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The 6M-160M HPSDR Transceiver Project Begins




 
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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2011, 02:06:06 AM »

That is a lot of radio for the money. If it's only 700 solder joints, it would be well worth it! I assume all the plug in boards parts are already mounted? Otherwise it could really take a month or more to build and all the SMT work could literally become a pain in the neck from the working position. When you get a round tiut on the RF power amps, will you post that info as well?
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2011, 10:44:21 AM »

Gee Tom,
Thinking ahead you could be operational by the AM TX thing Steve is setting up. We could do a HPSDR to HPSDR QSO. You will need  a way to attenuate Penny output to drive erb. Cutting back on drive at the control panel will hurt IMD because less D/A bits are used. I use a 10 dB attenuator pad. You could use a couple 100 ohm resistors and a 1 K pot. Best to run wide open and attenuate the output. Erb wants 24 volts for the first two stages and you can run the final on 24 if power is reduced to 100 watts pep. Hook one of those switchers and you could do 300 watts. Then your erb will need a bigger heat sink.
I would power up Atlas before you install any boards and check for voltages.
At first power up.
Go into set up page and select clock source. Penney or Mercury. Check the manual I  forgot which one is better (External is best once you get the reference module)
Go through the other set up instructions for sample rates etc and follow the instructions. I usually run 96K. I get data drop outs at 192 but it works.
I think it is a computer issue with USB. 
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« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2011, 10:49:30 AM »

Dave,
The new interface board starts shipping in a couple weekd to replace OZY with an Ethrnet interface. TAPR is considering another production run for Mercury. There is a guy in Germany making boards.
The hermes 1/2 watt transceiver is supposed to come out this year.
The Alex filter module never shipped. There must be some issues with the design. The price of relays has driven the price kind of high for what it does.
Just join HPSDR and watch the posts.

Frank, that transceiver is sounding pretty interesting to me.  You know me and my love of small radios (it's the evil QRPer in me!   Grin). 

I remember first reading about this building block style SDR stuff last year and in 2009, but the sporadic availability of kits (no tools here to scratch build - such is apartment life) has been a turn off for me.  Oh well.
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« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2011, 10:55:27 AM »

Once you go through the Power SDR stuff the rig should run with the software shipped with the boards but it will be a lot better when the latest firmware is downloaded into Mercury. There is one or 2 Penny upgrades but more related to interface issues on Atlas.
Once you get up and running the S meter and display will be going crazy. This is normal. Just go to the PSDR calibration page. Here you input your signal generator into mercury and tell the PSDR the Frequency and generator output level and press calibrate. I usually do this at 10 MHz. It takes about 20 seconds to calibrate and you are done.
You will need to do calibration after firmware upgrades.
I'm not sure if TAPR ships all the board jumpers with the modules. These are the same jumpers unes in computer boards so you can yank them from dead computer boards if you need more.
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K1JJ
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« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2011, 01:11:53 PM »

OK on the intial steps, Frank.  Should be straight forward if I take it one board at a time. Still need to figure out all the wiring and plugs yet.  

Patrick - yes, there are only three or four simpler boards that need assembly and you can see them pictured here as I built them. Not too bad. The other complex boards are already built and tested when they arrive - built by automated equipment. They use SMT that is too small for humans to do. The LSI chips with the tiny spacing between leads wud be beyond most human hand capabilities.  Yes, I'll post some pics of my SS linears. They are basically an ErbTech medical SS linear amp board and the more common CCI kit using MRF-150's. I plan to run these in class A at whatever power level they will permit, depending on heat sinking and fans, etc. A 75w super clean output (-50db 3rd IMD) is my goal to drive  a tube amp that is around -45db 3rd now.  If I can get at LEAST  -40db ip3 (IMD) at 1500w output overall, I will be vely happy.

As I was soldering some SMT parts last night I wondered why they didn't have this whole transceiver on a chip yet?   Grin   Someday they will, just like the cell phones. There just isn't enuff demand to make it worthwhile, I guess, and things are changing too rapidly to commit to one big chip at this point, perhaps.

