On Sunday, May 11, 2014, allgyer@... [softrock40] <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             

            The participants in this board each bring a different level of knowledge, experience, and test equipment to the process of making these marvelous little radios work. Because of these variances we often have trouble determining if our particular radio is performing properly.

            When I built my first Softrocks my entire test bench consisted of a $15 Radio Shack analog voltmeter. And I got the radio working. Today the test bench has exploded to include a scope, spectrum analyzer, DVM, GPSDO, couplers, hybrid mixers, attenuators, and digital signal generators (3!). But I still remember the frustration of that first build and wondering, even though it seemed to work, was it working properly?

            The wide variance in audio cards we use, PC capability, software, and software setup adjustments all make it very difficult for people to be sure their particular radio is working as well as one in a different part of the world.

            There is one point that is common to everyone's installation and it is a point where even the most simple VOM can provide precise and valuable information that will verify the performance of your receiver. That is the "Line In" connector, which is actually the output of the RX(TX) that is nomally connected to the PC sound card. Some fun facts about this output:

            1) While the signal is in the audio range, it is not an audio signal per se. The output is IF in the range of 0 - 348 KHz and is two signals, I and Q, carried on a standard stereo audio cable.

            2) These audio signals can be measured using a simple AC VOM.

            3) The frequency of the signal out of this connector is the difference between the RF input signal and the Local Oscillator setting on the RX(TX). If you have a signal source set at 7.040 KHz, and if you use CFGSR to set your LO to 7.030 KHz, then the signal coming out of the Line In connector will be 10 KHz.

            4) This signal will be very low normally. But if you have a strong signal source, like an MFJ antenna analyzer, and you connect this directly to the antenna input of the receiver, then you should measure the maximum 10 KHz signal at the Line In connector.

            5) Most properly built RX(TX) receivers will overload with RF input signals in the -25 to -15 dBm range. The exception is the RXII HF which has 15 dB pads in the 0-4 and 4-8 MHz ranges. For these ranges the overload point will be 15 dB higher. The MFJ output is very stable and is specified at +13 dBm and will overload but not damage a normal RX receiver. If you connect the MFJ directly to the antenna and tune it to 5-30 KHz above the LO then you should measure 1.8 volts AC coming from the Line In connector. If you don't, then you likely have a soldering/coil problem or other issue. The variance in the actual overload point is primarily a function of the coil winding and filter performance.

            6) If you have two 20 dB pads you can do more valuable tests. (If you don't have them, you can easily make them: a series 270 ohm resistor with 62 ohm shunts on either side will do nicely). Put one pad in the RF input between the MFJ and the RX. You should see 1.8 VAC on Line In, both channels. Now add the second 20 dB pad; you should see little or nothing on the meter.

            7) For more detailed benchmarking, if you are lucky enough to have a scope and a variable attenuator, watch the 10 KHz sine wave coming out of the Line In connector as you bring up the RF input level. It will increase linearly, dB for dB, until it reaches 4.98 volts Pk-Pk (1.8 VRMS.... see how nicely that works!). The next input increase increment will cause the sine wave peak to start to flatten. You have just found the maximum signal level your RX(TX) can accept. Signal levels higher than this cause spurious responses and all kinds of mischief. Have a look at the RF signal with the scope. 60 millivolts Pk - Pk equals -20 dBm. Measure it, convert it, and you now have a benchmark for your receiver that is easily understood and duplicated.

            The bottom line is: your RX(TX) receiver should saturate the op amps to 1.8 volts with somewhere between -15 and -25 dBm RF input signal. One bad solder joint can easily reduce performance by 20 dB so, if you can't get 1.8 volts AC out of the Line In then your receiver is not up to par.

            There is lots of math, dB, VRMS, etc in this post. I hate math. Get the free iPhone/iPad app "RF Slide Charts 5.0" and forget the math. "Volts to Power" and "Attenuator Design" get worn out on mine.

            This long-winded post will be redundant for some but I hope it can help the person with simple equipment assure the performance of their rigs.

