Monday, 31 October 2016

Ultimate 3S - It Lives!

In between boxing up parcels, and scaring kids with my S10 respirator (in my defense it is Halloween!) ive had chance to power up and configure, partially, my Ultimate 3S beacon -

I had a few difficulties at first, due to a crocodile with a wide mouth! It turned out that the crocodile clip I was trying to use had been over stretched and its teeth didnt quite come together, so my -ve lead kept falling out!

It took some time for me to become familiar with the menus and the setting process. I managed to eventually get my callsign and locator set, and a WSPR mode transmission set up. I then had to go Trick or Treating with Tom,

These are the pumpkins I carved yesterday, suffering intense cramp in my hand as a result!

Back in the workshop, timing was set reasonably successfully using my watch. The power output was a doddle to set though, although my QRP power meter and dummy load isnt calibrated! I used my Alinco 2m handheld to calibrate it roughly, by measuring the handheld output on the Marconi 2955, and then seeing what that power read on the QRP meter. With the one BS170 MOSFET, it seems I am getting a comfortable 1/4W, or there abouts. Frequency was more awkward. For a start, I wasnt at all sure what to set! Luckily I discovered the table of sub-bands in the manual, and was able to set up for the center of the band. Then I managed to eventually find my signal on my main radio, which is acting as test receiver.

I eventually worked out, after a few false starts getting great decodes of my own spurii, that I was about 4kHz off frequency. Without the GPS module in use, I had to do a manual calibration. The instructions for this turned out to be in the assembly manual, not the operating manual!

My frequency is now roughly in the middle of the operating window. My own decodes are a bit intermittent at present which im putting down to having set the synthesiser to turn off between transmissions, which I think is causing a bit of a chirp! The 'park' control in the firmware is for telling the synth what to do between active transmissions, so I will set that back to an 'on' state.

The above screenshot shows my WSPR signal, and the recent decodes.

Before I can put the beacon to air though, I need to build a 5V regulator board for it, to allow me to run it from a 12V supply. This is a task for tomorrow.

No comments: