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Saturday, October 19, 2013

BITX Build Update #14 -- STABILITY!

Good news on the BITX.  I think I have solved the low frequency oscillation problem in the power amplifier.  I tried running the PA off a separate power supply -- the oscillations disappeared leading me to conclude that the feedback was taking place via the power supply lines.   I put a 22 uF cap to ground from the top of the PA's RF choke.  With this cap in place I can dispense with the separate supply kludge. The amp is stable.

This morning I also resolved a different stability problem.  I'm using a relay for T/R switching.  One set of contacts controls the DC power, the other set was supposed to disconnect the receiver input from the antenna/lowpass filter when on receive.  But I had positioned the relay too far from the LP filter and RX input, so I ended up with this long piece of coax that was hanging off the PA output terminal and carrying lots of RF on transmit.  Yes, this led to oscillations.  I thought about repositioning the relay, but I think part of the problem is that even if optimally positioned, the long unshielded contact levers inside this relay would be radiating a lot of RF and causing stability problems.   So instead I put a small reed relay very close to the PA out and RX in connections.  It carries the signal to the receiver when in R mode, and disconnects the RX when in T mode, without any long coax lines or unshielded relay levers.   It works.

I still have a few things to do:
-- I need to build a proper speaker amplifier so that I can dispense with the amplified computer speakers KLUDGE.
-- I need to get a 3 pole double throw switch and some crystal sockets so that I can switch crystals from the front panel.  Three rocks will cover all of 17 meter phone.
-- I have to build a case for this rig.  I'm thinking wood, with tin or aluminum sheeting glued to the inside (for shielding).  

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