19 November 2021

Looking for clean SS HF PA w/QSK - part 8 (KM3KM Mercury IIIS LDMOS kit)

 

Hi all,

here is another way how to get the SSPA for HF. The question is - if it meets all of our requirements and needed features...
In that case it is a bit special stuff as it is sold as the kit which has to be assembled and tested before using it in the hamshack.


As you know my preview parts talked about:
SPE EXPERT 1.3K-FA
ACOM 1200S
JUMA PA1000
LINEAR Amp Gemini HF-1K

Azden AZR-1000

Elecraft KPA1500
Burst-2000A
RF-KIT B26-PA RF2K-S

KM3KM Mercury IIIS LDMOS kit

This solid state HF amplifier uses a single LDMOS for fully automatic operation from 160m to 6M making 1200W with input power between 50 and 90W depending on your ALC setting. Protected against antenna SWR over 2 to 1 and also against excessive input power. Built-in power supply for 120 or 240 VAC without changing taps in the transformer, just changing the power cable plug.


Fans work silent and color front panel display. Output to three antennas selectable in the display with operator finger.
This is a kit that you put together at home but assembly is very easy to do.


• Solid state amplifier (BLF189XRA)
• 1.8 - 54 MHz
• All Protections
• RF Band Decode
• FWD / SWR Meter
• Output Digi 700 Watts
• Output SSB/CW 1200 Watts
• Antenna Selector Switch
• 7 Inch Touch Color Screen
• Di Voltage / Di Current Meter

• Integrated Power Supply 120-240v

• W12 x L13.5 x H5.5 inch

• Weight 26 pounds


FEATURES 

Maintains linearity under full output power (1200watts). 

Low harmonic content (below -43dBc on HF & -65dBc on VHF bands) thanks to an efficient Chebyshev filter. 

Fast and effective protection systems maintain the amplifier’s safety from operational damage.
 
Compact linear amplifier with 1200 watts SSB/CW & 700 watts DIGI-MODE of output power on all amateur bands from 1.8 to 54MHz (<800watts 50 to 54MHz) 

Auto sensing power supply from 120 to 240VAC.


There is nothing said about the T/R switching but it looks like relay T/R switching is used so no QSK unfortunately. 

The powerful PSU is built-in. Also extremely low noise fan cooling system is designed for that amp so you will not feel like sitting on the tarmac waiting for the jet to take off. (compare to KPA1500 or Palstar LA-1K or the SPE 1.5K amps...)

No ATU unit built-in just three antennas switch installed. So compare to other SSPA like B26-PA RF2K-S there seems to be disadvantage.

This amp provides a COOL SOLID 1 KW output on CW. It is the best bang for the buck on the market. This amp is high tech simplicity. Everything is modular and easily replaced if repair is needed which is not likely. Running 1 KW all the time leaves 200 watts of head room and because you are running near max the amp is more efficient and produces less heat than other amps designed to run at 1500 watts when you run them at 1 KW.

Five stars overall rating on eHam from currently 48 reviews is really promising... 

KM3KM website:

Assembly manual:

Operating manual:

73 - Petr, OK1RP
"auf die Dauer hilft nur Power" (Erich, HB9FIH)

16 November 2021

Looking for clean SS HF PA w/QSK - part 7 (B26-PA RF2K-S)

 

Hi all,

when I talked to Reinhard, DH3NAB about their latest version of the SSPA (www.rf-kit.de) he advised me to wait until their new version (with PIN diodes switching, reaches <5ms switching time) will be launched. The year was 2019.



As you know my preview parts talked about:
SPE EXPERT 1.3K-FA
ACOM 1200S
JUMA PA1000
LINEAR Amp Gemini HF-1K

Azden AZR-1000

Elecraft KPA1500
Burst-2000A

Here is what the RF-Kit offers these days...

