Remote speaker-microphones and DMR portables discussed RF ingress to Speaker Mics(RSM) used with DMR radios in digital mode.
I purchased a Retevis SM that was advertised as original equipment for the MD-380, but turned out to be lousy with RF interference in the form of the ‘motorboat noise’ on transmit audio.
Dismantling the SM (fighting the way through TORX with PIN screws, what are they trying to protect) I found there is precious little RF filtering, just a single SMD cap at the end of a long (wrt 500MHz) branch track.
Above is the modified SM. Continue reading Retevis MD-380 speaker mic modification to reduce RF interference
Last update: 14th December, 2016, 7:27 PM
At Remote speaker-microphones and DMR portables I discussed the propensity for RF ingress to speaker microphones on DMR radios in digital mode.
This article looks at another speaker mic problem, mechanical compatibility of the plug / jack arrangement.
The MD-390 is IP67 rated, which means that it has a water-resistant gasket around the speaker mic jacks.
Above, the soft rubber gasket surrounds the speaker mic jacks, and if you look carefully, you will note that the metal part of the jack is recessed in the gasket. This is not an unsual arrangement. Continue reading TYT (Tytera) MD-390 speaker mic plug compatibility issues
Last update: 23rd December, 2016, 9:00 AM
I have an IC-7410 with R1 of the firmware installed.
I have attempted to use its PTT tuner start feature (triggers ATU tune on PTT if frequency changed a significant amount) with an MFJ-993B ATU, but it fails.
The symptoms are that the IC-7410 does not transmit its tune carrier, it remains in the mode active when PTT was pressed.
Tuner operations initiated from the IC-7410 TUNE switch appear to all work as expected.
Above is a logic trace of the ATU control wires on PTT tune. everything looks good, when the /START signal is recognised as valid, the ATU asserts KEY and the IC-7410 should put tune carrier out… but it doesn’t and the ATU aborts after about 0.5s without tuning. Continue reading Icom IC-7410 – PTT tuner start doesn’t work
Last update: 11th December, 2016, 2:03 PM
Speaker-mics (RSM) are popular with portables (hand-helds), and it turns out that a lot of the implementations which appeared to work properly with conventional FM radios have issues on DMR portables.
The frustration in buying these things online is that sellers typically have no idea of what they are selling.
This article deals with degraded audio in a form that is often described as motor boating. Continue reading Speaker-microphones and DMR portables
Last update: 17th January, 2017, 7:52 AM
This article describes an add-on to a MFJ-993B auto ATU to provide an audible alarm when reflected power exceeds a set threshold. A deficiency of the original design IMHO.
The solution uses the generic heating / cooling controller (hcctl) configured for its alarm function only, including a function to silence the alarm.
Above is the directional coupler part of the MFJ-993B. The REF test point is designed to present voltages within the range 0-5V when used within the stated power ratings. Continue reading Reflected power alarm for the MFJ-993B
Last update: 4th December, 2016, 7:53 AM
This article describes my build of a Radio-Kits SWR meter (v1.1) and post implementation review.
- HF coverage – 1.8-30MHz
- Displays VSWR, forward power, reverse power and supply voltage
- Peak reading power meter
- Bar graph or numerical format
- Reverse power alarm with adjustable threshold
- Auto turn on in presence of RF – sensitivity about 1 watt
- Optional turn off after preset time – 10-240 seconds
- Backlit LCD display with variable brightness
- Reverse polarity protection
I purchased the kit some years ago, and on receiving it and reviewing the circuit I formed the view that it was likely to have unacceptable Insertion VSWR on 1.8Mhz, and probably 3.5MHz bands… so I lost interest in assembling the kit. However, I have belatedly constructed the kit, calibrated and tested it.
The kit is supplied as a PCB and parts, no casework is supplied.
The board was difficult to solder, the strain relieved ground plane connections of components have very little donut to contact for heat transfer and are much harder to solder than the other pads. The strain relief is a dubious feature that makes soldering difficult.
Above, the kit assembled in a die-cast aluminium box. An opening for the LCD was milled into the box, and holes drilled for the rest of the fit up. The kit does not lend itself to this boxing as the buttons out the top and display out the front are a problem to fit up. A poor mechanical design.
Above is the interior of the box showing the LCD display and the external BNC connectors fitted (substituted for the ubiquitous UHF connectors supplied with the kit). Continue reading Radio-Kits SWR meter – build and review
Last update: 23rd November, 2018, 4:22 PM
(Grebenkemper 1987) describes a directional coupler that has become very popular, especially in commercial implementation.
The simplified circuit above from Grebenkemper’s article illustrates the key elements of the directional coupler.
An important detail of the design is that the primary of the right hand transformer appears in shunt with the antenna load, and the magnetising impedance of that transformer core compromises Insertion VSWR. It is important that the magnetising impedance is sufficiently high (or the admittance sufficiently low) to not cause significant Insertion VSWR.
Continue reading Grebenkember’s original Tandem match
Last update: 26th November, 2016, 7:39 AM
The project is to build a test a couple of QRP VSWR detectors by KitsAndParts.com (http://www.kitsandparts.com/bridge.php) rated at 10W.
Above are the completed kits.
Above is the schematic. The bridge uses a type of Sontheimer coupler (Sontheimer 1966) and these are commonly poorly designed. The first question is whether the magnetising impedance of T2 which appears in shunt with the load is sufficiently high to not give rise to poor insertion VSWR. Continue reading KitsAndParts.com QRP SWR bridge
Last update: 25th January, 2023, 4:06 AM
I have heard ‘traditional wisdom’ that there is a timing limit imposed by the DMR protocol limit that limits radio path lengths to less than 70km.
There is indeed a limit and it is due to the 2ms guard interval between time slots, and half of that time is available for accomodation of round trip radio propagation delay (RTT), so 1ms with c0=3e8m/s gives a one way distance limit of 150km.
To put the ‘traditional wisdom’ to the test, I took a UHF DMR handheld up onto a nearby hill and successfully had a medium length QSO via the VK2RAG repeater netoworked to VK1BGT using the VK1RBM repeater.
Continue reading DMR distance limit
Last update: 19th November, 2016, 11:49 AM
A recent online posting gave unequivocal recommendation for the Coil32 Inductance Calculator for application to a ferrite toroidal HF current balun.
Always interested in these things, I tried to download it to evaluate it but there was rigmorol to create an account and aware that I have never downloaded a calculator that handled that specific problem at all well, I was reluctant.
They do however have some online calculators that are supposed to use the same algorithms and methods as the downloadable software, so lets review the one for a toroidal ferrite inductor.
Above is the data entry form, and warning bells sound. The “relative magnetic permeability” field is a simple scalar quantity, but the permeability of most ferrites at HF needs to be considered as a complex value (ie having real and imaginary components). Continue reading Coil32 inductance calculator
Last update: 13th May, 2018, 6:58 AM