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eHam Forums => Amplifiers => Topic started by: AD9DX on April 19, 2015, 03:45:00 PM



Title: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AD9DX on April 19, 2015, 03:45:00 PM
Ok, now that the AL-1200 is safely home and in the shack, it's time to make it work best for my station... I operate mostly CW and would really like to use QSK with my K3.  I am not sure if I want to use the crazy expensive and supposedly unreliable MFJ board.  Can anyone give me some real world feedback on his board? 


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: KM1H on April 19, 2015, 04:24:16 PM
Id start by going to his web site and reading the instructions a few times. It is not a kit and you have to find and purchase ALL the parts, and then build it and install and hope it works.

It is not something Id recommend to someone without many hours of building and debugging experience.

Ive heard the circuit works well but Im more than happy with the VOX CW Ive used since 1986 in my LK-500ZC; original tubes and vacuum relay and many many thousands of contest and DXing CW QSO's plus ragchewing.

Carl


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on April 20, 2015, 12:25:07 AM
Ok, now that the AL-1200 is safely home and in the shack, it's time to make it work best for my station... I operate mostly CW and would really like to use QSK with my K3.  I am not sure if I want to use the crazy expensive and supposedly unreliable MFJ board.  Can anyone give me some real world feedback on his board?  
Hi Jon,

I bought Jim W7RY's PCB for my Heathkit SB-220. He sells it via ebay, username = radioamplifiers (link (http://www.ebay.com/sch/radioamplifiers/m.html)). While it's not a kit per se, when you make your purchase, he emails complete documentation and a link to the Bill Of Material on Mouser's website. He recommends a source for the output vacuum relay (Max Gain Systems) and he offers the input reed relay (also via ebay). I found another source for the vacuum relay, and bought the reed relay from Jim.

It's a straightforward circuit and super easy to assemble. It worked the first time for me. If you have ANY skill, it should go well for you too.

Using the relays Jim recommends, the worst-case switching speed (included in the documentation) is 1ms, which is plenty fast for QSK CW at up to about 30 wpm. However, the thing about that is, 2 million operations for the relays will go by fast if you operate full QSK. Using semi break-in (aka "VOX") CW, the relays should last a lot longer.

I don't know about his board for the AL-1200 et al but, the board for my SB-220 includes electronically regulated and switched bias. That is another nice feature.

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AD9DX on April 20, 2015, 01:33:15 AM
The relays are only good for 2 million cycles? I never thought of that, can you provide any documentation on that?


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: G3RZP on April 20, 2015, 01:38:52 AM
The relays in the attenuators in our test machines at work would usually manage about 2 million operations before failing. That was about 5 to 6 months.....


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AD9DX on April 20, 2015, 10:23:41 AM
Ok, now that the AL-1200 is safely home and in the shack, it's time to make it work best for my station... I operate mostly CW and would really like to use QSK with my K3.  I am not sure if I want to use the crazy expensive and supposedly unreliable MFJ board.  Can anyone give me some real world feedback on his board?  
Hi Jon,

I bought Jim W7RY's PCB for my Heathkit SB-220. He sells it via ebay, username = radioamplifiers (link (http://www.ebay.com/sch/radioamplifiers/m.html)). While it's not a kit per se, when you make your purchase, he emails complete documentation and a link to the Bill Of Material on Mouser's website. He recommends a source for the output vacuum relay (Max Gain Systems) and he offers the input reed relay (also via ebay). I found another source for the vacuum relay, and bought the reed relay from Jim.

It's a straightforward circuit and super easy to assemble. It worked the first time for me. If you have ANY skill, it should go well for you too.

Using the relays Jim recommends, the worst-case switching speed (included in the documentation) is 1ms, which is plenty fast for QSK CW at up to about 30 wpm. However, the thing about that is, 2 million operations for the relays will go by fast if you operate full QSK. Using semi break-in (aka "VOX") CW, the relays should last a lot longer.

I don't know about his board for the AL-1200 et al but, the board for my SB-220 includes electronically regulated and switched bias. That is another nice feature.

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC



Is the bias adjustable?  Also what was the total end cost for everything including relays and other parts? 

Are you keeping extra relays on hand in case of a failure? 


