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Hermes 14-bit SDR Xcvr available




 
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Author Topic: Hermes 14-bit SDR Xcvr available  (Read 6123 times)
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W1ITT
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« on: February 10, 2022, 03:41:07 PM »

For those who can't get the big iron in their rigs to make AM, or can no longer hoist it up onto the table Apache Labs is doing another run of their Hermes 14-bit transceiver board.  Among other things, they'll do nice AM as well as all the other modes.  This is the same as the Anan 10e innards.  You'll have to add a TR switch and a Windows computer connection and, most likely, some linear amplification as it makes less than 500 milliwatts.  I ordered one and they are predicting a March 25 shipping.  If you haven't seen the ApacheLabs / Anan products, they are all well made, and well supported by an online community of smart people, some of whom occasionally lurk among us on this very site.

https://apache-labs.com/al-products/1022/Open-HPSDR-Hermes-14-bit-ADC-EP3C25-Transceiver-Card-Assembled--Tested.html

73 de Norm W1ITT
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KF7WWW
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2022, 04:50:24 PM »

Norm
Thank you for posting this! Ordered a board for my Anan 10e. I killed the receiver in it last year and I havenít bothered to send it back for repair. Now I can put a new board in and send the old board off for repair. Iíve wanted to use two of these sdr radios for a few years now and this solved the issue!

Sam
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WA2SQQ
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2022, 03:16:37 PM »

Cost?
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W1ITT
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2022, 04:58:36 PM »

Bob..  If you click on the link in my post above it should take you to the ApacheLabs site.  It's $395 plus shipping from VK.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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WA2SQQ
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2022, 06:19:37 PM »

Ok, thanks!
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WB4AM
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2022, 05:17:18 PM »

For those who can't get the big iron in their rigs to make AM, or can no longer hoist it up onto the table Apache Labs is doing another run of their Hermes 14-bit transceiver board.  Among other things, they'll do nice AM as well as all the other modes.  This is the same as the Anan 10e innards.  You'll have to add a TR switch and a Windows computer connection and, most likely, some linear amplification as it makes less than 500 milliwatts.  I ordered one and they are predicting a March 25 shipping.  If you haven't seen the ApacheLabs / Anan products, they are all well made, and well supported by an online community of smart people, some of whom occasionally lurk among us on this very site.

https://apache-labs.com/al-products/1022/Open-HPSDR-Hermes-14-bit-ADC-EP3C25-Transceiver-Card-Assembled--Tested.html

73 de Norm W1ITT

Thanks for posting this, although I have been aware of this board being offered.  What has kept me from pulling the trigger is it is a 14 bit as you had mentioned but my Anan 100 is a 16 bit.

Do you or anyone know what the difference would be as far as performance comparing it to the 16 bit?

Also with its output being 500 miliwatts, does anyone know if this is the same output for the 16 bit board without using the onboard RF amp that comes with Anan 100?

I am thinking this might be a good back up board to have on hand.

Thank you,
Ken

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W1ITT
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2022, 06:30:17 PM »

Ken..  Probably the most important difference between the 14 bit and 16 bit units is the dynamic range, 16 bit being better.  Unless you are using it in a multi-multi contest station, it probably won't make a difference.  I think, but not sure, that 16 bit processing ought to be more processing intensive, although most any modern day computer that you may have in the shack is plenty enough to run it well.  I plan on using mine with a RaspberryPi 4B which is competent but certainly  not a powerhouse.  There are free Linux softwares for the purpose.
I don't know if the Anan 100 makes its 100 watts on the SDR board or on another board in the case.  For my own purpose, I'm planning on using a 100 watt transmit board salvaged from a defunct Kenwood of some sort.  It has a switchable low pass filter on board and will follow the Hermes around.  On SSB/CW it would be good for 100 watts.  On AM more like 20 or 25 watts is reasonable, same as the Anan 100.  I also have the RF brick from a Drake TR7 and I may go that route as it has a killer heat sink, but I'd have to add low pass filtering to it.  Yet another choice is a board I bought from Russia, capable of 300 watts out CW/SSB with onboard LPF.  It uses SD2933 transistors and I am fabricating a copper heat spreader and fan cooled aluminum finned heat sink for yet another SDR I'm cobbling up.  Good luck on getting the Russian stuff any more.  Most of it is actually pretty good.
Didn't the WRL Globe Champ and a few of its brethren have an input connector for running it as a linear amplifier?  Something of that nature would be nifty, a bit of both worlds. If you are willing to do a bit of ham improvisation, you can come up with a reasonably powered signal for less money than the full store-boughten rig.
I'm eagerly awaiting the promised 25 March ship date for the Hermes.  There are those who contend that the Hermes-Lite project (12-bit) is a better deal as it makes 5 watts for less money.  But it's not available right now and the buzz is that the ubiquitous semiconductor shortage situation is not promising for it.  As with cat food in the store, the rule now seems to be.... If you really want it, and you see it, better grab it while you can.  I don't see much else in the pipeline.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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WB4AM
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2022, 06:44:07 PM »

Thank you Norm for the fast reply.

