Additional Resources

Additional Resources

So I’m sitting in class bored as ever and I’m sketching circuit diagrams and I wondered if I could design a primary simplest-case QRSS transmitter board with drop-in capabilities to change lowpass filters. In other words, I designed a circuit which you can drop in any crystal into and it magically transmits at that frequency, so it would make sense to have a drop-in LPF to match. This is what I came up with… I wonder how realistic this is? It would also give the ability to add different filters (3 pole, 5 pole, or more) without having to re-PCB anything.

drop_in_LPF





Additional Resources

With my limited resources I’m attempting to design, test, and build a minimalist QRSS transmitter. While working on the output filter, I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking and have determined that a pi filter (a 3 pole Chebyshev filter) will give me the low-pass characteristics I’m looking for to eliminate harmonics of the QRPP output.

aade_filter

This is the filter (with values and AADE-generated gain plot) I’m shooting for. It has about a 12dB reduction by the time it gets to 14m. My major goal is suppressing harmonics, but I thought I’d be polite to the 20m crew. The filter uses standard 1nF capacitors and an inductor of ~.44uH which according to this chart I can get by 12 turns around a small yellow T37-6 toroid. Although I’d like to use an air coil because of the cost savings, I’ll admit that I understand why toroids are used. That’s the filter, as modeled by AADE, software gracefully recommended to me today by David (VK2/VK6DI).

David also suggested that I not rely on standardized values, but rather measure inductance myself. While an inductance meter is out of my budget (of about $10), I was able to check-out W4DFU’s MFJ antenna analyzer, which can measure inductance. However, my readings were not as expected. In fact, with a total short (center connector directly to ground) it read a very high inductance measurement. Knowing that series inductance can be added to get total inductance, I suspected that this could still be useful. I used a T37-6 toroid I had on hand and wound it from 0-25 times, checking the inductance reading after every turn. After plotting and curve fitting, I corrected each value by subtracting the y-intercept and compared these points with those discussed in this chart and, whew! They’re a good match. To measure inductance with this meter, I have to measure inductance with the straight wire, then subtract this value from the final measurement.

how_to_measure_inductance

All right, back to work. Dental school homework is due tomorrow [rolls eyes]

update: this is the antenna analyzer I used:

analyzer

UPDATE 2 I built the proposed filter with wire randomly coiled around an unknown toroid (oh the challenge!), added a 50 ohm (51 ohm, close enough!) resistor as a dummy load, and hooked it up to the SWR analyzer. I noticed a swr minimum around 8mhz… As I unwound loop by loop, I got higher and higher… 9.15, 9.64, and finally BOOM! 10.215mhz swr 1.0. 10.140mhz swr was 1.1. I assume that a low SWR means that the filter passes maximum signal of that frequency into the dummy load, so by “tuning” this filter into a dummy load to minimize SWR by adjusting the coil at a fixed frequency, I maximized gain at that desired frequency. Here’s a photo of the completed circuit. The capacitors are “102”, 0.001uF and the toroid is unknown, but 9 turns seems best.

tuning_toroids





Additional Resources

I found a way to quadruple the output power of my QRSS transmitter without changing its input parameters. Thanks to a bunch of people (most of whom are on the Knights QRSS mailing list) I decided to go with a push-pull configuration using 2 pairs of 4 gates (8 total) of a 74HC240. I’ll post circuit diagrams when I perfect it, but for now check out these waveforms!

qrss_amplified

First of all, this is the waveform before and after amplification with the 74HC240. I artificially weakened the input signal (top) with a resistor and fed it to the 74HC240. For the rest of the images, the input is 5v p-p and the output is similar, so amplification won’t be observed. The wave I’m starting with is the output of a microcontroller which is non-sinusoidal, but this can be fixed later with lowpass filtering.

qrss_74hc240

Here you can see the test circuit I’m using. It should be self-explanatory.

qrss_inPhase

Here’s the output of the microcontroller compared to the in-phase output of the 74HC240

qrss_out_of_phase

Here are the two outputs of the 74HC240. 4 of the gates are used to create output in-phase with the input, and the other four are used to create out-of-phase wave. Here are the two side by side. The top is 0 to 5v, the bottom is 0 to -5v, so we have a push-pull thing going on… woo hoo!

qrss_out_of_phase_overlap

The waves, when overlapped, look similar (which I guess is a good thing) with a slight (and I mean VERY slight) offset of the out-of-phase signal. I wonder if this is caused by the delay in the time it takes to trigger the 74HC240 to make the out-of-phase signal? The signal I’m working with is 1MHz.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m just documenting my progress. 73