Date   

Re: The Chips Act

Jim Strohm
 

Something to remember about Taiwan being a global giant in semico mfg:  If (read WHEN) Red China invades Taiwan, one of two things will occur.  Either the Red Chinese will suddenly own practically every fab on Earth, or Taiwan will become a smoking ruin like Ukraine.  In either case, we'll need to duplicate the Taiwanese semico infrastructure here just to get op amps and 555 timer chips.

My living and working in high tech in Austin TX for most of my life has let me see how even minor events can massively affect fabless semiconductor companies.  Remember the Iceland volcano that shut down air travel in Europe for a week?  Remember the loss of Malaysia flight 370?  Remember the Fukushima tsunami?  Remember the Philippine typhoon that left six feet of standing water in every street of the country?  By themselves, each event was relatively isolated, but each left the semico supply chain reeling for months, if not years.

There are good reasons why Samsung put one of its biggest fabs near Austin, and is currently expanding to double its capacity.  There's effective transportation (air, rail, and highways) nearby; the weather isn't subject to whims and vagaries like hurricanes every year (occasional tornadoes not included); no foreign despots are hanging around to invade us (we home-grow our own here, thank you);  our limestone karst geology means we have earthquakes only once every million years; no active volcanoes nearby since 5 million years ago; an ample population of cheap, well-educated workers in the area -- and probably a few more strategic reasons I can't remember right now.

And the remark about pointy-headed bosses focusing on quarterly profit growth at the expense of all else was exactly correct.  Ever wonder what happened to Motorola? (think: spin off the most profitable bread-and-butter sectors to raise quarterly executive bonuses)  Ever wonder why nobody buys IBM nowadays except for hide-bound curmudgeonly Luddites?  (think: offshore customer support because 10 non-English speaking support techs getting paid USD$4 an hour are 10 times more productive than one support tech making USD$40 an hour).  

I'll stop now.  We know that here in the US, we're following the Russian corporate oligarchy model down the toilet, and only massive government payoffs can motivate our corporate status quo to do the right thing -- which is to JUST MAKE STUFF.  Hans, sitting in his home in Turkey, has the right idea and company model.  3M, who gave us sandpaper, PostIt notes, and scotch tape, has the right idea -- invent something, make a little, sell a little, invent something else brilliant and world-changing.   Michael Dell, who invented white-box computer manufacturing in his college dorm, had the right idea at first.  Too bad he dropped out of college before he got his degree.

Me?  The only really smart idea I ever had was to start adopting rescue bunnies.  

73
Jim N6OTQ

On Wed, Jun 29, 2022 at 1:12 PM George Korper <georgekorper@...> wrote:
The Global nature of the Semiconductor business is for for sure, and the bill is required to assist  companies to build their plants in US. The subsidies are a competitive lure. I don't get into politics but if democracies are to compete they need to be quick on their feet. 


Re: FST3253 Problems

p39curtiss@...
 

Hello,
I double check the toroids and an injected signal is going throw the filters to the FST3253 input. But nothing at the output.... I changed two times the FST3253 and had no success. Perhaps the ICs, bought in China, are fake ....
73 F5MDY


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Mike GM1RHV
 

Hello Roelof,

Many thanks for the feedback.

In fact I think that the 40m LPF cut off is starting to fall off before the 40m band starts. Slightly less induction or a tiny amount of additional capacitance might sort it.
For 20m, that first dip, like the indentation in a tooth, could be responsible for reduced output. I seem to think that the high frequency fall off should start around 17MHz?

Mike


Receiver module and polyphase kit for HB TCVR project

Daimon Tilley
 

I am building my own multi-band, Arduino VFO driven, CW TCVR. This is based on the GQRP Sudden VFO but with significant coding changes (by me) for multi-band use.

The VFO will drive a QRPLabs 5w PA kit. I want to add a good  RX and will use the VFO Arduino to switch LPF's and BPF's.  I want to drive an audio amp not a PC soundcard. Would the QRP Labs Receiver module and Polyphase kit (I don't want both side-bands) be suitable for this?

Second question - as the receiver kit is designed for a wide range of modes I assume the BW filtering will be too open for CW, so any suggestions for a good CW filter option too.

This is my biggest homebrew project so far so all advice gratefully received.

