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Author Topic: QS1R Receiver can now transmit (QS1E available)  (Read 11576 times)
KE5JPP
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2012, 03:49:19 AM »

Gene,

Did you ever get and use the exciter and if so, how did it turn out?

Thanks!

So far so good.  I built my PA based on the VRF151 design in the 2010-2012 ARRL handbook.  It requires 50V so I have been using an old 50 V 50A HP linear supply for testing that is literally as big as a boat anchor receiver and weighs as much.  It is in the basement and I have no desire to carry it up to the shack.  I picked up a couple of 48 V switching supplies from eBay which I have placed in a aluminum enclosure.  I need to wire in the AC line and DC output RFI suppression so that the power supply is quiet.  This one weighs about 5 lbs compared to the 75 lbs of the old HP linear supply.  I also had to add a driver board based on the VRF148.  Preliminary tests show PA IMD somewhere around -40 dB down at 240 W PEP (should make 'zenki' happy).

I figure by the time I complete the power supply, the transmit features will be fully fleshed out in the software.  Updates to the transmit code are happening regularly.

Right now until I get the switching supply done, on the air I am still using the TS-590s for transmit.

Gene
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 04:49:44 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
KE5JPP
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2012, 04:52:01 AM »

My only criticism so far is that they need to point out that it is not for the appliance operator.  Lot's of Ham don't build anything anymore.  That is sad.

Gene
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2012, 08:39:13 AM »

Lot's of Ham don't build anything anymore.  That is sad.
Gene

Not sad. I have been an appliance operator my whole 52 yr ham career. Except for building Heathkits and Eicos early in my ham career I have built nothing. Sure I maintain all my old vintage stuff but that is not building. I do still enjoy the whiff of solder going up my nose. I do build lots of antennas but I do not count that. I stopped building ham kits for the same reason I stopped building computers - it costs more money than factory built. Better quality too. You recently ranted about the K-3 not being that same build Quality as a Kenwood TS-590. Maybe  it is because the K-3's have to be made in a way that can be assembled by a out of date Ham.  Cheesy  Them Robots at Kenwood are much better at building than Old hams. They do not complain either.

Could you imagine trying to build a TS-590s? I can barely see those SMD's with magnification let alone trying to solder one. Yet  Another reason no one builds - - homebuilt ham gear has close to zero worth.

The hamradio Building/Kit world changed because of Technology. Almost all of us are Appliance ops now. So what? Not everyone does CW any more either. The times they are a changin. No. The times have changed.

I find Ham radio just as exciting now as I did when I first started many years ago. Maybe more exciting. The Ham Appliances are much better and cheaper now too.  Wink

Stan K9IUQ
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 08:41:07 AM by K9IUQ » Logged
NI0Z
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2012, 09:35:59 AM »

Besides, as a Flex 5000A owner, where would I ever find the time to build anything when I am so busy adjusting my equipment arou t it to get it to work?

Lol, my shack is almost a PCB board in itself!

Smiley
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2012, 09:50:42 AM »

Lot's of Ham don't build anything anymore.  That is sad.
Gene

Not sad. I have been an appliance operator my whole 52 yr ham career. Except for building Heathkits and Eicos early in my ham career I have built nothing. Sure I maintain all my old vintage stuff but that is not building. I do still enjoy the whiff of solder going up my nose. I do build lots of antennas but I do not count that. I stopped building ham kits for the same reason I stopped building computers - it costs more money than factory built. Better quality too. You recently ranted about the K-3 not being that same build Quality as a Kenwood TS-590. Maybe  it is because the K-3's have to be made in a way that can be assembled by a out of date Ham.  Cheesy  Them Robots at Kenwood are much better at building than Old hams. They do not complain either.

Could you imagine trying to build a TS-590s? I can barely see those SMD's with magnification let alone trying to solder one. Yet  Another reason no one builds - - homebuilt ham gear has close to zero worth.

The hamradio Building/Kit world changed because of Technology. Almost all of us are Appliance ops now. So what? Not everyone does CW any more either. The times they are a changin. No. The times have changed.

I find Ham radio just as exciting now as I did when I first started many years ago. Maybe more exciting. The Ham Appliances are much better and cheaper now too.  Wink

Stan K9IUQ

I am not talking about building from kits.  I agree, you might as well just buy it assembled if it is in kit form such as the K3 or KX3.  When you figure in your time it really does not save much money.  I am talking about building basic RF circuits like filters, amplifiers, and other accessories that just are not available otherwise - either in kit form or assembled.   Some guys can't even solder on a connector these days.  Others could not tell you the difference between a resistor and a capacitor if you placed it in front of them.  That is what is SAD about Ham radio these days.

