Thursday, 7 February 2019

Louder Whispers

I have to say, again, I really do like the kits Hans Summers designs and produces, and so have now begun the 5W HF PA, to add to my U3S beacon. Despite the very compact PCBs, construction of QRPlabs kits is amazingly straightforward, as Hans really does guide you through step by step with superbly detailed assembly instructions.

Along with the 5W PA kit, I also ordered a new MCU for my U3S with the latest firmware, as this supports the external switching functions I intend to use to add an antenna changeover relay to give an ongoing antenna feed out to a receiver - in my case an FRG-100.

But enough! You dont want to hear me chatting about this, so, here are the pictures of the build so far...

The bagged kit. Good strong bags!

Capacitors fitted. The quality of the PCB can be seen here

Fitting the resistors. This kit is rather resistor heavy!

All the 1/8w resistors fitted except one (a later mod)
 This stage was the only time I had any mishap with tonights part of the build, when I inadvertently let solder flow into an adjacent hole. Rather than go to the trouble of clearing the whole, I simply positioned the leg of the resistor that was to go into it, and melted the solder while gently pushing the resistor in, so it slid cleanly down and through.

The 2W 0.33r resistor and the preset installed
5V regulator and IC socket now fitted
Thats it for tonight! Im going to spread this build out over a few days. Hopefully, by the time I complete this, including installing and connecting it up inside the U3S case, I will also be in a position to make a final good job of the QLG GPS receiver that governs the beacon. A work colleague is into 3D printing, and has offered to print me a case to my specifications for the QLG, which will bolt onto the top of the U3S case, finally making a neat and tidy all in one job of it.

Before I get too far into the semiconductors, I really should finish the rewire of the mains distribution for the bench! The 4-way socket is being replaced with a 6-way. And the earth pins on the ESD plugs, which is what has damaged the safety shutters on the 4-way panel, are going to have a bevel filed into them! At least the workshop lighting has now been replaced with the new LED strips. If only now I could get used to the new location of the light switches!

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