T
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« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2011, 02:06:36 PM »

Tom,
Take a look at Hermes. I bet 1/3 the parts count of today's set up. You can't do diversity though. I got in the mid 30s with erb on the stock heat sink but it got very hot in about 30 seconds. I think the final was biased at 3 amps, driver at 2 and the input around 1A. I put a slab of 1/4 inch copper under my erb so I could bias it higher. The new heat sink has 750 square inches of surface area.  I have not done any testing for IMD with the bigger heat sink yet. I think the CCI will need a different transformer design to make it better. I bet it will be ok on say 20 m but on 80 the cores saturate.
The DC shunt choke is too small compared to the ERB at 1/2 the power.
I think Stu told us about some National Instruments cards that could be pressed into SDR service. A rig on a chip is a tall order for HPSDR.
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« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2011, 04:21:56 PM »

I'll have to look into that National linear amplifier chip that Stu mentioned. Do you have the link or part number?  The Erb and CCI amps sure seem like a lot of work for only 75w class A.

Today gots the power supply tested and hooked it up to the Atlas backplane. Notice the second pic below shows both the 12V and 5v LEDs on!    I decided to mount the PS away from the other boards to keep noise lower, thus the cable instead of a piggyback mount.

It may not look like much so far, but with my novice-SMT skills and the technical manuals assuming a sophisticated builder, I'm vely happy to get to this point without crapouts... Grin

So, all I need is the ESD stuff to arrive and I can start plugging in boards to test and program, etc.  The fun stuff is next once I find the proper inter-cables and plugs.

T


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« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2011, 05:42:59 PM »

Tom,
You can plug LPU directly into Atlas there is no issue. Check the link I sent you I think OZY needs -12 volts from LPU but there needs to be a jumper added to turn -12 on.. Look at the tables I thought Ozy needs 1 ma of -12V.
LPU is set up to plug directly into Atlas so the power input connector sticks out the back of the chassis hole for the power plug. Notice the picture I sent you where I changed it to a 115VAC interface. LPU will get you up and running for now just keep an eye onthe heat sink temperature. I think some guys are running fans to keep it cool. The chassis is set up for a fan but my choice was to build in a bigger supply.
I never bought LPU because you can pick up power modules on ebay for the same price and I just wired them in with a switch on the front panel.
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« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2011, 06:30:53 PM »

OK, Frank -

I got the -12V switcher running and hooked it up. Measures out OK into the Atlas.

A few problems, but solved:   The  LPU board output pins are not the same as the schematic on their website. Maybe 1/3 are incorrect on the board.  I ohmed them out as if it was a homebrew project.

As you said, the -12V switcher supply alone has spikes of about 20mV on the DC. After I hooked it to the Atlas the filter caps brought this down to about 2mV.  But it seems to contaminate the +12 and 5V slightly. Still, this is down about to a tiny .016% if I calculate correctly.    The other supplies were very clean before the switcher was added.

I can see why you chose analog for yours. Later I'll just add on an analog  -12V puck when I get situated.  Amazing that such a "high performance" system wud put in that -12V switcher, but I see the warnings all over the site.  Funny.   I wonder how much RX noise floor or degraded IMD on TX it wud make, if anything to measure?  The Ozy board is common to everything in there.

T
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« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2011, 08:22:07 PM »

Tom the spectrum analyzer project is future and plans to go up to 1 GHz or even higher. Mercury as it stands is a great spectrum analyzer today good to 6 meters. Your scan width is just limited right now but you can find things like second harmonics and their level since it is calibrated. You just have to tune to say the second harmonic to measure it.  IMD you can get right off the display as it is today.
Just got a message from TAPR I'm in on the first batch of Metis cards.
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« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2011, 09:25:37 PM »

Frank, I'm watching to see what improvements your Metis board does over the Ozy before I order one. You be a good guinea pig. Grin

Ready to plug in some boards -  Back View:

The Atlas backplane is mounted with the LPU power supply module.  There is a cut-out for a muffin fan and lots of holes for jacks and switches.

I'm ready to plug in the first board to add in the latest firmware and test it. Awaiting the ESD strap and bench mat next week.  There's even some room for another module, like maybe a small class A linear amp to bring it up to 15 watts or so.

