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Author Topic: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase  (Read 5001 times)

Offline Zazzle

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Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« on: October 21, 2016, 1702 UTC »
Hey,

so, this is the board of the Beacon that I took with me on vacation during Autumn 2015. It Outputs approx 10W+ @ 13V. I wanted to play a bit with push-pull PAs. It's simple: oscillator, keyed buffer, driver and PA. PA (final) and oscillator/driver are feed seperately. Which allows me to feed the PA with higher voltages seperately.

Since I have no use for this as a Beacon any longer (got replaced by the 30W Class D CW Beacon) I'm planning to turn this one into a small AM transmitter for experimenting and having some fun.

The big AM Transmitter project (300W+) already goes by the name "Dirty Phoenix". So I call this one "Dirty Phoenix Jr."

Next todo: mounting it to a chassis with proper heatsink and cleaning up the inductor mess.

Kind Greetings,
Zazzle
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 1423 UTC by Zazzle »
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline Zazzle

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Common and Precious IV - Concept
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2017, 1055 UTC »
Hey,

Change of plans. I'll go with a full PWM concept for the AM transmitter. Therefore, this one is going to end up as another beacon. 20M Band. Quick and dirty.

I always wanted to build a Solar powered beacon. Now I have the chance. There's a 240W PV panel with broken glass waiting in my backyard. Also, I got hands on 6 x 12V/5Ah used (but good) Sealed Lead Acid Batteries.

The PV-Moudle is a 24V Type with a 12V/12V tap available in the junction box. One 12V block is used to charge the Batteries and run the Beacon with, lets's say 3-5W 24/7. The key is to keep operating all day long without draining the battery too much. Hence the low power when running entirely on Battery.

The other 12V half (approx 30V) goes directly to the PA. Coupled via Diode. The PA operates by Battery all the time. Except when there's enough sun. Then it operates with higher voltages, hence rising the power. 20-30W is the goal. I think this requires some hacks on the PA.

That's all for now. :)

~Zazzle


« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 0409 UTC by Zazzle »
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Concept
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2017, 1422 UTC »
Heyho!

I've been thinking a bit more and let the theory face a practical approach.  Fight, fight! *ding* theory loses. :)

The split-solarmodul power supply idea doesn't work well . I ran a test with dummy loads and it happens that the upper string that feeds the main PA (which is connected in series with the lower half that charges the battery) pulls both strings down. In a way that the voltage drops to a level that makes battery charging impossible. Of course I could build some electronics to prevent that. But, eh, lets keep it simple

Another decision regards the band. The inital design was for the 80m band. I've decided against now. Three reasons. 1) 80m isn't really usable for cross continent connections. 2) It's too noisy for just 3 watts. 3) I'm not really in the mood for another long dipole. At least not now.

So, what's new?

- I've settled on the 20m band. Likely 14.750kHz.
- Power is going to be steady 3W day and night.
- The antenna will be a shortened vertical (already constructed)
- It'll be still be entirely powered by solar.
- I'm still not sure about the location. It's either going to be the metal tower far outside the city limits or old airfield nearby.

Building the Antenna was fun. I gave myself 10 bucks budget. Also, 2k Epoxy is my friend. :D

Kind greetings,
~Zazzle

« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 1514 UTC by Zazzle »
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 1611 UTC »
Looking forward to the 20m beacon!  Hey, I used to own that very model same dip meter  :)
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline Josh

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 1715 UTC »
Zaz, this tower you speak of, is there a way you can shunt feed it as your antenna?
We do not encourage any radio operations contrary to regulations.

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 0523 UTC »
Hey,

Zaz, this tower you speak of, is there a way you can shunt feed it as your antenna?

I could. But the mechanical setup (work and money) isn't worth the outcome.

Kind greetings,
~Zazzle
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 1301 UTC »
Heyho!

I've decided to test-run the setup on the local airfield, mostly hidden between trees, until spring.

Therefore... I've build a antenna post. The Antenna is mounted 4 meters above the ground. The Post itself will be stabilized by four guy wires.

Next ToDo: Finishing the TX-unit so I can fine-tuning the Antenna.

Greetings,
~Zazzle
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2017, 1015 UTC »
Heyho,

Stuff happens! Especially this project getting out of hand. :)

Inspiration struck yesterday. I had some spare time before sunset. Which I used to have a walk across the airfield, looking for a suitable place for the beacon. I knew that there are old, unused (wooden) fenceposts all over the field. The initial idea was to install the antenna pole and solar module on one of those. Outside the used field-area. It's a bit problematic. I need a post which isn't inside the used area. But it must not be too close to the edge of the field. There's a small road around it which is frequently used by people for (dog-) walks because the area around is also some sort of park.

It was a good thing that had a look before sunset. I knew that a small part of the airfeld is used to keep sheeps. But there's two more fields (with fences around) by now. More sheeps. And cattle. That could have ended not nice... me stumbling into cattle in the middle of night. It almost made me abandon the field idea. Most of the area isn't usable anymore and I won't dare to install the setup in the used sections.

