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Reviews Categories | Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet | FoxEcho - Advance EchoLink Interface Help


Reviews Summary for FoxEcho - Advance EchoLink Interface
FoxEcho - Advance EchoLink Interface Reviews: 2 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $65.00
Description: Foxecho-k7 is PIC16F84A based echolink interface with 100% isolation on audio and PTT/COR line. Use a HC4053 switch for audio mute etc and MT8870 for DTMF. Available in kits & assembled.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.foxdelta.com/products/foxecho.htm
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KB9BPF Rating: 3/5 Jun 28, 2008 18:14 Send this review to a friend
Details need attention  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Here's an excerpt from an email I sent Dinesh and Frank after building the one I ordered last winter, which sums up my experience. I hope it will assist others who are assembling their own FoxEcho.

'I'm an experienced builder and technician, so I did not find it difficult to assemble the kit based only upon the schematic and parts list. There were, however, several errors and one omission that I feel you should make an effort to correct before you ship more units. Also, I have a few minor criticisms which I'd like to respectfully share.

Beginning with the FoxEcho basic unit:
Resistors:
- R10 should be in the list of 10K resistors.
- There was no 2.2K resistor supplied for R18, however there was an extra 10K resistor. Based on a brief analysis of the circuit I determined that the 10K resistor was probably your intended but undocumented substitute. This discrepancy should be corrected.
- The correct quantity of 10K resistors should be listed as 12, not 10. The correct quantity was supplied.

Capacitors:
- There is no polarity marked on the PC board for C4. I was able to determine the correct polarity by reading the schematic.
- C15 is in the parts list twice. First and correctly as a 10uF tanatlum, second and incorrectly as a 15pF.
- The two 15pF caps should be C13 and C14, not C14 and C15.
- An extra 0.1uF ceramic capacitor was loosely tossed in the overall parts bag. I had to assume this was intended to be used at CX with the AGC option.

Other parts:
- It would be helpful if the Part ID numbers were included.
- There were six BC547B transistors included, but the parts list says five. They are Q1 through Q6.
- The 3-pin female 0.1' header isn't on the list, and it is unclear where you intend it to be used. After some pondering I determined that it was meant for HQ2, however I am sure that less experienced persons will have no small difficulty figuring that out.
- You do not specify that the DIN5 male connector should be installed in the "isolated interface" position, however looking at the case and reasoning with the schematic made that clear.

It is not clear how long one should make the leads on the LEDs without test-fitting in the case. Inexperienced builders might cut them too short.

I found that there was a bridge on the PC board between the two pins of H1 which required rework with a knife.

AGC board:
- It would be helpful if the Part ID numbers were all included in the parts list. Some are, some aren't.
- Again, it was not clear where the 3-pin female 0.1' header should be installed, but I waited to solder the hearders in place on both PC boards until I had figured it out.
- The 0.1 uF caps for C12 and C6 were not included in the kit of parts. Fortunately I have a large stock of parts and selected two 0.1uF monolithic ceramic caps for use in those places.

Those are all the problems I found with the PC board assembly. Now to my minor criticisms:
I am not happy with the insecurity and lack of "snugness" of connection between the two PC boards. I am going to machine a small spacer to use in the holes you provided.

The grommets you provide, which I assume are intended to be used either as feet or as chassis-to-PCB spacers, do not suit me. I will substitute with more purpose-made items.'

Dinesh replied,

'Gm Brad
Thank you for your mail & detailed report.

I agree with most points as I am aware of it but could not attend immediately. On mechanical front many things went wrong too.

I will be updating errors soon on website and then will try to send printed material to frank for inclusion.

Initially, I provided assembled units only, and I assembled all of them myself, hense this errors did not come to my mind.

Let me know how things progress. You may drop a mail to frank if you like to test or want any info regarding echolink setup.

73s/Dinesh'


When I installed the FoxEcho on the club repeater I was able to get it working without much trouble, but I wasn't very happy with the audio quality. In the end I used the DTMF decoder cicuitry, which appears to be based on the work of DL5MGD and works well, and eliminated all the audio circuitry except the isolation transformers.

73 de Brad KB9BPF
 
K7SFN Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2008 17:27 Send this review to a friend
EchoLink Interface  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been working with Dinesh, VU2FD on the testing and evaluation of the Foxecho-K7 EchoLink unit, and have been very pleased with it's development and performance. Dinesh's goal is to create projects that stimulate interest in Amateur radio, which is why the Foxecho is a "KIT". This gives one the added satisfaction of assembling and testing it yourself. Construction is straight forward with the silkscreened circuit board.

The Foxecho is quite sophisticated and contains a custom programmed PIC processor to convert control signals between itself and your PC while running EchoLink.

I am using mine to interface a Yaesu FT-7800R via the 1200 baud data connections, PTT and Squelch control connections available at the DIN jack on the back of the radio. The 1200 baud audio in/out are fixed level connections, so I can still use my hand microphone and local volume control without affecting the levels going towards your PC.

My Foxecho is equipped with the optional AGC board which provides a small amount of additional amplification, as well "leveling" of the audio signal going towards the computer. This improves the intelligibility of the audio signal coming from the radio, when someone's deviation is too high or low.

I am extremely pleased with the Foxecho and highly recommend it. If anyone has specific questions regarding the Foxecho, please email me and I will try to answer them for you.

73s,
Frank - K7SFN

 


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