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N9XTF on April 20, 2015, 12:07:19 PM

Is the bias adjustable?  Also what was the total end cost for everything including relays and other parts? 

Are you keeping extra relays on hand in case of a failure? 

John,

The bias is adjustable via the number of diodes you install on the board.

Gigavac is selling their GH1 vacuum relays for $77.00.  You have to email them with your amateur call sign and I think they have a limit of three per year or something; this is an amateur only price.  Jim, W7RY, suggests MaxGain systems for the vac relay.  I have had good luck with them in the past but I would try a new relay of current production if I were going to do it.  Jim is also out of the reed relay, so you would have to source that part for yourself.

I have not purchased or used the W7RY QSK board but have researched it a little.  I would guess the rest of the parts to fill the board would be $20 or so.  I would guess that you are looking around $200 for the completed parts list.

Doug - N9XTF


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N4OGW on April 20, 2015, 12:30:20 PM
Ok, now that the AL-1200 is safely home and in the shack, it's time to make it work best for my station... I operate mostly CW and would really like to use QSK with my K3.  I am not sure if I want to use the crazy expensive and supposedly unreliable MFJ board.  Can anyone give me some real world feedback on his board? 

Re the Ameritron board- I have two of them (internal board QSK-5PC) in a AL-1500 and a Heath SB-1000. So far I haven't had any problems with them in 10 years of use. The main disadvantages I see are that you have to limit the power in higher SWR situations to protect the PIN diodes (see manual for ratings); also in the case of a fault (bad filter cap, HV short, etc), it can get tricky troubleshooting the amp with the board installed. The way they are installed in the Ameritrons also makes it a pain to access the rest of the power supply components.

Tor
N4OGW


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: KB2AS on May 09, 2015, 03:53:00 AM
I've installed four so far, three TL-922A and one SB-220, fairly easy installation with detailed instructions provided in documentation. All parts except relays are available from Mouser.

Karl
KB2AS


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AH6RR on May 09, 2015, 11:24:07 AM

Is the bias adjustable?  Also what was the total end cost for everything including relays and other parts? 

Are you keeping extra relays on hand in case of a failure? 

John,

The bias is adjustable via the number of diodes you install on the board.

Gigavac is selling their GH1 vacuum relays for $77.00.  You have to email them with your amateur call sign and I think they have a limit of three per year or something; this is an amateur only price.  Jim, W7RY, suggests MaxGain systems for the vac relay.  I have had good luck with them in the past but I would try a new relay of current production if I were going to do it.  Jim is also out of the reed relay, so you would have to source that part for yourself.

I have not purchased or used the W7RY QSK board but have researched it a little.  I would guess the rest of the parts to fill the board would be $20 or so.  I would guess that you are looking around $200 for the completed parts list.

Doug - N9XTF

I just recently installed one in my SB-220 using 2 Kilovac HC-1 relays since Jim did not have any reed relays and that works just fine. The bias is set via a 10 turn resistor for the SB-220. After installing the board and relays I found that the band switch went out on 20M So I am fixing that when I get back home otherwise it works just fine. I have been in Honolulu and Maui training other facilities managers on emergency prep and communications (might be a couple of new hams out of this) for the past 3 weeks and get home tonight. Lou my wife said there was a big box waiting for me Thanks coffee to follow.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: W9GB on May 09, 2015, 01:52:38 PM
Quote from: AD9DX
I operate mostly CW and would really like to use QSK with my K3.  
I am not sure if I want to use the crazy expensive and supposedly unreliable MFJ board.  
Can anyone give me some suggestions.
The June 2015 issue of QST magazine has a QSK solution by noted builder Jim Garland, W8ZR.
http://w8zr.net/QSK/qsk_QST.pdf

MAX-GAIN Systems is one source for surplus SPDT Vacuum Relays
http://www.mgs4u.com/RF-Microwave/vacuum-relays-SPDT.htm

Jim's web site has the details about this QSK board.
http://w8zr.net/QSK/index.htm
====
(Updated 9 May 2015)

This webpage provides complete information about my QSK project,
"Add Full Break-In Keying to your Linear Amplifier," that appears in June 2015 QST.
This page includes all the information from the original article, plus other details and background information. I've arranged for Harbach Electronics to sell bare circuit boards, as well as full component kits. This QSK circuit is easy to build and can readily be retrofitted into most existing linear amplifiers. It also is just the ticket for incorporating QSK into a homebrew amplifier.

