Posts by pe1hzg

    In addition to LNB's with a switchable LO (9750 / 10600 or 10700), there is also something called "unicable" where the LO frequency can be programmed by the sat receiver. The use case is that one gets "multiple receiver heads" that can be programmed to meet the frequency one want to receive.

    I have been looking for how thos LO-programming feature works (what the protocol is) but I have not been able to find the programming specs.

    I wonder if anyone has done better and if "creative protocol implementation" can be used to change the LO to frequencies that match us better?

    To prevent mutual interference in the same frequency band (?)

    That is the thing, really. Looking at QO100 as example, the wideband transponder (10491-10499) output is on a different frequency as the narrowband transponder (10489.500-10490). Is the different polarisation required as isolation to prevent signals leaking in the other passband?

    On the flipside, using the same polarisarisation means that the same LNB can be used to receive both signals. Currently that is not the case - QO100 requires a duo-LNB, one H-polarized, one V-polarized channel, to receive both signals.

    I apologise for what should be an ignorant question, but I have R'd the FM, S'd the FW and still have no answer:

    I am using SDR console to monitor the narrowband transponder of QO100, meeting the requirement of monitoring my own transmissions and the transponder in general.

    This works fine if I only start SDR console w/o starting a receiver - the resulting spectrum screen does what I need and more.

    However, once so often it is desirable to start a receiver on SDR console. However, if I do, the new receiver always starts on LSB and I need to switch it to USB.

    The only way to avoid this is to disable LSB mode completely. I don't want that; I want LSB mode to be available just not used when I start a "new receiver". Hence my question: how to I control the startup mode of a new SDR receiver?

    The only thing I did find was someone asking this in 2019, with Simon Brown answering "I am busy". That is 3 years ago, I hope a solution exists now.

    73, Geert Jan

    I mad some modification (bypass) at my PE1CMO Transverter in order to use my SDRPlay RSP2Pro SDR-Receiver at the LNB-Entry point to see the whole SAT scope on my PC with SDR Radio COnsole v3.0.9 and to avoid TX-interference while I'm sending in full SAT duplex mode with the ICOM IC-9700.


    At the LNB-Entry point of the transverter use an 1nF capacitor and a 220 Ohm resistor in sequence and then connect the SDRPlay.

    Apologies for resurrecting an older thread, but I tried this SDR-tap on the CMO transverter and there is a problem.

    The default configuration of the CMO transverter kit is for a 70cm backend transceiver for TX and RX (I use SDR console as bandscope and to monitor my signal)
    Wolfgang's transverter has a special configuration (70cm up, 2m down) and the modification works there.

    The default CMO transverter configuration has a low-noise PLL generating 307.5 MHz that is used to mix 739 MHz from the LNB to 432 MHz for the transceiver. There is switching and attenuation but there is no absolute isolation between TX and RX path.

    The problem is that when the 70cm backend transceiver generates RF, the 432 MHz mixes with 307 MHz resulting in a strong signal on 739 MHz at the port connecting the LNB. That signal is very strong, it blocks the input of the SDR receiver.

    I have fixed this by, during transmit, switching off the DC power to the 307 MHz oscillator. By removing the 307 MHz LO, the strong 432 MHz signal doesn't mix to 739 MHz and SDR monitoring now works. Using a transistor to short C87 (with a series resistor, please!) and the oscillator stops.

    I still use a dualport-LNB but I no longer need the 2nd LNB port for monitoring

    73, Geert Jan PE1HZG

    what noise floor level are you getting with this down-converter ?

    This fully depends on the LNB, the cable length, etc, since the g0mrf PCB does not do any active amplification, only a mixer.

    Keep in mind that the noise figure if your receiver is defined by the first stage (hence, the LNB), not your receiver.

    If the noise increases when the mixer is connected, then the level is high enough. You may want to add an attenuator to the path to your receiver, especially since direct-sampling receivers like the 705 don't do so well with a very high background noise level.

    Hello everyone,

    In the weekend 15-16-17 october 2021 there will be the annual Jamboree On The Air.

    This is a global event where scouts will use amateur radio to talk to other scouts, but also to hamradio in general.

    For many it may be the first time children see and use amateur radio.

    Because of the quality of the radio connections, a number of JOTA stations will be using QO100.

    I hope we will some good QSO's that will leave good memories.

    I hope that stations from countries that we don't hear every day, will be available. Keep in mind that every QSO can be a "where-is-this-country" and similar considerations. We are building future hams here, in the group I assist several Scouts did manage to get their license.

