Date   
Re: Thread Navigation

Gary O'Neil
 


            Easy to get lulled into complacency as well Jerry... and so it goes.
Viz... :
           "Same firmware, same 1/4 Watt resistor at R141, LPF is borderline on 2'd harmonic suppression,
Q13 will blow if somebody operating QRO nearby.  Fixing those would cost an extra $0.20/unit in parts."

            All true...  and...
            All require a modicum of understanding to recognize and appreciate.
            All require a slightly elevated level of understanding and modest increase or decrease in unit cost to mitigate,
            All but any resulting manufacturing cost differential are painful to discover... not having been assertively forewarned.
            All are quite fun to ferret out and craft innovative solutions.

However:
     "The HF Signals kits are supplied as-is without any promise that they will work to any particular specification."...  (Marketing jargon for Caveat Emptor)
and:
    "The boards are sold at a low price to encourage more people to build them. Due to the high postage cost of including heavy items like speakers and metal box, these are not part of the kit. You will have to supply your own project box, speaker, mic, power supply, antenna, etc."
.
and...:
       I came upon more than a few builders that have destroyed their "first" BITX, trying to get it working, and purchased a replacement... presumably with the intention of actually succeeding. In at least a couple of cases, a builder has procured more than one. I think the rationale for that strategy was to hack away on one, and then migrate the hacks that actually improved things to the one they intend to showcase and operate.

So...

in the context of:
   "I don't see any SSB kits out there that can touch these rigs on price/performance." I'm assuming that was a tongue in cheek comment as well. :-)

   In addition, successful business people recognize that criticism isn't always bad, and occasionally has merit they might find worthy of consideration. The BITX40 hasn't always shipped with the Raduino for example, and the fact that segments of the board are populated slightly different than the documentation reveals is another example. Clearly; not all suggestions and cost cutting opportunities are being ignored... and that is healthy for HFSignals. This group does seem to do a fine job of expressing their gratitude when such changes in direction do occur.

... on the other hand, I wouldn't challenge anybody, who lacks technical expertise, that might complain that the marketing might sound a tad misleading: 

"Lack of access to Elmers (i.e., mentors) and radio builders’ communities, absence of test equipment  all impede the spread of homebrewing radio and peripheral equipment. With the BITX40, we hope to recover that ground and encourage more and more people to get on air, modify, experiment, build and learn." 

     A group of experienced builders and developers searching for Elmers is not likely the market being targeted here... Nor is the notion that test equipment isn't required to address the issues and improve upon the performance of the BITX. But their mission of hope is undeniably alive and well. LOL! It would have missed the mark had this project been intended this for first time builders though. I can envision a first time builder meticulously following every assembly detail, and carefully installing it into a nice protective cabinet, only to turn it on and try tuning it....   "What have I done wrong???" What did I do to cause all this racket when I key and unkey the transmitter???  Why is it so difficult to tune???


 
          

Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Paul Wilson
 

UPS is the same for items coming into Canada. I once had to pay UPS a fee that was several times the purchase cost of the cellular antenna involved. However, that was quite a while back so that may have improved but such things do leave a really bad after taste.

73 Paul VA6PW, VE6KWI


On 18/01/2018 12:47 PM, Goran VE6GPO wrote:
Couple days before I ordered (india Post to Calgary, Canada), we had some Keithley (Tektronix) equipment under warranty coming back from repair from the US through DHL. Although we had RMA and Tekttronix was paying for shipping both ways, DHL wanted us to pay a fee. Luckilly, Tek rep was able to sort that out for us. That's why I was leery of ordering through DHL and willing to wait a month.

My 2c of experience with DHL in Canada ...

73, Goran VE6GPO

Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Diane Bruce
 

On Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 01:38:39PM -0500, Ken wrote:
It's actual a fee DHL charges to "handle" the item through customs.
Ah ick. DHL is the wrong carrier to use, USPS surprisingly are the
best. Some carriers insist on a fee although there is no customs duty
imposed on the item.

As long as somewhere on the package it says 'Amateur Radio' transceiver
or the like it should be ok.