Download Expanded QST Writeup, High Resolution Schematics, Parts Lists: You should start by downloading the expanded QST article (at his web site), which includes background information, a brief tutorial on QSK design and additional construction information that QST print limitations do not allow.
Download high resolution schematic diagrams, and complete parts lists (in Excel Spreadsheet form) at his Project Page.

Order Printed Circuit Boards and Parts Lists: I've arranged for Harbach Electronics to make bare printed circuit boards and also complete parts kits available for builders.
NOTE: HARBACH is closed, until after Dayton Hamvention.  Kits will be sold at Dayton!!
http://harbachelectronics.com

NOTE that the supplied circuit board is Revision B0, which has several layout improvements over the circuit board in the article. If you find any discrepancies between the QST article and this website, then use the information from this website, which is always the most current available.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on May 10, 2015, 01:06:20 AM
The relays are only good for 2 million cycles? I never thought of that, can you provide any documentation on that?
IIRC, it was in the datasheets for the relays.

Is the bias adjustable?  Also what was the total end cost for everything including relays and other parts? 
Are you keeping extra relays on hand in case of a failure? 
For the SB-220 and some others, the operating bias is adjustable.

I spent a little over $100, which included a used vacuum relay. A new vacuum relay will bring the one-time total cost up a bit more. I don't intend to use full QSK so, I'm not concerned too much about relay life.

The bias is adjustable via the number of diodes you install on the board.
No. The W7RY board doesn't use stacked rectifiers to regulate operating bias. It uses a current regulator circuit. Further, the T/R control circuit switches bias between operating and cutoff w/o using relay contacts. The only relay contacts are the reed relay (RF input) and vacuum relay (RF output).

vy 73 es gl,
Bryan WA7PRC


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: PE1HZG on May 10, 2015, 02:58:23 PM
Unfortunately Jim does not publish the schematic of his board. Which is a shame, because there's nothing to hide, the design is sound.

Fortunately the very design is published in recent ARRL handbooks if you're interested.

Apart from the QSK thing, which I didn't care much about personally, one of the big advantages is that the bias of the tubes is adjustable, it's a 10-turn pot.

In my case, using a SB220 in Europe means the line voltage is a tad low - we have 230V here, and the SB220 is intended for either 120 or 240V. For various reasons the line voltage is actually closer to 225V, which means that over here the HV is a tad low (not a big problem) and the filament voltage is close to the lower edge of the spec (more awkward). As a result, I had difficulty getting enough bias current flowing and with the Harbach board I had to jumper a few diodes, awkward because the safety cover needs to come off for adjustments.

Much easier with the W7RY board - just turn the pot up a few turns, done!

Do note that the W7RY board also replaces the 'soft key' board but obviously not the filter capacitor or softstart board.

FWIW, I tried both the Harbach and the W7RY solutions and recommend them all. What you prefer is part of personal preference; in my case, it was a case of experimenting.

Geert Jan


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on May 10, 2015, 06:11:19 PM
Apart from the QSK thing, which I didn't care much about personally, one of the big advantages is that the bias of the tubes is adjustable, it's a 10-turn pot.

Do note that the W7RY board also replaces the 'soft key' board but obviously not the filter capacitor or softstart board.

FWIW, I tried both the Harbach and the W7RY solutions and recommend them all. What you prefer is part of personal preference; in my case, it was a case of experimenting.
Prior to purchasing W7RY's board, I used Tony W4ZT's (SK) bias board. I used my own relay driver circuit that I devised (before Alan Harbach started his company). I also sourced replacement HV PS electrolytic capacitors.

The advantage of the FAST relays W7RY specifies is that hot-switching (and the damage that can occur) will not happen. This is good if you ever use QSK or semi break-in.

Most (but not all) of the Harbach stuff is OK. It just costs more.

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: W9GB on May 10, 2015, 06:51:50 PM
Jim, W8ZR has provided project schematics and Builder Notes
for his projects over the past 15 years.
The wiring schematic diagram and parts list is on the W8ZR web page.

