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Reviews Categories | Third-party Equipment | Z90 Spectrascan Digital Panaadapter Help

Reviews Summary for Z90 Spectrascan Digital Panaadapter
Z90 Spectrascan Digital Panaadapter Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: A "panadapter" is a specialized device connected to a receiver's IF auxiliary output displaying signals near those to which the receiver is tuned. The horizontal axis is frequency (centered on the receiver's current frequency) and the vertical axis is signal strength, in decibels. A panadapter is a form of spectrum analyzer.
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KC0UKK Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2006 07:34 Send this review to a friend
Great product, terrific kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently completed assembly of the Z90 and I've nothing but praise for the kit. It is shipped double boxed (some components are triple boxed) with a neatly printed user/assembly manual with full schematics, parts list and appendices containing voltages and waveform information.

The individual components are packaged in small plastic bags labeled with the construction stage and component values and identifiers. Very well done.

The Z90 is equipped with a large (5.7") liquid crystal display, back illuminated with a CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp), white on a blue background, and six pushbuttons on the front panel that offer control of the panadapter features. The Z90, using a standard serial port, can be controlled from any Windows based PC using the supplied Z90-Control software. (There is also a version—the Z91--without the LCD that uses only your PC.) The control interface uses open, documented commands so you can write your own control program should you desire.

Also built into the unit are three switchable levels of input signal attenuation, 10, 20 and 30 db. In addition to standard IF frequencies programmed into the Z90, you can define up to three 'custom' frequencies to match your particular equipment. The Z90 also provides a Direct Digital Synthesized (DDS) signal generator output of +5dbm usable to beyond 60MHz.

In addition, Clifton Laboratories offers two optional IF buffers for rigs that do not have an IF auxiliary output. One is specialized for the Elecraft K2, the other is a general purpose buffer that will work with many different rigs. Instructions for modifying these buffers for special purposes are included.

The Z90 does include some SMD components, but the DDS daughter board (which contains a couple of fine pitch ICs) comes preassembled, bringing the kit within reach of those with little or no SMD experience. This was my first attempt at SMD construction and following the well written instructions and tips were all that I needed.

What does the Z90 do? Well, I've used it not only for its intended purpose of visually displaying nearby signals, but I also used it to perform a two tone IMD test on my 6 meter transverter.

Using an external attenuator and Elecraft's CP1 directional coupler and 2-tone audio generator, I selected a custom IF of 50135.00 on the Z90 and fed a sample of the transverter's output into the Z90. It's great to see what the output signal really looks like.

If you can use a signal generator and a panadapter and you like experimenting and you like to keep the soldering iron occupied, kit building doesn't get any better than this.


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