Date   
Re: Setup uBITX for mobile and portable operations - final amps / heatsink?

Ted
 

Hey, Rob.

I've currently got a V5 board set up as a mobile rig, separated out by the board & other daughter boards, a display head with Nextion 2.5" screen, and Vol/Channel/Function/Mic control head. 

The Board is mounted inside a former computer external drive case, large enough for a DVD/R device and its own power supply.  This allows room for the main board, a step-up buck converter for the finals, a fan already mounted inside (but run at half speed), and an additional audio amp.  I run the finals at 22V for around 30 watts out from 80 to 20 meters; the board also has 2N5109's in the pre-driver and driver positions (1 each for 2 former 3904's apiece).  There is an RF preamp mounted underneath the board (as the main board's on standoffs) preceeded by a BCI filter and followed by an AGC board. I elected to install a second Nano processor for full TFT screen utilities with the CEC software. There was significant audio interference from the TFT screen refresh, which was reduced to a satisfactory level with small torroids around the screen's output signal path between the two Nano processors. For heat-sinking:  I took two sheets of copper and ended up with an affair that sits between the finals and the outside case, and dropping below the circuit board in the case until the two sheets can fold sideways about 5mm apart as if fins under the board by a bit.  A 5V laptop cooling fan (flat profile rather than muffin-fan profile) blows across these fins while transmitting. This fan cools the heat sink and the enclosure's own fan sucks this heat out.  There are vent inlet holes on the opposite end from the case fan.  I was able to run FT8 and JS8CALL on the bench at full power & the finals (and the side of the case) would get plenty hot but would cool down rather quickly after the rig went back to RX.  Running about half output ("only" 15 watts or so), the radio could transmit digital modes for as long as I wanted into a dummy load. 

I placed the Nextion screen inside a plastic project box and trimmed around my hack-job with cork gasket material, then mounted all of that onto a device originally intended for holding a cell phone from a dash-mounted CD player. This puts the display and touch-controllability within easy view with minimal distraction from driving.  The rest of the functions, vis a vis the manual controls were placed on a mounting on the side of the car's center console at the base of the gearshift.  This panel has the mike socket, an aux socket for digital mode in/out, volume, a function button (separate from the tuning knob), and, the tuning knob.  I added a manual push-button that emulates a CW key that I call "tuning", though I suppose it could be used for CW once the zombie apocalypse begins.  There's a mic preamp/compressor in the head for voice audio and a lesser grade audio AGC for the data, since the audio drive seemed weak in the latter and I just wanted more "punch" in my voice with the former.

For cabling, I used a disused keyboard cord for the display as only 4 (shielded) wires were needed. For the "real" control head I used a DVI cable with its four each, 2-wire with shield bundles and 3 extra wires within. That's eleven separate lines, with 4 pair of them being independently shielded.  It works pretty well, actually.  

I could elaborate some more but that's the gyst of the rig itself.  I've been trying a 10-ft whip fed with a 9:1 UnUn aftrer an automatic tuner, with minimal results on TX or RX.  That part's been a disappointment.  Just today, though, I tried a shunt-fed, NMO-mounted base load mono-band 20 meter antenna I made years ago and made an easy contact with a guy at a portable campground setup over 400 miles away.   Considering 30 watts while driving around underneath deciduous trees and power lines in greater suburbia quite satisfactory.  I made that antenna for use with an MFJ-9420 and it never disappointed. The lesson there is, be sure to use an antenna in which you've already got plenty of faith rather than experiment with something less than optimal, only to wonder if its the radio or the antenna that stinks....   If only I could make a 40M mobile antenna that does as well.

 If I can answer any other questions or elaborate, ask.