            Warren Allgyer
            9V1TD




            --
            Cheers,
            Robby
             
            Richard R. (Robby) Robson
            LTC USA (USA Retired)
          • warrenallgyer
            Robby, you and Simon are way too kind. I am truly honored to be included in your links. Thank you to both of you. Warren Allgyer 9V1TD
            Message 5 of 18 , May 12, 2014
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              Robby, you and Simon are way too kind. I am truly honored to be included in your links.

              Thank you to both of you.

              Warren Allgyer
              9V1TD
            • John Greusel
              Warren, That was an amazing, understandable and concise explanation. Now you next assignment is to explain the the middle spur (audio frequency going to DC- as
              Message 6 of 18 , May 12, 2014
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                Warren,
                That was an amazing, understandable and concise explanation.
                Now you next assignment is to explain the the middle spur (audio frequency going to DC- as I understand it). :)

                John
                KC9OJV
                 



                From: "allgyer@... [softrock40]" <softrock40@yahoogroups.com>
                To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 9:52 AM
                Subject: Re: [softrock40] Benchmarking an RX(TX) receiver

                 
                Robby, you and Simon are way too kind. I am truly honored to be included in your links.

                Thank you to both of you.

                Warren Allgyer
                9V1TD


              • Simon Thompson
                By the way, I teach university-level technical writing, and I would like to use the document as a model of good technique.
                Message 7 of 18 , May 12, 2014
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                  By the way, I teach university-level technical writing, and I would like to use the document as a model of good technique.

                  On Sunday, May 11, 2014, Simon Thompson <simonthompson67@...> wrote:
                  What an excellent document! Clear, methodical, and helpful, this is the kind of work that really helps builders.

                  On Sunday, May 11, 2014, allgyer@... [softrock40] <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                   

                  The participants in this board each bring a different level of knowledge, experience, and test equipment to the process of making these marvelous little radios work. Because of these variances we often have trouble determining if our particular radio is performing properly.

                  When I built my first Softrocks my entire test bench consisted of a $15 Radio Shack analog voltmeter. And I got the radio working. Today the test bench has exploded to include a scope, spectrum analyzer, DVM, GPSDO, couplers, hybrid mixers, attenuators, and digital signal generators (3!). But I still remember the frustration of that first build and wondering, even though it seemed to work, was it working properly?

                  The wide variance in audio cards we use, PC capability, software, and software setup adjustments all make it very difficult for people to be sure their particular radio is working as well as one in a different part of the world.

                  There is one point that is common to everyone's installation and it is a point where even the most simple VOM can provide precise and valuable information that will verify the performance of your receiver. That is the "Line In" connector, which is actually the output of the RX(TX) that is nomally connected to the PC sound card. Some fun facts about this output:

                  1) While the signal is in the audio range, it is not an audio signal per se. The output is IF in the range of 0 - 348 KHz and is two signals, I and Q, carried on a standard stereo audio cable.

                  2) These audio signals can be measured using a simple AC VOM.

                  3) The frequency of the signal out of this connector is the difference between the RF input signal and the Local Oscillator setting on the RX(TX). If you have a signal source set at 7.040 KHz, and if you use CFGSR to set your LO to 7.030 KHz, then the signal coming out of the Line In connector will be 10 KHz.

                  4) This signal will be very low normally. But if you have a strong signal source, like an MFJ antenna analyzer, and you connect this directly to the antenna input of the receiver, then you should measure the maximum 10 KHz signal at the Line In connector.

                  5) Most properly built RX(TX) receivers will overload with RF input signals in the -25 to -15 dBm range. The exception is the RXII HF which has 15 dB pads in the 0-4 and 4-8 MHz ranges. For these ranges the overload point will be 15 dB higher. The MFJ output is very stable and is specified at +13 dBm and will overload but not damage a normal RX receiver. If you connect the MFJ directly to the antenna and tune it to 5-30 KHz above the LO then you should measure 1.8 volts AC coming from the Line In connector. If you don't, then you likely have a soldering/coil problem or other issue. The variance in the actual overload point is primarily a function of the coil winding and filter performance.

                  6) If you have two 20 dB pads you can do more valuable tests. (If you don't have them, you can easily make them: a series 270 ohm resistor with 62 ohm shunts on either side will do nicely). Put one pad in the RF input between the MFJ and the RX. You should see 1.8 VAC on Line In, both channels. Now add the second 20 dB pad; you should see little or nothing on the meter.