    If there is a JOTA QSO, you may expect some questions people normally don't ask, like about living conditions in your part of the world. Some kids need to speak using a radio transmitter, or are asked to speak in English or German which they did learn at school but typically have not used much. You know how your own school language learning went.

    You may also find that perhaps operating practice is less, or a station makes a mistake. Please have patience and guide, considering you're teaching potential future hams. They will not operate without supervision but people are trying and, let's face it, how cool is it to run a big radio transmitter with lots of knobs, all by yourself?

    I know I've requested the same last year, and then "nothing happened". For the Dutch stations, the tuesday before the JOTA the Dutch government changed the Corona rules and any and all mitigations we had made, became null and void. This year we hope to get some activity, in narrow-band or perhaps even on the wideband transponder.

    For us the focus will be on the saturday including saturday evening.

    I hope we will have an enjoyable weekend on the bird and perhaps some fresh hams in future years. Thank you for your understanding!


    Geert Jan PE1HZG

    During JOTA: PA1PTP/J

    What you can do, is manually set the SDR view range, and disable "auto-update". Use the knob on the bottom right of the screenshot to get the popup, then set per example. The key is to disable "Center if off-screen" and disable "Auto-update", also set the bandwidth slightly wider than 500 kHz.

    Personally, I use SDR console as spectrum monitor / display. This works pretty well if you "close" all receivers. The way it is set up, the spectrum goes yellow when one overdrives, with Leila triggering.

    The resulting screen is something I am pretty happy with:

    Not all FT897's have this jumper; older boards do not. If you want to use the mini-DIN, you will need the 8-pin CAT/Linear connector; "TX GND" id the output youre looking for, GND is the ground pin

    PTT on the 6-pin is an input (TX from a TNC or something).

    Soldering mini-DIN isn't hard, especially if you "only" have to do two pins, you can simply use shielded microphone cable. I suggest you also get a female connector so you can use it to put the male connector in a vice while soldering. The usual "black plastic" connectors are awful. For one, they don't fit very well, secondly, they are too thick and often cause problems when you want to plug the connector in.

    The connector you really want is the KMDLAX (make sure you get the assembly instructions!). Unfortunately, Reichelt doesn't carry it, but Digi-Key does.

    KMDLAX Assembly instruction.pdf

    People who don't want to buy overseas should consider the BKL connector Reichelt carries:…-bkl-0204022-p198342.html.

    It is not cheap, but much better than the black plastic connector seen at flea markets.

    Finally: Put clear "CAT" / "DATA" stickers on top of the 8x7 as well as the plug. It is possible to plug the 8-pin connector in the 6-pin socket but there will be damage to plug and socket. (don't ask how I know!).

    With a good soldering iron you can apply a big blob of solder on the surface of the crystal and continue heating it up until it comes off.

    And do so with the PCB out of the casing (mind the antenna pins - ESD sensitive!)

    If you try this with the PCB still in the case you will find that the casing cools enough that the solder won't melt.

    This PCB material is a pretty good heat conductor.

    And keep in mind that leaded solder has a lower melting point. So you can "wet" the pads with old solder to mix old with new to reduce the melting temperature.

    I found I was able to reproduce the "non lock" with an eval board, and I have a theory of what is happening

    Looking closer at the datasheet of the ADF4351, it seems that "programming the registers" does more than just load values it it, a number of circuit selections happen inside the chip while the programming process is happening. This is why the registers must be programmed in a certain sequence: R5, then R4, then R3, ... last R0.

    If there is no reference frequency during the process then it will fail.

    If you power-up the adf4351 with a reference, then remove it, then connect it again, the PLL will lock. The problem is if the PLL is that if the PLL is programmed when the reference frequency is missing, the programming doesn't seem to work.

    My suggestion would be to make sure that your programming includes correct programming of the Lock Detect output, then change the programming of the 12F675 so that after programming you wait a bit, wait for Lock Detect to go active, and if not, re-start the programming process. I have not tried it, but your "touch the MCLR" suggest this will work.

    I'm nervous about the "touch MCLR" comment. Does this pin have a pull-up resistor?

    Hi Roberto,
    If you do not connect the 10MHz, power on, see that the PLL doesn't lock, then pulse the MCLR on the 12F675, does the PLL lock then?

    I've made something similar, but with attiny13, it can be found elsewhere on this forum. I don't have the problem you have: PLL always locks when 10MHz is connected.