With what you mentioned about the 300 watt pa board, that has me thinking.

Maybe the heck with a back up board but maybe build a full blown transceiver with much more power then 100 watts.

There are a few LDMMOS boards being sold here and there that only needs a watt to energies it, and there are filter boards that are available too.

I will think this over!

Thank you again.

Ken


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W1ITT
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2022, 07:36:36 PM »

Ken..

If you've not seen his site, check out  W6PQL.com   .  Under "parts I can supply" you'll find all sorts of nifty amplifiers and stuff.  His quality is top notch.  There are some other amp pallets on Flebay etc that seem to be made for the illicit 27 mhz market.  Jim is one of the good guys and his site is quite informative.

73 de Norm W1ITT
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WB4AM
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2022, 10:59:45 AM »


No I did not know of W6PQL 's website, it sounds very intriguing.

I will certainly check it out, thank you!

73
Ken


 
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WA2ONK
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2022, 06:08:54 PM »

Ken,
  I have a couple of w6pql amp boards here and Norm is right, they are quality.

Chuck..
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WB4AM
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2022, 07:43:10 AM »

Hello Chuck,

I miss those VHF/UHF contesting days, they were loads of fun!

I have seen some of your work which is outstanding
and respect you and your opinions from way back.

Hope you are doing well and thank you for your vote of confidence on the amp boards.

73
Ken
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WB4AM
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2022, 08:35:07 PM »

Well, I bit the bullet on one of those 14-bit Sdr boards.
 
So, I now have a few questions if I may.  Has anyone built Jim's W6PQL HF amps using two of the ldmos pallets?

Where does one go to purchase a 50-volt 40 amp supply to power these amps?   Are these supplies being stacked in series or parallel or both to achieve the correct current draw and voltages?

Also, these 14-bit boards only produce 500 mil watts.   What drivers are being built to drive Jim's amps?

By the way, I use an Anan 100 on AM, and they sound great.  Can't say it heats the shack though.  But I am running a pair of 4cx800s that help!
Anyway I am looking forward to using this 14-bit bit board and perhaps putting one of Jim's amps behind it.  All on AM of course.  🙂

Thank you
Ken

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W1ITT
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2022, 08:58:34 PM »

Hi Ken...

I ordered mine on the first day and am patiently waiting.  First off, the 48 volt supplies are on Ebay among other places.  MeanWell seems to be the brand of choice.  They come in many voltages and sizes and seem to mostly be fairly RF-quiet.  If you look in the topic listings on his site he talks about how to use them, parallel them up, etc.
https://w6pql.com/a_big_power_supply.htm
 QRP-Labs  sells a 10  watt broadband linear amplifier  kit to use as a driver, for $26..  Be careful because they also have a non-linear amp that they use with their WSPR kits.
I don't personally know anyone who has done the combiner route with W6PQL amps but I would not worry as he is a good and careful engineer.  He has been keeping the VHF/UHF and moonbounce crowd happy for years.  Things I've bought from him are darn near mil spec. 
73 de Norm W1ITT
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W1ITT
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2022, 09:04:02 PM »

For those who have ordered the 14-bit Hermes board, the news from Apache in Australia is that the shipments will be delayed by  "a few weeks".
https://sdr-radio.groups.io/g/main/topic/shipping_update_from_apache/89887958?p=,,,20,0,0,0::recentpostdate/sticky,,,20,2,0,89887958,previd=1647794879508849000,nextid=1646684549919323270&previd=1647794879508849000&nextid=1646684549919323270
Wow... That's quite a link isn't it !  Anyhow, this is how the world works in 2022 so I'm just gonna suck it up and wait.  I'm sure it's the dreaded supply chain problems.  I read that the outfit in Japan that makes 80% of the processors that go in Fords was messed up by effects of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Japan, so life could be worse.  I had a Ford once.  Only once.   Anyhow, it gives us more time to get an enclosure together, figure out a T-R circuit and amplification to goose the rig up from 500 milliwatts.  The hole drilling dimensions are on the TAPR site as I recall.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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KF7WWW
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2022, 10:07:23 AM »

Norm
Iíd like to see some pictures of your enclosure and amplifier choices after completion. The board I ordered is immediately going to replace the damaged board in my 10e. So the second board after itís repaired will be used as a backup or remote unit.
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WB4AM
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« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2022, 11:15:36 AM »

Hi Ken...