                  7) For more detailed benchmarking, if you are lucky enough to have a scope and a variable attenuator, watch the 10 KHz sine wave coming out of the Line In connector as you bring up the RF input level. It will increase linearly, dB for dB, until it reaches 4.98 volts Pk-Pk (1.8 VRMS.... see how nicely that works!). The next input increase increment will cause the sine wave peak to start to flatten. You have just found the maximum signal level your RX(TX) can accept. Signal levels higher than this cause spurious responses and all kinds of mischief. Have a look at the RF signal with the scope. 60 millivolts Pk - Pk equals -20 dBm. Measure it, convert it, and you now have a benchmark for your receiver that is easily understood and duplicated.

                  The bottom line is: your RX(TX) receiver should saturate the op amps to 1.8 volts with somewhere between -15 and -25 dBm RF input signal. One bad solder joint can easily reduce performance by 20 dB so, if you can't get 1.8 volts AC out of the Line In then your receiver is not up to par.

                  There is lots of math, dB, VRMS, etc in this post. I hate math. Get the free iPhone/iPad app "RF Slide Charts 5.0" and forget the math. "Volts to Power" and "Attenuator Design" get worn out on mine.

                  This l

                • warrenallgyer
                  Simon I don t think you need my permission to use a public post but it is granted with pleasure anyway. And with a bit of a blush! Again, you are too kind.
                  Message 8 of 18 , May 12, 2014
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                    Simon

                    I don't think you need my permission to use a public post but it is granted with pleasure anyway. And with a bit of a blush!

                    Again, you are too kind.

                    Warren Allgyer
                    9V1TD
                  • warrenallgyer
                    Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this company or product. For those interested in pursuing this a bit farther, here is an excellent, low cost signal
                    Message 9 of 18 , May 13, 2014
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                      Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this company or product.

                      For those interested in pursuing this a bit farther, here is an excellent, low cost signal generator.

                      AD9850 DDS Signal Generator Module 0 -30MHz Sine / Square Wave Frequency AD9851

                       



                      I have one and it worked great until I inadvertently put the RXTX I was testing into transmit. It apparently does not react well to trying to swallow a couple of watts! I have a replacement and a spare coming and the first mod I will make is to put a 20 dB pad in the output to protect it!

                      This generator puts out +4 dBm in a very clean sine wave on any frequency from 0-30 MHz. There are several similar models on eBay in you search on "DDS Signal Generator" some at an even lower price. I can vouch for this particular one as I have used it and tested it. But I also would not hesitate to buy some of the other AD9850-51 based products advertised.

                      It will take a couple of weeks because it is coming from Hong Kong. But I can vouch for it as a cheap and extraordinarily useful product.

                      Warren Allgyer
                      9V1TD
                    • warrenallgyer
                      My replacement generator (for the one I used as a dummy load!) and a spare arrived. One went into the original package with an updated front panel. The other I
                      Message 10 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                        My replacement generator (for the one I used as a dummy load!) and a spare arrived. One went into the original package with an updated front panel. The other I put into a new packaging method I have been experimenting with; 3 mm clear acrylic. It makes a very attractive case and I was able to do it with only hand tools and a hot air gun. Pictures of both are uploaded to the Photos section posted here:

                        Yahoo Groups

                         



                        I hope it inspires someone!

                        Warren Allgyer
                        9V1TD


                        ---In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, <allgyer@...> wrote :

                        Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this company or product.

                        For those interested in pursuing this a bit farther, here is an excellent, low cost signal generator.

                        AD9850 DDS Signal Generator Module 0 -30MHz Sine / Square Wave Frequency AD9851

                         



                        I have one and it worked great until I inadvertently put the RXTX I was testing into transmit. It apparently does not react well to trying to swallow a couple of watts! I have a replacement and a spare coming and the first mod I will make is to put a 20 dB pad in the output to protect it!

                        This generator puts out +4 dBm in a very clean sine wave on any frequency from 0-30 MHz. There are several similar models on eBay in you search on "DDS Signal Generator" some at an even lower price. I can vouch for this particular one as I have used it and tested it. But I also would not hesitate to buy some of the other AD9850-51 based products advertised.