Diane VA3DB

--
- db@... db@... http://www.db.net/~db

Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Goran VE6GPO
 

Couple days before I ordered (india Post to Calgary, Canada), we had some Keithley (Tektronix) equipment under warranty coming back from repair from the US through DHL. Although we had RMA and Tekttronix was paying for shipping both ways, DHL wanted us to pay a fee. Luckilly, Tek rep was able to sort that out for us. That's why I was leery of ordering through DHL and willing to wait a month.

My 2c of experience with DHL in Canada ...

73, Goran VE6GPO

Re: Help with troubleshooting Bitx40 - no transmit. #bitx40help

chris gress <Chrisg0wfh@...>
 

Check R141 is still 10ohm as it can go hi ohms check q,13 its easy for it to fail chris

On 18 Jan 2018 19:21, "Michael Davis" <maddmd818@...> wrote:
Well, I too have no transmit. It worked fine for quite awhile and suddenly not. A buddy traced the strong audio signal to Q14 where it was very weak after that device. I had an old board and replaced Q14. No difference, no output. Q14 voltage readings are fine but Q14 has .3, that's three tenths of a volt on the gate in receive. The only way I can see that happening is if the device has failed or if  it's somewhat normal. Gate and drain voltages in transmit are fine. I am tempted to replace Q15, but hate to just guess. Any technical input would be appreciated.

Mike Davis WA1MAD  4G LTE Droid

Re: Help with troubleshooting Bitx40 - no transmit. #bitx40help

Michael Davis <maddmd818@...>
 

Well, I too have no transmit. It worked fine for quite awhile and suddenly not. A buddy traced the strong audio signal to Q14 where it was very weak after that device. I had an old board and replaced Q14. No difference, no output. Q14 voltage readings are fine but Q14 has .3, that's three tenths of a volt on the gate in receive. The only way I can see that happening is if the device has failed or if  it's somewhat normal. Gate and drain voltages in transmit are fine. I am tempted to replace Q15, but hate to just guess. Any technical input would be appreciated.

Mike Davis WA1MAD  4G LTE Droid

Re: Rugged Case Options? #ubitx

Jim Sheldon
 

You didn't read my later post on this - I was well aware of those traces and I did put 2 layers of Kapton top and bottom right up to the edge and another one wrapped around to help hold the 2 in place while sliding the board in.  I also used my milling machine to mill the side bulge (cover mounting screw channel) where the board mounting holes are.  I then put in some female/female standoffs (shimmed with thin flat washers to where they just allowed the board to slide over them.  Once in place, the boards are locked to the standoffs with 3 mm screws.  That way there won't be any sliding of the board at all.

Jim - W0EB


On 1/18/2018 1:03 PM, at91r40008 wrote:
In an earlier posting I warned about two traces on the edge of the PCB. I use the same box but anodized black 
and when you slide the PCB in the box you might create a short. The trace on one side is ground but the trace
on the other side is live. (I don't remember which one is on the top and which is on the bottom side). As there is
a solder mask you might not have a short at all time. I solved the problem by covering the edge of the board on
this side with Kapton tape. Careful when you slide the board in that you don't rip off the tape.
--
73, Yvon NU6I

Re: S-Meter code help... #ubitx-help

Don, ND6T
 

I have been using delays of 2 seconds between display updates. That is a nice compromise between update noise, on the rigs that experience noise, and utility. That period allows gathering the peaks for the two seconds which works well for me. I apply the same timing for monitoring SSB output power. 73, ND6T

Re: Rugged Case Options? #ubitx

at91r40008
 

In an earlier posting I warned about two traces on the edge of the PCB. I use the same box but anodized black 
and when you slide the PCB in the box you might create a short. The trace on one side is ground but the trace
on the other side is live. (I don't remember which one is on the top and which is on the bottom side). As there is
a solder mask you might not have a short at all time. I solved the problem by covering the edge of the board on
this side with Kapton tape. Careful when you slide the board in that you don't rip off the tape.
--
73, Yvon NU6I

Re: Help with troubleshooting Bitx40 - no transmit. #bitx40help

Neil Martinsen-Burrell
 

Antennas, antennas, antennas for sure to improve QRP SSB success. The higher, longer, and more in the clear the better. If you can't put up a high antenna in your yard, consider some of the portable antenna options available (end fed half wave, monoband dipole, doublet and tuner, random wire and tuner) and take your BitX on the road. If your remote area contains trees, then you can often get an antenna up fairly high with a heave of a water bottle or tennis ball.

