Category: Amateur Radio


Scalar Network Analysis with a Spectrum Analyzer

A spectrum analyzer is a phenomenally useful piece of test equipment when working on RF circuitry. While used, several generation old spectrum analyzers can be found fairly reasonably priced, network analyzers are usually out of reach for a home lab. However, with a little bit of additional equipment some of the measurements that would normally require a network analyzer can be done on a spectrum analyzer.

Mystery YIG Oscillator 1

Mystery YIG Oscillator

For a project I am currently working on (to be detailed shortly), I needed an oscillator capable of covering 8 to 12 GHz. There are quite a few of the miniature Stellex units on eBay, but they generally don't go much past 10 GHz. There are also tons of Avantek modules, in their standard round format, but a lot of them are custom part numbers with no specifications known. Since this particular project wasn't very sensitive to any of the parameters, I waited for a cheap one to show up with the right range and went for it. With a little investigating, it wasn't very difficult to determine the approximate specs for the module I purchased.


VW GTI Amateur Radio Cubby Mount

After I tackled the antenna installation, I had to get the radio installed. I've seen several different ways of approaching the issue, but I've never seen one I was really happy with. Here's what I did for a seamless install.

Five CubeSats Deployed from the ISS 0

Five CubeSats Deployed from the ISS

On 4 Oct 1957, the space race began — Russia successfully placed the first artificial satellite, Спутник-1 (Sputnik-1), into orbit around Earth. Sputnik was placed directly into orbit by a single stage rocket. It's payload was a simple radio transmitter that alternated between two frequencies. There were no sensors, or cameras, or solar panels. Some of the smartest people in the world were working on the rocket and satellite designs, at a time when the first commercially-made transistor was only 3 years old. Integrated circuits, ICs or 'computer chips' hadn't even been invented yet!

Completed Mount 2

VW GTI Antenna Mount

I've been thinking about how to mount an amateur radio antenna on my car for a while now. Everyone says the best way is to use an NMO mount in the center of the roof. But since I have a small car with a sunroof, there is only a small area of the roof near the back where it would be feasible. A backup option is usually a semi-fixed mount on the trunk, but my car is a hatchback so a magnetic mount will not work and there aren't any edges straight enough for a lip mount. Looking at all the various ways people have mounted their antennae, I ran across one person who had used a license plate frame mount under the bolts on their hood hinge. Looking at this location on my car led me to think this would be a really good location to mount mine. I got my father to help since he has the tools needed and we came up with a mount.