Category Archives: QRO

Low-band AM Tx: Digital VFO/Controller

Lockdown has made 2020 a year unlike any other. Melburnians were dealt a long and painful period of isolation with a CoronaVirus second wave, from around July to September, still in force, and looking like continuing to (at least partially) keep us housebound for some months yet. Days merge together, work and leisure time is largely indistinguishable. People are rediscovering reading, knitting, and endlessly bingeing TV. Makers are melting solder and stringing wires in the air.

Some winter nights were passed dreaming up an AM transmitter, and this VFO module is the first piece of it. It is designed for use in a two-band AM transmitter capable of around 200 watts carrier power, but could easily be used for other projects, such as a transceiver, or a transmitter for CW or digital modes. This module provides a 5v square wave clock at 1.8MHz or 3.5MHz (or any frequency you desire up to 144MHz), and transmit control lines needed to sequence a transmitter. It also includes a few ‘nice to haves’ including a transmit timer, CW ident, over-beep (or any CW character such as di-da-dit or da-di-dah), and a sleep mode which dims the displays when idle.

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200 watt Class D and Pulse Width Modulated AM Transmitter

This post wraps up a series describing the construction of a 200W Class D AM transmitter for 160m, built, tested and put on air over 6 months from August 2019. The transmitter consists of a digital PLL VFO and driver circuit, an Arduino controller, a microphone amplifier, a Pulse Width Modulator, two H-bridge Class D RF modules each capable of at least 100 watts of carrier, an RF power combiner, Low Pass Filter, a 300W power supply and a switching regulator. At the Australian legal limit of 120W carrier, all parts of the transmitter run cool due the use of switching designs. Previous posts describe the switching regulator, 300 watt DC power supply and dummy loads for this project.

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Dummy loads for an AM PWM transmitter build

My Pulse Width Modulated AM transmitter project required dummy loads to match the load impedance of the RF power stage (50 ohms) and the Pulse Width Modulator (12 to 16 ohms). Surely any self-respecting amateur radio station would have a decent 50 ohm dummy load, I hear you ask incredulously. I do have one at VK3HN … or I did.

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A 300 Watt DC Power Supply for a QRO AM Transmitter

This post describes construction of a 300 watt DC power supply for use in a 150 watt Class D AM transmitter. The transmitter design calls for about 150 volts DC at 2 amps continuous and up to 4 amps peak. This post describes the 240v mains DC supply. The switch mode regulator is described in another post. The other modules in this QRO transmitter project are to follow.

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A 300w switching regulator for a QRO AM transmitter power supply

Laurie VK3SJ is an accomplished RF designer and homebrewer in Melbourne’s 160m scene. You can hear his excellent AM signal regularly on the 160m AM Coffee Break net most weekdays. Laurie has spent a great deal of time experimenting with Class D, E and Pulse Width Modulators. He has an interesting Class D AM transmitter design with a pulse width modulator. Laurie’s design has been built by Wayne VK3ALK, who I met online in the Class E Forum on AMFone. After lots of emails and a few calls with these homebrew AM experts, I decided to proceed with my build of a VK3SJ AM transmitter for 160m.

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