My mind has been busy with no NEW radio hardware with which to play. That should change soon enough.
I have both the flex-1500 as well as the the first up converter kit on order that will get me into a 2 meter (144 MHz) second IF range. That 2 meter conversion, a DEMI L144-28IAC, will NOT make a good stand alone 2 meter rig as the receiver section does not include a low noise pre-amplifier. The receive amplifier stage is not needed when converter is intended to be fed with the output from the microwave converter.
10 GHz is my target microwave band for my first rig. There is a lot of activity in North Texas and the antennas are small for portability. I figure there will not be much operation from home except for testing.
I am thinking I will be ordering another DEMI (Down East Microwave, Inc.) kit for the 10 GHz module. I'll be saying more about that when I make that move. Then the next important item needed is some sort of antenna.
Here is where I think I will be able to make use of my machining skills. I can make just about anything from suitable chunks of metal. I think even waveguides if I put my mind and skills to the task. My current thought is I will be making a horn antenna for starters. Then will come some sort of dish design. There are many variations in dish and feed design. Antennas are a whole area of microwave experimentation unto itself. The initial hurdle to overcome is getting some usable RF energy at 10 GHz with which to experiment.
So I am going with proven kit modules so I can get on the air with a suitable signal. Future experimentation will be toward refining my initial equipment toward whatever my operational goals will be. I am wide open to everything at the moment.
The stable single point 10 MHz frequency standard is on my list of “things to have” but I have moved it from what I have mentioned was my first step priority so I could work harder and faster on getting a 10 GHz signal out.
I will now have two 28Mhz transceivers from which to choose for the front end. The superior flex-1500 which requires a computer to operate and a HTX-100 single band 10 meter rig, which will probably be just fine for portable rover use. I will certainly find out.