The new version B26-PA RF2K-S 

The RF-Kit B26-PA RF2K-S comes at first as a kit. In this case Kit does not mean that you get 100 plastic bags with individual parts, you need to assemble and solder boards, drill housing parts or connect the PA.

The PA kit is always delivered as an almost finished device. To make the kit an operational device, it is necessary to obtain a Raspberry® Pi 4 - 2GB and a power cord. All other necessary parts such as 1 x coaxial cable, power plug, USB cable, HDMI cable and micro SD card are included in the scope of delivery.



To finish the kit the Raspberry has to be installed (spacers are already mounted for this purpose and also the necessary fixing screws are included). Connect the supplied USB and HDMI cables, solder in the coaxial cable. Thereafter, commissioning takes place with the necessary calibration / setting.

No special tools are necessary for all this work. Screwdrivers, soldering iron, DVM, Ampere meter / current clamp and RF power meter are everything.


If you have any questions, please contact RF-Kit and a very large community at Groups.io with more than 1,300 members. A current version of the operating instructions is also available there at any time.


A micro SD card is included. Since the PA has a LAN port for possible "remote operation", the operating software can be downloaded from the Internet, and always updated with the availability of a new version.

General Features:

  • Frequency Range: 1.8-30 MHz and 50-54.2 MHz

  • RF-Output: 1500 Watts - 6m: 1100 Watts (with headroom)

  • Exciter Drive Level: 50 Watts on all bands 

  • Efficiency: Up to 70% varies by band

  • TX/RX switching: 1mS PIN-Diode switching

  • Internal Automatic Antenna Tuner ( unlimited Memories )

  • 1X TRX and 4x Antennas

  • Excellent signal quality

  • Very silent operation due to speed controlled low noise fans

  • Dual LDMOS devices rated at 3400 Watts

  • 7-inch Color Touch Screen

  • Multiple user selectable displays

  • -55 dB output for Predistortion

  • Auto RF Sens Band Selection

  • TCI Interface for SunSDR

  • YAESU® Band Data Interface

  • YAESU BCD Band DATA output for external devices

  • CAT Connectivity through USB

  • CAT through IP ( UDP )

  • LAN Connectivity (full Remote operation)

  • Wi-Fi Connectivity ( Host or Client mode )

  • Quiet internal PSU 90-290 VAC

  • 800W output 110 VAC;  full power at 230 VAC

  • Power Meter from 1 W through 2 KW

  • Sleep mode for low power consumption

  • Software Update via Internet

  • Full Remote Internet operation via PC, Tablet or cell phone
    Supports platforms such Apple® IOS, Android®, Linux® and MS Windows®

  • FCC approval for ready build kit's in US

  • External Power/ON applying +12V

  • Dimensions HWD: 7,4 x 12,2 x 16,7 inch. / 19 x 31 x 42,5 cm

  • Weight: 35,2 lbs / 16 Kg

  • FCC approval for ready build kit's in USA

   Join the RF2K user group at Groups.io


All of these sounds really promising and frankly speaking it looks like one of the best SSPA on the market in its category! 

You can order it directly from Germany or from their official distributors in USA.

As I had no chance to test it yet, I can only highlight that:

- ATU is built-in
- PSU unit is built-in
- PIN diodes with switching time <2ms is built-in
- 4 antenna ports are built-in 
- low noise fans used (no annoying high level "jet" noise expected)

The questions remains:

- amplifier reliability in 48hrs contest at full power and run mode
- related to preview point the cooling efficiency and operating temp
- protections functionality against badas or tired operator's mistakes

What I am missing at the first look in...?