Don't worry too much about mountains because you can still make lots of contacts using the ionosphere, especially in the mornings and evenings. I like to visit http://bandconditions.com/ before I operate to adjust my expectations. Another suggestion is to try to make contacts during times when there are lots of motivated stations on the air such as during contests like Field Day, Winter Field Day, and ARRL Sweepstakes, state QSO parties, special event stations, etc.

Fantastic work getting as far as you have with this project and keep up the good work and soon you'll be making more contacts than you know what to do with.

-Neil N0FN

On Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 11:47 AM, lee hyde <masterleehyde64@...> wrote:
keep trying and experiment with antennas

On Jan 18, 2018 9:44 AM, "Neris Biciunas" <nbiciunas@...> wrote:
Thanks for all of your help with my troubleshooting.  
I was able to to work through everything with the stock mic and PTT, then coordinate with a local ham to test on-air.  IT WORKS!

I have not been able to test my wireup of the third party mic/PTT that I was hoping to use, but at least now I know that the radio works.

Any tips for making QRP contacts?  I live in a remote area, and a substantial mountain lies between me and any population center of any size.  I can hear chatter from significant distances away, but no one seems to hear me.


Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Ken
 

It's actual a fee DHL charges to "handle" the item through customs.

On Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:50 PM, Ghericoan <boakawizkid@...> wrote:
I didn't know this when I ordered and chose DHL, but I am also guilty of not having researched it first, so I got surprised when it arrived.
--
----------
N5WLF, Greggory (or my nickname, Ghericoan)
General Class, Digital Radio Hobbyist


Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

John McFadden
 

No DHL fees into the US for me, that is. 

John

On Jan 18, 2018 1:33 PM, "John McFadden" <johnamcf@...> wrote:
No fees from DHL for my bitx40 or ubitx.

John 

On Jan 18, 2018 1:32 PM, "Art Howard" <k0kuk.vhf@...> wrote:
I can only speak for the one I received, and there was no additional fee or taxes. DHL just left it at the door. 
--
Karl Heinz - K5KHK

Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

John McFadden
 

No fees from DHL for my bitx40 or ubitx.

John 

On Jan 18, 2018 1:32 PM, "Art Howard" <k0kuk.vhf@...> wrote:
I can only speak for the one I received, and there was no additional fee or taxes. DHL just left it at the door. 
--
Karl Heinz - K5KHK

Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Karl Heinz Kremer, K5KHK
 

I can only speak for the one I received, and there was no additional fee or taxes. DHL just left it at the door. 
--
Karl Heinz - K5KHK

Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Art Howard
 

Anyone know if there's a fee for the radio Ship by DHL into the United States ?

On 18 Jan 2018 9:25 am, "Ghericoan" <boakawizkid@...> wrote:
Just a heads up, I was dinged nearly $40 due to customs duties. For some reason the ubitx is getting marked as a "signal generator" and not as amateur radio gear when traveling through DHL.

A fellow redditor suggested that I post this here.
--
----------
N5WLF, Greggory (or my nickname, Ghericoan)
General Class, Digital Radio Hobbyist

Re: Frequency Increment thoughts...

Steve Black
 

On 01/18/2018 11:48 AM, Jack Purdum via Groups.Io wrote:
I like the suction cup idea, as I want to be able to take this out in the field...literally...and don't want the extra weight. Still, trying to get suction on a rock might be tough...

Jack, W8TEE



From: Craig Thibodeaux <km4yec@...>
To: BITX20@groups.io
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2018 11:30 AM
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Frequency Increment thoughts...

"µBITX doesn't have enough mass to withstand the press without holding the case."

When I toured the Kirby vacuum plant in the early eighties, I was made aware of a manufacturing ‘trick’ that has all but disappeared, that might come in handy for some of us.  That ‘trick’ was to make items heavier than necessary to imply a sense of worth was equivalent to weight.  The thinking was if two irons or two vacuums were placed side by side and then lifted individually by a homemaker (notice how politically correct I can be), the homemaker would likely choose the heavier of each as the higher quality.  Of course homemakers are better informed today, so weight where not needed is eliminated.

Jack, 

Add a lead bar, like used for melting to make fishing sinkers to weight down that chassis enough so you can push against the front panel.  Just another choice. Or throw in a couple of old transformers for fun and mass.

