Hammarlund HQ series: A digital display modification

HQ-DisplayMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jeff (KB7AIL), who shares the following:

Saw the article on the DC meter in a Hammerlund HQ180.

Another mod I have seen is replacing the meter with a digital display.

http://www.electronicspecialtyproducts.com/dd101.html

It integrates with the HQ180 nicely.

They also have digi-displays in cases or use with other receivers/transceivers.

Very cool, Jeff. While I know a digital display might kill the vintage look for some enthusiasts, I have to admire such a useful modification to replace a broken Hammarlund clock/meter.

As Jeff mentions, Electronic Specialty Products has a number of external digital display boxes as well. Check out their full line of products on the ESP website.

Video: Repairing, restoring and modifying a Sony CRF-320

Sony-CRF-320

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken McKenzie, for sharing the most comprehensive video you’ll ever find on restoring the Sony CRF-320 receiver:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Make sure you check out Mr. Carlson’s YouTube channel, Mr. Carlson’s Lab where you’ll find repair videos ranging from solid state to tube gear.

Thanks for the tip, Ken!

Dan notes a unique modification on this Hammarlund HQ-180A

Hammarlund-HQ-180A

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares a link to this eBay listing of a Hammarlund HQ-180A and notes:

Whoever owned this Hammarlund HQ-180A installed a DC meter where the clock or crystal unit usually is.

Hammarlund-HQ-180A-Mod

s-l1600 (1)

And the screws on the top of the hatch seem to indicate installation of a DC supply perhaps?

Click here to view on eBay.

Like you, I’ve never seen this particular mod to the HQ-180A, Dan.

I’m curious if the owner installed the DC meter to replace a broken or missing clock?  Though I’ve never searched for one, I suspect those Hammarlund clocks are getting more difficult to find on the used market.

LimeSDR is now in the crowdfunding stage

Lime-SDR-Aluminium-Case

There’s a new SDR under development–one that is promoted as a “Flexible, Next-generation, Open Source Software Defined Radio.”

The LimeSDR‘s goal, essentially, is to democratize what I call the “RF of things.”

My friend, Bernie S, told me about the LimeSDR a couple months ago and I’ve been following progress since then.  It’s a fascinating concept and one that is being supported by the likes of Canonical Ltd.

Earlier today, LimeSDR launched a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply. If early activity is any indication, I expect the team will easily exceed their goal of $500,000 (already 10% funded at time of posting).

limesdr-8_jpg_project-body

Here’s information from LimeSDR’s CrowdSupply page:

A Software Defined Radio for Everyone

LimeSDR is a low cost, open source, apps-enabled (more on that later) software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be used to support just about any type of wireless communication standard, including UMTS, LTE, GSM, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, and Digital Broadcasting, to name but a few.

While most SDRs have remained the domain of RF and protocol experts, LimeSDR is usable by anyone familiar with the idea of an app store – LimeSDR is the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core. This means you can easily download new LimeSDR apps from developers around the world. If you’re a developer yourself, then you can share and/or sell your LimeSDR apps through Snappy Ubuntu Core as well.

The LimeSDR platform gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals, so they can learn, experiment, and develop with freedom from limited functionality and proprietary devices.

From Radio Astronomy to Personal Telcos

Here are just some of the applications that are possible with the LimeSDR:

  • Radio astronomy
  • RADAR
  • 2G to 4G cellular basestation
  • Media streaming
  • IoT gateway
  • HAM radio
  • Wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Aviation transponders
  • Utility meters
  • Drone command and control
  • Test and measurement
  • Many more…

With state-of-the-art technical specs, a fully open hardware and toolchain, and integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core’s app distribution platform, LimeSDR is limited only by our collective imagination.