Best 73 and thanks in advance,

Daimon. G4USI


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Roelof Bakker
 

Hello Mike,

The cut-off frequency of the 20M low pass filter might be too low, which attenuates the 20M
output somewhat. This does not effect 30M.

73,
Roelof, pa0rdt


Re: K6JTH's versatile stand for the QCX-mini

Colin Kaminski
 

My pleasure Jim!

On Wed, Jun 29, 2022 at 12:24 PM Jim <Jscook@...> wrote:
Colin, Thank you. My QRP minis are now all settled in their new stands!
73 Jim W3APC


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Alan G4ZFQ
 

Your RF sweeps look very different to the ones I posted for my 12v v3 QDX… https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/message/87810 <https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/message/87810>
Jim,

I read most posts, I see large variations on different sweeps posted from various QDX rigs.
I'm beginning to think the actual figures are meaningless although the relative values might make sense.

None of the traces is necessarily relevant to transmit power. They essentially check the RX BPFs although the test signal does go through the LPFs.
Esa says RX is good on all bands so we can assume the LPFs are at least passing signals on RX.
4 watts is acceptable, low power on 20/30m would indicate a problem with the LPF or it's TX switching.

I suggest careful examination of the 30/20m LPF soldering and components. Also check the LPF switching voltages conform with the description in the manual.

73 Alan G4ZFQ


Re: TX on 80 & 40... but not on 30 & 20... reasons?? #problem

Evan Hand
 

Randy,

I would verify that the 20 and 30 meter transmission is enabled in the configuration menu.  A couple of reports have resolved to these not being turned on in the software.  They did not disable the band.  Instead, it was that way when loaded into the QDX.

73
Evan
AC9TU


Re: K6JTH's versatile stand for the QCX-mini

Jim
 

Colin, Thank you. My QRP minis are now all settled in their new stands!
73 Jim W3APC


Re: Part identification for QCX-20

Ed Kwik
 

So did you inventory all the parts before you started your assembly? It is always a good idea to do an inventory first. It helps one get familiar with all the bits and pieces. I use an inventory and the parts list to identify some things by the process of elimination
Ed
AB8DF


Re: The Chips Act

Jim Manley
 

Hi Jim,

The more recent fabs are pretty much closed-loop using recycled water.  If you want to see real wastes of water in the Southwest, take a look at fountains that shoot water two football field lengths into the air, which evaporates before it comes back down to ground level.  The plethora of golf courses and other multitudes of places where water-hungry plants, that are wholly inappropriate to grow in a desert climate, are other major vectors of wasted water.

Then, there’s the clover grown on Saudi-owned land in Arizona in proximity to the Colorado River which, after harvesting, is flown on 747 cargo aircraft directly to Saudi Arabia … to feed their prize Arabian horses.  The Colorado River has been drying up, long before it crosses the border into Mexico, for years before integrated circuits were invented.

Senator Barry Goldwater said that if he had known how much of the water diverted from the Colorado River to the cities was going to be wasted, he never would have championed and voted for it.


Another Jim  KJ7JHE


On Wed, Jun 29, 2022 at 8:24 AM James Daldry W4JED <jim@...> wrote:

Hope they can make water out of air. The Colorado River is almost dry.

Jim W4JED

On 6/29/22 07:43, kf7rcm@... via groups.io wrote:
There are three huge "chip" plants being built in the Phoenix area. Hopefully they will be online before too long.


Re: TX on 80 & 40... but not on 30 & 20... reasons?? #problem

Randy K7RAN
 

Evan and Ryan, thanks for your help.

Evan, I believe I've got the v1 board, as I can't find a version reference on either side of the board. The firmware is the latest 1_03. Per your guidance, I've located the two relevant toroids L4 and L10. My next step is to carefully discern where their solder pads are on the reverse side and then reflow them. I'll also check the banded-side D3 and D6 diodes, hoping they indicate near zero volts with the unit powered. Any other tips related to anything about this are appreciated, btw.

73, Randy K7RAN


Re: The Chips Act

Fred Spinner
 

Many ASIC designs could also be done as a FPGA first, further speeding up design and verification.   The prototype could be a power hungry but otherwise exact logical equivalent to the final ASIC product. 

