Friday, 23 December 2016

Ultimate 3S Beacon - Shiny Box!

A knock on the door yesterday from our friendly local postlady, put me in possession of a remarkably heavy box postmarked from China. For quite a while I couldnt think what it could be, being much heavier and bigger than a few DS18B20 ICs or a couple of Arduino Nanos. Then I remembered that the Ultimate 2S beacon kits bespoke case is shipped from the Far East.

I had planned on re-engineering the rear half of the case to provide a mount for a Clansman PRC-349 NiCd pack, but on seeing the case decided to keep it as intended.

The front panel was a fraction bent but will soon straighten out. In fact with such a panel its best to give it a very slight curve inwards, as then when secured to the rest of the case it will be under slight tension and form a good seal. There are two buttons, for the operating settings, and two switches, both SPCO. One is of course power, but the other is available for anything you wish to put it to.

On the rear is the power connector, a standard DC barrel connector with a switching contact, the RF out BNC, and a 9-way D-sub for the GPS and anything else you may need connections for.

 The GPS only needs four connections, which leaves five for other use, such as ICSP, or control outputs. Of course, a very simple way of getting many more connections would be to change the 9-way D-sub for a 15-way High Density D-sub!

The Ultimate 3S is now mounted on the front panel, but I have not yet connected it up. I do have one small problem now in that my recently installed SMA connector is now too close to the edge of the case to put the plug on! Looks like i'll be going back to using the pin headers for the RF output connection!

One very noticeable thing is the large amount of empty space in the rear of the case. Intended I think for building an SDR receiver in or adding the PA block. However, I want a QRP portable  beacon, so have begun pondering using this space to build in a 5V regulator and a 2S LiPo battery pack - using the spare D-sub pins for a balance charging connection.

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