Gene
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 10:02:42 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
ZENKI
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2012, 05:24:17 PM »

Yeah I would be happy with that IMD performance, thats the performance that all HF radios should aim for. Hermes driving driving an  external IPA driving the ARRL amp  would be a superb transmitter. Combine it with any
8877 or 3cx800 amplifier and splatter would be history on the ham bands. The fix is simple really!

Where did you buy the PCB boards for the project from?  Its a shame that the ARRL chose to release the project PCB files in a propriety PCB format.  Gerber files could have been used anywhere in the world. Besides
all PCB packages can import  Gerber files.  Its a real expensive nuisance having PCB boards manufactured in the USA when I could have had them milled or produced locally for a cheaper price.

Gene,

Did you ever get and use the exciter and if so, how did it turn out?

Thanks!

So far so good.  I built my PA based on the VRF151 design in the 2010-2012 ARRL handbook.  It requires 50V so I have been using an old 50 V 50A HP linear supply for testing that is literally as big as a boat anchor receiver and weighs as much.  It is in the basement and I have no desire to carry it up to the shack.  I picked up a couple of 48 V switching supplies from eBay which I have placed in a aluminum enclosure.  I need to wire in the AC line and DC output RFI suppression so that the power supply is quiet.  This one weighs about 5 lbs compared to the 75 lbs of the old HP linear supply.  I also had to add a driver board based on the VRF148.  Preliminary tests show PA IMD somewhere around -40 dB down at 240 W PEP (should make 'zenki' happy).

I figure by the time I complete the power supply, the transmit features will be fully fleshed out in the software.  Updates to the transmit code are happening regularly.

Right now until I get the switching supply done, on the air I am still using the TS-590s for transmit.

Gene

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KE5JPP
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« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2012, 05:12:48 AM »

Where did you buy the PCB boards for the project from?  Its a shame that the ARRL chose to release the project PCB files in a propriety PCB format.  Gerber files could have been used anywhere in the world. Besides
all PCB packages can import  Gerber files.  Its a real expensive nuisance having PCB boards manufactured in the USA when I could have had them milled or produced locally for a cheaper price.

I did my own PCB (photo etch) that integrates the 2x VRF151 stage, the 2x VRF148 driver stage, and the pre-driver stage onto a single PCB.  With the pre-driver, I needed to take the 0 dBm output of the exciter up to a level that would drive the 2x VRF148 stage.  I went back and carefully adjusted the biases and took measurements again.  Worst case IMD is about -43 dB now.   I used FreePCB software to lay out the PCB http://www.freepcb.com/

Gene
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NI0Z
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« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2012, 06:17:57 PM »

Question for Gene about the QS1R.

Does it cover all the shortwave bands as well as the ham bands with SDRMax V?

I recall you having owned quite a few SDRs but I don't recall of you ever owned a Flex before and wondering if you ever did if you could offer the comparison on them.

I am guessing the QS1R hasn't been tested by Sherwood, how well does it compare to the latest greatest as a receiver from a lab testers point of view?

Have you ever run a Wellbrook or similar antenna on your SDRs for the full 1-30 or 1-50 slice of spectrum, any thoughts on those.

Why all the questions?

I have to laugh but I fired up the Flex today and somehow it's lost a lot of its luster after having played with the KX3.  I know that sounds sad, but as I said, I don't have brand loyalty, so I either like something or I don't and the $2K I could get for it could easily buy me a TenTec amp to front end my larger amp and another nice SDR.  It would be nice to have a direct sampler as well and I think there is an exitlib for the QS1Rs as well.

Anyways, if it's not too much to ask, it would really be nice to get an honest pros and cons view of the questions I have asked above.

Thanks in advance for considering my request!

NI0Z
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2012, 07:31:29 AM »

Question for Gene about the QS1R.
Does it cover all the shortwave bands as well as the ham bands with SDRMax V?

It covers continuously from 10 kHz through 62.5 MHz.  It's probably best if you join the QS1R Yahoo group if you have more questions since you will get a more accurate answer over there.  I am going on memory.

Quote
I recall you having owned quite a few SDRs but I don't recall of you ever owned a Flex before and wondering if you ever did if you could offer the comparison on them.

I have written about my experiences with my Flex-5000a on these forums.  I sold it after having it for a year or so.  The Flex-5000a receive is not good on MW and there are a lot of overload and sensitivity problems below 500 kHz.  It is not really a general coverage receiver.  There are also spurs here and there over its whole receiving range.  Sensitivity at 10 meters and 6 meters is not enough and it requires an external pre-amp for serious work.  You can only see up to 180 kHz of spectrum with the F5K.  The QS1R can see up to 2 MHz of spectrum.  I mostly use 250 kSPS sampling rate, so I can see 200 kHz of spectrum.  625 kSPS or 1.25 MSPS is good for 10 meters when looking for propagation.  You can also record up to 2 MHz of spectrum to your hard disk and play it back later.  Sometimes I do this during a contest to record the whole 40 or 20 M bands.   It is interesting to be able to go back a review where all the propagation was coming from.