QSK schematic
http://w8zr.net/QSK/QSK%20Schematic%20B0.pdf

Parts List (Distributor cross referenced)
http://w8zr.net/QSK/QSK%20Controller%20Parts%20List_B0.xls


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N8CBX on May 11, 2015, 01:48:38 PM
Can you explain how W8ZR's sequencer works using an LED driver (?) chip?

Also, W8ZR's sequence of engagement (turn on) seems out of sequence order. He says, "...the QSK circuitry closes the output relay, bias switch, and the input relay in that order, allowing for relay closing times and contact bounce."
Usually, bias is switched last; And the first to drop coming out of TX.

Can you explain why he complicates his design? This can all be done with a few components and a PIC processor.

Also, don't need a $10 DC-DC convertor. A voltage doubler can be made with a diode bridge and two capacitors to make the high relay voltage (W7RY's)


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AD9DX on May 14, 2015, 06:42:03 PM
I've purchased and built the board, which was quite easy and straightforward...

My big issue now is that W7RY has not had his reed relay in stock yet.  Does anyone have specs on it, I'd like to install this thing and get it working.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N3DT on May 14, 2015, 07:47:59 PM
Out of curiosity, is this W7RY board that much better than the MFJ QSK board? I have the MFJ one in my AL80B and it works fine. It's certainly not $20 though. but it was easy enough to implement in the amp and I understand it's good up to 1KW with decent SWR.  Is it just a matter of price or PO? No vacuum relays either. It also makes the AL80B much quieter, no relay clacking except when you press the OPR and that's just once a session.

Maybe I'm missing something here or out of the loop?


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: W9GB on May 16, 2015, 01:12:17 PM
Quote from: N8CBX
Can you explain why he complicates his design?
This can all be done with a few components and a PIC processor.
Jan -

If Jim, W8ZR was not at Dayton Hamvention (in your backyard this weekend),
I have heard that the telephone is a great communications device to answer the question -- from designer himself.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N8CBX on May 16, 2015, 01:45:56 PM
Yeah, just returned from Hara, I saw his boards for sale at the Harbach booth, didn't see him though.
Jan


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AH6RR on May 16, 2015, 02:44:13 PM
I've purchased and built the board, which was quite easy and straightforward...

My big issue now is that W7RY has not had his reed relay in stock yet.  Does anyone have specs on it, I'd like to install this thing and get it working.

Simple just get another vacuum relay and use that. That's what I did.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on May 16, 2015, 09:01:39 PM
I've purchased and built the board, which was quite easy and straightforward...

My big issue now is that W7RY has not had his reed relay in stock yet.  Does anyone have specs on it, I'd like to install this thing and get it working.
W7RY used a Matsushita pn NR-HD-12V relay. The datasheet is here: http://www.datasheetarchive.com/dlmain/Datasheets-6/DSA-104523.pdf

It shows the relay has 1 Form C (SPDT) contacts and the coil is rated 12V (890 ohms). Typical operate time including bounce time is just under 1ms. Using the parametric search engine at Digi-Key, you may be able to substitute a Coto Technology pn 2341-12-000. Coil resistance is a touch higher, and operate time is about 500 ns. Contacts are rated 200V @ 0.5A switching current (1.5A holding current).

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AH7I on May 29, 2015, 05:57:27 AM
I have the stand alone version of the MFJ. The QSK-5. It's not a good product for clumsy hams. High voltage will destroy the PIN diodes. Accidentally change antenna or band and it may suddenly need parts.
73, Bob ah7i/w4


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: KC7JK on November 02, 2016, 12:09:19 PM
Hello , ive run my L4b 17 years,rebuilt ps new relay and soft key...recently K7htk Gary installed w7ry qsk board and new input board in another L4b for me and it is very amazing how quiet and fast switching it is it literally makes it a major better amp......two thumbs up for W7ry Jim 


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N4ZAW on February 25, 2017, 09:58:56 PM
It's the way to go. But as previously mentioned, documentation is somewhat lacking.. In particular, the bias circuit retrofitting instructions and adjustment. All of that can be found online, however,  if you dig deep enough.  This 'vague docs' issue may actually be intentional because the instructions will vary somewhat from installing it into a stock sb220, as opposed to those amps that have been "Harbached-out". Trust me on that one, as I initially found it 'challenging' to say the least!
Your 'saving grace' will be the forethought Jim placed in the board's overall design. After careful, thorough study, it begins to make sense. It helps to have those above-posted links to builds from other hams like Brad, KV5V's work as others have linked to above. Though, Brad does show both bias schemes on the schematic he has on that link.. Yee-yeah -- Maybe I should send him an email so he can correct it. This was personally where my initial installation confusion began, but his illustrations were iimmensely helpful overall.