- 6 antenna ports implementation to cover all basic ham bands

RF-KIT website:

Specification:

Assembly manual:

User manual:

Controller upgrade manual:


73 - Petr, OK1RP
"auf die Dauer hilft nur Power" (Erich, HB9FIH)

27 July 2021

RGO One - New firmware version 2.34A released


New firmware version 2.34A is released

A new version of the firmware is ready to download here

Improvements are in the front panel microprocessor and includes the following:



  1. Start up issue completely resolved. On some bands and frequency segments RGO ONE can not initialize properly LO chip SI-570 on power on. So the radio is deaf on RX and there is no transmission at all. If UP or DOWN buttons are cycled everything goes fine. This new FW completely removes this problem.
  2. Internal serial I2C bus speed is set to 200kbps. All daughter board including LO board communicate with FP processor via this interface. Signals – SDA1 and multiplexed clocks SCL11-SCL18
  3. Out of band operation issue resolved when in SPLIT mode
  4. QSY to another band issue resolved. When using main dial to change the frequency to another band or when change the frequency via CAT – RGO ONE can not transmit although tuned frequency is within HAM assigned bands . The radio worked only if UP or DOWN buttons are depressed.

15 April 2021

RGO ONE large signal modification tutorial by Chris, G7DDN

Hi all,

there is short tutorial how to make Large signal modification on RGO ONE transceiver by Chris, G7DDN...




1. Remove top cover and disconnect speaker


2. Remove fan assembly - 2 screws on each side of heatsink

3. Remove two screws holding shield to rear panel - accessed through the heatsink


4. Remove 2 sunken screws in the side panels holding the shield in place to the chassis



5. Remove 2 screws through the PCB holding the shield to the PCB


After that follow the procedure which I posted over here:

OK1RP - Ham radio in Renaissance...: RGO ONE large signal modification is available


14 April 2021

RGO ONE large signal modification is available

Hi all,

Some users complained of interferences caused by strong local broadcast station on LW/MW. 

Boris, LZ2JR designed 7th order Chebyshev high-pass filter which was connected in line with the RX path. Filter effect though was inadequate and I was forced to look closer at receiver front end especially input point at RX/TX switch. Then realized that LPF diodes are not effectively cut off on RX so large signals can make them act like AM detector causing IMD problems. Adding pulldown resistor 100kohm would be enough for diodes to be reverse biased. (On RX cathodes see +13V). This way diodes and band LPF’s will be fully isolated from receive path and will no longer interact with incoming signals.

Needed parts:
1. SMD resistor 5% case 0805 value 100kohm
2. Firmware update to version 2.20A for front panel and main board processors




Added pulldown resistor is 100kohm SMD case 0805 and is easily placed onto the two vias in LPF board. LPF board is located on back panel PA assembly and can be accessed after removing PA shield and then completely pulling off the PA module.


100kohm pulldown resistor




This modification needs new firmware 2.20A to be uploaded in RGO ONE FP and MB processors. FW 2.20A completely disengage band LPF’s from receive path. Current band LPF is switched on only on TX.


https://lz2jr.com/blog/

10 April 2021

Latest fw revision 2.20A for RGO ONE is now available

Hello,

latest firmware revision is available to upload on your RGO ONE transceiver. 



https://lz2jr.com/blog/index.php/new-firmware-2-20a-available/

This version includes some improvements in MB and FP microprocessors clock rate, speed and correct timing.
Setting proper clock rate for MB processor. (Clock frequency away from HAM bands). Main board microprocessor clock can be heard near 20m band (actually image signal) like “crackling wideband noise”. With this version MB clock rate is adjusted little lower so not to disturb 20m reception.
Added MENU 81 – FCAL2 correction coefficient (coarse calibration) for SI570 VCO chip. If your RGO ONE is calibrated without FCAL2 then parameter value of MENU 81 would be zero.
Low pass filters (LPF) in PA module now are switched only on TX and disabled on RX. This is part of a LARGE SIGNAL HANDLING MOD.
Along with added pull down resistor in LPF board, this mod significantly improves RX dynamic range and LW/MW BCI immunity.