73,

Ted
K3RTA



Re: V6 Birdies? (spurious signals) #v6

Ashhar Farhan
 

Bill,
These birdies are an unfortunate fact of life for a dual conversion set like this. As each crystal of the arduino(16 mhz) and of the si5351 (25 mhz) is different by a few hertz, some multiple of one beats with a multiple of the other to produce these. However, they are never as strong as the ones you report. The strong ones are few they occur at odd places in some bands.
Can you check that these are not emanating from othe nearby devices?
- f


On Mon 6 Jan, 2020, 6:06 AM Bill, <groups191227@...> wrote:
Got my V6 assembled and tested and have been playing with it.  I haven't
made any QSOs yet, but have been using it for SWL and setting up WSPR
and receiving digital modes. I'm very happy with the build quality and
the case. The mic works just fine.  Power out (into a dummy) is nearly
15 W PEP(!) at 80 M, dropping to 4-5 at 10 M.  Frequency is spot-on. 
I've tuned the BFO using Jim W0EB's advice and the HFSignals BFO tuning
aid.  I am looking forward to the screen display speed improvements. :-)

I am having trouble with some spurious signals that unfortunately are
interfering WWV on 2.5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz.  I get prominent whistling
on each of those even with a dummy load on the antenna. At 10.000 MHz
the tone is 2136 Hz, if that is any clue.  Have I done something wrong
or is this just the way it is?  Is there anything I can/should tweak to
move or reduce the birdies?

Thank you,

  - Bill KB3T





Setup uBITX for mobile and portable operations - final amps / heatsink?

Rob French (KC4UPR)
 

Hey there,

I recently converted my home rig setup to a QRP SDR transceiver, and so I've been thinking about converting my uBITX for portable and mobile operations.  I know I've seen some portable setups, haven't seen many mobile.  I do expect to simplify my controls (i.e. go back to something more like the stock uBITX!), and put it in a smaller case.  To that end, my first question deals with the final amp heat sinks.

I still want to be able to use it for digimodes, and currently I have a 60mm fan that keeps the finals cool.  It seems to me than a fan is probably not ideal for mobile operations (may not have a good installation location suitable for fan intake/output) or portable operations (seems like you'd want to minimize extra ports for debris to enter).  So I'm thinking I want to use a larger heatsink (with suitable insulating kits) instead.  Is it sufficient to simply bolt the IRF510's to an aluminum case?  Or do I need an additional external heat sink?  (Or does anyone have any alternate opinions on fans for portable/mobile ops?)

Also, are there any good resources on mobile uBITX, in terms of desired mods?  I'm thinking for example of a noise blanker circuit.  

Thanks!
Rob KC4UPR

Re: Thanks & an apology

Jerry Gaffke
 

Andy,

That class sounds very cool, and I believe it is exactly the sort of thing
Farhan is hoping these rigs can make possible.
Let us know how it goes, and any tips for others attempting the same.

I don't know that there is much of a "posting policy" other than to be somewhat courteous.
Maybe somebody gave you guff about the recent posts on digital modes?

With several thousand forum members, we don't always agree on how to use the forum.
The only person to watch out for is Arv Evans, K7HKL, as he runs the forum.
Dig around here and you will find posts from Arv that are not about the uBitx. 
Or even radio.

Some get upset when a thread starts to wander.
Personally, I rather like to occasionally have a conversation that goes somewhere.

Jerry, KE7ER


On Sun, Jan 5, 2020 at 04:06 PM, Andy_501 wrote:
Hello all,

I apologize if my posts have been broad and maybe related to other forums or threads here that I am not familiar with yet.

I am trying to get through assembling the kit and getting it working quickly so that I can incorporate it into an advanced amateur qualification licensing course outline/power point presentation so that it can possibly become something that a class would use as a practical exercise and demonstration for training purposes and still be a good piece of kit to have to participate in the QRP aspects of the hobby on a course completion.

In Canada we have three license privilege levels 1. Basic ( operates only above 10 M)  2. Basic Plus or Honors (operates all amateur bands and modes including HF but with power restrictions and only commercial or approved equipment) 3. Advanced ( all modes all bands max power 1 KW includes repeaters and remote controlled stations).