 The RM-220 metering board is a nice addition, and they also tried to adhere to the pin-lettering scheme found on the original Heathkit metering board. If you want to do both mods, it's best to do them at the same time. Harbach has three different revisions of the RM220, but they all 'jive' pin-for-pin install-wise,                            and the bias diode array can be omitted -- just leave those diodes out. I'm thinking about moving the bias control so I can access it better outside of the amp by mounting a 10K,10-turn Wire Wound Precision Pot on the faceplate . Sure, it can be done, but I don't know whether the additional lead length would introduce some 'nasties' to the RF product.  It's supposed to be 'set-n-forget', but we really have some insanely-unstable voltage from the local grid around here -- especially in the 'monsoon' season.
I have an L4B I'm thinking about adding this board to for that reason alone. It would sure add hours (if not years) to the tubes.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on February 25, 2017, 10:18:36 PM
It's the way to go. But as previously mentioned, documentation is somewhat lacking.. In particular, the bias circuit retrofitting instructions and adjustment. All of that can be found online, however,  if you dig deep enough.  This 'vague docs' issue may actually be intentional because the instructions will vary somewhat from installing it into a stock sb220, as opposed to those amps that have been "Harbached-out". Trust me on that one, as I initially found it 'challenging' to say the least!
Your 'saving grace' will be the forethought Jim placed in the board's overall design. After careful, thorough study, it begins to make sense. It helps to have those above-posted links to builds from other hams like Brad, KV5V's work as others have linked to above. Though, Brad does show both bias schemes on the schematic he has on that link.. Yee-yeah -- Maybe I should send him an email so he can correct it. This was personally where my initial installation confusion began, but his illustrations were iimmensely helpful overall.

 The RM-220 metering board is a nice addition, and they also tried to adhere to the pin-lettering scheme found on the original Heathkit metering board. If you want to do both mods, it's best to do them at the same time. Harbach has three different revisions of the RM220, but they all 'jive' pin-for-pin install-wise,                            and the bias diode array can be omitted -- just leave those diodes out. I'm thinking about moving the bias control so I can access it better outside of the amp by mounting a 10K,10-turn Wire Wound Precision Pot on the faceplate . Sure, it can be done, but I don't know whether the additional lead length would introduce some 'nasties' to the RF product.  It's supposed to be 'set-n-forget', but we really have some insanely-unstable voltage from the local grid around here -- especially in the 'monsoon' season.
I have an L4B I'm thinking about adding this board to for that reason alone. It would sure add hours (if not years) to the tubes.

Documentation of the W7RY unit that the OP asked about is detailed. Mine works FB. No Harbach stuff is needed.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: W1QJ on February 26, 2017, 03:38:36 AM
Due to a cancellation of the installation of Jim's system in an SB-220 unit, I now have a newly built board with all parts on it ready to go and a brand new Vacuum relay.  Only thing needed is the reed relay for the input.  Would like to find a new home for this.  Have installation documents also.  A pictorial shows what goes where and seems simple enough to do.  All the leg work of getting parts and building the board has been done, what a time saver.  Get the reed relay from Jim and install.  If interested contact me at gudguyham@aol.com   BTW..I did have a unit come in that had Jim's board already installed, it works quite well.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N4ZAW on February 26, 2017, 05:09:51 AM
Documentation of the W7RY unit that the OP asked about is detailed.
As long as you're doing the mod to an all-original box, yes, chances are good that you won't run into any difficulties with this upgrade -- IF you've ever attempted to adjust the bias current on one.... Not that this would be remotely possible on a stock box.

