Completed Crowbar Circuit Build

Link to Crowbar Circuit Part 1 which has the circuit diagram and part list.

The last part of the project was to mount the circuit in the enclosure, I also bought a panel mounted digital voltmeter which is really useful.

Unit sat on top of the TS-2000 displaying the voltage.
Unit sat on top of the TS-2000 displaying the voltage.

Internal views of the unit, I have modified the board from that shown in Part 1 by the addition of a fuse holder mounted on the veroboard, this has a 2A slow blow fitted and protects the non terminal post outlets.

SAM_5389 (Medium)

SAM_5388 (Medium)

SAM_5386 (Medium)

SAM_5385 (Medium)

SAM_5384 (Medium)

SAM_5383 (Medium)

 

 

 

Kenwood TS-2000 Footswitch PTT via SignaLink Interface

Latest Version – Modified 14 June.

I’m slowly building up my station and thought that a foot operated ‘Push to Talk’ (PTT) would be a good addition, the switch I bought was an Eagle Electronics G028B Momentary foot switch with 6.35mm plug, this is a type used by musicians so is very robust and was bought from Juno Records for £8.41 inclusive of postage, delivery was within 2 days.

SAM_5374 (Medium)

The G028B came with a 6.35mm mono jack plug, this was removed and replaced with a 2.5mm jack as the socket which is used later has a smaller footprint than a large jack socket.

The rig has two connections where it is possible to operate the PTT, the first is the microphone socket on the front of the rig, the other is using a connection available from ACC2 at the rear of the rig.

I was looking at a way of breaking into one of these cables in order to make the connection to the footswitch when I thought of using the SignaLink box as a breakout.

signalink (Medium)

The SignaLink is connected to the ACC2 socket on the rig using a cable marked SLCAB13K, the connection into SignaLink is an 8 wire RJ45 plug.

The connections are (Refer to page 95 of the Kenwood  instruction manual for ACC2 pin functions):

  1. RJ45 SignaLink    3-Kenwood ACC2
  2. RJ45 SignaLink    11 -Kenwood ACC2
  3. RJ45 SignaLink    9-Kenwood ACC2
  4. RJ45 SignaLink    13-Kenwood ACC2
  5. Not connected
  6. RJ45 SignaLink    4-Kenwood ACC2
  7. RJ45 SignaLink    8-Kenwood ACC2
  8. RJ45 SignaLink    12-Kenwood ACC2

The existing SignaLink configuration links for my rig was:

  1. SPK
  2. MIC
  3. PTT
  4. —  Use this to connect to Footswitch and 8.G to operate PTT
  5. G
  6. G
  7. G

The unconnected pin 4 from the RJ45 is connected to pin 13 on the rig, this allows the PTT to operate and NOT disconnect the Mic.

SAM_5367 (Medium)SAM_5368 (Medium)

I left enough lead on the footswitch socket so it will thread through the SignaLink enclose without taking the socket apart.

Removing  jumper 8 out of the holder, strip a small section of insulation and solder the flying leads to the outer of the 2.5mm footswitch socket, returning the jumper to the same position as it was removed from, for the  inner connection of the 2.5mm socket a wire was inserted into he empty number 4 socket on the side nearest the RJ45 socket.

SAM_5379 (Medium)

SAM_5372 (Medium)

This turned out to be a quick, cheap and neat workaround rather than hack into cables or adding additional plugs and sockets to make a breakout.

All done and working in under an hour,  the footswitch is ‘press to make’ it does not need to be left plugged in, so can be put out of the way until needed.

Hope this was useful.

Blitzortung Station Ident Changed

Due to a user error (me), I inadvertently blew the Blitzortung STM32F4-Discovery daughter board, fortunately this was the only element damaged.

The new station identification number is now 1354 from the previous ident of 755, the original station was 675 but after each daughter board change, the station is reassigned a new number based on the embedded code within the discovery board.

I was off line for about two hours, but everything is working as expected again.

Crowbar Overvoltage Circuit to Protect Transceiver

NOTE – Thanks to Stewart (G0LGS), no consideration was given to the current carrying capacity of the veroboard tracks,  which turns out to be just under 6A, so, if you are going to make this, please bear that in mind.

I was looking for a simple circuit to protect my radio  and auxiliary equipment  from overvoltage and found a circuit diagram and full description on Phil Salas – AD5X site.

The voltage protector file including circuit diagram and full parts list is available for downloadable here – Vprotect.

The circuit is designed to ‘blow’ the supply fuse to the equipment in order to protect it, the protection is from reverse polarity as well as  transient spikes and damaging overvoltage.

The specification for the Kenwood TS-2000 is 13.8v +/- 15% ( Total Maximum voltage 15.87v), this circuit will only allow 14.8v to pass before the protection crowbar circuit operates.

The components are sizes for 40A, the Kenwood maximum current draw is 20.5A, so well within capacity.

SAM_5357 (Medium)

SAM_5358 (Medium)

The circuit board could have been made marginally smaller, but I was too lazy to trim it down!

SAM_5360 (Medium)

This shows the test setup with the power supply units (PSU) current trip set low in order to monitor the tripping voltage, on the left of the PSU in between the knobs marked CURRENT, their is a small LED with C.C. for Constant Current, the circuit is working passing 13.73v to the meter.