The main thrust of my efforts is to develop a course outline and lesson plans to prepare a say  Basic Plus qualified amateur to write and pass the advanced qualification and also have them come out of the course with a working rig they can use right away. The idea was to have candidates pay a nominal fee for advanced course as normal plus the cost of the kit. If they don't pass the advanced qualification on the first try the fact that they have built the kit as part of the course taught by advanced amateurs who can then attest to the rig's conformance to regulatory requirements, they would be able to immediately use the rig while they re-reviewed the theory to attempt the exam a second time.

Given a class of say 10 -15 students a club might be able to bulk purchase 10-20 kits once or twice a year so that students could improve their qualification level and have an operational rig on air in 5-8 weeks for a total cost in the ballpark of $345.

Again I apologize for lack of knowledge in the group's threads or sub group posting policies and thank everybody that have offered tips and help to this point so I can get at course design quicker.

73 & gud DX  de VE4PER  Andy

Re: uBITX V6 heat sink temperature

Bill
 

On Fri, Dec 27, 2019 at 12:11 PM, Joel Caulkins/N6ALT wrote:
[...] I have noticed that the 5 volt regulator heat sink is running at 142 degrees F or 61.1 C. That seems hot to me. Anyone else?
I put thermal paste on mine and the heat sink is running 70 C.  Junction temperature is probably 85-90 C, which is hot.  But as-mentioned it is within spec so it should last a while.  Cheap part so failure would only be an inconvenience.  I am going to reorient the regulator so the heat sink fins are vertical for a little better convection.

 - Bill  KB3T

V6 Birdies? (spurious signals) #v6

Bill
 

Got my V6 assembled and tested and have been playing with it. I haven't made any QSOs yet, but have been using it for SWL and setting up WSPR and receiving digital modes. I'm very happy with the build quality and the case. The mic works just fine. Power out (into a dummy) is nearly 15 W PEP(!) at 80 M, dropping to 4-5 at 10 M. Frequency is spot-on. I've tuned the BFO using Jim W0EB's advice and the HFSignals BFO tuning aid. I am looking forward to the screen display speed improvements. :-)

I am having trouble with some spurious signals that unfortunately are interfering WWV on 2.5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz. I get prominent whistling on each of those even with a dummy load on the antenna. At 10.000 MHz the tone is 2136 Hz, if that is any clue. Have I done something wrong or is this just the way it is? Is there anything I can/should tweak to move or reduce the birdies?

Thank you,

- Bill KB3T

Thanks & an apology

Andy_501 <andrew.webb.501.ve4per@...>
 

Hello all,

I apologize if my posts have been broad and maybe related to other forums or threads here that I am not familiar with yet.

I am trying to get through assembling the kit and getting it working quickly so that I can incorporate it into an advanced amateur qualification licensing course outline/power point presentation so that it can possibly become something that a class would use as a practical exercise and demonstration for training purposes and still be a good piece of kit to have to participate in the QRP aspects of the hobby on a course completion.

In Canada we have three license privilege levels 1. Basic ( operates only above 10 M)  2. Basic Plus or Honors (operates all amateur bands and modes including HF but with power restrictions and only commercial or approved equipment) 3. Advanced ( all modes all bands max power 1 KW includes repeaters and remote controlled stations).

The main thrust of my efforts is to develop a course outline and lesson plans to prepare a say  Basic Plus qualified amateur to write and pass the advanced qualification and also have them come out of the course with a working rig they can use right away. The idea was to have candidates pay a nominal fee for advanced course as normal plus the cost of the kit. If they don't pass the advanced qualification on the first try the fact that they have built the kit as part of the course taught by advanced amateurs who can then attest to the rig's conformance to regulatory requirements, they would be able to immediately use the rig while they re-reviewed the theory to attempt the exam a second time.

Given a class of say 10 -15 students a club might be able to bulk purchase 10-20 kits once or twice a year so that students could improve their qualification level and have an operational rig on air in 5-8 weeks for a total cost in the ballpark of $345.

Again I apologize for lack of knowledge in the group's threads or sub group posting policies and thank everybody that have offered tips and help to this point so I can get at course design quicker.

73 & gud DX  de VE4PER  Andy

Re: UBITX6 Will Not Select 17 Meters

Dave Dixon
 

yeah same here the rest of the bands work fine just no 17 mtrs..dave G0AYD.