I ordered mine on the first day and am patiently waiting.  First off, the 48 volt supplies are on Ebay among other places.  MeanWell seems to be the brand of choice.  They come in many voltages and sizes and seem to mostly be fairly RF-quiet.  If you look in the topic listings on his site he talks about how to use them, parallel them up, etc.
https://w6pql.com/a_big_power_supply.htm
 QRP-Labs  sells a 10  watt broadband linear amplifier  kit to use as a driver, for $26..  Be careful because they also have a non-linear amp that they use with their WSPR kits.
I don't personally know anyone who has done the combiner route with W6PQL amps but I would not worry as he is a good and careful engineer.  He has been keeping the VHF/UHF and moonbounce crowd happy for years.  Things I've bought from him are darn near mil spec. 
73 de Norm W1ITT

Hi Norm,
 
Thanks for the replies.
I looked on the web site for the 10 watt linear and read the info on it,
but I did not see the input wattage for the board, and ideas?

73
Ken


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W1ITT
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« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2022, 02:25:59 PM »

Ken...
The 10W linear amplifier on QRP Labs says 26db gain.  So 10 db down would be 1 watt in, another 10 db down would be 100 milliwatts in, and another 6 db down would take us to to a requirement of 25 milliwatts to drive it.  That all adds up to the 26 db.  The Hermes makes 500 milliwatts.  I would run Hermes on the easy side, perhaps 250 milliwatts out, and then get a 10 db pad to get things down to 25 milliwatts.  At that point you are smack in the middle of the Hermes power adjustment range.
I am told that the Hermes series runs very clean IMD at 250 to 400 milliwatts, and an advantage of using a 10 db pad is that it provides a fairly constant load on the Hermes no matter what happens on the far side.  A 10 db pad with a worst case open or short output is about 2 to one SWR, roughly.  "Wasting" 10 db at this power level isn't going to kill any polar bears so there's little need to feel guilty, and it makes that expensive Hermes just a bit more bulletproof.  Type SMA pads are pretty cheap on Ebay etc. 
73 de Norm W1ITT
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WB4AM
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2022, 03:42:35 PM »

Ken...
The 10W linear amplifier on QRP Labs says 26db gain.  So 10 db down would be 1 watt in, another 10 db down would be 100 milliwatts in, and another 6 db down would take us to to a requirement of 25 milliwatts to drive it.  That all adds up to the 26 db.  The Hermes makes 500 milliwatts.  I would run Hermes on the easy side, perhaps 250 milliwatts out, and then get a 10 db pad to get things down to 25 milliwatts.  At that point you are smack in the middle of the Hermes power adjustment range.
I am told that the Hermes series runs very clean IMD at 250 to 400 milliwatts, and an advantage of using a 10 db pad is that it provides a fairly constant load on the Hermes no matter what happens on the far side.  A 10 db pad with a worst case open or short output is about 2 to one SWR, roughly.  "Wasting" 10 db at this power level isn't going to kill any polar bears so there's little need to feel guilty, and it makes that expensive Hermes just a bit more bulletproof.  Type SMA pads are pretty cheap on Ebay etc. 
73 de Norm W1ITT

Hello Norm,

Thank you for this clarification, you are certainly educating me here. 

Obviously I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, however I am not afraid to learn either.

I looked back at the QRP Lab web site and saw the (((2-stage amplifier provides 26dB of gain))).  I didn't put that together in the sense the 26db gain is the results of calculating backwards if you will
to get the respective input power.  I am not around this type of lingo to often!  Your explanation that you have shared has open my thought process a bit more then I expected, thank you.

Taking what you had mentioned, so 10 watts is 26db more then 25mw, so going to 10 watts from 25mw is a 26db amplification.  A bit of a repeat but it is needed for my brain to absorb it!

Also since you said the Hermes runs best around 250 milliwatts, Is this why you would only suggest a 10db padding and not more.
Also seems like a digital milliwatt meter may be in order.

Thank you Norm. 
I wish you lived down the road a piece from me!!!




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W1ITT
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2022, 09:55:39 PM »

Ken..
Yup decibels can count up or down.  If you are in a hurry and don't want to mess with logarithms, all you have to know is that 10 db is a factor of 10.  That is, it either multiplies or divide by 10.  And 3 db is a factor of two.   By taking out the 10s and the 3s you can get pretty close to where you need to be and guess (interpolate) any little leftover bit.  It'll be close enough for most practical work.
I think it was on Aliexpress or maybe Ebay, but I got a little RF power meter that measured up to a watt or so...good for the small measurements.  It has a 2.8" screen, same as the popular NanoVNA.  I think it was less than $60.  But I'm on Tinian, getting ready to tune an HF curtain array for our Uncle, so I can't lay my hands on it now.
By the way, I'm a bit disappointed that Apache hasn't officially said something about being late on the 14 bit Hermes.  Not that we could do anything about it, but it would be interesting to know what parts are unobtanium.  Is it the FPGA or DAC, or just some little stuff?  Not to worry, patience is a virtue, and we could all use more virtue.  They are a good and innovative company.  I have a 16-bit TAPR Hermes, looks just the same, and a few years ago they came out with a daughter board for it to allow it to take a precision 10mhz source for frequency locking.  Abhi, the head guy at Apache, sent them out free to anyone who said they'd like one.  Fear not.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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WB4AM
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2022, 12:00:42 PM »

Hello Norm,

I appreciate you thank you.