Fred W0FMS 

On Wed, Jun 29, 2022, 11:39 AM Mark KB0US via groups.io <spudhorse=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Once upon a time in the 1980s when chips were made out of stone (a little silicon humor), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) cared about one thing -- CPU speed. That was where the intellectual property was and where there was an advantage in war fighting and space (aka Star Wars). Memory was less important (except from a radiation hardening perspective) and support chips weren't very important at all. Standard ICs were only important to the extent you could get them in Mil Std packaging. And so, there was a lot of money available for CPU fabs in the U.S. along with needing to keep the IP in the U.S.

And then along came ASICs (Application Specific ICs) pioneered by TSMC in Taiwan under a model where you would design them at a "design center" near you and then TSMC would make the chip at their "foundry" (i.e., fab). ASICs allowed faster time to market compared to a full custom IC design, reduced size since something made from standard parts could be put in a single part, reasonable speed, and reasonable cost. None of this was the least bit interesting to the DoD. ASIC design is basically tying together standard "blocks" (such as an NAND gate or D-flip flop) without having to worry about how this winds up being implemented in silicon. Over time, these "blocks" have become quite complex and more general purpose.

As time moved along, as it usually does, TSMC (and others) offered more services and built more complex fabs. DoD spending ebbed and flowed and chips became fast enough that they began to move to COTS (commercial off the shelf) instead of building custom things where there were already commercial products available. Having fabs offshore had a lot of benefits since environmental requirements weren't as strict, labor was cheaper, and there were a lot of talented engineers available for low cost. And as these fabs became obsolete, you could build a new one somewhere else with the most favorable economics. 

And then there's the Internet where it makes no difference whether your foundry is in the next building or in Asia. Files are moved instantly and having a team spread across continents became normal instead of "are you absolutely insane!"

So here we are with a system that optimized economics (as capitalism tends to do) but with weaknesses that are only exposed during some sort of global upheaval. This has always been the case but it would have normally involved raw materials such as iron, water, gold, and other commodities. Now it's access to technology.

I don't have a strong opinion about the Chips Act other than to say we've essentially been down this road once before with the early DoD CPU spending. Just as before, we're just as much at risk of the newest technologies going off shore because of the economics. And there will be unintended consequences as well that we can't predict.

By the way, semiconductors aren't the only thing to worry about. Electric Vehicles all depend on batteries from China (and Taiwan) as do all of our laptops and cell phones. A huge number of drugs are manufactured in China and a disruption in their production won't be easily remedied either.


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Jim G7FRI
 

Hi Mike,

Your RF sweeps look very different to the ones I posted for my 12v v3 QDX… https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/message/87810

The left hand scale on my graphs range between -10 and -30 approx. Yours seem to start around -45 and drop to -60. Not sure if these are supposed to be indicative of dB?

If someone has expertise in this area it would be good to have some more guidance on what looks “good” in these graphs and what definitely looks bad! 

In terms of power output, I would expect some variation and drop off at the higher frequencies. Using the QRP Labs dummy load I measured 23v on 80m down to 20v on 20m which equates approximately to a range of 6W-4W. I’m happy with that given all the variables involved…

regards,
Jim


Re: QDX Rev 3 Build Video Series

Ryan Flowers
 

Hey everyone, here is the first in the series! It's on the too-long side, but... it is what it is. It's installing all the capacitors and also the diodes, and the capacitors took some real time. The diodes... not so much. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1ouWIzxwo8

Feel free to watch the capacitors at 2x speed as needed :-) 

Here's a link to the QDX Rev 3 Build Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDP9oGiu60jLehR0u2zxI6tPTvP7_LJeM



--
Ryan Flowers - W7RLF
MiscDotGeek - QRP and More (Website)

QDX News, Tips, Build Series (YouTube)
QCX Mini "Mini Tip" Series (YouTube)
QCX Mini Troubleshooting and Repair (Website)
W7RLF Prototyping Boards


Re: The Chips Act

Mark KB0US
 

Once upon a time in the 1980s when chips were made out of stone (a little silicon humor), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) cared about one thing -- CPU speed. That was where the intellectual property was and where there was an advantage in war fighting and space (aka Star Wars). Memory was less important (except from a radiation hardening perspective) and support chips weren't very important at all. Standard ICs were only important to the extent you could get them in Mil Std packaging. And so, there was a lot of money available for CPU fabs in the U.S. along with needing to keep the IP in the U.S.