On Sun, 5 Jan 2020 at 23:12, Andy_501 <andrew.webb.501.ve4per@...> wrote:

YUP ditto here also.

On 2020-01-05 10:22 a.m., k7ome@... wrote:
Not that I particularly wanted to use 17 but all the other bands select just fine. Anybody else seeing this issue?

Re: UBITX6 Will Not Select 17 Meters

Andy_501 <andrew.webb.501.ve4per@...>
 

YUP ditto here also.

On 2020-01-05 10:22 a.m., k7ome@... wrote:
Not that I particularly wanted to use 17 but all the other bands select just fine. Anybody else seeing this issue?

Re: UBITX6 Will Not Select 17 Meters

Reed N
 

@John,

Ashhar hasn't made any code changes to his branch recently, so as of right now, I wouldn't count on it. However, at the beginning of this year he said he was traveling, and there's still 2 weeks before the 20Jan2020, so it's definitely possible that they might have a new official version before then.
https://github.com/afarhan/ubitxv6


Reed

Re: A note on calibrating the BFO frequency in V6 uBITX radios (V5 too) #v5 #v6

Jerry Gaffke
 

Here's an old post that tries to explain why USB vs LSB gets flipped when going through a mixer.
And a bunch of other nitty-gritty details of how a uBitx works.
    https://groups.io/g/BITX20/message/44515
This was written before the switch from a 12mhz IF (v3 and v4) to an 11.059mhz IF (v5 and v6).
Otherwise, everything said applies to all versions of the uBitx.

>  The V6 has a nominal Crystal Filter (IF) frequency of 11.059 MHz. 
>  Because of the capacitors and other circuit loading of the crystals in the circuit
>  tend to move the actual frequency lower, the BFO winds up needing to be around
>  11.055 MHz to allow enough received signal through the 3.0 or so KHz wide filter.

11.059mhz is the nominal parallel resonant frequency of the crystals
The series resonant frequency (as used in the crystal ladder filter) is a few khz lower.

The old Bitx40 made use of this, the BFO oscillator used the 12mhz crystal in parallel resonant mode,
and happened to wind up at just the right frequency down from the 12mhz IF filter.
All those crystals were first sorted to be within 100hz or so of each other before stuffing.

We still need a way to measure the passband of a uBitx IF filter
using the Si5351 as a signal generator and a diode RF detector (or AD8307) getting read
by a Nano ADC pin.  Plot the results on a host computer using the Arduino IDE's "Serial Plotter".
    https://groups.io/g/BITX20/message/32628
    https://groups.io/g/BITX20/message/32630

Jerry


On Sun, Jan 5, 2020 at 09:05 AM, Jim Sheldon wrote:
Since receiving my V6 uBITX a couple weeks ago and having to fix some errors in the original program code, when I compiled and uploaded the program to the Raduino's NANO, it reset both the frequency and BFO calibration frequencies to the factory default code.

After quite a bit of playing with it, I finally figured out just how it worked and got it square in my head where on the filter passband it should be set to have the correct sidebands when selecting CW/USB/LSB.

The uBITX is an "upconversion" radio where the incoming signal is first converted to the 45 MHz first IF frequency and then mixed with the VFO (clock) signals out of the Si5351 chip on the Raduino to select whether the radio is in SSB or CW mode and which sideband you want to listen to (in either mode).  Since the radio is an UP and then back Down conversion, the sidebands wind up being inverted relative to the filter, so the initial BFO setting MUST be set fairly down the LOWER frequency side of the filter (this actually generates and receives USB before being massaged by the USB/LSB selection routines.

The V6 has a nominal Crystal Filter (IF) frequency of 11.059 MHz.  Because of the capacitors and other circuit loading of the crystals in the circuit tend to move the actual frequency lower, the BFO winds up needing to be around 11.055 MHz to allow enough received signal through the 3.0 or so KHz wide filter.

