Doug AC9RZ has alerted constructors to the big news of the day – Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE, designer of the BITx series of kitset transceivers has been inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame! The announcement from CQ Magazine follows:
(Xenia, Ohio – May 18, 2018) – The CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame has 11 new members for 2018, CQ magazine announced today. This brings to 321 the total number of members inducted since the hall’s establishment in 2001.
The CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame honors those individuals, whether licensed hams or not, who have made significant contributions to amateur radio; and those amateurs who have made significant contributions either to amateur radio, to their professional careers or to some other aspect of life on our planet. The 2018 inductees (listed alphabetically) are:
- Marlon Brando, FO5GJ (SK), iconic movie actor
- David Brown, KC5ZTC (SK), NASA astronaut killed in 2003 Columbia disaster
- Kalpana Chawla, KD5ESI (SK), NASA astronaut killed in 2003 Columbia disaster
- Laurel Clark, KC5ZSU (SK), NASA astronaut killed in 2003 Columbia disaster
Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE, pioneer in popularizing open-source Bit-X “semi-kits” using Arduinos for affordable QRP transceivers
- Grady Fox, W4FRM (SK), SSB pioneer; worked on Manhattan Project during World War II and the camera for NASA’s lunar landers
- Wendell King, ex-2ADD (SK), African-American pioneer of broadcasting and college radio
- Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, founder of QRZ.com, the most widely-accessed amateur radio website
- Mark Pecen, KC9X/VE3QAM, wireless communication and networking pioneer, inventor, cybersecurity expert
- Carole Perry, WB2MGP, longtime advocate for youth in amateur radio; moderator of Dayton youth forum for more than 30 years
- Ed Westcott, W4UVS, photographer who chronicled the Manhattan Project during World War II and later helped the FBI with its investigation of the Jonestown massacre
Two new members each are also being inducted into the CQ DX and Contest Halls of Fame at the respective Dayton DX and Contest dinners. Their names will be announced separately.
CQ Communications, Inc. / 17 West John St. / Hicksville, NY 11801 USA / 516-681-2922
The world’s premier independent amateur radio publisher.
CQ Amateur Radio, CQ Books, the CQ Video Library
Al N1AW’s Sharpie Mic instructions. Right click on the image and “open in new window” to make these instructions bigger!
Joe W3JDR asked on the IO Groups BITX20 list for CAD details for a board layout for the Blue Pill” STM32F103 processor. Members quickly discovered that Joe has a blog with details of his hacks to the µBITx that would be of wider interest to constructors.
Check out https://w3jdr.wordpress.com/ for a range of mods including:
- audio preamp (Q70) dynamic range improvement by substitution of a resistor
- a digital sampling S Meter
- a slide rule type colour display for frequency
- an amazing front panel for his µBITx
- a high resolution optical encoder
“I’ve been busy behind the scenes doing a lot of things with the control system. I now have the entire app running on an STM32F103 “Blue Pill” board, which is only about $2.50 on Ebay. This gives me a 70 mHz 32 bit controller with 128K bytes of program memory.
“My software S-meter is now working quite well and only requires 2 resistors and a cap, plus some code. I’m using a separate ILI7735 display for the S-meter, both displays on the same SPI bus. The S-meter is derived from a 10kHz sample-rate of the pre-amp audio, with software peak detection. The TFT meter display has a max-hold pointer that resets every few seconds, while the main pointer is real-time. There are digital readouts on it for peak signal level in uV, dBm and S-units.
“The measurements from the S-meter will drive a digipot after the audio pre-amp to effect a feedforward AGC. Feedforward, with software calibration, should make for a very fast acting AGC without the overshoot/undershoot artifacts of feedback systems.
“I’m also using a 400 ppr optical encoder for frequency control with interrupt processing; it tunes beautifully smooth, with 1 hZ steps and software acceleration. . All of this puts a real strain on the little Nano u-controller, hence the move to the Blue Pill.
“I intend to layout a new Raduino that accepts the ‘pill’, with extra connectors for SPI and I2C busses. I developed my own tinier version of the Adafruit Si5351 board that will mount on the Raduino. I might even use a separate Si5351 for the main VFO in order to eliminate the crosstalk spurs generated in the single-chip approach. This was all moving smoothly while I was house-bound during Winter, but will slow down while the weather’s nice outside.”
Several constructors had ordered their µBITx expecting a shipping notice, but hadn’t received one.
Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE confesses, “The trouble is me. I am supposed to ship an updated firmware. They are waiting for that. The boards are ready, the software was supposed to have been delivered last week.”
It turns out that family matters have intervened. Patience folks!
With four components, and the on:off switch, Bill K9HZ provides the ultimate reverse voltage and over-current protection system for your µBITx. The fuse protects the circuit from excessive current draw – so you won’t blow your finals when you wind up the bias too far and they try to go into thermal runaway. The relay must be powered on to power your µBITx (and the switch must be turned on). With the series diode in place the relay cannot turn on unless the power is wired up correctly.
JerryW0PWE notes that in the posts on boosting and/or leveling output power he saw pictures of a binocular core being used as the output transformer in place of the toroid that comes with the uBitx board. He asks “What size is that binocular core?”
Allison plans to use the longer version of the BN43-6802 (or two BN43-302 cores end to end).
John VK2ETA says he went back to IRF510s in the finals and has used a BN43-3312 as the single 302 was getting warm on the low frequencies and he could not put more than 2/3 turns in the core. He tried both 1/2T and 2/4T in the 3312 and settled on 2/4T due to better efficiency. The 1/2T drew too much current at 80M.
There is plenty of gain and power at 14MHz and below on 16.8V for the PA but has had to resort to a gain control for flattening the power curve despite 330pF caps in all 6 drivers emitter resistors, 22uH inductor in the base feedback of the pre-driver, 330 pF across the primary of the finals transformer and 820ohms in the finals feedback resistors.
Nick VK4PLN uses the BN43-202 with a winding ratio of 2:4 using 0.64mm enameled CU. His rig is outputing 20W+ on 80/40/20 using RD16HHF1. Nick doesn’t detect any heating… Maybe it will at that power level on 10m?
His plan is to now try using:
– the MPSH10 in the pre-driver
– a single 10T bifilar wound FT50-43 for feeding the power to the RD16HHF1s
– removing the PA feedback loop
– and other pre-driver mods as per Farhans suggestions….
This appears to be the common approach on most of the RD16 amp designs out there…and Nick hopes he will get 20w+ output from 80-10m….
Bill K9HZ tried a BN61-002 and it seems to be a winner. It doesn’t heat up at full power and it seems to be extremely wide band.
Jack W8TEE has provided directions on how find a compiled hex file:
1. Go to your Preferences settings (File –> Preferences) and check “Set verbose output during” and check “compilation”
2. Compile the program. Do not upload as that erases all temporary files, including the hex file. In other words, just click on the
check mark icon that appears below the File menu option.
3. Scroll down the long list of output your compile generated until you see: “Linking everything together…” followed by a series of
lines with path and file names. The hex file for you program will be one of them. Just use that path name to find the hex file.
While you’re there, use a text editor to open the *.lst file. It shows a blending of C and assembler generated by the compiler. It’s an interesting way to find if one way of writing a piece of code is “better” (i.e., faster execution, or perhaps using less memory) than an alternative way.
Tom W1EAT provides a schematic for his mod of a variable IF bandwidth circuit for the µBITx. The RX and TX voltages are about 12V, so he used a resistor network to keep the applied voltage to about 1 to 9V because that is the usable range for the varicap diodes he uses. As the voltage on the caps is reduced the higher audio frequencies are reduced until the bandwidth is probably 100Hz or so at 1 volt. The filter centre frequency is very low, 200 Hz or so with Tom’s BFO setting.
The BB112 has about 500pf capacity at 1 volt applied.
The 4.7K resistors that feed the voltage to the VVC diodes could be 10 or 20 K, or what have you, as there is very little current needed.
Bill Franzwa K6SIK suggests
“New software and hardware improvements will continue to come as the uBITX is purchased by more and more users. This is natural. Rather than incrementally improving pieces and parts and wind up with a hodgepodge of boards and operating systems, it might be better to step back and wait a year for uBITXII.”
This idea generated some responses, with support for the general idea:
- Walt VE7CWS suggests “address the microphone audio drive level, the power out issues and generally do a complete workaround on those things that have been addressed. As to the software, keep it simple and for those that want to adapt other sketches or write their own continue support for that.”
- Rich KE1EV says “I wonder if the uBitx filter can be adapted to vary it’s bandwidth, perhaps with an external pot rather than under processor control. Tested and verified mods should also be included. Rig operation is awkward due to the lack of front panel controls.”