Easily Heard Signals

10 to 2 Xverter Update

I have been playing email tag with Sandra K4SME at Down East Microwave (DEMI) for a few days. My initial order for a L144-28INCK was over 25 days old. Sandra said I was sent an email about the delay, however I never saw it. Not unusual as I receive 100's of Spam because of my exposed email. I use a service, pobox.com to filter all my email. It filters out several hundred per day. Couldn't live without it.

The good thing is the delay started a conversation between Sandra and myself about exactly what I needed. I had changed my original plan and purchased the FLEX-1500 for my front end transceiver. This was after I first placed the order for the L144-28INCK that has a built in 116 MHz LO. No external 10 MHz standard required.

The Flex-1500 has the provision to be used with an external 10 MHz standard. A far better method for using the radio far into the microwave regions of the spectrum. The best microwave design has all stages tied to one standard 10 MHz stable master reference.

Sandra told me DEMI has a version of what I ordered with the built in ApolLO synthesizer, but it is not listed on the website.

I realized what I really want NOW is the L144-28IACK converter. It is the same as my original ordered unit with the ApolLO synthesizer built in. It requires the 10 MHz external standard.

That changed my thinking that I could convert my original L144-28INCK to an external 10 MHz at a later date. I wasn't sure how that would be done. Today I did find a Design Note on the DEMI site on how it's done. DEMi already had the plan. I would end up with the L144-28IACK, but would need to tear apart the INCK version to install it.

Sandra's great customer service revealed to me my thinking was a bit newbie short-sighted. She never SAID that. Ha! I came to my own conclusion. She was just making sure I ordered what I really wanted, thus meeting my expectations. What Sandra had actually done was taken the time to read this blog and realized I may be a bit off track. I was. Her guidance was very welcome.

Because of the delay, it was NOT too late change the order. So I have. The cost went up of course and DEMI has a better sale, but a much appreciative new customer. Thanks to Sandra, K4SME.

OK, so where is the L144-28IACK? ...It's coming. :)

QEX Update

QEX291QEX July/August 2015 just arrived in my ham shack. WOW! It sure has changed. A larger layout < 8 x 11 and only 45 pages. Very thin. The contents appear to be as good and technical as before but the advertising is rather light. Still looks like a good cutting edge technical journal. The first editorial on page 2 explains why the paper and even the cover of QEX has become so thin. It's all about economics. QEX is struggling to stay in print. The previous issue explained the financial reasons, but I haven’t read that issue.

Right on the cover is a subject of interest to me. A stable VFO which at first inspection looks like it can be a good basis for building a 10 MHz frequency standard for my microwave system. If stabilized with GPS it will indicate its location with a GPS information and accurate time in UTC.

I am glad I came back to QEX before it gets lost. Hopefully it will continue to exist as a digital publication and not just go away. I prefer reading the hard copy but I have adjusted to other low volume publications that were forced to go digital or die. The nice thing about digital is it can be searched and hyper-linked and parts of it like schematics can be printed out for actual shop use.

Netbook Improvements

DSC05869In the SDR tab you will read that I have upgraded my ASUS Eee PC1005HAB “Netbook” computer from WIN 7 Starter to Windows 10. I posted an article in Ramblin' Dan on the change. No need to repeat it here. Follow the link.

I also found a small registry change that allows my little netbook to have a much higher screen resolution from the original and mostly inadequate 1024 x 600. The new 1024 x 768 actually looks good on the screen but is slightly "squished". I assume the physical screen matrix actually is 1024 x 600 so that was set as the limit in design. Perhaps 600 vertical is a spec to qualify (?) as a netbook.

There is also now 1152 x 864 available but the screen display is even more “squished”. I'll probably never use it.

My plan is to stay at the original 1024 x 600 and jump to the 768 when I need to read something long on the screen. The FLEX-1500 display is what drove me to make the change. Here is a link to the FlexRadio suggested modification. Only the registry edit would work on my netbook. (second option). Use at your own risk (minimal) as you are meddling with the registry. Not a problem for a true hacker…

There are several other hacks for optimizing a windows PC for use with FlexRadio Systems from the link provided above. Look around while you are there and you may find other computer tweaks that may interest you. All at your own risk of course...