Date   

First try into dummy load - #30m #QCX+ with 50W #pa #30m

superDIYer
 

SO happy!

With:
- 30M QCX+ on a 12V AC/DC wall wart, nominally producing ~4.5W
- 30M 50W PA on a 12V NOCO boost pack
- Output into one of my DIY dummy loads (2p2s using TE Connectivity A131656CT-ND resistors)

Measured 40.4V DC, adding 0.4V for the diode drop on the measurement terminals... if i've done my math correctly, that gives me 16.6W output using WAY low voltages.  And yes, for those keeping score at home, 16+ W into 12W worth of resistors does get quite warm in a hurry. I better seal up that container and fill it with mineral oil (or use the BIGGER dummy load) pretty quickly!

I have batteries on the way to build up the LDO regulated 20V-ish amplifier supply. I'll update the report with the final power numbers when thats ready. I'm also working on a dual output power regulator board based on the LM338 that can take the unregulated 7S LiPo pack and turn it into nice 12V and 20-ishV outputs for this combination remote excursions.

For those who might be wondering, at 12V input to the PA, I was seeing ~65.2milliamps on the input current while tuning up the bias current. Thankfully the default point of the trimmer pot was below that because I had applied power and PTT to it before making sure it was fully counterclockwise (DOH!)

Hope y'all are having as much fun with your radios as I am with mine!
Jason / KC8HBU / superDIYer


QCX+ and QLG1 GPS issue

Michael Greene
 

After I built my QCX+ and got it working, I built the QLG1 GPS kit. It worked with the QCX+ just great. Then, I made the fateful error that led me to learn lots about the design of the radio - I tried to do one last tweak of the output power and shorted the +12V to the RF Pwr pin. After lots of troubleshooting, I replaced the Si5351A and found I had shorted pin 7 to pin 8 on the original. After that, I had an issue with the volume, which I think is fixed. That's the background.
Current problem :  I have the GPS set up to plug into the 3.5mm paddle jack with PPS,TXD and GND as shown in the manual. When I plug it in (in practice mode and the paddle disconnected, of course), it just starts beeping the key continuously - not supposed to do that. I have the +5V for the GPS on a separate 3.5mm connection to the PTT input, as shown in the manual. When I plug that in, it reboots the radio - not supposed to happen.

The GPS unit runs fine on its own on a 5V power supply. It also ran fine with the radio before my unfortunate event. Looking for ideas on what might be wrong. I have checked solder joints and grounding issues until the cows came home, so hoping for more specific things or areas to check. Ideas much appreciated!

Michael KN6IZE


Re: Success.........finally!

Curt wb8yyy
 

Ed

yes consider Brian's suggestion to watch the tune up video.  the receive alignment using builtin equipment is important - and very cool.  if it fun to use the LCD markings to tweak the controls to produce a nice audio image null -- and you will enjoy the result.  once you have the rigs situated - you may not be using the menus a lot.  enjoy your craftsmanship. 

73 curt


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

ajparent1/kb1gmx
 

If your going totally nutz why not a scope tube and do alphanumeric
on the screen and use that as a "computer and display) to drive the cat.

A 5up1 would be nice and large and terrible looking in say P6 phosphor.

Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No private email, it goes to a bit bucket due address harvesting


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

ajparent1/kb1gmx
 

Nixies are in themselves not very noisy to any great degree its all the stuff needed to
operate them like 170V DC (switch mode up converter?), all the logic and the
micro to drive it.

Just remember every digit change will go from about 15V to 65V and the next
element will go from about 65 to 15.  Scanned displays can be very noisy.
I did a lot of work back in the 70s with stuff like that as a wet behind the
ears engineer.  Worked with Nixies, selfscan, and VF displays.  I also
have a selection of VF displays up to a 40char x 4line 16 segment tube. 

I have a Yaesu YC3545d 350mhz Nixie counter I still use.  Also a Burroughs 40char 
selfscan display.  IT takes 3 chips (7490, 7474, 7441) of logic for each digit in a
counter and the time base is about 10 pieces of TTL.   How do I know I still
have 5 digit modules each is a Nixie, counter, latch and decoder (0-9) on
the board, requires 5V at 140ma, 170V DC at 2ma,  Got them when you could
in the mid 70s to make a counter save for a complete one was better and
only a bit more in cost.  FYI they were $8.95 each (x5) in 1973 dollars
so they would be about $50 each now.  So they were never cheap.

Oh and most nixies are strictly numeric 0-9.  Those that can do alpha
(15 or 16 segment) were bigger and way more costly.

There is no can't, only the cost and size. That and it will dwarf the QCX.

Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No private email, it goes to a bit bucket due address harvesting


Re: Success.........finally!

