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n6gn

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n6gn
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  • OpenWebRX [using a transverter/down-converter with the Kiwi]

    Until ~6 years ago when a few of us grew a significant base of VHF+ WSPRers, there weren't even 'standard' frequencies above 2m and virtually no activity. As more got on up there and discovered what a great tool WSPR was -contrary to what K1JT had expected since he had thought Doppler self-QRM would be prohibitive- and started discovering previously unrecognized propagation mechanisms such as aircraft scatter (ACS, good for 800-900 km day/night year-round) and wing-tip vortex (WTV)signals some worldwide frequencies for 70cm and 23 cm were adopted. I built a 70 cm multi-mode beacon that was placed at the KH6HME site on Maunba Loa which is now almost routinely copied on the mainland now 4100 km away on WSPR, JT9, JT65 and sometimes CW.
    But I think the WSPRnet database does keep track of 'non standard' frequencies, e.g. the dual 80m WSPR bandplan that has frequency reported correctly while both segments are lumped into '80 m'. If one runs WSPR on 10 GHz (yes, it's been done) I think it becomes available on the database and map though I can't remember what 'band' it calls it.
    Lonecrow
  • Ethernet filters

    For $US50 DX Engineering shipped me a pair of filters and two short cables to allow inserting them in-line. But before actually trying them out, I had to at least take one apart to see what they were. Essentially these are back-back HALO HFJ11-1G46ERL Ethernet filters, RJ45 connectors with built-in current and voltage baluns

    As you can see there is no DC connection between shields and there is the balance/symmetry of the transformer isolating shield and pair currents from appearing on the output lines. DXEngineering's page doesn't indicate what the test conditions were for their measurement showing > 20 dB CMRR across the HF bands. In use, the attenuation obtained will depend upon source and load impedances which aren't specified but were perhaps 50 ohms for their measurement. I'd expect typical long lines of CAT5 to show considerably higher impedance at some frequencies and so net reduction of CM current may not be nearly so great as their plot would indicate, at least not everywhere.

    They indeed will not allow POE since one of the two baluns is flux-coupled and is essentially a HPF with no DC response.

    From Martin's, G8JNJ's, schematic of the BB grounding it looks like these filters could potentially improve the noise floor for KiwiSDRs. If I'm reading it correctly, the CAT5 shield is connected to BB and enclosure grounds directly. Thus any CM current injected onto the CAT5 shield or lines and given a return path out the SMA isn't suppressed. As I've written before, I measured about 70 dB attenuation for this path - an isolated 0 dBm 50 ohm source placed across the SMA/LAN-end grounds resulted in about -70 dBm signal detected by the Kiwi. This implies to me that many of us may have our noise floors raised with spurious signals getting in by this mechanism. Since the ultimate floor of the Kiwi itself is about -157 dBm/1-Hz there's a lot sensitivity to see this kind of interference.

    But the LAN cable is not the only way for CM currents to be injected, the PS and even GPS cable are other possibilities as well. And I haven't even tried the filters out here and so it's too soon to judge, just thought I'd pass along these details since I was thinking about it.

    If you want to roll your own filter, Mouser sells them in singles for US$12.50 so DX Engineering is giving them to us mounted on a board in a little molded housing along with a cable for the price you'd have to pay for 4 connectors alone. However, if you're willing to make several yourself, at quantity of 25 they drop to US$8.57/per and getting the finished product from DXEngineering isn't such a good deal. I wonder if we'd see any improvement in a KiwiSDR if the RJ45 connector were replaced with one of these.
    HB9TMCG0LUJ
  • Ethernet filters

    For $US50 DX Engineering shipped me a pair of filters and two short cables to allow inserting them in-line. But before actually trying them out, I had to at least take one apart to see what they were. Essentially these are back-back HALO HFJ11-1G46ERL Ethernet filters, RJ45 connectors with built-in current and voltage baluns

    As you can see there is no DC connection between shields and there is the balance/symmetry of the transformer isolating shield and pair currents from appearing on the output lines. DXEngineering's page doesn't indicate what the test conditions were for their measurement showing > 20 dB CMRR across the HF bands. In use, the attenuation obtained will depend upon source and load impedances which aren't specified but were perhaps 50 ohms for their measurement. I'd expect typical long lines of CAT5 to show considerably higher impedance at some frequencies and so net reduction of CM current may not be nearly so great as their plot would indicate, at least not everywhere.

