RF Power Meter 2 (RFPM2)

The RF Power Meter 2 is a development based on the utility of  RFPM1, but it shares nothing with the RFPM1, save using an AD8307 as the sense module.

Design criteria

The design criteria are:

  • small, portable, battery powered;
  • direct reading dB scale;
  • flexibility for a range of adapters to measure power, current etc;
  • local display including bar graph, time, and dB value;
  • log measurements to a serial port of some kind;
  • offer remote access for recent measurement log.

Design outline

The RFPM2 uses an AD8307 log power detector to obtain a analogue ‘DC’ voltage proportional to the log of the input power. The input port is 50Ω SMA, and accommodates from about -75dBm (the noise floor) to +15dBm.

The analogue output of the AD8307 is digitised on a microcontroller board, a NodeMCU which uses an ESP8266 processor with integral WiFi. The board also contains a CP210x USB to serial adapter for programming, power, and serial logging.

The display is deliberately generic, the units are dBm at the SMA input, but they could be dBA with a suitable current probe, or +xx dBV/m with a field strength sense antenna. Continue reading RF Power Meter 2 (RFPM2)

Should you trust your VSWR meter – linearisation

Should you trust your VSWR meter? asked an interesting question, and Should you trust your VSWR meter – detector linearity discussed a problem apparent in may VSWR meters.

This article illustrates one method of linearisation of the detector response of a practical VSWR meter.

Radio-kits SWR meter

This article contains an analysis of the analogue circuitry of the Radio-kits SWR meter.

The directional coupler at top left contains half wave peak detectors for forward and reflected waves. They are wired to the two compensated op amps at lower right (the connections are not shown on the circuit as the coupler may be remote, follow the terminal designations). Continue reading Should you trust your VSWR meter – linearisation

T962 IR reflow oven rework #2

T962 IR reflow oven rework documented rework of the inexpensive T962 IR rework oven. This article reports some tests on various modules.

The solder cream used is cheap Chinese 63/37 tin/lead solder cream that has been in the fridge for a couple of years, so it is past its use by date.

Solder cream was applied to pads using a pneumatic drive of a 10ml syringe with #22 blunt needle.

A U shaped piece of 0.5mm copper wire was placed on the oven drawer tray and the boards placed on the wire. This to isolate the boards from the thermal mass of the drawer tray.

The program used is shown above. Continue reading T962 IR reflow oven rework #2

Should you trust your VSWR meter – detector linearity

Should you trust your VSWR meter? asked an interesting question, and based on experience, including a relevant example, concluded:

The answer is no, like any measurement instrument, prove that it is trustworthy in the intended application.

It went on to ask:

If the VSWR meter is designed to fail, why does it fail?

This article contains an analysis of the analogue circuitry of the IC-7300 directional coupler to explain the likely cause of its poor behaviour.

IC-7300 directional coupler schematic


Above is an extract of the IC-7300 circuit in the area of the directional power coupler used for VSWR measurement. The circuit is a quite conventional Bruene coupler, and its response is similar to several types of directional couplers that produce a DC output voltage from a half wave detector. Continue reading Should you trust your VSWR meter – detector linearity

Should you trust your VSWR meter?

One often sees newbies ask about their VSWR meter readings, and a common observation is that the measured VSWR is better at low power and as power is increased, VSWR increases.

With the evolution of the ‘shack in a box’, and knowledge and experience to match, the problem is often reported observed with the transceiver’s internal VSWR meter.

Some of these ‘shack in a box’ have some pretty nifty features, for example the very popular Icom IC-7300 not only has an internal VSWR meter for the HF bands, but it can perform an assisted sweep and display the results graphically.

Isn’t that a great idea, so convenient, all good!

Or is it? Continue reading Should you trust your VSWR meter?

Co-phased collinear for 2m – discussion of phasing devices

An exploration of a cophased collinear array with coax phasing stubs explored various structures for encouraging co-phase operation of a 3/4λ vertical over perfectly conducting earth (PCE).

This article expands that set with NEC-4.2 models of some variations on the traditional Franklin form of the antenna.

Let’s start with review of the traditional Franklin form

Franklin form

The graphic above shows the topology of the Franklin form. It comprises a half wave vertical element over a quarter wave element, with a quarter wave horizontal s/c stub as the device to encourage co-phased operation of the elements. The current magnitude and phase distribution is shown in green. Continue reading Co-phased collinear for 2m – discussion of phasing devices

Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection II

At IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2 I reported some quality issues with two low cost SAMD21 Arduino Zero like boards, and at Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection some related discussion.

In view of continuing experience of incorrectly programmed low cost SAMD21 boards, I have decided to re-flash them as a matter of course

Above is one of the culprit boards. Continue reading Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection II

Motorola TAD1000B Folded Coaxial Antenna – discussion

This article is a discussion about the Motorola TAD1000B Folded Coaxial Antenna series.

Above is an image from Moto’s documentation, it shows what appears to be a simple coaxial or sleeve dipole, bit with the top quarter wave element folded like half of a folded dipole. Continue reading Motorola TAD1000B Folded Coaxial Antenna – discussion

An explanation of W5DXP’s ‘line extender device’

A correspondent wrote seeking explanation of W5DXP’s no-tuner tuner which purports to obtain a near match by adjusting the length of the transmission line using relays or switches of some kind.

The particular device that is of interest is one using a single double pole knife switch as a three position On-Off-On switch.

The accompanying explanations states that this “is a way to use a single DPDT knife switch to obtain one, two, or three feet of ladder-line depending on the position of the switch”. Continue reading An explanation of W5DXP’s ‘line extender device’