Help me debug my spyverter


Lyndxer
 

My Spyverter installation has suddenly become deaf. Here's what I did so far:
 1.Checked the connection between the Airpsy R2 and the Spyverter. (The Airspy runs fine on its own.)
 2. Opened the Spyverter to confirm that the connectors were not detached from the board.
 3. Checked the settings in SDR# 1732.. Checking or unchecking the Bias T box did not make a difference.
 4. Changed from the linear gain setting to the free gain and tried various combinations of settings.
 5. Connected the Bias T directly from the Spyverter to a USB port on my computer (Dell Inspiron 5000) via the micro USB port - no change 
 6. Connected Bias T directly to a wall wart. No change.
 7. Checked reception on my Funcube Pro+ with the same antenna I had connected to the Spyverter and there were plenty of signals on the AM and SW bands.
 
What did I miss?   What else can I check?


W0LEV
 

Do any of the indicator LED's on the SpyVerter illuminate when connected to the AirSpy with the Bias Tee turned ON?  These LED's should turn on and off based on the bias tee setting.

Dave - WØLEV

I have the older Ham-it-Up up-converter.




On Sat, Sep 26, 2020 at 9:28 PM Lyndxer <zekesgm@...> wrote:
My Spyverter installation has suddenly become deaf. Here's what I did so far:
 1.Checked the connection between the Airpsy R2 and the Spyverter. (The Airspy runs fine on its own.)
 2. Opened the Spyverter to confirm that the connectors were not detached from the board.
 3. Checked the settings in SDR# 1732.. Checking or unchecking the Bias T box did not make a difference.
 4. Changed from the linear gain setting to the free gain and tried various combinations of settings.
 5. Connected the Bias T directly from the Spyverter to a USB port on my computer (Dell Inspiron 5000) via the micro USB port - no change 
 6. Connected Bias T directly to a wall wart. No change.
 7. Checked reception on my Funcube Pro+ with the same antenna I had connected to the Spyverter and there were plenty of signals on the AM and SW bands.
 
What did I miss?   What else can I check?



--
Dave - WØLEV
Just Let Darwin Work


jdow
 

Do you connect and disconnect frequently? Backwards probably will not work.
If you tune to 120 MHz do you see a massive birdy from the Spyverter LO?
You have tested that the R2 itself is working? Simple testing on FM can show this.

{^_^}

On 20200926 12:46:35, Lyndxer wrote:
My Spyverter installation has suddenly become deaf. Here's what I did so far:
 1.Checked the connection between the Airpsy R2 and the Spyverter. (The Airspy runs fine on its own.)
 2. Opened the Spyverter to confirm that the connectors were not detached from the board.
 3. Checked the settings in SDR# 1732.. Checking or unchecking the Bias T box did not make a difference.
 4. Changed from the linear gain setting to the free gain and tried various combinations of settings.
 5. Connected the Bias T directly from the Spyverter to a USB port on my computer (Dell Inspiron 5000) via the micro USB port - no change 
 6. Connected Bias T directly to a wall wart. No change.
 7. Checked reception on my Funcube Pro+ with the same antenna I had connected to the Spyverter and there were plenty of signals on the AM and SW bands.
 
What did I miss?   What else can I check?


Lyndxer
 

Dave,

My Spyverter.does not have any indicator LEDs.


Lyndxer
 

I've connected/disconnected a few times, but am careful to connect in the correct direction.

Yes, I do see a massive birdy on 120Hhz.

The R2 is working well by itself.


Lyndxer
 

I'm wondering if there's any connection between my earlier problem of the Spyverter's being way off (30Khz) in calibration? 


jdow
 

That suggests a damaged connector. Look at the inner contacts to see that the male appendage end goes straight into the female socket part of the connector. A telltale hole beside the inner socket suggests a broken connector. You may also have a broken cable, either the interconnect to the R2 or from the antenna. If that antenna wire also receives on FM broadcast on bare R2 that would leave the interconnect. Do you have the 120 MHz birdie on hte Biast-T? If so it's not that either. (When I purchase gadgets like that interconnect cable I get three or more on the grounds that they are meant to be the expendable parts between two boxes.)

It could also be the Spyverter setting in SDRSharp is not turned on. (If you kept context I could see if you'd already addressed that.)

{^_^}

On 20200926 18:56:49, Lyndxer wrote:
I've connected/disconnected a few times, but am careful to connect in the correct direction.

Yes, I do see a massive birdy on 120Hhz.

The R2 is working well by itself.


jdow
 

Oh - shift - is the Shift tickbox checked?

{^_^}

On 20200926 19:06:17, Lyndxer wrote:
I'm wondering if there's any connection between my earlier problem of the Spyverter's being way off (30Khz) in calibration? 


Lyndxer
 

The connectors appear to be fine- no holes beside the inner socket.  When using the Spyverter, I either connect it with the barrel connector that came with it or a separate SMA interconnect cable. Is there a way to check the power coming in with a multimeter?

Yes, the Shift box is checked when using the Spyverter so that the frequency readout is correct as per the solution to the previous problem.


Lyndxer
 

I unchecked the Shift box and it made absolutely no difference.


jdow
 

Open the Spyverter and measure. One could also use the opportunity this affords to clean paint off the surfaces that mate with each other and with the connectors for slightly better shielding.

{^_^}

On 20200927 06:26:46, Lyndxer wrote:
The connectors appear to be fine- no holes beside the inner socket.  When using the Spyverter, I either connect it with the barrel connector that came with it or a separate SMA interconnect cable. Is there a way to check the power coming in with a multimeter?

Yes, the Shift box is checked when using the Spyverter so that the frequency readout is correct as per the solution to the previous problem.


jdow
 

Usually it takes a input connection to a transmitter or a nearby lightning strike to blow one of those mixers. So we must be missing something in the setup if neither of those happened. The 120 MHz LO signal suggests connections are basically secure. Did the antenna fall down? (That would be "numb" but not "dead".)

{^_^}

On 20200927 06:26:46, Lyndxer wrote:
The connectors appear to be fine- no holes beside the inner socket.  When using the Spyverter, I either connect it with the barrel connector that came with it or a separate SMA interconnect cable. Is there a way to check the power coming in with a multimeter?

Yes, the Shift box is checked when using the Spyverter so that the frequency readout is correct as per the solution to the previous problem.


Marcus D. Leech
 

On 09/27/2020 12:53 PM, jdow wrote:
Usually it takes a input connection to a transmitter or a nearby lightning strike to blow one of those mixers. So we must be missing something in the setup if neither of those happened. The 120 MHz LO signal suggests connections are basically secure. Did the antenna fall down? (That would be "numb" but not "dead".)

{^_^}
Tape an old 4-banger calculator to the antenna.  Can you hear all kinds of whirrs and pops and glompings at any frequency that should be
  in the AM band?   The poor mans signal generator :)




Lyndxer
 

The antenna is a PAR EF-SWL. It is up and secure. It works fine with my Funcube, so I don't think that is the problem.


jdow
 

On 20200927 09:56:12, Marcus D. Leech wrote:
On 09/27/2020 12:53 PM, jdow wrote:
Usually it takes a input connection to a transmitter or a nearby lightning strike to blow one of those mixers. So we must be missing something in the setup if neither of those happened. The 120 MHz LO signal suggests connections are basically secure. Did the antenna fall down? (That would be "numb" but not "dead".)

{^_^}
Tape an old 4-banger calculator to the antenna.  Can you hear all kinds of whirrs and pops and glompings at any frequency that should be
  in the AM band?   The poor mans signal generator :)

It is traditional to wrap the antenna one turn or so around an electric drill. This is also a traditional test to show why  RS232 is an abomination before the Lord or something like that. Differential mode or MIDI work through MUCH more such noise than single ended crapola. SOME DAY I hope to see a PC with differential audio output for feeding to proper differential mode loads. Bye bye hum by typically 40 dB or more.

{^_^}


Lyndxer
 

I got 5.1 volts with it directly connected to the USB port and 4.61 when connected thru the Airspy via the barrel connector. According to the specs that should be sufficient.and shows that both power ports are functioning.

Other ideas?


jdow
 

Aside from looking at the input connector for the center pin peeled off the circuit board inside.

