Date   

Re: What are the chances this would happen twice?

Charles W. Powell
 

Well, it did happen twice.  I replaced Q1, the BS170 that switches (mutes) on transmit, and I have normal receive audio now.

I bought a few extra BS170s so I think I may look at the PA in my HT 30 as well.  There's no reason that it should only put out 3 watts when all of the other HTs I've built put out more than 5 watts.

72,

Chas - NK8O


Re: What are the chances this would happen twice?

Tim N9PUZ
 

Good grief. Not to wish ill fortune on you Charles but I hope you're just "lucky"!

Wonder if the group has had other reports of failures?

Tim N9PUZ

On 4/14/2019 2:41 PM, Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io wrote:
I built the Hilltoppers 20 I got at Ozarkcon and it went together well.  The transmitter puts out almost 6 watts.  But in trying to check the receiver, it acted like it was muted.  I encountered this same problem with the HT I modified for 30 meters and I found Q1 was bad.  I had sidetone audio and annunciator on the HT-20 that was just completed.  Soooooo.... with similar behavior and no test equipment, I thought I would start with removing Q1.  Q1 does the switching to mute the receiver on transmit.  Voila!  The receiver came to life.

So this raises a couple of questions.  First, did we get some bad BS170 MOSFETs in the recent batches, or am I just lucky?  Second, with my modded HT-30 only putting out about 3 watts and all my other HTs putting out over 5 watts, do I have a bad BS170 in the finals of the HT-30?  Is there any way to check the finals without simply removing and substituting?  It doesn't look to me like there is any way to check them because everything is in parallel, so no way to isolate any single MOSFET.  Comments?

Final word would be to warn folks to watch out for problems with the BS170s.  I'm thinking it's probably just dumb luck I ended up with two bad MOSFETs, and both ending up in Q1.  But there may be others as well.

72,

Chas - NK8O


What are the chances this would happen twice?

Charles W. Powell
 

I built the Hilltoppers 20 I got at Ozarkcon and it went together well.  The transmitter puts out almost 6 watts.  But in trying to check the receiver, it acted like it was muted.  I encountered this same problem with the HT I modified for 30 meters and I found Q1 was bad.  I had sidetone audio and annunciator on the HT-20 that was just completed.  Soooooo.... with similar behavior and no test equipment, I thought I would start with removing Q1.  Q1 does the switching to mute the receiver on transmit.  Voila!  The receiver came to life.

So this raises a couple of questions.  First, did we get some bad BS170 MOSFETs in the recent batches, or am I just lucky?  Second, with my modded HT-30 only putting out about 3 watts and all my other HTs putting out over 5 watts, do I have a bad BS170 in the finals of the HT-30?  Is there any way to check the finals without simply removing and substituting?  It doesn't look to me like there is any way to check them because everything is in parallel, so no way to isolate any single MOSFET.  Comments?

Final word would be to warn folks to watch out for problems with the BS170s.  I'm thinking it's probably just dumb luck I ended up with two bad MOSFETs, and both ending up in Q1.  But there may be others as well.

72,

Chas - NK8O


Re: Hilltopper mod performance

Charles W. Powell
 

I had time this afternoon to complete the audio mod to my Hilltopper 30, by replacing R5 and C22.  It makes an audible difference, putting a signal at -107 dBm from faint to fair.  If i turned the RF gain down to where it is roughly minimum, I could still hear the -107 dBm signal input.  At full gain, it was noticeably louder, meaning there is at an absolute minimum 3 dB of audio gain, and probably more like 6 dB. I didn't measure it but you can hear a difference with a controlled input.  I tried again at 0 dBm to overload the audio.  It was L-O-U-D with the earbuds on the table, but no howl, no squeal, and no feedback.

Tip:  Solder R5 into place from the bottom of the board.  It's easier to get to it and it won't slide down through because its already secured by gravity.  If you are building for the first time it really keeps R5 out of the way of the pushbutton switch standoffs.