    The uplink uses circular polarisation so the line-up does not matter.

    That is not true for the receiver which is vertical for the NB transponder and horizontal for the WB transponder. For this reason, the angle of the LNB *does* matter. What makes things worse is that unless your azimuth is 180 degrees, your view to the sat will be squinted. For this reasons, for optimal performance, the LNB must be twisted a little bit. You can use sites like to find the "LNB skew".
    Note: there is an easier way: it is easier to find the null of the signal and the max is 90 degrees away. So, turn the LNB to "null" the signal (for instance, beacon), then turn the LN exactly 90 degrees CW or CCW and you are set.

    The 3rd issue is the distance between the base of the POTY and the black plastic carrier of the dish. I think your POTY sticks out much too far: I think it should be flat (but someone please correct me!). You will run into two problems if you do things this way:

    1. the SMA connector is in the way. From the picture I think you have a TRIAX dish. Instead of the plastic bracket, metal brackets do exist and those just need a small bit filed away and then the SMA connector goes.
    2. The edge of the POTY base plate may interfere with the pipe that carries the LNB. LNB brackets assume a diameter of 40mm, and the POTY pipe is 22mm so you use a spacer. BAMATECH has spacers that are off-center which solves this problem

    Hope this helps!

    When I cannot depend on long-term stability of the setup, long enough stable to let a GPSDO do it's thing, I now use a OCXO like

    It is a OCXO, the casing gets warm, but the thermal mass isn't big and the temperature / frequency stabilizes stabilizes in 90 seconds.

    I've done tests comparing with a GPSDO, doing lissajous tests at power up, but after 90 seconds this really is "plenty good enough" for SSB use (my whole station, not DXpatrol btw, is GPS-locked).

    I would recommend to put the PCB+module in an enclosure for additional thermal isolation in case of e.g. wind.

    Nevertheless, it was frightening to see how much work Leila had to do now that she is back in operation. Some stations seemed to ignore Leila completely, maybe because they can't do full duplex? Others even felt disturbed.

    This morning I had Leila trigger on signals that (confirmed on some WebSDR's) were clearly below beacon level.

    I made some signals myself to measure (signals that never triggered Leila before) but even signals 5dB lower would trigger it. So, Leila wasn't deaf, it was having morning temper issues.

    I should note that, at this time, the Goonhilly WebSDR cannot be used for beacon signal levels because the beacons are significantly below level (compared to the middle beacon at least). Right now, the middle beacon measures -72.4 dB. On the same Goonhilly, the lower beacon measures -80.1dB and the upper beacon -80.7 dB. So, the lower and higher beacon measure 8dB below the middle beacon.

    Looking at the IS0GRB WebSDR, the middle beacon is -70.2dB, the lower beacon -71.5 dB, and so is the upper beacon.

    This is how I remember the signals from a few months back .

    That (relatively) matches my own signal measurements, and that means the Goonhilly WebSDB cannot be used to qualify signal levels. This problem started after fix of the recent "GPS lock" issues; in any case, it makes the "signal measurement" thing a lot more complex.

    Another issue is that if one sends a carrier, Leila zero-beats on the carrier. If the carrier is made using a SSB radio, then Leila is outside the passband of the radio and I can't even hear it; it is 300 Hz below the low-end of the SSB passband.

    I would appreciate not having another "full duplex" discussion. There clearly are a number of other issues at play here too. It is volunteers who are keeping all this alive and Corona makes working on these things even more complex. Who is without sin throws the first stone!

    I am kind of saddened by this discussion. It is easy to fault someone, but it will result in bands that are empty and perhaps that is not what we want.

    The duplex discussion has been done before on this forum.

    Personally, I don't think that "monitoring one's signals" must mean listening to one's own signal when transmitting.

    You can easily recognize the stations that listen-to because hearing your own voice with the sat delay makes you stutter:

    you cannot .... speak well .... while you .... are hearing .... your own .... voice.

    Many of these stations also respond 1 kHz off or more when they respond to a call.

    For me, monitoring means just that, monitoring. Seeing if someone tries to break into your QSO. Seeing if LEILA is asking attention. Monitoring the signal levels.

    And for that, watching one's signal via some SDR spectrum thing is fine.

    A simple approach I've used often is to have a laptop that shows the Greenhilly WebSDR page. With proper font size and a but of scrolling the page can be used as a transponder scope. And when enabling the signal strength plot (on "slow") you can really monitor your own signals. This isn't bad: broadcast stations use remote receivers to monitor their signals.

