Topics

Bitx V6 Modifications

Jhard356@...
 

Just ordered Bitx V6 and was wondering what modifications should be added? If someone could list them in order of most improvement it would be appreciated.

Dan D'Eon
 

I'll be lurking this thread:I just put together my uBitx v6 yesterday.

FYI, There are at least 3 things I plan on in a hurry. 1) Receiver AGC 2) Microphone preamp 3) Nextion screen.
--
Dan D'Eon
AG7GM

Aaron K5ATG
 

I just got my v6 together also. 
I would suggest getting on the air with it and then decide what changes you would like to make. 
Ashhar Farhan told me that the first thing I should do is look at the Arduino sketch and play around with that. 
That being said, I would be interested in what people are doing with it. 

Stephen KO4CVU
 

First, read the “uBITX Power and Gain Issues” topic in the Wiki for more information. Don’t expect the same power output on 10 meters as you might get on 80 meters.
Second, go ahead NOW and order a microphone with a pre-amp if you intend to communicate via phone/SSB. You will also need a stereo plug to install on the new microphone cord, if you buy one.
Third, after turning on the unit and familiarizing yourself with the factory Arduino sketch, download and install Reed’s latest sketch. You will really appreciate his improvements.
Fourth, spend a LOT of time watching Arhhan’s video about how to adjust the VFO and BFO. You may need to check these adjustments on the radio you receive. It has taken me a number of adjustment attempts to get close to usable settings.

Jhard356@...
 

Stephen
Thanks for your reply. What microphone with pre-amp would you recommend? 
Jody


On May 28, 2020, at 12:57 PM, Stephen KO4CVU <goinfishin1952@...> wrote:

First, read the “uBITX Power and Gain Issues” topic in the Wiki for more information. Don’t expect the same power output on 10 meters as you might get on 80 meters.
Second, go ahead NOW and order a microphone with a pre-amp if you intend to communicate via phone/SSB. You will also need a stereo plug to install on the new microphone cord, if you buy one.
Third, after turning on the unit and familiarizing yourself with the factory Arduino sketch, download and install Reed’s latest sketch. You will really appreciate his improvements.
Fourth, spend a LOT of time watching Arhhan’s video about how to adjust the VFO and BFO. You may need to check these adjustments on the radio you receive. It has taken me a number of adjustment attempts to get close to usable settings.

ohwenzelph
 

Hi Dan,
Welcome!
How are you going to do the AGC and the mic preamp? That is which ones? Are you planning on using a different mic? I have just put in a Nextion display, I had previously bought one thinking I might put it in an earlier version but never did, so had the hardware on hand. Main motivation was to get my paddle to work right, haven’t tried it yet.... I might add a broadcast hipass filter, doubt I need it but it’s easy and I have done it before.
73/72
jerry aa1of
franconia nh

Stephen KO4CVU
 

Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone. I bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts. (Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen

Dale Parfitt
 

Regarding the  5W 12VDC power supply- While I do not recall measuring the Bitx TX current- if the rig  puts out say 10W at 70% efficiency then the PA input wattage is conservatively 15W or so- and then  one has the  rest of the circuitry and display to consider….

I can’t see how a 5W supply is going to be able to handle TX.

 

Dale W4OP

 

From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Stephen KO4CVU
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:29 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

 

Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone I bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts. (Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen

Bill Cromwell
 

Hi Dale,

I looked it up at All Electronics and that power supply is good for 12 volts and 5 *AMPS*..not watts. That should work. It is one of those switcher bricks that resemble the laptop power supplies. Maybe Stephen will let us know if he can hear anything with that powering his radio. Not all switchers are *bad*.

I hope Stephen doesn't eat it when he gets it. Especially if he is in California. It causes cancer in California <evil grin>. It says so on the All Electronics site.