Features & Specifications

  • RF Transceiver: Lime Microsystems LMS7002M MIMO FPRF (Datasheet)
  • FPGA: Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 – also compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • Memory: 256 MBytes DDR2 SDRAM
  • USB 3.0 controller: Cypress USB 3.0 CYUSB3014-BZXC
  • Oscillator: Rakon RPT7050A @30.72MHz (Datasheet)
  • Continuous frequency range: 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 61.44 MHz
  • RF connection: 10 U.FL connectors (6 RX, 4 TX)
  • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
  • Multiplexing: 2×2 MIMO
  • Power: micro USB connector or optional external power supply
  • Status indicators: programmable LEDs
  • Dimensions: 100 mm x 60 mm

Bernie has encouraged me to evaluate the LimeSDR. I may very well attempt to do so, but frankly, I don’t have the experience to truly unlock this device. I am curious if it would make for an amazingly useful little all-in-one HF/VHF/UHF digital decoding device. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would be an easy task for the LimeSDR.

Any Post readers out there plan to back the LimeSDR project? If so, please comment and tell us how you plan to use the LimeSDR.

Simple modification to disable soft mute on the Tecsun PL-210

pl210_mod4

Many thanks to SWLing reader, Mini, who wites:

I am Japanese short wave listener.

I found the method that disable soft-mute of TECSUN PL-210.
And, I posted the article in my blog.

pl210_mod1

Please forgive me that may be difficult for you to understand the content.
It is automatic translation from Japanese my blog.

Thanks mini

Click here to read Mini’s blog post via Google translate.

Click here for the original in Japanese.

Thank you, Mini! I don’t have the PL-210, but if I did I would certainly disable the soft mute as I find it very distracting during routine band scans.

Aluminum foil: Larry’s simple AN200 antenna modification

TecsunAN200

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Larry Caracciolo, who comments:

I bought the AN-200 in the spring of 2015 off of eBay. I was favorably impressed with the product. Comparing it to my old 9′ diameter tuned/shielded loop from 1992, there are some similarities and differences.

The Hallicrafters SX-96 (Image: Universal Radio)

The Hallicrafters SX-96 (Image: Universal Radio)

I live in an apartment complex so plenty of radiated electromagnetic noise is present. I use a modified [Hallicrafters] SX-96 (AVC ckt was modified for improved modulation acceptance). The AN-200 does null out local static sources, somewhat, but not well enough to dig out weak stations. The tuning range for the loop is just at the bottom of the AM band (about 535 khz) to just over 1700 kcs.

On a whim, I wrapped aluminum foil around the loop and grounded it to the SX-96 chassis – in wistful hope of achieving some shielding from the RF has. As soon as I connected the aluminum foil ground clip to the rx chassis, all RF noise ceased and signals appeared from the mud. However, the tuning range is attenuated above 1200 kcs.

My favorite frequency on the AM band is 590 kcs. During the night, as many as seven different stations rose from the noise and provided station IDs at just the right moment. My best catch here in Everett, WA is KCSJ, a 1KW station in Colorado Springs.

From time to time, stations on the low portion of the AM band are accompanied with echoes – what I took for two stations and a small time delay between the same broadcast was actually multi-path to the degree that nearly 1/2 second separated the arriving signals. Short-delayed echoes, anyone? I’ve not observed this on frequencies above 1000 kcs.

Other sources of RF noise can come from the laptop, the cable modem, and even CFBs in other rooms. For truly noise-free listening environment, I place the laptop in sleep mode and unplug the cable modem. I’m quite happy with the AN-200 loop. Affordable, easy to use, easy to tune.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the AN200 loop antenna, Larry!

As anyone who grew up in the era of TV rabbit ears knows, aluminum foil can simply work magic in a pinch! There is no easier material to work with either!

As I pointed out in previous posts, the AN200 loop antenna is quite affordable.  I just did a quick price search:

Guest Post: Jerry’s Mediumwave DXing Powerhouse Mini FSL Antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerry Popiel, for the following guest post:


PowerhouseFSLAntenna-1

A MW DXing Powerhouse Mini FSL Antenna

by Jerry Popiel

In late February 2016 I completed construction of a modified version of Gary DeBock’s excellent 3 inch Mini FSL design (click here to view).

This new antenna is nothing short of a AM DXing powerhouse with unbelievable sensitivity for receiving stations across the entire AM Bandwidth both day and night. The tuning of stations is razor sharp and it has stunning nulling qualities. Consultation assistance was provided from DXing experts Steve Ratzlaff and Gary DeBock on the project.