Quote
I am guessing the QS1R hasn't been tested by Sherwood, how well does it compare to the latest greatest as a receiver from a lab testers point of view?

I have the Perseus too which was tested by Sherwood.  From my experience, the QS1R has a slight advantage over the Perseus especially since the Perseus software is no longer being updated.  I am pretty sure the Sherwood specs would be very similar.

Quote
Have you ever run a Wellbrook or similar antenna on your SDRs for the full 1-30 or 1-50 slice of spectrum, any thoughts on those.

I know there a a lot of guys who use the Wellbrook active loops with great success.  I use an Clifton Labs Active antenna which is also popular and works very well.

Gene

« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 07:37:18 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
OH6I
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2012, 07:55:34 AM »

Gene,
I am very interested to know how QS1R compare to the your K3 as a receiver point of view in the ham bands?

Jari
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KA4POL
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2012, 10:54:13 AM »

@NI0Z

Let me tell you some of my practical experience with the QS1R.

While covering the full range from 10kHz to 62.5MHz you got to take into account that it does not have a preamplifier. For specifications see http://qs1r.wikispaces.com/QS1R+Specifications
A comparison with the Perseus would have to take the missing preamp into account. Below 50kHz you really need a preamp. I use the ALA1530 with its amplifier. This is fine for use up to roughly 30 MHz. On 6m for example a simple dipole is a lot better.
Actually I can not understand that a test at Sherwood's has not been done. Obviously they have not received a QS1R for testing. Some interesting tests have been performed by SM5BSZ http://www.sm5bsz.com/lir/sim1/sim1.htm
The old software actually allowed to display the full 62MHz range. But quality of the newer software has improved the performance.
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2012, 11:36:45 AM »

@NI0Z

Let me tell you some of my practical experience with the QS1R.

While covering the full range from 10kHz to 62.5MHz you got to take into account that it does not have a preamplifier. For specifications see http://qs1r.wikispaces.com/QS1R+Specifications
A comparison with the Perseus would have to take the missing preamp into account. Below 50kHz you really need a preamp. I use the ALA1530 with its amplifier. This is fine for use up to roughly 30 MHz. On 6m for example a simple dipole is a lot better.
Actually I can not understand that a test at Sherwood's has not been done. Obviously they have not received a QS1R for testing. Some interesting tests have been performed by SM5BSZ http://www.sm5bsz.com/lir/sim1/sim1.htm
The old software actually allowed to display the full 62MHz range. But quality of the newer software has improved the performance.


I have the Perseus too, and it needs a preamp on 10 meters because the internal preamp's NF is not low enough for serious 10 meter use.  The Perseus does not cover 6 meters.  I use the same preamp for both the QS1R and the Perseus.

I am confused by your statement that below 50 kHz you need a preamp.  Are you referring to the particular antenna that you use?  With the Clifton Labs active antenna I use, there is no need for a preamp all the way down to 10 kHz.  

The new QS1R SDRMAX V software has a wide band spectrum window that lets you look at 0 - 62.5 MHz all at once.  There is an external program for use with Perseus that lets you see 0 - 30 MHz all at once.

Gene
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 11:40:36 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
KA4POL
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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2012, 09:56:23 PM »

Below 50kHz with just an antenna (frame/loop) the results were unsatisfactory. Of course, the Clifton antenna does have an amp like the Wellbrook. On very low frequencies actually a reasonable soundcard performs perfectly. Good software is SpectrumLab by DJ4YHF.
You said:  The QS1R can see up to 2 MHz of spectrum. With the now mentioned wide band window this is put into another perspective.
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2012, 02:55:15 AM »

Below 50kHz with just an antenna (frame/loop) the results were unsatisfactory. Of course, the Clifton antenna does have an amp like the Wellbrook. On very low frequencies actually a reasonable soundcard performs perfectly. Good software is SpectrumLab by DJ4YHF.
You said:  The QS1R can see up to 2 MHz of spectrum. With the now mentioned wide band window this is put into another perspective.


Ahh, OK, I understand now.  To clarify what I said, the QS1R can sample up to 2.5 MSPS which translates to a bandwidth of 2 MHz in real time.   So up to 2 MHz of spectrum can be recorded and played back, for example.  The wide band spectrum display can show the whole 0 - 62.5 MHz range.

I understand now about the frame/loop without a preamp.  This is pretty much true of any receiver that can receive down below 50 kHz.  You either need an active antenna, like the Wellbrook or Clifton, or some kind of preamp to bring a small loop's output up to some reasonable level down a VLF.

Gene
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NI0Z
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« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2012, 06:06:50 AM »

Thanks Gene.  I happen to have a Wellbrook laying around, maybe I will find a use for it as I journey forward.
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