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 8:14 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
Regarding the  5W 12VDC power supply- While I do not recall measuring the Bitx TX current- if the rig  puts out say 10W at 70% efficiency then the PA input wattage is conservatively 15W or so- and then  one has the rest of the circuitry and display to consider….
I can’t see how a 5W supply is going to be able to handle TX.
Dale W4OP
*From:*BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] *On Behalf Of *Stephen KO4CVU
*Sent:* Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:29 PM
*To:* BITX20@groups.io
*Subject:* Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications
Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone I bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts. (Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen
--
bark less - wag more

Dale Parfitt
 

OK- that makes a lot more sense. I have indeed seen switchers that are quiet, and many already come with over current and over voltage protection. Hard to beat the price if they are quiet or can be made quiet.

Tnx Bill,
Dale W4OP

-----Original Message-----
From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Bill Cromwell
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:33 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Hi Dale,

I looked it up at All Electronics and that power supply is good for 12
volts and 5 *AMPS*..not watts. That should work. It is one of those
switcher bricks that resemble the laptop power supplies. Maybe Stephen
will let us know if he can hear anything with that powering his radio.
Not all switchers are *bad*.

I hope Stephen doesn't eat it when he gets it. Especially if he is in
California. It causes cancer in California <evil grin>. It says so on
the All Electronics site.

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 8:14 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
Regarding the 5W 12VDC power supply- While I do not recall measuring
the Bitx TX current- if the rig puts out say 10W at 70% efficiency then
the PA input wattage is conservatively 15W or so- and then one has the
rest of the circuitry and display to consider….

I can’t see how a 5W supply is going to be able to handle TX.

Dale W4OP

*From:*BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] *On Behalf Of *Stephen
KO4CVU
*Sent:* Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:29 PM
*To:* BITX20@groups.io
*Subject:* Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone I
bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan
recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts.
(Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success
with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply
that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on
the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen

--
bark less - wag more

Bill Cromwell
 

Hi Dale,

I got a PC power supply one time that was a terrible sinner. I removed it and looked inside. The entire line filter section had been omitted with all the through holes empty and silk screened parts labels but only a couple of jumper wires installed. I populated it with the parts and it behaved nicely after that. I don't know if those 'bricks' will accommodate opening or modifications. The ad for this one mentions ferrite filtering on the DC output line. Knock on wood. I think more is required but it may be inside the brick. The brand name power supplies I have for the laptops here are quiet enough. But those are 18 and 19 volts. And I need them for the laptop computers :)

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 8:36 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
OK- that makes a lot more sense. I have indeed seen switchers that are quiet, and many already come with over current and over voltage protection. Hard to beat the price if they are quiet or can be made quiet.
Tnx Bill,
Dale W4OP
-----Original Message-----
From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Bill Cromwell
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:33 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications
Hi Dale,
I looked it up at All Electronics and that power supply is good for 12
volts and 5 *AMPS*..not watts. That should work. It is one of those
switcher bricks that resemble the laptop power supplies. Maybe Stephen
will let us know if he can hear anything with that powering his radio.
Not all switchers are *bad*.
I hope Stephen doesn't eat it when he gets it. Especially if he is in
California. It causes cancer in California <evil grin>. It says so on
the All Electronics site.
73,
Bill KU8H
On 5/28/20 8:14 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
Regarding the 5W 12VDC power supply- While I do not recall measuring
the Bitx TX current- if the rig puts out say 10W at 70% efficiency then
the PA input wattage is conservatively 15W or so- and then one has the
rest of the circuitry and display to consider….

I can’t see how a 5W supply is going to be able to handle TX.

Dale W4OP

*From:*BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] *On Behalf Of *Stephen
KO4CVU
*Sent:* Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:29 PM
*To:* BITX20@groups.io
*Subject:* Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone I
bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan
recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts.
(Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success
with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply
that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on
the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen

--
bark less - wag more

Dale Parfitt
 

I have a 50V @50A switcher at the dish for my 1296MHz KW amp- no noise down there but then again, it is 1296MHz, so not a good test I suppose.
I seem to recall that QST did a test on switchers some years back. Several had considerable HF noise. Most odd was that the MFJ switcher was the best of the bunch Who woulda guessed it?
The noise appears to be conducted as opposed to radiated.

