The Panadapter is installed!!!

Thanks to some help from a friend who builds satellites, and has a much steadier hand than I do, the panadapter from HupRF is installed. img_20161020_182715

Some thoughts for anyone installing this on an FT-991.  First, its on the bottom, not the top (mistake one, but nothing critical) looks like the internal tuner board is on the top of the radio.  The IF is on the bottom.

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Its hard to really see the scale in these photos. But the components are extremely close together, and very small.  Each soldered connection looks like its the size of a pinhead.

I did learn a neat trick from him. Don’t bother stripping insulation from a very thin wire when its a lot easier and more precise to just burn it off and clean your iron afterwards.

Also, specific to the FT-991, the back of this radio is really tight, you’ll either have to run the SMA cable out a vent hole in the back, or drill a hole thru the top if you want a mount that is really secure.  Right now, I took the SMA cable and tied a loop to keep it from getting pulled out.

I’ll add another post in the next few days to let everyone know how it works on the air.  I still need to figure out the best SDR software to display as a panadapter, and to see if i can get it to work with my android tablet.

73,

KE4TA, 9Xsomethingsomething

 

I just got a package today!

So I just got a package today, from hupRF.img_20160915_182105

and now the scary part is coming…

I went ahead and opened up the package, and I was quite surprised at the size  The whole circuit board is about the size of two quarters or two postage stamps, as you can see in the picture.

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The entire package cost approximately 32$ USD, and will give me the ability to use my SDR as a panadapter.

Now the scary part of installing it begins… to be honest, I’m excited about building it, but nervous as hell about messing up my radio.

Cheers and 73 to G4HUP.  When it comes time to take the cover off and do the install, I’ll write another post with pictures of everything.  Perhaps with foul language if I end up destroying my radio…

73, KE4TA, 9Xsomethingsomething

I’m getting a panadapter!!! Whoo hoo!!

I currently will be taking my FT-991 with me to Rwanda next year, and I will say, that it is a great radio, but not without limitations. Some of these limitations Yaesu has already acknowledged by announcing that there will be an FT-991a. The a-model will have the ability to listen and have a waterfall display at the same time, much like the Icom IC-7300. There is a plan to offer current FT-991 owners a possibility to upgrade, but it hasn’t been announced yet.

I’m impatient and I don’t want to wait.

So I bought an SDRPlay radio, which can work much like a panadapter, but not quite, and there is one limitation: if you transmit without some way of grounding out the receive antenna on the SDR, you’ll end up destroying it. I researched a few solutions: I looked at switches that I could incorporate with my foot switch (well, won’t work with my hand mike), I looked at solutions that would work with my very nice tuner (but what about VHF?). And then I came across this website: http://huprf.com/huprf/ .  This website is run by G4HUP, a fine gentleman who has been more than helpful in answering questions for me, and, well, he is certainly smarter than me.

I purchased his PAT board for the Yaesu FT-991.  The cost with shipping and some associated parts to make a clean installation cost me less than 40$ USD!!!  It will require breaking the seal on the radio, which yes, will likely void the warranty.  But I’m actually glad to do that.  If it ends up costing me 1000$ or more to learn more of the science and art of amateur radio, then its a cost worth paying.

When the board comes in, I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the install, and any tips I can give FT-991 users if they want to try installing this.  I will be using G4HUP’s PAT70 board, and connecting it to an SDR Play, which will be displayed via an Android tablet, that will end up somewhere on top of my tuner, power supply, hammered into the wall, I dunno….

73,

Alan, KE4TA, 9Xsomethingsomething.