T


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« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2011, 10:39:26 AM »

I was waving my arms at the back of the bus when the HPSDR guys wanted to use computer power supplies to power this stuff. They quickly learned it trasned mercury. The noise floor of mercury with the RF amp turned on is close to -140 dBM.  You will be OK for a while but in time that LPU needs to go. It will not power Metis at full speed.
Maybe I'll put my HPSDR on the air today.
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« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2011, 10:37:24 PM »

Been doing some serious reading in prep for next week.

Check this out. CW skimmer is a software routine that will read CW and automatically display horizontal dits and dahs of the QSOs  -  and display the QSO callsign.  Up to 700 stations at once .. Shocked   It will also do auto-spots to the DX clusters.   All this can be YOURS with HPSDR!    Roll Eyes

http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/



This next link helps to understand many of the details and overall view of HPSDR stuff.  Especially look at the "HPSDR Radio Setup Examples" about half way down the page. These are write ups with pictures of some guys cramming both a computer and HPSDR transceiver into a computer case.   Great stuff.

http://openhpsdr.org/wiki/index.php?title=HPSDRwiki:Community_Portal


T


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« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2011, 11:09:13 AM »

I fired up the rig yesterday to keep you motivated. You are getting real close to a working rig.
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« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2011, 01:47:28 PM »

Frank,

Your HPSDR sounded excellent on AM. Best sounding lashup you have there by far.  The ssb should sound FB now that you've corrected the various levels.   Most SDR guys have initial level problems and is probably the #1 reason why sometimes SDR gets a rep for sounding poor. Once set, the SDR rigs will sound flawless.

Well, today I finished the HPSDR computer software downloads including the SVN for updates. Works FB.  I have a PowerSDR/Penny screen working FB and all configured to accept the HPSDR boards.

I see that the software already has a two-tone generator AND a belcher pulse in the PowerSDR software. That is cool. Also, they have a 10-band EQ for both TX and RX, along with processing. I'll have to see how my outboard audio boxes compare. Maybe I'll end up using the outboard boxes only for the class E  and Fabio/4X1 rigs.

I did have a problem trying to load SVN 64 bit. It said my processor did not support it. So I downloaded 32 bit SVN and it ran OK.  I see another choice for 64 bit USB software. Will this lack of 64 bit capability haunt me later?

Lastly, I'm reading about the firmware updates. I plan to update all boards as soon as the boards are installed.

BTW, I have the setup checks toggled to say I already have Ozy,  Mercury and Penny installed. Is this OK if I have just Ozy  and then Mercury in there for initial testing or do I need to indicate exactly what is in there as I add the boards - ie will I confuse the software?

T

** Update: The UPS guy just showed up with the ESD benchmat and strap.  If I only had the proper cabling, I could have this sucker running today.
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« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2011, 01:53:02 PM »

Hey TOM
(Check this out. CW skimmer is a software routine that will read CW and automatically display horizontal dits and dahs of the QSOs  -  and display the QSO callsign.  Up to 700 stations at once .. Shocked   It will also do auto-spots to the DX clusters.   All this can be YOURS with HPSDR!    Roll Eyes

http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/)

Shoot man,

My Ham Radio Deeelux MSK31 can show me a bunch of msk31 signals and the QSO taking place And their call in a 'super browser' screen app
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« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2011, 01:56:21 PM »

Yeah Fred, you be SDR-Man already. Anythang is possible!   Grin

(How about voice recognition software labeling who's talking where?)
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There's nothing like an old dog.
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« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2011, 02:07:30 PM »

Check this out. CW skimmer is a software routine that will read CW and automatically display horizontal dits and dahs of the QSOs  -  and display the QSO callsign.  Up to 700 stations at once .. Shocked   It will also do auto-spots to the DX clusters.   All this can be YOURS with HPSDR!    Roll Eyes

http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/

Alex (VE3NEA) has written some brilliant software. I love his free Voice Shaper software that does real-time audio signal processing.

Looks like you're having a lot of fun with the project Tom. Should be great fun to see that signal come up on the bands!

