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Friday, June 5, 2015

BITX DIGI-TIA Build Update #7: On The Air!

With lots of encouragement from Pete, I finally got the BITX DIGI-TIA on the air.  The first contacts were made yesterday. I have it on 40 meter SSB.  The finicky denizens of that audio-conscious band seemed to like the sound of the rig.   I was almost reluctant to tell them it is homebrew (no need to stir up trouble!)
The plug in filter arrangement seems to work very well.  This will allow me to put this rig on many other bands.  All I have to do is build some additional filter boards and upload modified versions of the software.  There is even space to make a plug-on socket for the crystal filter (the 9 MHz IF would not be cool for 17 meters).  
I'm really pleased with the RF power chain (the original BITX chain).  This time I built it all in a straight line along the back of the transceiver with lots of attention to shielding and grounding.  There were no instability problems.  The amplifiers did not try to be oscillators.  I was shocked!
I did have to reduce the gain of the three termination insensitive transmit amplifiers. Using the chart in the 2009 Wes Hayward/Bob Kopski article,  with just a few resistors you can set the gain.   I had built them with 19.4 db gain each.  This turned out to be too much -- the slightest amount of audio into the SBL-1 was driving the amplifiers to peak output.  So yesterday I changed all three amps to 15 db (I think that was what Farhan had in the original BITX).  It only took me about 15 minutes and it seemed to take care of the problem.  I am getting 7 or 8 watts out of the IRF-510.
T/R switching is very smooth and quiet using just two small 12V relays.
Thanks to Pete for the mil-pad boards and the encouragement (especially on the use of the Si5351).  Thanks to Farhan for the BITX architecture. Thanks to Steve Smith for the Yaesu filter.  Thanks to Wes and Bob for the TIA circuit.  Thanks to Thomas in Norway for the Si5351 software.  And Thanks to Allison for all the good advice.


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1 comment:

  1. Bill, FB HB. Tell us more about the RF power chain arrangement to prevent oscillating amplifiers.

    keep up the inspiring work.


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