72,

Chas - NK8O


Re: Hilltopper mod performance

Dave Benson
 



Thanks, Chas!

If you've already got enough audio, you're done- the replacement IC is the 'biggie'

73- Dave


On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 7:49 AM Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io <doctorcwp=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I replaced the audio chip in one of my Hilltoppers last night and hooked it to the signal generator.  -73 dBm - great! -107 dBm, still great.  Then for the more difficult tests.  -33 dBm used to send the radio into its howling squeal.  I turned down the gain at -33 dBm and slowly turned up the RF gain.  So far, so good; no squeal.  So rinse and repeat at 0 dBm.  With the gain at full I couldn't leave the ear buds in place, but no squeal.  Next test: full RF gain with a sudden signal at 0 dBm.  NO SQUEAL.  Now I have to admit that I need to change out the RC combination, but I still don't expect any significant changes in performance.

Just for reference, I don't think input to any of my radios approaches 0 dBm even when my neighbor, 1 mile away, is transmitting at 1.5 kW into his phased arrays pointed right at me.  It's not an RF level you are likely to encounter in the real world.

Dave has come through for us again, making a great little radio even better.

72,

Chas - NK8O


Hilltopper mod performance

Charles W. Powell
 

I replaced the audio chip in one of my Hilltoppers last night and hooked it to the signal generator.  -73 dBm - great! -107 dBm, still great.  Then for the more difficult tests.  -33 dBm used to send the radio into its howling squeal.  I turned down the gain at -33 dBm and slowly turned up the RF gain.  So far, so good; no squeal.  So rinse and repeat at 0 dBm.  With the gain at full I couldn't leave the ear buds in place, but no squeal.  Next test: full RF gain with a sudden signal at 0 dBm.  NO SQUEAL.  Now I have to admit that I need to change out the RC combination, but I still don't expect any significant changes in performance.

Just for reference, I don't think input to any of my radios approaches 0 dBm even when my neighbor, 1 mile away, is transmitting at 1.5 kW into his phased arrays pointed right at me.  It's not an RF level you are likely to encounter in the real world.

Dave has come through for us again, making a great little radio even better.

72,

Chas - NK8O


Re: HT-20 LPF performance?

Dave Benson
 

Curt-

ARRL's December 2018 review showed 2nd-harmonic suppression as -50 dBc. That number will vary somewhat with component tolerances, but the Hilltopper meets FCC spurious emissions standards.

// I don't have any more information- my spectrum analyzer died several years ago.

73- Dave, K1SWL


On Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 6:34 AM Curt via Groups.Io <rhulett1=consolidated.net@groups.io> wrote:
I am curious about the performance of the HT-20 LPF.  Has anyone measured harmonic suppression numbers?

Curt KB5JO


HT-20 LPF performance?

Curt
 

I am curious about the performance of the HT-20 LPF.  Has anyone measured harmonic suppression numbers?

Curt KB5JO


Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

Charles W. Powell
 

QCX is a radio designed by Hans Summers, G0UPL, and marketed through his company QRP-labs.  It is an innovative design with an I-Q quadrature/Taloe detector circuit.  Very high sensitivity on receive, with < 1 dB of loss in the front end of the radio.  Typically a superhet has something on the order of 3 dB or more of signal loss in the IF stage. Transmitter is similar to the Hilltopper, although supposedly class E.  Hilltopper is reported by Dave K1SWL (designer) to be class C.  In my experience, the Hilltoppers consistently put out more power than the QCX, using the same BS170 MOSFETs.  As noted, QCX is not readily hackable, whereas the Hilltopper code could be completely re-written if you were that ambitious.  Not to take a thing away from Hans Summers on a fine little radio, the Hilltopper has a fun factor that the QCX lacks.  It’s also quite a bit lighter than a QCX with its aluminum case.

