My New Toy

Discussion in 'Chat' started by W5HRO, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Well, got online this morning and ordered a cheap solid-state ricebox to use as a temporary RF driver for my home-brew 4-400CG RF deck. After seeing that it was going to be shipped from the HRO in Sunnyvale I called and just drove there to pick it up. I think that store moved in there about a year after I left Sunnyvale so I never even knew it was there until now.

    Anyway, after chatting with a couple of old 3825 SSB operators over coffee about boatanchores I decided to also purchase an Astron 35 amp power supply for it since I didn’t currently have one large enough. It's not one of those crappy ham ricebox switching supplies either, it's the old normal pass transistor type. I will just need to figure out a way to attenuate the transceiver down for the 12mA of grid drive I need, but the good thing is I will also be able get the 4-400's AB bias setting set for SSB as well. Then I can use it next when I go to setup the modified BA-1K transmitter. Then after that I can throw it in the car, or etc...

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  2. W6MQI

    W6MQI Member

    Those Astron supplies are nice I have the meter version its been running continuously for about 7 years it just keeps plugging along.
     
  3. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I've had an Astron 10A since the late 1980's and it still works like new as well. I was just going to use that since I won't be running the Alnico at 100W anyway, but I decided to get the 35A so I wouldn't have any problems. If I build the 4-1000A linear then I'll need 100W of drive at least.

    Anyway, the Alnico’s AM power level on the Low setting is 4 watts out. It's 40W on high. The 4 watts might work for my 4-400. If not the CW low setting is 10W and I can just attenuate that down. That might be better, but we will see. I will need to throw a capacitor coupled 52-ohm or slightly higher ohm resistor to ground at the 4-400’s input anyway since it's high Z.
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  4. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I was searching around and found the all band TX mod the Alinco. I could care less about 11-meters, but I want it to transmit everywhere.

    On my NC-303 for example with the XCU-303 calibrator I was having a very hard time finding WWV while tuning the oscillator to receive it on 10.000Mc. I could not even find it for the first day or so. When I brought home the Alinco and tuued it to 10.000Mc I could just barley even hear WWV here from my location so that's why. On a good day I only get one bar on the s-meter. With the XCU-303 it’s basically a converter receiving WWV so it’s even weaker. I need a stable PLL reference that I can transmit into a dummy load and the Alinco will do it with this mod shown in the video. All you do is solder across the A & B jumpers. I do have a signal generator, but it’s tube type and not PLL.

    Back in the early 1990's I used my TS-850S for the same purpose and as a frequency counter, but it was overkill for that so I sold it. I can remember people like Bob, W0CAB always saying on 3880, "Dam, Brian is right dead smack on frequency" because I would put the TS-850 on CW and zero beat my transmitter to it which is why :biggrin:


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  5. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    Funny thing about WWV. In the last few weeks I have noticed the bands going long about an hour past sunset. For the first time in quite a while, there are times that I hear WWV on every frequency from 2.5 to 25 Mhz. That said, none of them are coming in without fade, or greater than 20db/S9. The upper bands like 17/15/12 and sometimes 10m are open in the evening for those with some power and antenna gain. The main issue though is that nobody is listening. Back to WWV, the KE9NS version T11 of Power SDR 2.7.2 for the legacy Flex radio's has a feature to use WWV to set the computer PC clock. It is neat seeing that play out while narrowing in on the 100 hz pulsing USB. Due to the bands fading though, it takes many tries to see it succeed. Getting the computer PC clock synchronized is important since there are many beacons on the upper bands that pulse on at an exact time. Power SDR with KE9NS T11 has a utility to scan the upper band beacons, and output a popup of where propagation is actually working.

    For measuring frequency, I use an old Fluke 70's vintage counter. I replaced the 10 Mhz crystal timebase with a TCXO. From a cold start it is within 30hz. I use a 40db tap from my 100 watt stations to feed the counter. Sometimes there is enough RF in the shack that a 2m Rubber Duckie works as well to pickup the RF.

    Jim
    Wd5JKO
     
  6. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I have a couple of frequency counters, but neither have TCXO's. The B&K I use is stable though and when it reads 3.880.00 the 3.880 is dead smack on. It's just the last .00 digits that might off and if so I dont know how far.

    The Alinco will be good for transmitting signals in the shack like at 10.000.00Mc to calibrate stuff like the XCU-303 etc. I can hear WWV on some of the other bands, but for some reason it's like I'm in a dead spot to hear it well on 10.000Mc. It is very weak at my QTH for whatever reason.

    What I may need to do is buy one of these tunable MFJ active antenna/preamps below and set it on top of the receiver with the telocoping antenna that's on it and just connect it to the XCU-303's antenna connection.

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  7. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    With that Alinco, it likely has band pass filters for each band, or perhaps half octave filters. Since there is a ham band near 10 Mhz, this should not be a problem. There might be some frequencies though where the filter selected (by hardware or SW look up table) is not compatible with the frequency being transmitted. I'd be hesitant to run much power out of band for that reason. Years ago with my FT-757, I blew out all the upper frequency filters because I ran AM. I had that thing tricked to transmit anywhere too. I ended up replacing that filter PCB with all the relays with a piece of wire! In a mobile installation I could output 100 watts on 10.7 Mhz!! A few times I was tailgated by some jug head in a hurry, and I'd get on 10.7 FM and tell that person behind me what I thought of them. The looks I saw in the rear view mirror were priceless. A stout 10.7 Mhz signal comes right through a car radio that has any FM station selected. :mrgreen:

    Jim
    Wd5JKO
     
  8. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I've been using the Alnico a lot lately as an HF receiver on 40-meters during the day then on 75-meters at night, but the quality is nowhere near that of my NC-303. The NC-303 picks up less noise with 50 X better sounding audio. I forgot how shitty solid-state receivers sounded. The Alnico is still handy though for when the band is quiet and for quick accurate frequency tuning and on SSB.