Construction Details:

The Antenna was constructed using 9 – 100 mm Ferrite Bars wound on a 2.75 inch diameter x 4 inch styrofoam cake dummy form custom made by in Vancouver, B.C. Canada – (stacy@scoop-n-save.com) for $3.50 plus shipping.

The Coil wire consisted of 38 turns of high gain 660/46 Litz Wire. (Note: As can be seen 38 turns of the thicker Litz Wire left only 5/8” of room on each side of the Styrofoam Form to wire wrap the coil to the ruler frame. A longer Form ie 5” long would work much better for this build).

The insulation spacer used was 2 layers of 1/8 inch Aerotape self adhesive tape which also helped hold the 100 mm Ferrite Bars onto the Styrofoam Coil Form. Inductance measured 356 uH using a DM 4070 Meter which is well within the requirement of over 300 uH for AM Band Reception.

Side View Of 9-Bar FSL Antenna with 2.75” Diameter Styrofoam Cake Dummy.

Side View Of 9-Bar FSL Antenna with 2.75” Diameter Styrofoam Cake Dummy.

Because of the extra thickness of high gain 660/46 Litz Wire which is a bit too big to solder to the inside terminals of the Tecsun PL-380 Radio, a 2 Position Terminal Block was superglued to the outside of the Ruler Frame to act as an interface connection point.

Position Terminal Block Superglued To Back Of Antenna Frame

2 Position Terminal Block Superglued To Back Of Antenna Frame

Testing Results:

Both daytime and evening AM station captures have been spectacular. Stations as far away as KKOB / 770 kHz Alberquerque, New Mexico 1130 Miles from here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada have been received. Country music station WSM / 650 kHz in Nashville, Tennessee 1082 miles distant is a daily evening pickup.

Station KKOB / 770 kHz Alberquerque, New Mexico 1130 Miles distance.

Station KKOB / 770 kHz Alberquerque, New Mexico 1130 Miles distance.

Station WSM / 650 kHz in Nashville, Tennessee 1082 miles distance.

Station WSM / 650 kHz in Nashville, Tennessee 1082 miles distance.

Two Stations Received At 600 kHz 90 Degrees apart at the same time:

The amazing Nulling and Razor Sharp Tuning quality of this FSL was demonstrated when 2 stations at 600 kHz were received at the same time by rotating the Radio with attached FSL 90 degrees. In the North / South direction Station KSJB / Jamestown, North Dakota (219 miles distant) was received with a strong signal strength of 50 / 23. Then by rotating the Radio 90 degrees to the East / West direction Saskatoon, Saskatchewan station CJWW (442 miles distance) was captured with a similar strong signal strength of 44 / 24.

600 kHz Station KSJB / Jamestown, North Dakota.

600 kHz Station KSJB / Jamestown, North Dakota.

600 kHz Station CJWW / Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

600 kHz Station CJWW / Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Daytime Reception of 600 Watt Station 137 Miles Distant:

A major daily AM reception capture during the afternoon illustrating the amazing sensitivity of this antenna is 600 Watt station KKXL Sports Radio 1440 kHz (137 miles).

PowerhouseFSLAntenna-8

All Indoor Reception – For Now!

Due to winter conditions here in Winnipeg, all of the amazing station reception captures in this report were done inside the House facing towards the South window. Fortunately the red ruler platform sides can he used as handles when pointing the radio in the direction of best reception. Exciting times are ahead to see how well this mini 3” FSL will perform outdoors for likely even better AM DXing.

Summarizing:

The design of this new FSL Antenna attached to the Tecsun PL-380 Ultralite radio by Gary DeBock is a major breakthrough in AM DXing since the Radio is attached to the FSL. This new FSL Antenna needs to be constructed to be really appreciated. The application described here requires a bit more skill to construct and is also heavier than the original construction – but at least it is portable. For beginners Gary’s original 3” FSL Heathkit Design is highly recommended and can be reviewed in his You Tube Video posted at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY9u8MReGjk

Thanks,
Jerry Popiel
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Thank you, Jerry! It’s amazing what performance you and Gary DeBock have gotten out of these homebrew FSL antennas! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your construction details and performance notes!