Accessories and Test Gear

 

Five Digit Frequency Counter

A counter is probably the most useful addition to any rig! The five digit version has two input channels which are normally connected to the rig's VFO (to 60+ MHz) and CIO; these can be read individually, added or subtracted so making it suitable for additive or subtractive superhets with any IF, or for direct conversion rigs or test gear. The five displays show the MHz & KHz with a normal LSB of 1 KHz. This counter is ideal for the Minster where some bands add, and others subtract the CIO from the LO. It uses high efficiency small 0.3" wide by 0.5" high common cathode 7 segment LED displays; these are driven by DC signals from the electrically quiet CMOS counting logic using a crystal reference oscillator whose harmonics are outside any amateur band. The individual LED segment resistors are mounted immediately behind their display and are separate from the driving logic PCB. The high impedance input circuits have a typical sensitivity of 50 mV RMS at 20 MHz. PCB size 160 x 50 mm. The kit includes parts for one input buffer and suits all Somerset Range rigs. This design is intended for multi-band rigs primarily where the simpler 3 digit design below is less suitable. Although the kit is supplied with the narrow 0.3" wide type of  seven segment display, it can alternatively drive the larger 1" high versions which are commonly available. The Five digit counter is 35 GBP.


The Three Digit KHz Counter

This is a low cost alternative that normally shows just the important KiloHertz numbers of the input frequency - any MHz numbers overflow (normally) out of sight to the left! This means that it is suitable for direct conversion rigs, and for the simpler superhets whose IF is an integer number of MHz - as in all WE kits. The least significant digit shows the units of KHz, and the top digit shows the hundreds of KHz. It uses the same devices as the 5D counter so has all the advantages of low noise and DC currents in the wires to the displays. For use with superhets, it can count either up or down, with remote DC control for multi-band options. Input sensitivity is about 50 mV p-p at 10 MHz down to 100 mV at 35 MHz; the maximum input frequency will be normally be over 60 MHz. The PCB size is 50 x 80 mm; supply required, 7 to 22 volts. The 21 segment resistors are mounted behind the display or end-on at the logic PCB. The kit is provided with the narrow 0.3" wide type of seven segment display but can drive the larger 1" high version if required. The photo below shows the wiring to the displays and the three digit counter PCB - this particular design had two extra counting MHz drivers just out of picture! Extra MHz displays can be either hard wired, or made to count (under the control of the 3D logic PCB) by adding only two ICs. The basic 3D counter cost is 25 GBP. Extra MHz displays & resistors 1 GBP each, or two displays with 2 counting chips 5 GBP.


Antenna Matching Unit

The Mk 6 version uses the same basic T match and bridge circuits as in earlier versions but with the variable inductor now formed from switch selected inductors. This approach is an easier way to make a variable inductor! The design has a resistive 50R matching bridge, a broadband RF transformer and the T configuration impedance matching parts. Power is limited to around 20W by the variable capacitors! When selected for tuning up, the resistive matching bridge will always present a safe load to the TX no matter what the load from matching parts and the antenna looks like! The bridge uses a high intensity LED for indication but can also work with a conventional meter or an S meter. When the bridge is out of circuit the LED responds to RF output voltage as applied to the matching circuit. The broadband RF transformer (on the white toroid) allows the matching section to work with balanced or unbalanced feed lines, and isolates the matching parts and antenna/feeder from the incoming unbalanced RF feed from the transmitter. The T matching section (two variable capacitors and the switched inductors) is very adaptable, dealing with load impedances from about 25 to 2000 Ohms over the frequency range 2 to 30 MHz. The main inductor comprises seven switch selected inductors wound on toroids - the inductance required can increase in steps of about 0.1 /uH in a near binary sequence up to a maximum of about 20 /uH; they are easily made single windings on T50-2 cores. For any particular band, feeder and antenna combination, usually only one or two (occasionally three) adjacent inductors will be selected which makes adjustment very easy by flicking probably just two adjacent switches. The price is 36 GBP.


Linear Amplifiers

There is a choice of two amplifiers. The Standard Linear is a broadband design for any of the 1.5 Watt transmitters of Somerset Range rigs and can produce up to 10W on all bands, 20 to 160m on 13.8 volts using IRF510 MOSFETs - it is intended to be connected between the rig's output stage and its harmonic filters/TR switch so as to reduce the overall complexity. (The PCB can also take the alternative RD06 MOSFETs that will enable it to operate up to 10m - but ask me about this.) The PCB of the standard Linear is only 80 x 100 with two 50 mm high upright heatsinks as shown left below. The price 24 GBP.