In my actual experience with both a V5 and a V6 uBITX I've found that a good starting point for calibrating the BFO properly is 11.055.0 MHz as indicated on screen in the BFO calibration routine.  That won't be a perfect setting as each uBITX filter will be slightly different, but should produce usable audio to work with for final tweaking of the frequency.  When you get it set to your satisfaction, BE SURE TO WRITE THIS FREQUENCY DOWN before exiting the calibration routine because as the code is currently written, every time you enter the BFO set menu, it resets the BFO frequency to the factory default which is pretty far off what it really needs to be (in every uBITX I've built and I've built over 10 of them from the V3's to now the V6).

I decided to post this so maybe some of the newer people might have an easier time calibrating their BFO's if they wind up having to re-load the software as each reload sets the frequencies back to the factory defaults which can be pretty far off depending on the actual tolerances of the components in the uBITX filter as built - caused by variations in the individual crystals, capacitors, coils etc., used in that filter.  Each radio WILL be enough different that one frequency will not fit all.

Hope this helps a bit.  Took me a while to get it square in MY mind and I've been doing this stuff since 1963 - LOL.

Jim Sheldon, W0EB
TSW Project Coordinator

Re: UBITX6 Will Not Select 17 Meters

johnag9d@...
 

Any word on if this will be corrected on the units shipping late January?

John AG9D

On Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 1:57 PM <k7ome@...> wrote:
Thank you, Jim!   I figured it was something like that.  I just got the radio and haven't had time to dig into the code yet but I can make the changes you recommended.  

Many thanks to all who replied....

Re: UBITX6 Will Not Select 17 Meters

k7ome@...
 

Thank you, Jim!   I figured it was something like that.  I just got the radio and haven't had time to dig into the code yet but I can make the changes you recommended.  

Many thanks to all who replied....

Sotabeams DSP cw/SSB filter insertion rf in audio

Joel Trenalone
 

Hello All,
I have been slower adding features to my UBITX V5, and just inserted the Sotabeams Laserbeam CW in the high vol line before the volume pot. I added a .1 uf cap on the output of the filter on the recommendation of a previous post on this site and it wokrs really great on CW. I installed a switch to go between the boards digital CW filter and the wider SSB filter  I have NOT added a complete bypass of the filter, so the filter is always inline either in CW or SSB mode  


But I just transmitted SSB for the first time since filter insertion and now I’m getting my voice feeding through the speaker during transmit. I assume that rf is getting into the speaker amp. 


Anyone have this problem, and any advise on how to solve it?
thanks :),
Joel 
KD6AGW

Re: #bitx40 #arduino #raduino Is the Raduino module still available? #raduino #bitx40 #arduino

Mike Short
 

I have several of the W0EB products. Great stuff. The Raduino replacement has resistors for the key on the board. 

Re: one_stop_setting debugging #v6

Reed N
 

Joel,

Thanks for the reply. Something to note is that when you tune around, the frequency isn't saved all the time, since that would put a TON of write cycles on the EEPROM, which is only spec'd for 10K writes in it's lifetime. If you end up tuning to a location that you'd like to have "saved" for startup, the easiest two ways to do so are
1) switch which VFO is active (and then back)
2) switch side band mode (and then back)
Both of these operations should implicitly save the current settings to the EEPROM, and thus should come up by default at next boot.

For debugging, it would be very useful for me to understand what the difference is in behavior between the PDQ branch, and the OSS branch. Can you describe what went "wrong" with the OSS branch, vs the "normal" operation with the PDQ branch? Here's a copy of the questions from the original post:
  • Did the radio receive anything at all? That is, could you hear normal static?
  • Did the screen/UI still work, in the sense that numbers were present, you could click on buttons, etc?
  • If the UI was working, did it display the expected settings when you updated, or were the VFO numbers all wacky?
  • To get back up and running, was it as easy as switching back to the PDQ branch and recalibrating, or were there extra steps you needed to take?