    They indeed will not allow POE since one of the two baluns is flux-coupled and is essentially a HPF with no DC response.

    From Martin's, G8JNJ's, schematic of the BB grounding it looks like these filters could potentially improve the noise floor for KiwiSDRs. If I'm reading it correctly, the CAT5 shield is connected to BB and enclosure grounds directly. Thus any CM current injected onto the CAT5 shield or lines and given a return path out the SMA isn't suppressed. As I've written before, I measured about 70 dB attenuation for this path - an isolated 0 dBm 50 ohm source placed across the SMA/LAN-end grounds resulted in about -70 dBm signal detected by the Kiwi. This implies to me that many of us may have our noise floors raised with spurious signals getting in by this mechanism. Since the ultimate floor of the Kiwi itself is about -157 dBm/1-Hz there's a lot sensitivity to see this kind of interference.

    But the LAN cable is not the only way for CM currents to be injected, the PS and even GPS cable are other possibilities as well. And I haven't even tried the filters out here and so it's too soon to judge, just thought I'd pass along these details since I was thinking about it.

    If you want to roll your own filter, Mouser sells them in singles for US$12.50 so DX Engineering is giving them to us mounted on a board in a little molded housing along with a cable for the price you'd have to pay for 4 connectors alone. However, if you're willing to make several yourself, at quantity of 25 they drop to US$8.57/per and getting the finished product from DXEngineering isn't such a good deal. I wonder if we'd see any improvement in a KiwiSDR if the RJ45 connector were replaced with one of these.
    HB9TMCG0LUJ
  • Multi-Kiwi Station

    I sometimes run a common GPDSDO derived external 66.660 MHz clock to correct and synch frequency.

    But for time I have no solution that gets multiple kiwiSDRs exactly synchronized.
    WA2ZKD
  • Kiwi for VHF/UHF

    Yes, there's a chance. On my list of interesting projects is a fast-switching block converter. Essentially this would be a transverter (up/down converter) to an IF above the highest frequency of interest, perhaps 3+ GHz. This uses an LO synthesizer of reasonable performance, (e.g. Harris chip set) speed, phase noise etc paired with isolation stages to drive two mixers with BPF filtering. Picture a, say, 3.0 GHz transceiver that converts 10-32 MHz from a Kiwi or other SDR up/down.
    That 3.0 GHz IF is then used with another pair of mixers and the same chipset as the fixed LO synthesizer but this time that LO is stepped in [20 MHz] steps from [3.5 - 6.5 GHz] . This is paired with another similar mixer and converts the original 3.5 GHz IF back *down* to 0-3 GHz. Because LOs are identical and use the same reference, phase noise contributions largely cancel and the result is an all-band receiver using the Kiwi as the last 'IF'/detector/demodulator moving anything the base HF KiwiSDR can do at HF to 0-3 GHz. With stitching it becomes a wide band spectrum analyzer as well.

    Synthesizers that can do this are pretty inexpensive as are mixers and gain/isolation stages. Other than BPF & LPF filtering, done between planes in the PC board there isn't much to it. Since all LOs can have high PLL bandwidth, close in spurs and phase noise can be that of the base clock which is perhaps coherent with and also providing the 66.660 MHz Kiwi external clock.

    A nice side effect of all this is that it can transmit at low power, as well as receive. Low noise pre-amplification and PA stages can be added as desired (or not).

    I think it would make a nice open source hardware/software addition to the KiwiSDR and even Apache/Red Pitaya ... style SDR transceivers. With only 20 kHz of information bandwidth, the Kiwi might not offer every sort of mode that *could* be desired at VHF-microwave, it's not going to receive WiFi or WBFM, but it would still be good for a lot of interesting uses.

    It's not a small project but a prototype could probably be running in only a few months...

    Glenn n6gn
    Lonecrow