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Author Topic: Softrock Ensemble RX  (Read 12530 times)
K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« on: January 02, 2012, 09:07:37 AM »

Ordered it and can't wait to put it together!   I know it's not a high-end SDR receiver (at least price wise), but I've been amazed at the videos and audio snips I've reviewed on the internet.    What ultimately sold me is W4AX's online setup...simply amazing to this SDR newbie.   
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KA4POL
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 10:37:27 AM »

Certainly a good idea. You'll gain lots of experience by building this unit. Take your time and do it step by step, especially all the SMT parts.
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K3WEC
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 12:11:18 PM »

Yes, the SMT part will be very new for me.   I have read through some of the excellent online instructions on how to accomplish this.   I do have a very small soldering tip for my variable-power iron, so I might go that route.   On the other hand, there's something pretty cool about using the paste and putting the board in the oven.   Either way, it will be fun.
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KA4POL
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 09:55:52 PM »

What also comes in handy is a magnifier lamp like http://preview.tinyurl.com/7gcppv4
I do not like the oven part. I prefer cookies to be baked  Grin You never know about the chemicals. Of course if you got a spare oven...
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KF6QEX
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 04:32:05 AM »

Quote
n the other hand, there's something pretty cool about using the paste and putting the board in the oven.   

I used a toaster oven and there is was allmost magical to watch  "live" the paste melting and covering the chip contacts.

Once you see how small some of the parts really are, you might change your mind about using a soldering iron Smiley
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KC2ZPK
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 09:14:21 AM »

OK, quick question. I have been eyeing this as a pan adapter for my TS-940, but would also like to use this as a stand alone reciever. Can you build one reciever  to cover 1.8 to 30 or are you limited to one band per RX?
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John
KC2ZPK.com - A work in progress
K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 09:00:32 PM »

I don't even know what a pan adapter is, but the current receiver version covers 1.8 - 30MHz.   As an alternative, you can also build it for 180khz - 3MHz if you like.   You can't have both though!
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WS4E
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2012, 07:54:06 PM »

OK, quick question. I have been eyeing this as a pan adapter for my TS-940, but would also like to use this as a stand alone reciever. Can you build one reciever  to cover 1.8 to 30 or are you limited to one band per RX?

YES, You can use a softrock Ensemble II RX($74) and tune it to your radios (TS-940) IF Frequency of 8.83 mhz and use it as a panadapter from an IF tap just by tuning that frequency, and then also if you wanted direct connect it to an antenna and use it as a full HF multi-band receiver.


The original softrocks were single bands, those are the ones that are only $20 each.  The Ensemble II RX is the multiband receiver that can cover the entire HF band (eg 1-30 mhz), and go for $74.
There are new models based on the Ensemble that you can build for 2m,4m,and 6m.  I am nearly finished building a 2m now, to be my second ensemble based softrock, and after that I have a RXTX kit in the drawer to build a full softrock based CW/SSB transceiver.


Here is how to use the softrock as as panadapter on a TS-940 and do exactly what you want to do, and the same thing (connecting to an IF tap for use as panadapter) applies to many radios as well.
http://www.wu2x.com/sdr.html



I actually use my ensemble with an RF TAP not an IF Tap from my FT-450, so it acts as an independent receiver right along side the 450, but shares the antenna with the FT-450, and takes advantage of the 450's preamp, antennuator, additional band pass filters and RX/TX switching circuit.  That is documented on my blog: http://ws4e.blogspot.com.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 08:00:24 PM by WS4E » Logged
K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 05:37:38 PM »

Once you see how small some of the parts really are, you might change your mind about using a soldering iron Smiley

Just got the kit today and have to agree that these parts are unbelievably tiny.    Hopefully Fry's has some suitable soldering paste. 
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W7ETA
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 08:45:37 PM »

Every time I decide to buy a SoftRock I can only get as far as "Out of Stock".

Where can I buy one of those kits?

Many Thanks
Bob
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K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2012, 06:23:02 AM »

You're probably looking at the right place - KB9YIG.com .    It took me about a month of checking the site every single day before there was availability.   It's hit or miss because they sell out very quickly when they get the kits prepared.
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WS4E
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2012, 08:33:29 AM »

Here is a secret to help you guys get a sotrock.

Go here: http://www.watchthatpage.com/ and sign up for the free account that lets you watch a single webpage and send you alerts.

Put tony's website http://kb9yig.com/ as the one to watch, and you will get alerts every time he changes the page.

That makes it easy to get softrocks right as they come up for sale.

Tony hand packs the kits, and can only produce so many at a time and they do sell out quickly but this is the easiest way to get one of them.

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K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 11:01:45 AM »

Is this a satisfactory solder paste for the softrock application?

http://www.frys.com/product/6109279?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

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WS4E
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Posts: 204




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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 08:10:55 PM »

Generally you want 63/37 tin/lead solder not silver solder.  kester is the industry leader in paste and solder wire.

You also want to use pretty fine needles on the syringe so you can make small lines and dots, not a big plastic thing you cut to apply.  

Here is what kind of solder paste setup you need.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kester-EP256-Lead-Solder-Paste-63-37-Syringe-Disp-Pak-/230727131601?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35b868a1d1
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 08:32:36 AM by WS4E » Logged
W7ETA
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 11:24:38 PM »

TU OM 4E
73
Bob
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