Reed

Re: ubitx #v6 Screen Speed Mod #v6

Reed N
 

@Joel - okay, great. Sounds like the PDQ branch is reasonably stable, then. That's what I like to hear :)

@Andy - are you having issues with the pdq_gfx_update branch (https://github.com/reedbn/ubitxv6/tree/pdq_gfx_update) that this thread is discussing, or are you still on the stock software that shipped with the radio? If you're asking for general setup help, this thread probably isn't the best spot to ask. However, since you did ask here, I'll give a quick answer summarizing https://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/ubitx-tuneup/ :
  1. Turn on radio
  2. Tune to a frequency you know there's signal on, e.g. a local AM station, or 10MHz for WWV. Tune to what the known frequency is, not where you actually get the signal while tuning.
  3. Press and hold the tuning dial in until you enter the setup menu
  4. Rotate the tuning dial until "Set Freq..." is selected
  5. Press and release the tuning dial to enter the setting
  6. Rotate the tuning dial until you get zero beat
  7. Press and release the tuning dial to save the setting
  8. Rotate to the "Exit" to leave the setup menu
Once you've done the above tuning, you can then change the BFO to get things to sound "right".


Reed

Re: Can I buy an upgrade to full kit?

Jonas Sanamon
 

gmail dot com

Den sön 5 jan. 2020 kl 19:31 skrev Joel Caulkins/N6ALT <caulktel@...>:

What comes after hfsignals@
_._,_.

Re: Can I buy an upgrade to full kit?

 

What comes after hfsignals@

Re: A note on calibrating the BFO frequency in V6 uBITX radios (V5 too) #v5 #v6

Mick
 

Thanks for the tipJim. I’m picking up my V6 tomorrow and will start setting it up as soon as I get home.

73
Mick VA3EPM

On Jan 5, 2020, at 12:05 PM, Jim Sheldon <w0eb@...> wrote:

Since receiving my V6 uBITX a couple weeks ago and having to fix some errors in the original program code, when I compiled and uploaded the program to the Raduino's NANO, it reset both the frequency and BFO calibration frequencies to the factory default code.

After quite a bit of playing with it, I finally figured out just how it worked and got it square in my head where on the filter passband it should be set to have the correct sidebands when selecting CW/USB/LSB.

The uBITX is an "upconversion" radio where the incoming signal is first converted to the 45 MHz first IF frequency and then mixed with the VFO (clock) signals out of the Si5351 chip on the Raduino to select whether the radio is in SSB or CW mode and which sideband you want to listen to (in either mode).  Since the radio is an UP and then back Down conversion, the sidebands wind up being inverted relative to the filter, so the initial BFO setting MUST be set fairly down the LOWER frequency side of the filter (this actually generates and receives USB before being massaged by the USB/LSB selection routines.

The V6 has a nominal Crystal Filter (IF) frequency of 11.059 MHz.  Because of the capacitors and other circuit loading of the crystals in the circuit tend to move the actual frequency lower, the BFO winds up needing to be around 11.055 MHz to allow enough received signal through the 3.0 or so KHz wide filter.

In my actual experience with both a V5 and a V6 uBITX I've found that a good starting point for calibrating the BFO properly is 11.055.0 MHz as indicated on screen in the BFO calibration routine.  That won't be a perfect setting as each uBITX filter will be slightly different, but should produce usable audio to work with for final tweaking of the frequency.  When you get it set to your satisfaction, BE SURE TO WRITE THIS FREQUENCY DOWN before exiting the calibration routine because as the code is currently written, every time you enter the BFO set menu, it resets the BFO frequency to the factory default which is pretty far off what it really needs to be (in every uBITX I've built and I've built over 10 of them from the V3's to now the V6).

I decided to post this so maybe some of the newer people might have an easier time calibrating their BFO's if they wind up having to re-load the software as each reload sets the frequencies back to the factory defaults which can be pretty far off depending on the actual tolerances of the components in the uBITX filter as built - caused by variations in the individual crystals, capacitors, coils etc., used in that filter.  Each radio WILL be enough different that one frequency will not fit all.

Hope this helps a bit.  Took me a while to get it square in MY mind and I've been doing this stuff since 1963 - LOL.

Jim Sheldon, W0EB
TSW Project Coordinator