And then along came ASICs (Application Specific ICs) pioneered by TSMC in Taiwan under a model where you would design them at a "design center" near you and then TSMC would make the chip at their "foundry" (i.e., fab). ASICs allowed faster time to market compared to a full custom IC design, reduced size since something made from standard parts could be put in a single part, reasonable speed, and reasonable cost. None of this was the least bit interesting to the DoD. ASIC design is basically tying together standard "blocks" (such as an NAND gate or D-flip flop) without having to worry about how this winds up being implemented in silicon. Over time, these "blocks" have become quite complex and more general purpose.

As time moved along, as it usually does, TSMC (and others) offered more services and built more complex fabs. DoD spending ebbed and flowed and chips became fast enough that they began to move to COTS (commercial off the shelf) instead of building custom things where there were already commercial products available. Having fabs offshore had a lot of benefits since environmental requirements weren't as strict, labor was cheaper, and there were a lot of talented engineers available for low cost. And as these fabs became obsolete, you could build a new one somewhere else with the most favorable economics. 

And then there's the Internet where it makes no difference whether your foundry is in the next building or in Asia. Files are moved instantly and having a team spread across continents became normal instead of "are you absolutely insane!"

So here we are with a system that optimized economics (as capitalism tends to do) but with weaknesses that are only exposed during some sort of global upheaval. This has always been the case but it would have normally involved raw materials such as iron, water, gold, and other commodities. Now it's access to technology.

I don't have a strong opinion about the Chips Act other than to say we've essentially been down this road once before with the early DoD CPU spending. Just as before, we're just as much at risk of the newest technologies going off shore because of the economics. And there will be unintended consequences as well that we can't predict.

By the way, semiconductors aren't the only thing to worry about. Electric Vehicles all depend on batteries from China (and Taiwan) as do all of our laptops and cell phones. A huge number of drugs are manufactured in China and a disruption in their production won't be easily remedied either.


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Esa Nieminen
 

Thak you very much Mike

I have very different from mine. I can send them later. But I have good reference now.

73 de oh2awg, Esa N

On 29.6.2022 21.20, Mike GM1RHV wrote:

Hello,

Also running QDX V3 at 9V here and did my initial transmitter tests in to a dummy load today.
80m and 30m = 5W - I'm happy with that. Not so happy with ~3.2W for 40m and ~3.5W for 20m.
For the filter sweeps (attached) I just used the option in the utility to change band each time.
What makes me suspicious is that 30m power is in spec but 20m isn't, yet they share filtering, at least in the design.
I thought I was careful when fitting the coils and capacitors...

73 Mike GM1RHV


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Esa Nieminen
 

thanks

But not in my case, My current limit value is 1,3A.

Currents on different bands: 80m 580mA, 60m 630mA, 40m 550mA, 30m 450mA, 20m, 330mA.

73 de oh2awg, Esa N
On 29.6.2022 20.43, Richard Lee wrote:

I've been using 8.5 to 9 volts and seeing 4.5 to 5 watts on my QDX3 all bands. Yesterday, I saw the power falling off to 2 or 3 watts. Cause was current limiting on the power supply. Power back to normal now. 
Beforehand, I noticed the power reading peaked at 5W then very quickly dropped off about a 1/4 watt. 
73, Rich nj1a
 


Re: The Chips Act

George Korper
 

The Global nature of the Semiconductor business is for for sure, and the bill is required to assist  companies to build their plants in US. The subsidies are a competitive lure. I don't get into politics but if democracies are to compete they need to be quick on their feet. 


Re: #QDX V3 filters and low output power #qdx

Richard Lee
 

I've been using 8.5 to 9 volts and seeing 4.5 to 5 watts on my QDX3 all bands. Yesterday, I saw the power falling off to 2 or 3 watts. Cause was current limiting on the power supply. Power back to normal now. 
Beforehand, I noticed the power reading peaked at 5W then very quickly dropped off about a 1/4 watt. 
73, Rich nj1a
 

7701 - 7720 of 94500