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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Starter for 10 GHz


Due to being rather poorly and  ending up having my thyroid removed, I've not done much in the way of radio.

However, for some time now I have been interested in learning more about the microwave bands and the amateur allocations we have in that part of the spectrum.

I attended a Microwave Roundtable event at Finningley ARS quite a while ago and met some very clever chaps who messed about at these frequencies. As a consequence I have been trying to create a "starter for 10GHz" in the background for a while.

The heart of the system is a transverter from Kuhne Electronics - this is a basic 144MHz to 10GHz transverter. To utilise this device you need a few ancillary bits to create a system, but mainly an antennamabob and a TX RX relay.

Here is the main transverter box with the other bits and bobs completed:

You can see the TX/RX relay - this is a latching RF relay which is fired from 12V using the circuit on the veroboard you can see. There is a BNC socket for an external 10MHZ signal; conviniently just like the one I made here: GPS OCXO, there's an SO239 for the IF (which is 144MHz) plus a line from the IF radio for PTT. A couple of LEDs and that bit is complete.

I managed to find two different antennamabobs for 10GHz, there's this one:

and this one:

I also bought myself an old satellite dish of eBay for £10:

So with a little bit of metal bashing and a speaker tripod, I have ended up with this:

I have simply mounted the smaller of the two 10GHz horn antennas in the same place that the LNB was when I got the dish.

Now, how on earth do I test this???

I will be using my FT-817 as the 144MHz driver and receiver, but I have no test gear for these frequencies so generating a signal to test the RX was going to be tough.

In steps Kevin, G3AAF. He has done some very clever things with a common bluetooth module using software and has come up with an RF source which can be used as a kind of home beacon/test RF source. It's called BTThing:

I've added the box and an PCB antenna from Sam, G4DDK:

So this set to 2592 MHz will give me a harmonic in the 10 GHz band at 10,368 MHz; and lo and indeed behold I can hear this signal on my setup.

I haven't yet tried the horn and dish combination but will set up a test area somewhere in the house tomorrow and give it a whirl.

I've had a kind offer of some elmering in these matters from Peter, G3PHO so I should be able to test this out fully when he has some time.

Here's our Elmo dog for a change:

Local conditions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Nice to see you after a gap.
    Wish you, a speedy and stable recovery,
    sarma from India