Dale

-----Original Message-----
From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Bill Cromwell
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:49 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Hi Dale,

I got a PC power supply one time that was a terrible sinner. I removed
it and looked inside. The entire line filter section had been omitted
with all the through holes empty and silk screened parts labels but only
a couple of jumper wires installed. I populated it with the parts and it
behaved nicely after that. I don't know if those 'bricks' will
accommodate opening or modifications. The ad for this one mentions
ferrite filtering on the DC output line. Knock on wood. I think more is
required but it may be inside the brick. The brand name power supplies I
have for the laptops here are quiet enough. But those are 18 and 19
volts. And I need them for the laptop computers :)

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 8:36 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
OK- that makes a lot more sense. I have indeed seen switchers that are quiet, and many already come with over current and over voltage protection. Hard to beat the price if they are quiet or can be made quiet.

Tnx Bill,
Dale W4OP

-----Original Message-----
From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Bill Cromwell
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:33 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Hi Dale,

I looked it up at All Electronics and that power supply is good for 12
volts and 5 *AMPS*..not watts. That should work. It is one of those
switcher bricks that resemble the laptop power supplies. Maybe Stephen
will let us know if he can hear anything with that powering his radio.
Not all switchers are *bad*.

I hope Stephen doesn't eat it when he gets it. Especially if he is in
California. It causes cancer in California <evil grin>. It says so on
the All Electronics site.

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 8:14 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
Regarding the 5W 12VDC power supply- While I do not recall measuring
the Bitx TX current- if the rig puts out say 10W at 70% efficiency then
the PA input wattage is conservatively 15W or so- and then one has the
rest of the circuitry and display to consider….

I can’t see how a 5W supply is going to be able to handle TX.

Dale W4OP

*From:*BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] *On Behalf Of *Stephen
KO4CVU
*Sent:* Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:29 PM
*To:* BITX20@groups.io
*Subject:* Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone I
bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan
recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts.
(Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success
with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply
that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on
the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen

--
bark less - wag more

Stephen KO4CVU
 

Folks,
I owe everybody an apology, must have been having a senior moment for sure when I typed a “W” instead of an “A.” It is definitely 5 amps! The label on it says that it draws 1.5 amps and puts out 5 amps at 12VDC. And it is quiet too! At least I can’t hear a hum or switching noise, even when wearing a headset. There is a ferrite bead about 4 inches up the cord from the 12 volt plug. And to put Bill’s mind at ease, I make sure not to bring the little power supply anywhere near the kitchen! Thanks to all of you for keeping a sense of humor in spite of my erroneous information. 73’s to everyone. Stephen

Bill Cromwell
 

Hi Stephen,

I made a mistake once too so now you can join the club <wink>. I wondered if it wasn't really 5 Amps so I looked. Of course that ferrite knot on the cord will help but if it is quiet it also has all of the parts inside the brick:)

By the way..I get quite a few things from All Electronics. There used to be something called Poly-Paks :)

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 9:33 PM, Stephen KO4CVU wrote:
Folks,
I owe everybody an apology, must have been having a senior moment for sure when I typed a “W” instead of an “A.” It is definitely 5 amps! The label on it says that it draws 1.5 amps and puts out 5 amps at 12VDC. And it is quiet too! At least I can’t hear a hum or switching noise, even when wearing a headset. There is a ferrite bead about 4 inches up the cord from the 12 volt plug. And to put Bill’s mind at ease, I make sure not to bring the little power supply anywhere near the kitchen! Thanks to all of you for keeping a sense of humor in spite of my erroneous information. 73’s to everyone. Stephen
--
bark less - wag more

Aaron K5ATG
 

Where might we find Reed's latest sketch? 