72,

Chas - NK8O

On Apr 9, 2019, at 9:10 AM, Leland Lannoye <wa9aoe@...> wrote:

What is a QCX rig?



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: "Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io" <doctorcwp@...> 
Date: 4/8/19 19:00 (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Re: [HilltopperKit] HT20 - Nice Rig

Congrats Stan.  Yes, the HTs put out over 5 watts for the most part.  I think my HT 20 put out 5.1 watts and the HT 40 put out 5.9 watts.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  That was measured with a scope into a dummy load.

You sound like me - I’ve built quite a few QCXs and just about to start on HT #4.  The difference between the QCX and the HT is that you can hack the Hilltopper, add a display, add CAT control, change the tuning step intervals, etc., or if you are clever enough, do whatever you like.  With the QCX, it is what it is and there’s not anything you are going to change.

72,

Chas - NK8O  

On Apr 8, 2019, at 5:48 PM, StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...> wrote:

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF



Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

Lee
 

https://qrp-labs.com/qcx.html

 

As our British friends would say, a clever bit of kit from Hans Summers, G0UPL………………….a couple a members of our local club have built them and have raved about the receiver side especially………………….

 

73 de Lee KX4TT

 

 

 

From: HilltopperKit@4SQRP.groups.io [mailto:HilltopperKit@4SQRP.groups.io] On Behalf Of Leland Lannoye
Sent: Tuesday, 9 April, 2019 10:11
To: HilltopperKit@4SQRP.groups.io
Subject: Re: [HilltopperKit] HT20 - Nice Rig

 

What is a QCX rig?

 

 

 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

 

-------- Original message --------

From: "Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io" <doctorcwp@...>

Date: 4/8/19 19:00 (GMT-05:00)

Subject: Re: [HilltopperKit] HT20 - Nice Rig

 

Congrats Stan.  Yes, the HTs put out over 5 watts for the most part.  I think my HT 20 put out 5.1 watts and the HT 40 put out 5.9 watts.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  That was measured with a scope into a dummy load.

 

You sound like me - I’ve built quite a few QCXs and just about to start on HT #4.  The difference between the QCX and the HT is that you can hack the Hilltopper, add a display, add CAT control, change the tuning step intervals, etc., or if you are clever enough, do whatever you like.  With the QCX, it is what it is and there’s not anything you are going to change.

 

72,

 

Chas - NK8O  



On Apr 8, 2019, at 5:48 PM, StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...> wrote:

 

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF

 


Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

Leland Lannoye
 

What is a QCX rig?



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: "Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io" <doctorcwp@...>
Date: 4/8/19 19:00 (GMT-05:00)
To: "HilltopperKit@4sqrp.groups.io" <HilltopperKit@4SQRP.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [HilltopperKit] HT20 - Nice Rig

Congrats Stan.  Yes, the HTs put out over 5 watts for the most part.  I think my HT 20 put out 5.1 watts and the HT 40 put out 5.9 watts.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  That was measured with a scope into a dummy load.

You sound like me - I’ve built quite a few QCXs and just about to start on HT #4.  The difference between the QCX and the HT is that you can hack the Hilltopper, add a display, add CAT control, change the tuning step intervals, etc., or if you are clever enough, do whatever you like.  With the QCX, it is what it is and there’s not anything you are going to change.

72,

Chas - NK8O  

On Apr 8, 2019, at 5:48 PM, StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...> wrote:

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF


Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

Dave Benson
 

Stan-

I posted a set of easy Hilltopper mods here a couple weeks ago.  They bring the audio level up by 6dB, although I've tried 10 dB successfully as well. Perhaps the most significant change is in replacing the AF amp (an NE5532) with a different device.  Audio quality is much improved.

