5V TTL interface GPSs can be had for about $10 on eBay. They are aimed at the RC market and although the GPS chip is a 3.3V chip, they have a 5V regulator on board and level shifters or 5V tolerant IO.
To use them with APRS you usually need to get RS232 output and to support the common 12V feed on the DE9 connector, the RS-232 / TTL adapter needs to incorporate a 12V/5V regulator.
This article describes a couple of modules that are available on eBay for a dollar or so, and suitable for modification by adding the regulator.
Above left and bottom are two MAX3232 modules that have had a LM78L05 regulator and decoupling cap added to provide for 12V in and 5V to power the MAX3232 and GPS (top right is a Ublox NEO6M).
In the case of the lower module, a track has to be cut to disconnect the pad for 12V in from the existing circuitry.
An online poster recently sought to design a broadband 9:1 transformer for HF.
Choosing a BN43-2402 balun core, he planned to use a 2t primary and 6t secondary for a nominal 50Ω input. He subsequently posted measurements of the prototype.
What might we expect… is it a good starting point.
A first approximation at the low frequency end with a medium µ core is that it is like an ideal transformer withe the magnetising impedance in shunt with the primary. Continue reading BN43-2402 balun example
The NBN is coming….
Our NBN street cabinet, or Node in FTTN. The pic is not crooked, the cabinet is out of level.
We received advice that NBN access is now available in our street… about 10 months after the street cabinet was installed.
This is the best hope we have had of escaping Telstra’s appalling service that we have endured for 6 years.
Above is a plot of the median download speed of the Telstra 8Mb/s ADSL service.
Above, the distribution for last week show that although HTTP speeds would appear to be capped at 2Mb/s on an 8Mb/s access pipe, the inevitable slide to poorer performance is shown where around 10% of the measurements are below 0.25Mb/s. Continue reading iinet – pre-connect experience
The OCF short vertical dipole for HF has become popular, particularly disguised as a flag pole for low impact installations and encouraged by claims of outstanding performance. The antenna was described in QST and a commercial version was available at time of writing.
The rationale for the design is that it is a short dipole, not requiring radials, and feed point offset downwards by 30% as an optimal value for performance (driven by often unsound assessments of coax loss).
Off-Center Fed Vertical Dipole design means no radials, 90% efficient or better across 80m – 10m
Above is the promising gain plot for one of the commercial implementations, it is only one S point (6dB) behind a quarter wave vertical with 4 buried radials. Continue reading OCF short vertical dipole for HF
The CADWELDPLUSCU is the igniter for the Cadweld Plus line of electrically initiated thermite weld capsules. The plug seen on the end of the cable slides over the flat connection strip to the capsule.
The environment around the weld crucible is subject to a sudden ejection of hot gases and smoke, much of which is emitted out of the slot in a Oneshot crucible intended for the connection strip, and this is only a 45g capsule. There is probably less gas emitted towards the connector on reusable moulds as the gap for the connection strip is very narrow.
Despite dressing the plug away from the stream of hot gasses emitted, it can be seen above that the plug has suffered heat damage. Of particular concern is deformation of the parts at the cable clamp rendering it less effective. The plugs come on a new lead set that is relatively expensive.
Since one wants to be able to yank the cord away from the crucible as soon as possible to minimise heat damage, the cord grip needs to be effective.
This article describes two measures taken to protect the plug and ensure the cord grip works. Continue reading Cadweld Plus Control Unit
The MFJ-993B auto antenna tuner includes an internal balun, this article is a review of that balun.
The schematic shows the balun as a Guanella 4:1 balun with the usual external link to one of the coaxial antenna sockets. (The label “Z balanced” is misleading, clearly one of the terminals is grounded and this is the unbalanced connection to the coax connector via a link. The antenna connects to the left hand terminals.)
Unlike almost all ATUs with an internal balun, this is a current balun (to their credit), but a 4:1 balun.
There are two aspects of balun behaviour that are of particular interest:
- choking or common mode impedance; and
- impedance transformation.
Continue reading MFJ-993B internal balun review
At MFJ-993B on my G5RV with tuned feeder I discussed first impressions of the replacement ATU.
This article documents the physical layout.
The antenna is a G5RV with tuned feeders (Varney 1958). The tuned feeder is home made two wire line using 2mm diameter copper spaced 50mm.
Above at the right, the open wire line terminates on a home made balun on the feed line entrance panel, see
Design / build project: Guanella 1:1 ‘tuner balun for HF’ – #4 for details of the balun. This is all under the building eaves, but it is waterproof… the area is regularly jetted with high pressure water to clean insects away. Continue reading Shack entry / ATU configuration for my G5RV with tuned feeder
I was given one of these cheap Chinese compression connector tool because “it didn’t work any good”. Continue reading Cheap Chinese compression connector tool
I saw a recent discussion where the blind were leading the blind on the dimensions of a twisted two wire line for Zo=50Ω for use in a balun.
The poster had used an online calculator which used the well known log function for estimating Zo of an air spaced two wire line… the calculator, like most quotations of the formula do not state clearly that it is only an approximation of limited validity, and the calculator returned results for ridiculous inputs (like negative spacing).
The graph above (Duffy 2008) shows the log approximation, and the underlying acosh based estimate. I say estimate because the acosh function does not account for proximity effect which becomes significant at the very closest spacings, and internal inductance which becomes significant at lower frequencies. Proximity effect depends on more than just the spacing/diameter ratio and so cannot be shown on the above graph.
So how did our poster find dimensions for wires for Zo=50Ω when the log graph above shows that as the wire centre to centre spacing approaches the wire diameter, it the wires approach touching, Zo approaches 83Ω? Continue reading Zo of two wire line
I was browsing a ham forum recently when I came across a Return Loss plot apparently from a ham grade miniVNA Tiny.
Lets just remind ourselves of the meaning of the term Return Loss. (IEEE 1988) defines Return Loss as:
(1) (data transmission) (A) At a discontinuity in a transmission system the difference between the power incident upon the discontinuity. (B) The ratio in decibels of the power incident upon the discontinuity to the power reflected from the discontinuity. Note: This ratio is also the square of the reciprocal to the magnitude of the reflection coefficient. (C) More broadly, the return loss is a measure of the dissimilarity between two impedances, being equal to the number of decibels that corresponds to the scalar value of the reciprocal of the reflection coefficient, and hence being expressed by the following formula:
where Z1 and Z2 = the two impedances.
(2) (or gain) (waveguide). The ratio of incident to reflected power at a reference plane of a network.
Return Loss expressed in dB wrt a real reference impedance will ALWAYS be a positive number in passive networks.
Return Loss according to the miniVNA Tiny
Above, the miniVNA Tiny presents Return Loss as a negative value. Continue reading The sign of Return Loss