Reed N
 

Skip Davis
 

Bill I have a 16 vdc PC power supply from an IBM Think Pad that is quite. I opened it up and added a couple of diodes in series with the output to drop the voltage to 14.6vdc for my KX3 and other QRP radios. That voltage worked best for charging the batteries in the KX3 to full capacity.

Skip Davis, NC9O

On May 28, 2020, at 20:48, Bill Cromwell <wrcromwell@...> wrote:

Hi Dale,

I got a PC power supply one time that was a terrible sinner. I removed it and looked inside. The entire line filter section had been omitted with all the through holes empty and silk screened parts labels but only a couple of jumper wires installed. I populated it with the parts and it behaved nicely after that. I don't know if those 'bricks' will accommodate opening or modifications. The ad for this one mentions ferrite filtering on the DC output line. Knock on wood. I think more is required but it may be inside the brick. The brand name power supplies I have for the laptops here are quiet enough. But those are 18 and 19 volts. And I need them for the laptop computers :)

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/28/20 8:36 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
OK- that makes a lot more sense. I have indeed seen switchers that are quiet, and many already come with over current and over voltage protection. Hard to beat the price if they are quiet or can be made quiet.
Tnx Bill,
Dale W4OP
-----Original Message-----
From: BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] On Behalf Of Bill Cromwell
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:33 PM
To: BITX20@groups.io
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications
Hi Dale,
I looked it up at All Electronics and that power supply is good for 12
volts and 5 *AMPS*..not watts. That should work. It is one of those
switcher bricks that resemble the laptop power supplies. Maybe Stephen
will let us know if he can hear anything with that powering his radio.
Not all switchers are *bad*.
I hope Stephen doesn't eat it when he gets it. Especially if he is in
California. It causes cancer in California <evil grin>. It says so on
the All Electronics site.
73,
Bill KU8H
On 5/28/20 8:14 PM, Dale Parfitt wrote:
Regarding the 5W 12VDC power supply- While I do not recall measuring
the Bitx TX current- if the rig puts out say 10W at 70% efficiency then
the PA input wattage is conservatively 15W or so- and then one has the
rest of the circuitry and display to consider….

I can’t see how a 5W supply is going to be able to handle TX.

Dale W4OP

*From:*BITX20@groups.io [mailto:BITX20@groups.io] *On Behalf Of *Stephen
KO4CVU
*Sent:* Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:29 PM
*To:* BITX20@groups.io
*Subject:* Re: [BITX20] Bitx V6 Modifications

Jody,
The microphone with pre-amp was a Barjan CB amplified microphone I
bought it on Amazon for $23.98 from Advanced Specialties Inc. Evan
recommended this microphone to me in a reply to one of my prior posts.
(Thank you, Evan!) Another friend told me just today that he had success
with an Astatic mic on his BIT v3 unit.
Also, I have been pleased with a #PS-12005 5 watt, 12 VDC power supply
that I found on the “All Electronics” website for $10.95. The plug on
the DC cord even fit the jack on the back of my uBITX!
Have fun with your uBITX!
Stephen

--
bark less - wag more


Dan D'Eon
 

Mic preamp I haven't figured out yet. But the AGC is this one: https://shop.kit-projects.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=101 Lots of folk here have recommended it.

As far as display goes (plus more) there is another option from TSW. They have an adapter to replace the Arduino UNO with a Teensy 4.0 plus a rewritten codebase. You get a snappier processor, better paddle/key support plus a 10 channel memory. You don't need to swap out the display, and it's about the same price as the Nextion. That's here down the page in a section called "TSW's Teensy 4.0 to Arduino NANO adapter kit": http://www.w0eb.com/.

That's where I'm at so far. Nothing definite. Just window shopping.

--
Dan D'Eon
AG7GM

Evan Hand
 

Dan and others,
When comparing the options, first think about what you want from the radio/modification process. 

If you are a tinkerer/programmer and want to dabble in the software, the TSW solution can make sense as it is open source and you have a lot of memory and speed available to add things.