As for myself, I ran into problems with that procedure after trying to figure out the separate tube bias scheme approaches between the stock (huge zener), W7RY's adjustable bias, and Harbach's multi-diode array found on their RM-220 boards. These presented me with several challenges when confronted with all of them for the first time in my life.. Now, Granted, I'm fairly 'challenged' on my own accord.  
Quote
Mine works FB. No Harbach stuff is needed.
Very true, however, Neither is Jim's QSK board "needed" -- but it sure is sweet in operation!
The Harbach RM220 metering boards offer increased component protection, along with a fixed bias scheme which could, in-turn, render Jim's QSK board 'not needed', couldn't it? They are, after all, redundant in assuming the bias function.
Harbach's SS220, Soft-start module IMHO, is worth it's weight in filter caps, and cheap enough to include while performing the QSK mod. Speakin of 'filter caps' -- they don't last forever. And the Harbach folks can help one out there also. As for my amp, it received all of the above, even though it worked perfectly fine before I got my paws inside of it... I even replaced the tubes with brand new ones. Did it 'need' ANY of these improvements? I can't say for sure, as I bought it used. Perhaps I was the one who needed some modification for going there in the first place... Maybe I just needed to know how many hours were on the tubes, and how old those capacitors were. Now I do, and learned some things in the bargain.
 


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on February 26, 2017, 03:19:38 PM
Documentation of the W7RY unit that the OP asked about is detailed.
As long as you're doing the mod to an all-original box, yes, chances are good that you won't run into any difficulties with this upgrade -- IF you've ever attempted to adjust the bias current on one.... Not that this would be remotely possible on a stock box.

As for myself, I ran into problems with that procedure after trying to figure out the separate tube bias scheme approaches between the stock (huge zener), W7RY's adjustable bias, and Harbach's multi-diode array found on their RM-220 boards. These presented me with several challenges when confronted with all of them for the first time in my life.. Now, Granted, I'm fairly 'challenged' on my own accord.
 
I found it easy to understand. YMMV.

Mine works FB. No Harbach stuff is needed.
Very true, however, Neither is Jim's QSK board "needed" -- but it sure is sweet in operation!
The Harbach RM220 metering boards offer increased component protection, along with a fixed bias scheme which could, in-turn, render Jim's QSK board 'not needed', couldn't it? They are, after all, redundant in assuming the bias function.
Harbach's SS220, Soft-start module IMHO, is worth it's weight in filter caps, and cheap enough to include while performing the QSK mod. Speakin of 'filter caps' -- they don't last forever. And the Harbach folks can help one out there also. As for my amp, it received all of the above, even though it worked perfectly fine before I got my paws inside of it... I even replaced the tubes with brand new ones. Did it 'need' ANY of these improvements? I can't say for sure, as I bought it used. Perhaps I was the one who needed some modification for going there in the first place... Maybe I just needed to know how many hours were on the tubes, and how old those capacitors were. Now I do, and learned some things in the bargain.
The W7RY setup drives FAST vacuum/reed relays that eliminate hot switching and the contacts will never intermit due to oxidation. The Harbach relay driver doesn't... you're stuck with SLOW open-frame relays that hot-switch and eventually intermit due to oxidized NC contacts.

The operating bias provided by stacked diodes is sensitive to temperature and current. The current regulator used by W7RY isn't. The W7RY unit also switches between operating bias and cutoff bias electronically (no relay contacts). The operating bias doesn't wander.

Most of the Harbach offerings are OK, if more costly than needed:
The OEM SB-220 rectifier board can be used as-is, with the replacement of better rectifiers and HV meter multiplier resistors. 1N5408 rectifiers run about two bits each. 4M7/±5%/1W/10KV HV multiplier resistors (Vishay #VR68000004704JAC00) run about 6 bits each. Add a -B clamp rectifier for another four bits (Diodes Inc #6A10-T), and you're done with that PCB.

If you don't go nutz with HV filter capacitor capacitance and step up to better HV rectifiers above, a step-start circuit is mostly pointless. 270uF/450V CDE #381LR271M450A032 capacitors cost about $6 each. 100K/3W/750V bleeder/equalizer resistors (Vishay #PR03000201003JAC00) run about four bits each.