                        It will take a couple of weeks because it is coming from Hong Kong. But I can vouch for it as a cheap and extraordinarily useful product.

                        Warren Allgyer
                        9V1TD
                      • huntlykaty
                        Warren, I am most impressed with your clear acrylic case. Will you please share the details of the material you used and the hand crafting you used? Thanks,
                        Message 11 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                          Warren,

                          I am most impressed with your clear acrylic case.

                          Will you please share the details of the material you used and the hand crafting you used?

                          Thanks,

                          Charley
                           
                        • warrenallgyer
                          Thank you Charley..... it actually came out better than I expected. I used 1/8 (3 mm) acrylic stock that I bought in a sheet at the hardware store. The stock
                          Message 12 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                            Thank you Charley..... it actually came out better than I expected.

                            I used 1/8" (3 mm) acrylic stock that I bought in a sheet at the hardware store. The stock comes with a protective paper coating on both sides which is great for drawing patterns and protecting it during the bending. I used a hook knife made especially for cutting acrylic to score it about 80% through before breaking it on the cuts.

                            For the pattern I planned it using a Powerpoint drawing, printing it, then cutting and modeling the paper shape to check it. Once that was right I taped the paper pattern to the acrylic stock and cut it.

                            For bending I used a hot air gun with a small, maybe 1/4" tip to focus the airstream. I removed about a quarter inch of the paper coating on the backside of the bend line and then heated the acrylic with the gun. After a couple of minutes it will bend on that line. Bend it to the required angle, remove the heat, and hold it for a minute or so until it stiffens back up.

                            I cut the holes after the bends were done so I could get the alignment right. I started with the holes for the BNC which protrudes through the acrylic. For that one I tried to model it from the outside and eyballed it. Once it was cut with the hole saw bit, I could put the board inside and mark the mounting holes and the other access holes with a spring punch. Small holes are simple, flat angle drill bits. The larger holes were cut with a hole saw bit.

                            Once everything was drilled and fitted I pulled the board out and used the hot air gun to polish the edges and the holes.

                            Finally, the board is mounted and I heated the top and did the final bend to fold it into the body of the case to protect the display. This left finger access to the setup switches. The only way to remove the board will be to use the hot air gun to un-bend the top cover.

                            It is all a single piece of acrylic. No joints or bonds. I call it "acryli-gami". I am just finishing up a single piece case for the Softrocks RXII receiver using the same techniques and I will add it to the pix when it is done.

                            Thanks for asking and, if it is not clear, just ask!
                          • KENNETH CHASE
                            I ordered one of those generators from ebay and it drifts like crazy. After about an hour or so, my frequency counter is no where even close to the frequency
                            Message 13 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                              I ordered one of those generators from ebay and it drifts like crazy. After about an hour or so, my frequency counter is no where even close to the frequency displayed on the generator.

                              Ken VA3ABN

                              --------------------------------------------
                              On Mon, 5/26/14, allgyer@... [softrock40] <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                              Subject: [softrock40] Re: Benchmarking an RX(TX) receiver
                              To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
                              Date: Monday, May 26, 2014, 7:00 AM


                               



                                 


                                   
                                     
                                     
                                     My replacement generator (for the one I used as a
                              dummy load!) and a spare arrived. One went into the original
                              package with an updated front panel. The other I put into a
                              new packaging method I have been experimenting with; 3 mm
                              clear acrylic. It makes a very attractive case and I was
                              able to do it with only hand tools and a hot air gun.
                              Pictures of both are uploaded to the Photos section posted
                              here:

                              Yahoo
                              Groups 
                                       Yahoo
                              Groups   Yahoo!
                              Groups offers free mailing lists, photo & file sharing,
                              group calendars and more. Discuss hot topics, share
                              interests, join online communities.   
                               
                                 


                              View on groups.yahoo.com
                                   

                              Preview by Yahoo   
                                  

                              I hope it inspires someone!

                              Warren Allgyer
                              9V1TD


                              ---In softrock40@yahoogroups.com,
                              <allgyer@...> wrote :

                              Disclaimer:
                              I have no financial interest in this company or product.