73- Dave, K1SWL 


On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 7:48 PM StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...> wrote:

The QCX is remarkable for $49.  But five watts on 12 volts is my personal requirement for portable operations and this HT20 fills that need.  I don't yet know how the HT receiver compares to the QCX - but it certainly gave me a great introduction today.  I wish the HT had more volume and I noticed the gain control only really "works" toward the last third of its range, but I have about a half dozen small outboard audio amp kits laying around here somewhere so that will be my next project while I wait for my HT40  (;-)  73, Stan WB2LQF


On April 8, 2019 at 7:00 PM "Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io" <doctorcwp=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Congrats Stan.  Yes, the HTs put out over 5 watts for the most part.  I think my HT 20 put out 5.1 watts and the HT 40 put out 5.9 watts.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  That was measured with a scope into a dummy load.

You sound like me - I’ve built quite a few QCXs and just about to start on HT #4.  The difference between the QCX and the HT is that you can hack the Hilltopper, add a display, add CAT control, change the tuning step intervals, etc., or if you are clever enough, do whatever you like.  With the QCX, it is what it is and there’s not anything you are going to change.

72,

Chas - NK8O  

On Apr 8, 2019, at 5:48 PM, StanWB2LQF < sjl219@...> wrote:

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF


 


 


Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

Dave Benson
 

Stan-

You're off to a good start- thanks for sharing that!

I'm in NH, so you and I would expect to see similar coverage.  I've made contacts as far away as Turkey and Alaska with my HT 20..... and Hawaii with the 40M version in last year's ARRL DX Test.   I'm fairly confident I'll work Japan with a Hilltopper at some point.

Have fun!   73- Dave, K1SWL


On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 6:48 PM StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...> wrote:
Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF


Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...>
 

The QCX is remarkable for $49.  But five watts on 12 volts is my personal requirement for portable operations and this HT20 fills that need.  I don't yet know how the HT receiver compares to the QCX - but it certainly gave me a great introduction today.  I wish the HT had more volume and I noticed the gain control only really "works" toward the last third of its range, but I have about a half dozen small outboard audio amp kits laying around here somewhere so that will be my next project while I wait for my HT40  (;-)  73, Stan WB2LQF


On April 8, 2019 at 7:00 PM "Charles W. Powell via Groups.Io" <doctorcwp@...> wrote:

Congrats Stan.  Yes, the HTs put out over 5 watts for the most part.  I think my HT 20 put out 5.1 watts and the HT 40 put out 5.9 watts.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  That was measured with a scope into a dummy load.

You sound like me - I’ve built quite a few QCXs and just about to start on HT #4.  The difference between the QCX and the HT is that you can hack the Hilltopper, add a display, add CAT control, change the tuning step intervals, etc., or if you are clever enough, do whatever you like.  With the QCX, it is what it is and there’s not anything you are going to change.

72,

Chas - NK8O  

On Apr 8, 2019, at 5:48 PM, StanWB2LQF < sjl219@...> wrote:

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF


 


 


Re: HT20 - Nice Rig

Charles W. Powell
 

Congrats Stan.  Yes, the HTs put out over 5 watts for the most part.  I think my HT 20 put out 5.1 watts and the HT 40 put out 5.9 watts.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  That was measured with a scope into a dummy load.

You sound like me - I’ve built quite a few QCXs and just about to start on HT #4.  The difference between the QCX and the HT is that you can hack the Hilltopper, add a display, add CAT control, change the tuning step intervals, etc., or if you are clever enough, do whatever you like.  With the QCX, it is what it is and there’s not anything you are going to change.

72,

Chas - NK8O  

On Apr 8, 2019, at 5:48 PM, StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...> wrote:

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF


HT20 - Nice Rig

StanWB2LQF <sjl219@...>
 

Just finished my HT20 a couple hours ago.  I presently do not have any other radio in the house so I couldn't make the initial adjustments.  In spite of this situation, I managed to make my first contact within 5 minutes of connecting my antenna - Spain. Then I tuned down to the low end of the band and heard VK2KM in Sydney - long path to NY.  He sounded real nice through this little HT20.  Pileup was too severe for me to try.

