Sunday, April 19, 2009

Conference Motivation

Conferences always act like a shot in the arm to me, they give me renewed energy to go home and get my projects working. This past weekend I attended the 35th Eastern VHF/UHF conference, sponsored by the NEWS group. When I got home this afternoon I decided to get motivated and put the finishing touches on my GPS Stabilized 10Mhz oscillator. This is the N1JEZ/W1GHZ/G3RUH design that was published a few years ago. I picked up a pair of boards and a pair of GPS units and got the system working on the bench, but never finished integrating it all into an enclosure. Here are a few shots:

There is a lot of extra space in the enclosure, I plan on making some additions to the box, including the incorporation of an Apollo synth board being sold by DEMI as the A32. This will allow me to generate weak signals, portable, from all bands 1296 and above. This is especially important at 10GHz, where is my current LO is all over the place. Having a 10GHz at a known frequency allows me to calculate my offset and at least be accurate in frequency.

I've standardized on the Anderson Power-Pole connectors, this is a chassis mount board that I borrowed from W1GHZ and used as board filler for an ExpressPCB order I did a while back. The serial port will give you access to the NMEA data from the GPS. I may give this a whirl with my NTP server.

The control board has 2x10MHz outputs, but I'll need one of them to feed into the A32 board. I could most likely split one of the connections but I need to see what the drive level is out of the 10MHz board.

And finally, my frequency counter thinks it's accurate. Of course, my freq counter hasn't been calibrated in years, so thats only according to *it's* LO.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Eastern VHF/UHF conference this weekend

This weekend I'm heading down to Enfield, CT to attend the Eastern VHF/UHF conference. It will be good to see some radio friends and hopefully make some plans for the 10GHz contest this coming summer. Pictures to follow soon!

Batteries, round 2

I managed to get another load of batteries. This time they will be distributed for good public service use. The MMRA is getting a set to act as a backup power system for one or more of their repeater sites. The MARA club is getting two, one for the packet system at our main repeater site, another battery for the brock node. I also believe that one of the batteries will get used for the Boston Marathon communications group this year.

It's good to know that old discarded batteries will have new life in their new service.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The building I work in is actually a large datacenter that also has a little office space. One of the building managers mentioned that they would be replacing the batteries in the UPS shortly. I immediately stuck my hand up and said "I would gladly take some of the old batteries off of you hands". So, I have 4 batteries in the back of my car acting as ballast (100 Amp hours, 65 punds each).

Now, I've been giving some serious consideration to buying some solar panels and a charge regulator to keep them running. I'm also thinking about using the whole thing to power a number of receivers I have running 24x7 for audio streaming.

Sounds like the start of a fun project.