Rob
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« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2011, 03:30:43 PM »

I warned you to get a USB cable last week. Kaplan in Manchester if you can't get it at radio slock. Just load Ozy and Mercury for starters. Also select clock source as Mercury. Start at 96000 sample rate.
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« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2011, 04:11:46 PM »

Frank, I figgered I'd take it slow and see what cables I needed as I pulled the boards out of the ESD wrap. I'm reading that some of the cables shud be very short due to RF getting into the computer.  Maybe I shud buy some type 73 ferrite snap ons. I have type 43's , but probably not high perm enuff.

I have to take a look at that VE3 software, Rob. You are WAY ahead of me. But it's not as difficult as I thought to pull this off.


*** Here's the new ESD bench set up.  Pictured in #1 is 172K ohms resistance from the mat to hard ground. Pic #2 is the 1.01 meg resistance from the wrist strap to hard ground.

I checked all the ground continuity  to be sure the test gear, soldering iron, station ground and AC ground were all tied together.   All set for action now.  (All good ESD boys go to heaven)   Grin

T


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Use an "AM Courtesy Filter" to limit transmit audio bandwidth  +-4.5 KHz, +-6.0 KHz or +-8.0 KHz when needed.  Easily done in DSP.

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There's nothing like an old dog.
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« Reply #45 on: January 24, 2011, 04:32:50 PM »

Wow, not a single burn mark. Now all you need is a nice microscope.
Remember the chassis is sitting on rubber feet so run a JS between chassis and ground. I have about 6 foot long USB cable with a bead snapped on up near the ozy connector. I don't have anything on any of the audio or coax cables. This could become an issue in QRO land. I have been fine at 100 watts so far. Erb is not shielded and about 3 feet away.
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« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2011, 05:18:44 PM »

Been doing some serious reading in prep for next week.

Check this out. CW skimmer is a software routine that will read CW and automatically display horizontal dits and dahs of the QSOs  -  and display the QSO callsign.  Up to 700 stations at once .. Shocked   It will also do auto-spots to the DX clusters.   All this can be YOURS with HPSDR!    Roll Eyes

http://www.dxatlas.com/CwSkimmer/




Hi Tom,

That has been available for quite awhile.  It is without a doubt very cool, but seems like it is taking the operator and operating skill out of the loop.  Might as well just have computers talking to computers!

73, Jack, W9GT
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« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2011, 07:33:58 PM »

Regarding the 32 vs 64 bit question Tom yes you would have to have a processor that is up to the task but you would also have to have a 64 bit version of Windows OS installed. Not many (if any) computers come with that. The 64 bit os would probably be a good choice for your project but most of the third party software on the market for Windows isn't made for 64 bit machines. Things like CAD and video editing need 64 bit.

Have a close look at what is running in the background on the computer you are going to use after an initial boot. Things like email, browsers and anti virus software can use up a lot of processor time and cause hiccups while your trying to operate.

Good Luck 
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« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2011, 08:14:21 PM »

McAfee is bad news for power SDR. I'm running a dual dual core 2.4 GHz and still got dropouts.  I don't put the machine on the net. It was a pita stripping McAfee out of the machine. Tom my machine was a server in its other life but I think I am running 32 bit also.  I seem to remember reading that it would support 64 bit operation. Most of the time it only needs about 7 % total horsepower. I think I changed it to a high priority task though.
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« Reply #49 on: January 25, 2011, 10:20:04 AM »

Frank, I have basically the same computer you do, 2.4 ghz and dual core.  We'll see.  Getting closer but having a few snags with the Alteris? firmware update software. I click on the exe. icon and just see a quick screen flash of text and then its gone.  Is that normal if I don't have OZY hooked up yet? Still have to find a USB cable or sort it all out and visit RS between snow today and Wed. (Another N'Easter coming)

Jack,  I've seen CW skimmer around for a few years, but never checked it out.  Yes, those automated set-ups must be "fun".  Roll Eyes   I don't even use a voice keyer, never mind all that other stuff.

Taking it slow so not to make mistakes. The last thang I need is blown boards that have to go back to Gerd in Germany for repair.

T
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Use an "AM Courtesy Filter" to limit transmit audio bandwidth  +-4.5 KHz, +-6.0 KHz or +-8.0 KHz when needed.  Easily done in DSP.

Wise Words : "I'm as old as I've ever been... and I'm as young as I'll ever be."

There's nothing like an old dog.
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