I've built five (5) QCX transceivers and they are also very, very nice radios but none of them put out 5 watts on a 12 volt battery - I measured 5.6 watts from my new HT20 using an Elecraft dummy load, my Fluke DMM and some arithmetic.

Think I better order the HT40 real soon. 
72, Stan WB2LQF


Re: Frequency calibration

Dave Benson
 

Frank-

Thanks for the feedback- glad it's squared away!

73- Dave, K1SWL


On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 6:57 AM Frank <prpntfmr@...> wrote:
Hi Dave and Charles,
   Thanks for the replies.
I got up this morning and calibrated the Hilltopper. I don't know what I was thinking yesterday, sometimes I
tend to over complicate things.
I just used the freq counter and it is within 2Hz on transmit. I used a little 300 mw transmitter I built to set
the rx offset. I will check that tonight when I can receive a good strong signal from W1AW.
I put in the sidetone volume and rx gain mods when I built it and it seems fine.
I really enjoyed building it and am going to order the 20 meter version and look forward to using them.

  Thanks again & 73's  Frank  KB4VU


Re: Frequency calibration

Frank
 

Hi Dave and Charles,
   Thanks for the replies.
I got up this morning and calibrated the Hilltopper. I don't know what I was thinking yesterday, sometimes I
tend to over complicate things.
I just used the freq counter and it is within 2Hz on transmit. I used a little 300 mw transmitter I built to set
the rx offset. I will check that tonight when I can receive a good strong signal from W1AW.
I put in the sidetone volume and rx gain mods when I built it and it seems fine.
I really enjoyed building it and am going to order the 20 meter version and look forward to using them.

  Thanks again & 73's  Frank  KB4VU


Re: Frequency calibration

Dave Benson
 

Chas-

Thanks for your explanation- much more thorough than mine!

- Dave, K1SWL


On Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 11:10 PM Frank <prpntfmr@...> wrote:
Hi Charles,
  Thanks for the reply.
I was trying to use a communications receiver with an up converter that covers the hf bands, but it just is not 
working like I hoped it would.
I am using a dummy load and a freq counter clipped to the load and am getting good stable readings.
Whenever I adjust the offset in the cal mode and then go back to the normal mode, the actual transmit freq
does not match the annunciated freq. Is this right? When powered up it announces 7.030 but the actual
transmit freq is what was set in the cal mode.
Maybe I just don't understand what the cal process is doing. I just like to know what freq I am transmitting on.
Well it's late and I'm going to bed, tomorrow is another day.
Thanks again Charles
73's  Frank  Kb4VU


Re: Frequency calibration

Dave Benson
 

Frank-

You want to be sure that the CAL jumper is already in place when you apply power.

After 5 seconds of RF output, the RF output will disappear and you restart that process.  As you do, the frequency will start up ever closer to your target frequency of 7030.00

When you're at the target, remove the CAL jumper and cycle power once more for normal operation.  Any mismatch in sidetone pitch between the Hilltopper and a second rig means the trimmer cap needs adjusting.

Hope this helps -   73, Dave- K1SWL


On Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 10:10 PM Frank <prpntfmr@...> wrote:
I just finished a Hilltopper 40. It works well, but I'm a little fuzzy on the  frequency calibration.
I'm using a receiver to monitor  and am having trouble matching with the sidetone freq.
I noticed that when the correction is applied and the Cal jumper is removed the actual transmit
frequency is not the same as the annunciated frequency. T his does not sound right to me.
Also when using the alternate method with a freq counter, I assume that I'm monitoring the 
output at the BNC connector. What am I tuning to?
I've been inactive for many years and don't have any equipment anymore, so I'm enjoying
listening with the Hilltopper and brushing up on CW before I start having QSO's again.

Any information will be greatly appreciated
Thanks and 73"s    Frank  KB4VU