                              For those interested in
                              pursuing this a bit farther, here is an excellent, low cost
                              signal generator.

                              AD9850
                              DDS Signal Generator Module 0 -30MHz Sine / Square Wave
                              Frequency AD9851

                                 

                               

                                AD9850
                              DDS Signal Generator Module 0 -30M... US
                              $33.24 New in Business & Industrial, Electrical &
                              Test Equipment, Test Equipment
                               


                              View on www.ebay.com
                                 

                              Preview by Yahoo
                                 

                              I
                              have one and it worked great until I inadvertently put the
                              RXTX I was
                              testing into transmit. It apparently does not react well to
                              trying to
                              swallow a couple of watts! I have a replacement and a spare
                              coming and
                              the first mod I will make is to put a 20 dB pad in the
                              output to protect
                              it!

                              This generator puts out
                              +4 dBm in a very clean sine wave on
                              any frequency from 0-30 MHz. There are several similar
                              models on eBay in
                              you search on "DDS Signal Generator" some at an
                              even lower price. I can
                              vouch for this particular one as I have used it and tested
                              it. But I
                              also would not hesitate to buy some of the other AD9850-51
                              based
                              products advertised.

                              It
                              will take a couple of weeks because it is
                              coming from Hong Kong. But I can vouch for it as a cheap and
                              extraordinarily useful product.

                              Warren Allgyer
                              9V1TD

                                   
                                   

                                   
                                   



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                            • warrenallgyer
                              That has not been my experience Ken. I have #2 and #3 running on the bench now. They both came up less than 40 Hz low on startup and after three hours have
                              Message 14 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                                That has not been my experience Ken. I have #2 and #3 running on the bench now. They both came up less than 40 Hz low on startup and after three hours have settled in at 12 and 18 Hz low. #3, which I inadvertently used as a dummy load and is not functional at the moment, exhibited similar performance when it was still working.

                                Warren Allgyer
                                9V1TD
                              • KENNETH CHASE
                                If I remember correctly, when mine settled down I was around 42 hz off. I tried to get info from the seller on ebay, the next day he was removed. Anyways I
                                Message 15 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                                  If I remember correctly, when mine settled down I was around 42 hz off. I tried to get info from the seller on ebay, the next day he was removed. Anyways I ended up making a chart for the different bands as to what frequency I had to dial in to get the frequency I wanted.

                                  73

                                  Ken VA3ABN

                                  --------------------------------------------
                                  On Mon, 5/26/14, allgyer@... [softrock40] <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                  Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: Benchmarking an RX(TX) receiver
                                  To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
                                  Date: Monday, May 26, 2014, 4:43 PM


                                   









                                  That has not been my experience Ken. I have #2 and
                                  #3 running on the bench now. They both came up less than 40
                                  Hz low on startup and after three hours have settled in at
                                  12 and 18 Hz low. #3, which I inadvertently used as a dummy
                                  load and is not functional at the moment, exhibited similar
                                  performance when it was still working.

                                  Warren Allgyer
                                  9V1TD









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                                • warrenallgyer
                                  Today I finished a one piece acrylic case for the RXII LF. It came out well. Pictures added to the folder. Warren Allgyer 9V1TD
                                  Message 16 of 18 , May 26, 2014
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                                    Today I finished a one piece acrylic case for the RXII LF. It came out well. Pictures added to the folder.

                                    Warren Allgyer
                                    9V1TD
                                  • huntlykaty
                                    Warren, Thanks for the great write up. I will have to try out your technique. Regards, Charley
                                    Message 17 of 18 , May 27, 2014
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                                      Warren,

                                      Thanks for the great write up. I will have to try out your technique.

                                      Regards,

                                      Charley
                                    • airbusvince
                                      Warren, Thanks for all your detailed work. As with Tony making these kits affordable to most hams, we appreciate your technical insights. Best 73 s Vince
                                      Message 18 of 18 , May 27, 2014
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                                        Warren,
                                        Thanks for all your detailed work.  As with Tony making these kits affordable to most hams, we appreciate your technical insights.

                                        Best 73's
                                        Vince
                                        N2AIE
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