Or put a suction cup on the bottom of the case…...


Craig
KM4YEC






On Jan 18, 2018, at 10:43 AM, Jack Purdum via Groups.Io <jjpurdum@...> wrote:

You could place the switch further away from the tuning knob. The problem with using the encoder switch for something used frequently is that the µBITX doesn't have enough mass to withstand the press without holding the case. (I'm using a light-weight case, but with rubber feet.) That's why I'm putting the CW message switches on the top of the case, since pushing down on a NO switch causes no problems.

I'll play around with that and see how it works...

Jack, W8TEE



From: RCBoatGuy via Groups.Io <ijnfan-HamRadio@...>
To: BITX20@groups.io 
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2018 10:25 AM
Subject: Re: [BITX20] CW Key Switching Characteristics

I love your idea, Jack, only my personal preferences are slightly different.  If it were me, I'd have the separate NO switch be the Band switch and use the encoder switch as the tuning select (fine/medium/coarse). 

My thought is that with my clumsy fingers I might accidentally activate the encoder switch while tuning, and switching the tuning rate when that happens would be a lot less annoying that switching bands.  ;-)

73,

Carl,  K0MWC






Re: S-Meter code help... #ubitx-help

Jack, W8TEE
 

Updating a display is normally "noisy". I have a voltage display which, while important, doesn't change much very often, so in loop() I will have something like:

int oldVoltage, voltage;                              // These are globals and both set in setup()

void loop() {
   // a bunch of code...

   voltage = ReadVoltage();                          // Does an analog read via a voltage divider and mapped
   if ( abs(voltage - oldVoltage) / 100.0 > .2) {    // check for a 2/10V drop...
        VoltageWarning(voltage);
        oldVoltage = voltage;
   }
}

This kind of code would check for a .2V change. I keep voltage as an int, and then scale it for display with one decimal place. This would avoid updating the screen 15,000 times a second, which will introduce flicker on the display. Also, the warning function only updates a field, not the entire display. The actual code will likely change when I'm done, but you get the idea...

Jack, W8TEE
 



From: Sean W7SKD <sean.jrdalys@...>
To: BITX20@groups.io
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2018 12:08 PM
Subject: Re: [BITX20] S-Meter code help... #ubitx-help

Well...the issue is that the ubitx arduino program (and the bitx40 programs for that matter), were written with the expectation that you would only need to update the display if you changed frequency or went into the menus.  That made sense, because those programs only NEEDED to change what was displayed if there was a frequency change (or menu selection, as in the ubitx version).

Look in the 'loop' function in the ubitx code  - you might consider hacking in a function call to the display function you are using for your meter.  I haven't tried it, but it MAY increase noise as the display would then get updated constantly.  If that solves your problem, a more advanced approach would be to code in some logic that only updates the meter every fifth or tenth or twentieth (you get the idea) time through the loop, as it likely doesnt make sense to do it EVERY time through.

Hope this helps

Sean W7SKD


Re: For anyone ordering in Canada, Import Taxes! #ubitx

Ghericoan
 

I didn't know this when I ordered and chose DHL, but I am also guilty of not having researched it first, so I got surprised when it arrived.
--
----------
N5WLF, Greggory (or my nickname, Ghericoan)
General Class, Digital Radio Hobbyist

Re: S-Meter code help... #ubitx-help

Ghericoan
 

That would make sense, I am trying to crawl through the code, but this is my first attempt at working with something this involved. The display could do well enough only being updated at ten or so times a second.
--
----------
N5WLF, Greggory (or my nickname, Ghericoan)
General Class, Digital Radio Hobbyist

Re: Help with troubleshooting Bitx40 - no transmit. #bitx40help

lee hyde
 

keep trying and experiment with antennas

On Jan 18, 2018 9:44 AM, "Neris Biciunas" <nbiciunas@...> wrote:
Thanks for all of your help with my troubleshooting.  
I was able to to work through everything with the stock mic and PTT, then coordinate with a local ham to test on-air.  IT WORKS!

I have not been able to test my wireup of the third party mic/PTT that I was hoping to use, but at least now I know that the radio works.

Any tips for making QRP contacts?  I live in a remote area, and a substantial mountain lies between me and any population center of any size.  I can hear chatter from significant distances away, but no one seems to hear me.