Is it numb or you get nothing at all?

{^_^}

On 20200927 12:05:04, Lyndxer wrote:
I got 5.1 volts with it directly connected to the USB port and 4.61 when connected thru the Airspy via the barrel connector. According to the specs that should be sufficient.and shows that both power ports are functioning.

Other ideas?


Ron
 

I have had a Spyverter for some time that always seemed a bit intermittent. It then died just like yours and I set it aside. This thread inspired me to take another look. Nice solid 120 MHz LO visible in SDR#. I had ohmed out connectors in the past and checked DC voltage but this time in looking at the antenna input connector with a jeweler’s loupe, the center conductor sleeve seemed to be too large in diameter. I pulled the board out and put an SMA to SO239 adapter on the antenna input and checked continuity between SO239 center pin and the SMA center pin solder connection on the board. No continuity!

Where I went wrong before was using the sharp ended meter probe to check the connector center pin. That would make contact while an actual SMA pin centered itself and did not make contact.

Right now I have the Spyverter board on my radio desk, connected to my R2 and an antenna jumpered direct to the antenna connector center pin solder pad on the board. SDR# with bias T and Spyverter check boxes checked. AM broadcast stations blasting in and 10 MHz WWV ticking away. CW signals on 20 meters. Solid as it can be.

I hope this helps and your problem is the same sort of “hiding in plain sight” issue. I thought my Spyverter was toast. As is the case so many times, something simple. Best of luck!


Ron
WB5DYG
San Tan Valley, AZ
www.wb5dyg.com


jdow
 

That is a good piece of detective work. These little connectors are NOT built for durability and many connect disconnect cycles. And it is frightfully easy to distort elements of the connectors. Pigtails really do have a place in the world. 3" SMA to BNC patch cables and a BNC barrel is a nice way to protect the SMA connectors. And even then don't yank on the connectors.

{^_^}

On 20200928 12:12:31, Ron wrote:
I have had a Spyverter for some time that always seemed a bit intermittent. It then died just like yours and I set it aside. This thread inspired me to take another look. Nice solid 120 MHz LO visible in SDR#. I had ohmed out connectors in the past and checked DC voltage but this time in looking at the antenna input connector with a jeweler’s loupe, the center conductor sleeve seemed to be too large in diameter. I pulled the board out and put an SMA to SO239 adapter on the antenna input and checked continuity between SO239 center pin and the SMA center pin solder connection on the board. No continuity!

Where I went wrong before was using the sharp ended meter probe to check the connector center pin. That would make contact while an actual SMA pin centered itself and did not make contact.

Right now I have the Spyverter board on my radio desk, connected to my R2 and an antenna jumpered direct to the antenna connector center pin solder pad on the board. SDR# with bias T and Spyverter check boxes checked. AM broadcast stations blasting in and 10 MHz WWV ticking away.  CW signals on 20 meters. Solid as it can be.

I hope this helps and your problem is the same sort of “hiding in plain sight” issue. I thought my Spyverter was toast. As is the case so many times, something simple. Best of luck!


Ron
WB5DYG
San Tan Valley, AZ
www.wb5dyg.com







Marcus D. Leech
 

On 09/28/2020 04:06 PM, jdow wrote:
That is a good piece of detective work. These little connectors are NOT built for durability and many connect disconnect cycles. And it is frightfully easy to distort elements of the connectors. Pigtails really do have a place in the world. 3" SMA to BNC patch cables and a BNC barrel is a nice way to protect the SMA connectors. And even then don't yank on the connectors.

{^_^}

In my mind, SMA connectors aren't for the "outside world" at all.  They should live inside enclosures to effect RF connectivity inside an
  enclosure.  Once you have to visit the "outside world", then something more robust is called for.  BNC (at least for indoor use), type-N,
  etc.

I had a friend who was running LMR-400 out to his antenna, but had it terminated in SMA, and had a couple of segments, with SMA barrel
  connectors in between.  It was, as you might expect flaky as fark.  Just the cable itself can put much untoward force on an SMA, breaking
  it or making it flaky.  To say nothing of MCX and MMCX and U.FL and those other "flea barf" connectors.