I am familiar with the division of dbm meaning to go down in DBM that is.  I worked for a cell company and I had a very good and fair boss who knew what he was doing.

He talked to me about DBM and how to calculate.  For instance we had to adjust one of the Cell amplifiers to 39dbm (roughly 8 watts) and another one to 40dbm (10 watts).

However if I am not using DMB and such I forget a lot of what I had been taught.

The biggest factor I never understood and it may be so clear and simple is when they say an amplifier has... lets say 26dbm gain and they don't give the input drive.  
I just didn't know this simple procedure that you had shown to achieve the input information.

I would always ask the question, something like..."26db of gain of what"?  I just didn't understand.  I'm not afraid to admit my dumbness as long as I eventually learn!

Again, thank you Norm for a simple and successful clarification.  It may be simple for most but a big deal for me, like a 100 watt light bulb that had just been turned on!

I understand too that if the board will be late getting out, someone should had mentioned this.  I will look at some low input meters, thank you.
As for those daughter boards, I also have one for my Anan 100.  I have never installed it, but maybe one day I will fool around with one of those 10 mhz generators and I will have to install it.
The directions for the installation is quite simple as I am sure you know.  I have had my Anan apart twice now with the boards removed.  Those sma connectors can be a pain!

73 Ken

UPDATE:

Just found this on The Apache, Anan Web Site:

Please note that due to a delay in delivery of the PHY Chip KSZ9021RL the delivery schedule has been delayed by 4-6 weeks, our factory is on standby and will commence production ASAP on receipt of this part from our supplier, expected ship date is early May 2022.















 
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W1ITT
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2022, 08:29:39 PM »

Ken and all..
FYI, I looked up that chip.  It's a four-dollar ethernet transceiver that lets the radio talk to the host computer.  That's the world we live in today !  Little diddly stuff like that can put the kibosh on big stuff and keep higher dollar things from going anywhere.  I guess we should be thankful...most of us..that we aren't in the electronic manufacturing business and have to tie up dollars in a product only to have it  sit on the shelf due to a four buck part being unavailable.
This morning I was looking up electric water heaters to mate with a solar project.  I see that Rheem makes one with all sorts of swell features and I can even monitor and control it with WiFi from my smartass phone.  (Why?)  Betcha it's chock full of chips.  No thank you!  I'll stick with the ones that have good old fashioned bimetallic thermostats that I can replace.
Anyhow, I'm happy that Apache filled us in on the situation.  We can get the ancillary parts and pieces ready for when the units arrive.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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W1ITT
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2022, 07:49:56 AM »

Happy news:  Apache Labs has reported that they now hold all the parts necessary to complete the 14-bit Hermes SDR run, and they expect to have production finished in 2 or 3 weeks.  They also offer a 10 watt amplifier with T-R switching and low pass filters to boost the power up from half a watt.  I'm still thinking on that one.  A limited number of the Hermes boards are still up for purchase.  It's been a long wait for want of a $4 part, but that's the way the 2022 cookie crumbles.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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WB4AM
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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2022, 05:56:45 PM »

Hello Norm,

This is great news indeed.  With the ten watt board for $200 is surely adding to the price though.

But with the on board filters and switching it is hard to pass it up.

I'm still thinking about it too !

Thanks for the update.

73
Ken
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W1ITT
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« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2022, 09:57:43 AM »

Latest on the 14-bit Hermes from Apache Labs:

The component kit for the Hermes card has been provided to the Contract Manufacturer and is in queue for production, we expect them to take up Hermes in the next 2-3 weeks,

The 10W PA production is complete and for those who have ordered one these will ship with the Hermes boards.

Thank you to you and everybody else waiting on the Hermes for your patience, it is much appreciated.
              ******************************

It appears then that they have all their parts and they now are sending them off to the assembly shop.  All this stuff will be fed into the magic contraption on tapes for placing then oven or hot air soldering. There is usually a function test on each board that follows, then shipping if all goes well.  I figure if we have the unit in our hands mid September we'll be doing well.  But that's how it is in the new economy.  I wish that Apache had been a bit more forthcoming with periodic updates.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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