All of the above rectifier/meter board and capacitor changes run no more than about $60 and is super simple to implement.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N4ZAW on February 27, 2017, 01:59:26 PM
OK. Yeah, i'll probably hold-off on the L4B upgrades...  ;D


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: AK6RF on February 28, 2017, 12:57:33 AM
I have used several W7RY boards in different amp rebuilds (mostly SB220) and have been very happy with them. Although the documentation is not perfect I didn't have any trouble figuring things out. Also, I just noticed he is now selling a new RF input relay and a board to go with it. Sounds like it took him awhile to find a suitable unit after the supply for the original one dried up.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/W7RY-QSK-Input-RF-Relay-and-Circuit-Board-Mounting-/282276832140?hash=item41b902a38c:g:0y0AAOSwvUlWqsW4
Search ebay for 'W7RY QSK Input RF Relay' if the link doesn't work.

Matt, AK6RF


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: KM1H on February 28, 2017, 05:36:48 PM
Quote
I found it easy to understand. YMMV.

Youve been saying that since 2015 on this thread.

Quote
If you don't go nutz with HV filter capacitor capacitance and step up to better HV rectifiers above, a step-start circuit is mostly pointless. 270uF/450V CDE #381LR271M450A032 capacitors cost about $6 each.

The step start is to save the unobtainium On-Off switch and the filament transformer limits the inrush current to the tubes.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on February 28, 2017, 05:53:36 PM
I found it easy to understand. YMMV.
Youve been saying that since 2015 on this thread.
Good observation.
If you don't go nutz with HV filter capacitor capacitance and step up to better HV rectifiers above, a step-start circuit is mostly pointless. 270uF/450V CDE #381LR271M450A032 capacitors cost about $6 each.
The step start is to save the unobtainium On-Off switch and the filament transformer limits the inrush current to the tubes.
And, as I (and you and many others) have stated, if one doesn't go nutz with HV filter capacitor capacitance, a step-start isn't needed. However, other things I've mentioned (that you didn't quote) should be upgraded.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: KM1H on March 04, 2017, 07:11:17 PM
Quote
And, as I (and you and many others) have stated, if one doesn't go nutz with HV filter capacitor capacitance, a step-start isn't needed. However, other things I've mentioned (that you didn't quote) should be upgraded.

And why should I as this is not a SB220 thread?

If you want those other answers find the "Care And Feeding of the SB-220" paper I wrote in the 90's and updated at least once. It may be on one of the old PC's I dont use any longer so save me the time to go thru a bunch of hard drives ;D


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on March 04, 2017, 08:14:06 PM
And, as I (and you and many others) have stated, if one doesn't go nutz with HV filter capacitor capacitance, a step-start isn't needed. However, other things I've mentioned (that you didn't quote) should be upgraded.
If you want those other answers ... [snip]
That incorrectly presumes I'm here for (or need/want) answers.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: KM1H on March 05, 2017, 06:28:43 PM
Quote
That incorrectly presumes I'm here for (or need/want) answers.

Nope, that correctly presumes that you are incapable of a debate without running away, so you just toss out little annoyance comments of zero useable content.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on March 05, 2017, 07:26:15 PM
That incorrectly presumes I'm here for (or need/want) answers.
Quote
Nope, that correctly presumes that you are incapable of a debate without running away, so you just toss out little annoyance comments of zero useable content.
You have that bassackwards.
Thanks for your opinion...
...and have a nice day. ;)


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: W7RY on April 01, 2017, 06:57:30 AM
Out of curiosity, is this W7RY board that much better than the MFJ QSK board? I have the MFJ one in my AL80B and it works fine. It's certainly not $20 though. but it was easy enough to implement in the amp and I understand it's good up to 1KW with decent SWR.  Is it just a matter of price or PO? No vacuum relays either. It also makes the AL80B much quieter, no relay clacking except when you press the OPR and that's just once a session.

Maybe I'm missing something here or out of the loop?

My board uses relays. The MFJ board you are speaking of uses PIN diodes. HUGE difference.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: N4ZAW on April 04, 2017, 12:13:50 PM
Out of curiosity, is this W7RY board that much better than the MFJ QSK board? I have the MFJ one in my AL80B and it works fine. It's certainly not $20 though. but it was easy enough to implement in the amp and I understand it's good up to 1KW with decent SWR.  Is it just a matter of price or PO? No vacuum relays either. It also makes the AL80B much quieter, no relay clacking except when you press the OPR and that's just once a session.