    When you cannot / do not want to use Greenhilly for monitoring, there are several approaches still. I have a Megasat Diavolo twin LNB and use one port to receive and the other just gets 12V and I use SDR console with a RTL-SDR dongle to monitor the signals.

    Another approach is to tap the receive port signal and feed it to the SDR dongle. Unfortunately, with the DXpatrol that results in a few issues: 1. on the DXpatrol unit, the clock on the LNB is switched off when the unit is transmitting so the LNB does not function during transmits; 2. one needs to look at the frequencies for conflicts.

    As to the latter problem: in my station (based on the praised PE1CMO kit) the LNB gives 739 MHz out and there is a separate PLL to convert 739 MHz to 432 MHz using a 307 MHz PLL. So it was easy to add a 739 MHz tap and that is what I have. However, in my case, the transmit signal (also on 432 MHz) was leaking on the receiver and was mixed with the same PLL signal to (also) result in 739 MHz. I spent weeks puzzling why I had this big signal on SDR console during transmit: was the 13cm overloading the SDR? In my case, the leakage of the 432 MHz transmit signal, over the TX/RX relay, over the mixer, gave a big signal on 739 MHz (credits to Rene CMO for the clue!).
    On my setup, I mitigated this by disabling the oscillator of the 307 MHz signal during transmit.

    Unfortunately, the DXpatrol unit has some challenges here. The LNB clock disappearing during transmit is not helping. The LNB outputting directly to 432 MHz is not helping either because it is very hard to keep this signal out of the receive chain. So, self-monitoring may be a challenge with this unit

    Should DXpatrol consider an upgraded design that does not have these issues (perhaps with a "739 MHz out" connector, which my PE1CMO unit has now) then the unit would be even more attractive. But the current unit can be made to work - just watch Goonhilly when you operate and you're done.

    ich verwende für den Uplink einen FT-891 auf 10m mit 70cm Transverter von, mit dem ich dann einen 13cm Transverter von SG-Lab ansteuere. Ich habe die Version mit TCXO, damit lässt die Stabilität nichts zu wünschen übrig.

    I'm still very happy with my modification to use a GPS-locked LO because it makes the frequency uncertainty nil: it is GPSDO-locked and that's the end of it.

    The Ukrainian transverters may not have the lowest noise figure, but that's defined by your LNB, not by the transverter, and it may not give a lot of output, but output is sent to the mixer in the CMO transverter anyway, so these transverters are just fine for the job.

    Note that elsewhere on the forum I discussed the settings of the GPSDO PLL that makes the LO and hence made changes to the code driving the PLL chip; use the second sourcecode posting or send me email and I'll make sure you have the latest.

    Note that in my case I also had an "attenuator board" attenuating 5W @28MHz to 1mW for the transverter. With the Flex, that may not be needed.

    Let me re-visit this, because when I ask in a QSO, it turns out that people did monitor their signal levels when setting up, but generally no longer monitor afterwards:

    When working over QO100 NB transponder, one's signals are not supposed to be stronger than the lower CW beacon on 10489.500.

    And the AMSAT-DL website strongly pushes the Goonhilly WebSDR.

    Until recently, the CW beacons (10489.500 and 104900.000) had a signal strength of typically -70dB, and the middle PSK beacon was typically -73dB. Signals raising above that would be yelled at by Leila.

    The signal strengths have roughly the same levels on the Italy WebSDR, and my own equipment gives the same (relative) signal levels.

    However, recently, the strength of the CW beacons on the Goonhilly WebSDR have dropped significantly and are now -80dB. This only applies for the CW beacons, the PSK beacon as well as user signals have normal signal level.

    Signals have normal levels when measured over the Italy WebSDR, or on my own receiver.

    Only the CW signals are weaker, and only over the Goonhilly WebSDR!

    I have measured over days to make sure it's not a weather issue - it isn't. And to the best of my knowledge all three beacon signals are made from the same earth station. If weather would be obscuring, then I'd expect all signals to be weaker - they aren't, only the CW beacons! - and if the Bochum / Doha ground station would be covered by weather, then all three beacons would be weaker, on all receivers - they aren't, ONLY the CW beacons, and ONLY via the Goonhilly WebSDR.

    If people can confirm that would be grand. I've included screenshots of my measurements of 10489.500, 10490.000 and 10489.750; note that the signal history indicates that the signal strength is constant.

    Clue appreciated!