FW 2.20A highlights:

  1. Improved communication between transceiver and PC at low CAT speeds.
  2. Resolved CW sidetone issue (sidetone punctuation) when CAT system is activated.
  3. “Crackling”noise issue resolved by slightly reducing of MB microprocessor clock frequency (set at 31.800 MHz)
  4. Meter display now predicts/ shows measure mode – SWR, RF, ALC. Default mode is RF on TX.
  5. LCD icons for otional modules do not show up if corresponding optional board is not installed.
  6. Internal keyer CW speed/ratio corrected
  7. UP/DWN/FST buttons on mic now are active.
  8. Service menu entry added – menu 81 FCAL2 – SI570 calibration correction coefficient.
  9. LPF and dedicated filter on TX is switched only on TX and disabled on RX. This helps to improve large signal handling at receiver front end. (This is part of LARGE SIG HANDLING mod).

09 March 2020

FA-VA5 600MHz Vector Antenna Analyzer Kit

Hi all,

FA-VA5 is a high precision 600 MHz Antenna Analyzer for measurements of antennas, cables and other one port devices.


The VA5 is a portable, full-featured Vector Measuring Device with a frequency range of 10 kHz to 600 MHz, with the added benefit of a USB port for connection to a computer.

The designer, Michael Knitter DG5MK, has taken feedback from users of the previous VA4 instrument and incorporated many of the requested new features in the VA5, whilst maintaining high performance and excellent value for money.


·         Frequency Range 10 kHz - 600 MHz

·         Small dimensions 15 x 8.5 x 2.2 cm - fully portable

·         User friendly - intuitive menus

·         Large display with good readability

·         Low power consumption (up to 40 hours from 2 AA batteries)

·         SOL Calibration function

·         USB-interface with support of the DG8SAQ VNWA Software

·         Real time clock with backup capacitor

·         Audible buzzer alert for minimum SWR alignment


The FA-VA5's graphic display shows the complex impedance, standing wave ratio, complex reflection coefficient, capacitance and inductance.

Vector’s measurement means that, unlike a scalar instrument, not only the SWR is measured and displayed, but also the value of the impedance, including the signed imaginary part. The so-called SOL (Short, Open and Load) compensation is used for the calibration of the device and provides precise measurements in different configurations.

Have a look what you will get in the package and how assembly the analyzer…



The kit is double boxed with instruction manual

In two separated packages you will get PCB with pre-installed SMD parts and bag of thru hole parts including the LCD display which need to be soldered.

The instruction manual is detailed, precise and I am recommending to following all step by step.

Anyway I will highlight few important things which should help you during the assembling and it should avoid issues.


Motherboard PCB with ON/OFF switch and USB module installed


Before the installation of the USB module you have to ensure that insulating mica foil is correctly placed on the bottom of the board > in between the USB board PCB and motherboard PCB.


Correct place of the mica

Most important part of the assembling procedure is the LCD panel installation on the motherboard PCB. I am recommending to using three spacers instead of two pieces (recommended in the instruction manual) in order to avoid bending the headers and possibly LCD itself when you will press the fingers on the top during the soldering phase.


Three spacers used to avoid bending the headers during soldering

The rest of thru hole parts assembling should not make any troubles. Just be careful and do not overheating the switches and other plastic components while soldering them on the motherboard PCB. Specially the BNC socket used in the kit is cheapest component using the crappy plastic insulation inside so you must be quite careful during the soldering it on the PCB.

CAUTION: Do not overheating this component otherwise you can melt the insulation part inside and most important part of analyzer – the measuring port could failure due to inserting the DUT (movement causing short circuit or so)

You should also double check the polarity orientation of the both AA cells holders before soldering them to PCB.


All parts assembled on the motherboard PCB



Correct height of the LCD panel and well assembled input port BNC



The SMD components are pre-assembled on arrival



Housing the analyzer using pre-drilled box. All fits perfectly 

After the assembling the analyzer it should work for the first time. Do not use the charging AA cells as it will not work because of their low voltage.


Initial screen should be displayed after turning ON the analyzer.   

Building document done by P. Ourednik, 9-Mar-2020. Document 03-20, rev.1.0

73 - Petr, OK1RP