Maybe I'm missing something here or out of the loop?

My board uses relays. The MFJ board you are speaking of uses PIN diodes. HUGE difference.
Yeah, "certainly not $20", David. But pin-diode switching approach Jim referred to is another drawback IMHO (Hey, Jim. Hoping all is well with you). RF sometimes does funny things to ultra-fast-switching diodes, and it seems, the higher the input power, the quicker they fail on my personal 'run-ins' with the component. They werk, sure. but for how long, is the crap-shoot with loaded dice here. Just eyeballing the QSK5 at $400, I'd be afraid to trust it at 100W input.Maybe 50W, but not much more than that (again, just my opinion, and I may be wrong). I admit to not knowing very much about the QSK5, other than price -- oy! :o
But none of that does very much to remedy relay contact closing sequence, or speed (QSK), of the internal relay within the amp.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WQ6N on August 23, 2017, 06:45:41 AM

Is the bias adjustable?  Also what was the total end cost for everything including relays and other parts? 

Are you keeping extra relays on hand in case of a failure? 

John,

The bias is adjustable via the number of diodes you install on the board.

Gigavac is selling their GH1 vacuum relays for $77.00.  You have to email them with your amateur call sign and I think they have a limit of three per year or something; this is an amateur only price.  Jim, W7RY, suggests MaxGain systems for the vac relay.  I have had good luck with them in the past but I would try a new relay of current production if I were going to do it.  Jim is also out of the reed relay, so you would have to source that part for yourself.

I have not purchased or used the W7RY QSK board but have researched it a little.  I would guess the rest of the parts to fill the board would be $20 or so.  I would guess that you are looking around $200 for the completed parts list.

Doug - N9XTF

According to the Gigavac site, the Ham Vacuum Relay program has been discontinued as of Dec 2016. Going with the Greenstone VHC-1 from Max-Gains.


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on August 23, 2017, 10:36:09 AM
According to the Gigavac site, the Ham Vacuum Relay program has been discontinued as of Dec 2016. Going with the Greenstone VHC-1 from Max-Gains.
RF Parts lists the VHC-1 (new) as well: https://www.rfparts.com/relays/relays-vacuum/relays-vacuum-taylor/vhc1-26-5v.html


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WQ6N on August 27, 2017, 05:59:27 AM
W7RY QSK Parts Estimated Total Cost:

$18.00 - W7RY Ameritron AL-82 AL-1200 AL-1500 SB-1000 AL-80 QSK Board Linear Amplifier
$ 3.95 - Shipping
$14.95 W7RY QSK Input RF Relay and Circuit Board Mounting
$ 3.95 – Shipping
------------------
$40.85 sub total

$18.27 Mouser parts minus the backordered 858-64WR10KLF Trimmer Resistors and 240 ohm resister
$ 7.99 Shipping (did not allow lower residence rate)
$ 1.99 Shipping of backordered items
$ 1.51 8.25% Estimated Tax
-------------------
$29.76 sub total

$79.95 VHC-1 (26.5 VDC) ceramic vacuum relay, SPDT contacts 79.95 USD
$ 2.00 Packing
$26.60 Shipping via USPS Priority Small Flat Rate
---------------------
$108.45 sub total

$20.00 Estimated cost on 24VAC Transformer
$20.00 Estimated wiring, solder (silver) and miscellaneous
--------------------
$40.00 sub total

$219.06 Estimated Total cost (Not counting your time or fuel)


Title: RE: Has anyone used the W7RY QSK board?
Post by: WA7PRC on August 27, 2017, 08:32:39 AM
W7RY QSK Parts Estimated Total Cost:
[yuuuge snip]
$219.06 Estimated Total cost (Not counting your time or fuel)
That was YOUR cost... ONE time. Mine was about $100 less. Compare that to a PIN diode setup, such as the Ameritron QSK-5 (link (http://www.ameritron.com/Product.php?productid=QSK-5PC)): $299.95 (not counting shipping, your time, or beer). Keep in mind that, unlike a relay, it's picky about VSWR and frequency.