The High Power version (below right) has much bigger heatsinks and uses IRF520 devices for about 15W out on 20m with 15v supplies while needing about 0.5W of drive for full output. 20m is intended to be the normal highest frequency band but on the lower bands, up to 30W is possible with about the same drive. The IRF520s really come into their own on higher supplies up to the maximum of 30v when 20W on 20m, or nearer 50W on 160m is possible (with care over heatsink temperature!) The design includes two TR relays so that it is only activated during transmission; these relays and the bias circuits are activated when you ground your push to talk line. Following the amplifier there is a single double Pi harmonic filter which is best built for your highest frequency band - when other filters are needed, they can be added externally after the amplifier. The size is 100 x 180 x 35 mm over the topside of the PCB. The price is 37 GBP.


Mini CW kit

This unit adds CW facilities to an existing phone transceiver. For the receiver, it has a humped 725 Hz low pass audio filter, which can be selected from the front panel switch (included) to reduce the rig's normal phone audio bandwidth to that desirable for CW. The filter is normally connected just ahead of the rig's manual or automatic audio gain control stage. For the transmitter, it includes semi break-in TR control from the key input (with about a half second delay before it reverts to reception) and is connected to the rig's PTT circuit. Closing the key also activates the separate adjustable level 725 Hz tone outputs (from an on board sinusoidal 725 Hz oscillator) that are fed to the receiver for RX sidetone monitoring, and to the TX's speech amplifier stages to make it transmit a steady carrier while the key is down. It is suitable for DSB or SSB phone rig's. The PCB is single sided, 50 x 80 mm, needing a nominal 12 volt supply. In the photo immediately above, it is the small PCB on the front end with two presets in the middle. The price is 18 GBP.


Mini AGC kit

This unit provides audio derived Automatic Gain Control for receivers that have only a manual audio gain control. It is intended to be added immediately ahead of the rig's normal AFG control. It holds the audio output reasonably constant at about 250 mV p-p for inputs over about 15 mV p-p up to a few volts! It also has protection from the disturbing effects of noise spikes, which can lead to unwanted desensitization of the receiver. There are no extra front panel controls. When fitted, the rig's normal muting (during transmission) needs to be altered to instead apply muting to the input of the AGC kit, so as to allow a quick recovery on reverting to reception. The PCB is single sided 50 x 80mm and needs a nominal 12 volt supply. In the photo immediately above, it is the PCB on the side of the Tone RX. The kit is particularly suitable for RX's with simple audio output stages that can be prone to overloading on very strong signals. Builders say it adds greatly to the listening experience of rigs like the Rode! Price is 15 GBP.


Mk 2 Mini Mixer kit

This improved design is primarily intended for VFO applications driving a transmitter that need a crystal mixing scheme to avoid chirp/FMing, or to obtain better frequency stability than would normally occur in a high frequency VFO for reception or transmission purposes. The kit uses two JFETs in a dual gate MOSFET mixer configuration, which feeds into a twin resonator band pass filter. One mixer input comes from an external VFO - typically that of the Mk 2 Yeo RX when modified to run near 5 MHz instead of the band frequency. The other mixer input is derived from an on board 9 MHz crystal oscillator, either direct or after up to two stages of digital division by 2. The band pass filter after the mixer uses 3334 TOKO inductors that can be tuned to any single band 20 - 80m. The filters feed an analogue output buffer as well as digital gates that square up the desired LO signal to provide a 0-5v square wave. If the digital dividers are not used for the crystal derived mixer signal, they can be used instead after the main digital output. The alternative divider schemes are selected by wire links. This enables a nominal 5 MHz VFO, when mixed with the 9 MHz crystal, to provide simultaneous LO outputs for 20, 40 & 80m bands for RX and or TX. These outputs can then selected by a single pole centre off switch for directly driving a three band rig! The standard kit can alternatively provide a digital LO output for 80 & 160m; other non-standard combinations of output frequencies, crystals and VFO input are possible - please ask me. The kit uses a double sided 50 x 80 mm PCB. The standard kit price is 15 GBP.

Dual LPF kit

This unit provides a pair of extra low pass filters for a transmitter; they are selected by one or two relays depending on the application. If the rig only needs to switch between the two filters on this PCB, then a single relay is fitted in a one position; if the rig has three bands, with the filter for the middle band elsewhere on the TX PCB, and you wish to add to more filters for 3 band operation, then two relays in the alternative position are used as in the photo below. The standard kit has parts for any two bands in the 20 - 160m group, but other band combinations are possible by request. The unit does not need any power apart from that which activates the relays whose coils are floating so can be switched in either lead. The unit has a double sided PCB to make mounting easier. Size is 50 x 80 mm. The Isle is shown part wired with this kit for three bands in the Intermediate section. Price is 11 GBP.

 


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