ISP programming of the (tr)uSDX – more on SPI

ISP programming of the (tr)uSDX (trusdx) showed that filtering on the MOSI pin in that kit distorted the MOSI signal significantly and suggested a workaround (reducing SCK rate) for reliable programming.

Some correspondence prompts a little more information on the nature of the ATmega328P ISCP signals.

The line protocol used is actually SPI, quite a common protocol.

ISP uses SPI MODE 0 (CPOL=0, CPHA=0), shift out on the falling edge of SCK, and capture input on the rising edge.

Let’s look at a three channel capture of SCK, MOSI and MISO of a AVRDUDE / USBasp driving an Arduino Nano.

The capture shows SCK at around 750kHz rate, the default (-B1) rate for AVRDUDE in this setup. Continue reading ISP programming of the (tr)uSDX – more on SPI

NanoVNA-H4 – battery charge from discharged

This article documents the charge cycle of a NanoVNA-H4 from fully discharged to charged.

The DUT is probably a ‘standard’ H4, but with Chinese sourced produce, you never, never know.

The original battery fitted to the NanoVNA-H v4.3 is a 804050 (8.0x40x50mm) 2000mAh LiPo pouch cell (1S) with protection board.

The charger chip is a TP4056, and it would appear to be limited by Rprog to about 0.75A (which includes the current drawn by the working NanoVNA-H4) (though the circuit employed would appear to tweak that limit between VNA on and off conditions with R44). The TP4056 is simply a charger chip, it will not prevent over-discharge of the cell so it is wise to use a cell with protection board (as originally supplied on the DUT).

Above is a plot of the calibrated battery voltage reported by the NanoVNA-H4. Continue reading NanoVNA-H4 – battery charge from discharged

RF Power Meter 2 (RFPM2) – 40dB external attenuator calibration and integration

RF Power Meter 2 is a logging RF power meter based on AD8307 and ESP8266.

This article describes its calibration and use with a 40dB 50Ω 20W attenuator to make a 20W or 43dBm RF power meter.

Above is a pic of the system under test on a nominal 5W transmitter, indicating 37.4dBm, equivalent to 5.5W. Continue reading RF Power Meter 2 (RFPM2) – 40dB external attenuator calibration and integration

(tr)uSDX – review of the directional coupler ADC design

I noted some online discussions where some people had troubles with the displayed forward and reverse RF power  values, and the calculated SWR.

Some of the reports indicate non-zero RF power values displayed when the transmitter is off, symptoms which direct diagnosis in the first instance to review of the ADC input circuit.

This article reviews the hardware design based on documents as published at the date of this article.

ATmega328P datasheet

Let’s start by reviewing some relevant parts of the ATmega328P datasheet.

Above is a simplified schematic of the ADC pin input circuit. Note the current sources IIH and IIL. Continue reading (tr)uSDX – review of the directional coupler ADC design

Another small efficient matching transformer for an EFHW – 2643251002 – #4 – a paired Guanella 1:1 balun

Another small efficient matching transformer for an EFHW – 2643251002 – #2 – prototype bench measurement continued the development of a transformer design. This article presents a Guanella 1:1 (current) balun (or common mode choke) using the same type of core.

Above, the EFHW transformer prototype. Continue reading Another small efficient matching transformer for an EFHW – 2643251002 – #4 – a paired Guanella 1:1 balun

Center-Fed Dipole : elements length for a Z=200 +/- 0j ohms

A chap asked online for dimensions of a 50MHz dipole with a feed point of 200+j0 to suit 50Ω feed line and a 1:4 coax half wave balun. The “+/- 0j” is hammy Sammy talk from an ‘Extra’.

This type of balun, properly implemented, is a good voltage balun, and it is quite suited to a highly symmetric antenna.

A good voltage balun will deliver approximately equal voltages (wrt the input ground) with approximately opposite phase, irrespective of the load impedance (including symmetry).

Where the load is symmetric, we can say a good voltage balun will deliver approximately equal currents with approximately opposite phase, irrespective of the load impedance.

It is an interesting application, and contrary to the initial responses on social media, there is a simple solution.

One solution

Let’s take a half wave dipole and lengthen it a little so the feed point admittance becomes 1/200-jB (or 200 || jX). We will build an NEC model of the thing in free space.

Above is a sweep of the dipole which is 3.14m long (we will talk about how we came to that length later), and the Smith chart prime centre is 200+j0… the target impedance. Continue reading Center-Fed Dipole : elements length for a Z=200 +/- 0j ohms

Another small efficient matching transformer for an EFHW – 2643251002 – #3 – thermal measurement

The article
Another small efficient matching transformer for an EFHW – 2643251002 – #2 – prototype bench measurement continued the development of a transformer design. This article presents thermal measurements.


Losses were predicted from a model as follows. Continue reading Another small efficient matching transformer for an EFHW – 2643251002 – #3 – thermal measurement

Sontheimer coupler – transformer issues – an alternative design – FT37-43

Sontheimer coupler – transformer issues discussed problems with the Sontheimer coupler in a recently published QRP transceiver ((tr)uSDX / trusdx), suggesting that the core loss in transformer T2 was excessive.

This article presents an alternative design for the transformer for a coupler for a 5W transmitter.

The above circuit is from (Grebenkemper 1987) and is an embodiment of (Sontheimer 1966). In their various forms, this family of couplers have one or sometimes two transformers with their primary in shunt with the through line. Let’s focus on transformer T2. It samples the though line RF voltage, and its magnetising impedance and transformed load appear in shunt with the through line. T2’s load is usually insignificant, but its magnetising impedance is significant and is often a cause of: Continue reading Sontheimer coupler – transformer issues – an alternative design – FT37-43