If you are more into operating, then I believe that there are more options available with the KD8CEC/Nextion including IF shift, Attenuation, Spectrum Scope, and others when a 2nd Nano is added.  You should look through all of the choices on the HamsKey.com blog.  One of the big ones for me is the Memory Manager software that does not have an equivalent on the other choices.  There is also support for an SDR link to have a panadapter on a linked computer with many SDR dongles.

The last thing most will consider is future upgrades.  I would not put too much into this category, as the v6 changed a lot of the future direction recently, and that can happen again.  With that understanding, we have not heard much from Dr. Ian Lee recently.  All of his code is open source, so anyone could pick it up and add a new feature.  The TSW activity is recent, focused on the new v6, and also open source.  All of that makes it a wash for me.

Hardware modes like AGC, Speach compression, CW audio filters can be done on any of the above mods.

If I were just starting with the uBiTx, the order would be:
1 - First get it working as supplied by HF Signals. 
2 - Fix any hardware issues like the mic problems.  Clean up the sound (small mod to the LM386 to remove hiss).  Install diode protection if it will be near higher power transmitters without a grounded antenna input.
3 - Try out the FREE software from Reed to improve operability.  You can always go back, it is software.
4 - Add an AGC mod.  I have not done this yet, and have two different versions to try.  I would suggest one that reduces gain prior to the audio sections, either at the first RF sections or the IF sections.
5 - Then go for more complex upgrades based on what you want to do with the radio.  I have 3 and have focused one on digital, working on one for CW and a general use radio with ease of use items.
6 - Add a linear amp.

Above are my opinions.  Others may be different, and that is as it should be.  You need to make your own choices and live with the results.
73
Evan
AC9TU

Jhard356@...
 

Evan
Thanks for info! Excellent advice and exactly what I was looking for. I’ll add mic first and rest later. What modification to reduce hiss are you talking about ?
Jody


On May 29, 2020, at 2:13 AM, Evan Hand <elhandjr@...> wrote:

Dan and others,
When comparing the options, first think about what you want from the radio/modification process. 

If you are a tinkerer/programmer and want to dabble in the software, the TSW solution can make sense as it is open source and you have a lot of memory and speed available to add things.

If you are more into operating, then I believe that there are more options available with the KD8CEC/Nextion including IF shift, Attenuation, Spectrum Scope, and others when a 2nd Nano is added.  You should look through all of the choices on the HamsKey.com blog.  One of the big ones for me is the Memory Manager software that does not have an equivalent on the other choices.  There is also support for an SDR link to have a panadapter on a linked computer with many SDR dongles.

The last thing most will consider is future upgrades.  I would not put too much into this category, as the v6 changed a lot of the future direction recently, and that can happen again.  With that understanding, we have not heard much from Dr. Ian Lee recently.  All of his code is open source, so anyone could pick it up and add a new feature.  The TSW activity is recent, focused on the new v6, and also open source.  All of that makes it a wash for me.

Hardware modes like AGC, Speach compression, CW audio filters can be done on any of the above mods.

If I were just starting with the uBiTx, the order would be:
1 - First get it working as supplied by HF Signals. 
2 - Fix any hardware issues like the mic problems.  Clean up the sound (small mod to the LM386 to remove hiss).  Install diode protection if it will be near higher power transmitters without a grounded antenna input.
3 - Try out the FREE software from Reed to improve operability.  You can always go back, it is software.
4 - Add an AGC mod.  I have not done this yet, and have two different versions to try.  I would suggest one that reduces gain prior to the audio sections, either at the first RF sections or the IF sections.
5 - Then go for more complex upgrades based on what you want to do with the radio.  I have 3 and have focused one on digital, working on one for CW and a general use radio with ease of use items.
6 - Add a linear amp.

Above are my opinions.  Others may be different, and that is as it should be.  You need to make your own choices and live with the results.
73
Evan
AC9TU