Brian N7BKV
 

Great accomplishment, Ed!  Be sure to look at Han's vid on tuning it up.  It is easy stuff and you can max the watts if it is not already there.

And yes, T1 takes a surgeon's hands and a sniper' eyes!  And just wait til you try the trifiler transformer on the 50W Amp!

Enjoy the journey-and the success!

Brian


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

Brian N7BKV
 

Shane, you said:  "I wonder how many QCX+s could be built with the money needed to make just the Nixie tube display???"

Enough to make one cry probably.  Buy, hey, cool has no price...(just cost). Ouch.
Anyway, this nixie idea was all a good thought experiment.

Thanks for you comments on it all.  Sure seemed to get folks thinking!

Brian N


Success.........finally!

Ed
 

Well, after 2 cold solder joints and 1 solder bridge my QCX+ is up and running! I'm impressed. Of course the menu system will take some getting use to.....HI HI

Frankly, winding and inserting T1 almost did me in. At 71, I would have gladly paid someone to wind T1. The other toriods were not difficult.

73 ~ ed


Re: Clock kit firmware version 1.03d released - fixes day of week bug

Nigel D
 

Thanks Hans, got round to updating the firmware over the weekend with AVRDUDESS and USBASP. No issues and the upgrade works as it should.
A thought occurred to me whilst customising the display that it would be good to display more time zones than the present UTC and local, perhaps up to four zones? I still have my Yeasu mechanical world clock that at a glance tells you the time anywhere in the world and was very useful 20 years ago. Now it is hopeless at keeping accurate time.
This is not a request for immediate action. Please put it on your to do list for consideration at a later date.
Thanks for the great kits. Nigel VK6NI   


Re: #qcx Firmware 1.06 release #qcx

Al Holt
 

Michael Greene,
It's working in v.106. no lowercase letters, but a good way to tag it.
--Al


Re: #qcx Firmware 1.06 release #qcx

Michael Greene
 

Pg 130 of manual, setting 7.8 is used to enable the splash screen. 2 lines which can be stored in messages 11 and 12 in settings section 2.
Not sure about version 1.06, but works nicely in 1.05


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

Mont Pierce KM6WT
 

On Sun, Nov 1, 2020 at 08:12 AM, Hans Summers wrote:
An easier way to do it would be to use the CAT interface
 Of Course !!!!

This rig has so many COOL features.

Thanks Hans.

73
km6wt


Re: #qcx Firmware 1.06 release #qcx

Al Holt
 

The '1-06' display at startup seems to be normal. I get it on all QCX's I have, two of which are QCX+ models.

Wasn't there something posted here about doing your own 'splash screen?'

--Al


Re: #qcx Firmware 1.06 release #qcx

Daniel Conklin
 

I flashed my 40 meter QCX with no issues. I'm looking forward to the LCD mini circuit. 
--
73, Dan - W2DLC


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

Shane Justice <justshane@...>
 

Hans and all,

You raise some interesting points, regarding using non-multiplexed circuitry and DC bias between anode and cathode, instead of some AC drive.

I'm not sure what sort of ballast was used in neon signs, but those were always noisy. I may have been back in the day that neon signs were ubiquitous, but hey would create hash, even on AM broadcast band reception as we'd drive along streets withe them in the evenings. Maybe the ballasts were old and starting to fail?

If I remember neon needs something like 70-80V to break down and glow.

The noise issue is proximity-related. The closer to the noise source, the more is picked up. 

I would think that a separate unit with Nixie tubes might not radiate to where the HF antenna is, but it is entirely different if the power supply, switching circuitry and nixies are very closely adjacent to the radio reception and processing chains within a radio. 

At a minimum, I would expect to here a click or something as a digit is turned off, and another one turned on, unless soft turn on/turn off was implimented.

I seem to recall a fine mesh screen over the inside of the glass window of equipment using Nixie tubes- was that to keep in, or out, RFI? I was thinking it was there to keep it in, but it would accomplish both. 

Modern displays use ITO vapor deposition to make a transparent "screen" over glass surfaces, either on the display itself, or the window through which the display can be seen.

Some cars have heated windshields and/or mirrors that have ITO that conducts current to heat the surface.

BTW ITO = Indium Tin Oxide.

Also, I recall some miniature  Nixie tubes, but it's been so long ago I couldn't tell you where they were used. I've never seen a device with them, but I recall an electronics surplus house was trying to sell them.

A Nixie tube is really just a neon bulb, except one electrode (cathode, if I remember correctly) is switched between what number is displayed, and the other is a fixed anode. I know others have indicated voltage on a Nixie needs to be 170V. I wonder if this is due to the larger surface area of the anode and cathodes in a Nixie tube, as compared to a neon bulb?