    Anyway, what I noticed though is the Astron 30A power supply will go HUMMMMMM! every now and then which is basically the cabinet vibrating. It’s just goes HUMMMMMM! in bursts. For the heck of it I connected my meter to the AC line its plugged into and sure enough, when it goes HUMMMMMM! my line voltage surges up. So now I have an audible indicator of when my line voltage is surging ::)
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  9. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I pooped the cover off the Alnico yesterday and soldered the two jumpers, A&B. It now has general coverage xmit.

    What I noticed is the D jumper is jumpered by default instead of the E jumper like shown in the video, but I think that means it’s the U.S. version. I wonder what the difference is between the U.S. version and the export version? Different programed default ham bands maybe?
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  10. W6MQI

    W6MQI Member

    One of the worst sounding solid state radio's was the Kenwood TS-440 talk about a hash box, listening to it was like having someone drag their finger nails down a chalk board. I have one rice box a Kenwood TS-590 nice radio a good bang for the buck. My Drake B line is nice sounding as well as the C line all though the R4C is heavily modified for CW op's. Really like using the R4C for daily CW op's it has a switchable 600Hz first IF roofing filter it hears every thing the Kenwood hears, only one problem you can't zip around the bands have to constantly readjust the preselector , and touch up the T4XC finals.
     
  11. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    That's interesting because the TS-440S I had back in the early 1980's sounded fine. It's always been my opinion the 440S and the 940S were the last 2 decent radios Kenwood made. At least on AM their modulated power bounced forward instead of backwards like all of them have done since those two models were made. Maybe you had a bad speaker.

    Oh, this Alinco also modulates downward on AM. That seems to be the trend for all of the new solid-state transceivers today no matter what the brand is. They just find a quick way to make AM work and they don't give a shit about it. I don't plan to use it for AM anyway, but it's not the point.
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  12. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    The recent add-on to my new toy has enabled me to tune my coax fed 75-meter dipole which is self resonate around 3.650Mc on the entire 75/80 meter band, the entire 40-meter band, the entire 20-meter band and the entire 17-meter band. I have not even tried it on 15 and 10 meters yet, but I can get a perfect 1:1 match on all of those other bands except for 160-meters because the antenna is too short there which is normal.

    This the first time I can ever remember being able to tune all of the bands with a coax fed 75/80-meter dipole. It must be all of the extra inductor tap positions on the switch, but I don't need any dam traps, ladder-line or anything else to get the other bands. Not bad for a cheap-ass mobile tuner :mrgreen:

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    For whatever reason with the Alinco set back to full power mode I'm getting 50W carrier output on AM. It backs up just a hair during modulation, but it works.

    Update: I just tried it on 15 and 10-meters both and the same thing, I can also get a perfect 1:1 match on those bands as well.
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  13. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    Sound like that cheap ass tuner is working, and you've been on the air for the first time in years! This is progress...:icon_clap:

    Jim
    Wd5JKO
     
  14. W6MQI

    W6MQI Member

    I had one of those given to me back in the late 70's non meter type eventually smoked the toriod used for the inductor thanks to a drunk friend on field day:eek: No loss though I let him do it guess we were bored.
     
  15. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Years ago when I used mostly coax fed antennas until switching to OWL I used antenna tuners (antenna couplers) like the Johnson KW matchboxes and various other brands like the one Ameritron model I had, they only had fixed inductor taps on the switch and the number of taps were always limited. Usually just one for each band and I think that's the difference. What did the Johnson have, like 5 taps max or was it only 4? I was never even able to make a 75-meter coax fed dipole work on 40-meters back then. This little MFJ has several extra taps so it has more than just one for each band. I think if I’d had a tuner with a roller inductor back then I probably could have tuned anything and would have never even switched to OWL.

    Anyway, I pulled out the T-368 exciter so if I can find time I will try and power it up soon and see if it works. It should, but I doubt it’s even been powered up since the 1960’s. Might need a few caps and resistors replaced. In any event it will solve my grid drive requirement for the 4-400. I just wasn't ready to work on that project yet.

    P.S. I pulled out one of my old unamplified D104’s, it needs a cord, but I think I have one in a drawer somewhere. I thought about making a quick +5V FET buffer board for the Alinco. I still have one or two of those 8-pin mic connectors back from my Kenwood days.
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  16. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I slid the top cover off of the tuner to check out the configuration and I added a 1W 10-ohm resistor in series with the red lead going to the meter light right at the jack on the back. I'm using the 12V MFJ AC adaptor that came with my old antenna analyzer and I wanted to current limit it and drop the voltage down just slightly so I can just leave the light on.

    When I have time, I will take the base off the D104 and paint it with dark Rust-Oleum grey then bake it in the oven at low temp for about an hour right before it’s dry. I did that with my old F model D104 stand years ago and the paint came out hard as a rock just like on a car and wont scratch. Should work good with the FET buffer in the base.

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