I kept walking around and my patience got rewarded. I found the perfect spot. It's a larger group of young and older trees which happens to be fenced itself. I dunno why. Maybe to keep the sheeps from eating the young trees. But this section of the field looks like it isn't used at all. The fenced area doesn't stick to the trees but expands a bit on one side. No idea why. I've to examine that. The trees itself are on the side towards the edge and form a rough half circle. It'll shield my setup perfectly against looks from the road. The other side is open and offers enough space for the antenna. Also, the open side of the half circle faces the south side. Excellent for the PV modules.

So, what's new?
- A friend of mine gave me 3x 100W PV modules (friends can be great, can't they?)
- I'm gonna construct a carrier for 2-3 PV modules.
- The antenna post gets expanded by additional 1,5 meters, with antenna at 5,5m above the ground.
- Got used UPS batteries 6x 4.5Ah with approx 3Ah remaining. That's 18Ah and enough.
- Since I have a PI Zero flying around unused (50mA from 12V) I'm pondering to have the beacon also sending temperature and humidity information. I cooooould go with RTTY instead of CW, but not too sure about it yet.
- Since I have so much PV power at hand (wayyyyy too much during summertime, but still hardly enough for winter) I ponder to have the beacon operate at two power modi. Like, 8W with enough charge and 2W in 'energy saving' mode.

Kind greetings,
Zazzle
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 1104 UTC »
Zazzle - how are you making your PCBs, such as from the first post in this thread?
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 1456 UTC »
Hey Chris!

Zazzle - how are you making your PCBs, such as from the first post in this thread?

Heyho!

Zazzle - how are you making your PCBs, such as from the first post in this thread?

Straight forward.

- Designing a Layout with EAGLE
- Printing on office paper (with a very smooth surface)
- Soaking it with "Pausklar" (some German spray stuff that makes the paper almost transparent but vaporates after a day so the paper goes back to normal)
- Transfering to a PCB with photo positive coating (I use UV fluorescent lamps)
- Developing (NaOh)
- Etching with Iron(III) Chloride solution.
- Cleaning, drying, dilling holes
- Coating with solderable sealing

Kind greetings,
zazzle
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 1623 UTC »
Thanks!  Years, well, decades ago... I bought photo etching materials. I never tried it  ;D

I would like to experiment with milling a PCB using my CNC machine, I understand that is possible - has anyone here tried it?
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2017, 0853 UTC »
Hey Chris,

I would like to experiment with milling a PCB using my CNC machine, I understand that is possible - has anyone here tried it?

Milling works well. Depending on the precision of the machine, even with very fine tracks. But it takes wayyyyy longer than etching. An EU-Card (100x160mm) takes up to 5 hours.

Kind greetings,
Zazzle
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline Zazzle

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2017, 0943 UTC »
Heyho,

after Chris was done planting ideas in my head... I wanna have your opinion on:

Depending on the sun available during wintertime it's necessary to save energy. Which way would you prefer:
- Lowering the TX-Power from 6 to 2 W .
- Adding a delay between transmissions. I.e. keeping 6W but adding up to 1 Minute idle between each transmission.

Well, I got an ADC-Borad for the Raspi. Which means I can also add the Battery-Voltage to the transmission data.


This is the block for RTTY. Too much? Anything of interest I could add?
Code: [Select]
COMMON AND PRECIOUS 4 BEACON
SOLAR POWERED - 24H OPERATION
ALTERNATING CW AND RTTY OPERATION
LOCATED IN JO62SK
1/4 VERTICAL ANTENNA
8W REGULAR POWER
2W ENERGY SAVING MODE
CURRENT TX POWER <TXPOWER>
BATTERY <BATTERYVOLTAGE>
TEMPERATURE <TEMPERATURE>
HUMIDITY <HUMIDITY>


I think that's a tad too long for CW. Therefore I might go with:

Code: [Select]
COMMON AND PRECIOUS JO62SK RTTY AND CW 1/4 VERTICAL 6W TEMP 21.6 HUMID 88 BAT 12.6

Opinions?

Greetings,
Zazzle
Trans-/Receivers: JRC NRD-525,  ICOM IC-R72,  YAESU VR-5000,  YAESU FT-897D
Antennas: 80M Halfwave Dipole,  40m Inverted-V,  5/8λ Groundplane,  20M Longwire,  misc. UHF/VHF Scanner Antennas.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2017, 1404 UTC »
Personally I would go with a longer delay and higher power, as a better chance of getting through.

That said, if you have the capability to vary tx power easily, it would be interesting to do that during transmissions. For example the ham beacons (14100, 148100, etc) send a series of dots after the ID, each is  1/10th the power of the previous. 

Back to milling PCBs... I understand, it takes a long time, but the CNC machine does the hard work, while I can have a drink  ;D

What is the typical workflow process? Is there software that converts the gerber file into a G code file, that I then feed into my existing CNC software? I use an old copy of EMC right now on a linux box, and I would prefer to keep that.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline Stretchyman

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Re: Common and Precious IV - Construction phase
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2017, 0920 UTC »
PCB's

OSHPARK

 :)
'It's better to give than receive' so why RX when you can TX!

         15W and100W models available.

                   Buy one from me, NOW!


                                              ;)