If Brian wants to pursue this, perhaps acquire a single Nixie tube and build up a circuit to prove it is noiseless, then build the rest of the display?

I wonder how many QCX+s could be built with the money needed to make just the Nixie tube display???

Best Regards,
Shane


On Nov 1, 2020 at 11:15, Hans Summers <hans.summers@...> wrote:

Hi all

Sorry I'm in the nixies are cool camp too ;-)

I'm curious, what is the source of the noise? I get it, multiplexing is a source of noise. So are some voltage step-up schemes which are effectively switched mode. 

But if someone were to direct-drive the nixies, a static, non-multiplexed display, and use a transformer derived DC voltage (not switched mode), would the nixies themselves be inherently noisy? 

I'm asking, is the neon discharge itself inherently noisy? Or has it got a bad reputation because multiplexing is common, and switched mode step-up supplies are common?

73 Hans G0UPL 

On Sun, Nov 1, 2020, 20:23 Brian N7BKV <cl@...> wrote:
Thanks Hans, Jim, Allison and other for the thoughts.  Data from CAT seems to the way to go.  But the noise issue probably kills the whole idea.  Nixies really are pretty much  antiquated noisy hardware. But soooo   coooooool!

I appreciate you musing on the idea with me.

Brian N
N7BKV


Re: Audio Problem

Michael Greene
 

I removed the pot and took off the sheetmetal cover. Everything seemed to be ok inside, nothing obviously damaged. Put it back together and reattached it. Problem still there. I ended up tightening the nut more and that seemed to squeeze things together enough to make it work again. I had avoided that due to the warning in the manual about the delicacy of the pot. Odd that it should need compression to make the contacts. Pretty sure I have other issues, but at least this one is behaving now.


Re: #qcx Firmware 1.06 release #qcx

chmims <chmims@...>
 

I have flashed a 40M QCX.  It seemed to go well with one minor change.

With 1.05 when booting up I got the initial message '5W CW Tcvr 1.05'.  Now all I get is '1.06'.  Initially it seems to be working well.  However, since I have 'bricked' a QRX in the past with upgrades of the firmware I am hesitating to upgrade my  QCX+.  Do have any reason to worry.

Charles
KG5ZLH


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

Hajo Dezelski
 

Go, Brian, GO!

and don't forget to put the green "magic Eye" on the left side as the counterpoint to the pixies.

73 de Hajo


Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

Ronald Taylor
 

I also think Nixies are cool. I built this nixie clock for the shack 


Based on a video by “Great Scott” in Germany. The nixies were salvaged from an old frequency counter. It is not multiplexed. An Arduino Nano and a DS3231 real time clock provide four BCD outputs that go to four High voltage BCD to Decimal decoder drivers and to the 4 nixies. The power supply is a homebrew analog supply with transformer. The decoders used are the Russian K1551DI equivalent of the old 74141. I don’t see any change in noise level on any HF band with this clock on or off. It’s mounted between two old boat anchors here but other rigs in the shack include some more modern ones including a couple of QCXs. 

Ron

On Sun, Nov 1, 2020 at 12:15 Nick Norman <m0hgu@...> wrote:
On 01/11/2020 18:14, Hans Summers wrote:

> Hi all

>

> Sorry I'm in the nixies are cool camp too ;-)

>

> I'm curious, what is the source of the noise? I get it, multiplexing is a

> source of noise. So are some voltage step-up schemes which are effectively

> switched mode.

>

> But if someone were to direct-drive the nixies, a static, non-multiplexed

> display, and use a transformer derived DC voltage (not switched mode),

> would the nixies themselves be inherently noisy?

>

> I'm asking, is the neon discharge itself inherently noisy? Or has it got a

> bad reputation because multiplexing is common, and switched mode step-up

> supplies are common?

>

> 73 Hans G0UPL

> http://qrp-labs.com

>



Hans, & all,



I think it is the use of the 7441, 7141, etc.



I have use these:



<https://www.tindie.com/products/dekuNukem/exixe-miniture-nixie-tube-driver-modules/>



for a clock and I can hear/see no obvious noise on HF bands (YMMV)



Regards all



Nick

M0HGU



--

Ninety percent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.

(Wyrd

Sisters)

19:10:01 up 21:27, 10 users, load average: 0.26, 0.31, 1.54







--

73 Nick M0HGU












Re: Nixie Tube Display for Frequency !!!

Hans Summers
 

Hi Nick

I think it is the use of the 7441, 7141, etc.

But these are just static decoder/drivers chips. If the display isn't changing and there's one decoder/driver per nixie (they're not multiplexed), I don't see how these logic chips could create any noise. 

73 Hans G0UPL