SAM_5362 (Medium)

The voltage from the PSU has now been increase past the crowbar limit of 14.8v and the C.C LED is ON showing that if this was a fuse it would have operated to protect the transceiver, 14.8v is the maximum voltage that will ever reach the transceiver, no matter what!

Parts: – These were from UK ebay

1.5KE 15 TVS Diode 1.5KW 15v DO-21 – £1.69

Thyristar 40A, 600v TO-220 TYN640RG – £3.19

IN5245B Diode Zener 15v 0.5w – £1.42

Radial Electrolytic Capacitor 1uF 50v – £0.99

Resistors 27k, 10 Ohm and Veroboard I had already

Less than £8 to protect an expensive radio, filtered speaker etc. pictures of completed unit is HERE.

G-1000DXC Rotator Interface

Ordered a Yaesu G-1000DXC from Sands Marine, the service received was second to none and I would recommend them, unfortunately the rotator doesn’t come with the necessary connections, these were bought from Waters & Stanton.

Rotor cable will be bought from Westlake Electronics when I know the required length.

I want to interface the rotator with Ham Radio Deluxe, the Yaesu interface box is simply stupid money at £510!!, I bought a kit from Easy Rotor Control for  total cost of £64 including 6 pin DIN plug which will perform exactly the same function (Interface on its own is £57).

The kit was built in a couple of hours and worked immediately, the documentation comes on a CD and is brilliant.

SAM_5336 (Medium)

 

SAM_5344 (Medium)

I had an enclosure lying about which was an ideal fit fro the pcb, the front panel has a USB connection for the PC, a DC input which will take 13.8v so it can be fed directly from the PSU feeding the transceiver and the lead which goes to the rotators controller.

The CD which comes with the kit has a test and calibration software program which allows functional testing and saving of settings.

The interface is all working and I’ve posted a YouTube Video of it controlling a rotator via commands sent from Ham Radio Deluxe.

Second Hard Drive Added to Weather PC

Added a 1Tb secondary hard drive to the weather PC, this was bought from dabs.com and was delivered within a few days, I’ve always had excellent service from dabs.

The Dell Precision 490 has a spare bay for a hard drive but it needs a special caddy, these are less than £5 from Charles Computers on Ebay.

The fitting is really straightforward as all the required cables are pre-installed, once plugged up, the PC is turned on and as soon as the Dell logo is shown, pressing F2 enters the BIOS, here the SATA drive is enabled, before rebooting.

I’m using Acronis True Image 2015 and using the Tools>>Clone Disk option made the secondary drive bootable and also this will be where backups are stored.

I have set Acronis to generate ‘Version Chains’ it does this by making a full backup first and then differential backups, every fifth backup is a full one and the chain starts again, any version older than six months is deleted.

The Version chain is ran three times a week to the secondary drive with a full backup to an external drive being done weekly.

Changed Weather PC

Over the past few weeks the reliability of my dedicated weather PC was getting worse, probably due to the number of concurrent applications running and the fact that it is never switched off.

I decided to get a more ‘gruntier’ one, not sure if that’s the correct word, not only to  server my weather site  but become my main PC, therefore a number of radio related applications needed installing as well.

I used GNG computers in Huntingdon who I have used a number of times before and have never been disappointed on cost, quality or speed of delivery.

The PC is a Dell Precision 490 and has duel Xeon 3Ghz 2 core processors, 8Gb of RAM and two hard drives (well the second one will be fitted soon) 650Gb and 1Tb, the 1Tb will be a mirror of the main drive and have the backups on it.

The process to transfer the weather programs was a nightmare as a number of them were licensed to one PC, moving the programs meant transferring licenses, so I’ll bore you with the programs I transferred or installed: –

Orbitron, WSPR, Dl-Digi,Fl-Digi, Ham Radio Deluxe, HDSDR, MMSSTX, DX Atlas, Echolink, Raidar, CCleaner, Notepad++, Filezilla, Google earth, Microsoft Office, Kaspersky, Teamviewer, Livezilla, Diffmerge, The Owl, VXM remote, Arduino, Z-Zip, LifeCam, Olympus digital camera, Dropbox, Google Docs, E-mail, Weather Display, Nexstorm, Startwatch, StormvueNGX, Sentry, Sebectec, Wxsim, Wxmate, WASP2, Discharge, Acronis 2015, System Scheduler, WDL configurator, Microsoft Expression, Strikestar EU, Skype, Visio and Image resizer!

I must say that it is blisteringly fast and I can comfortably now do more than one thing at once, which is quite an achievement for a bloke.

 

 

 

Installed zbblock Spam & Hack Prevention Tool

Installed  zbblock  to reduce the number of rouge search tools which are constantly crawling all over the site, I’m working through the settings, but it will take a while to ‘tune’ the program.

If you happen to get a warning, I have put a contact e-mail on the alert page for genuine visitors to get in touch so I can allow access, obviously if you try to many times, the system will lock you out completely and you wont be reading this 🙂

Windows Live Mail – Sending Problem Resolved

After 3 hours of messing around, Windows Live Mail – Outgoing mail was finally sorted, the mail account – info@chatteris.biz –  is with Go Daddy and was successfully set up a few days age, shortly after setting it up a ‘Congratulations your online’ mail came.

I configured the POP3 settings after setting a new account and I could receive mail just fine, unfortunately I kept getting a failure to send, with the following message:

smptout.europe.secureserver.net error 530 authentication required.

I checked my username and password (more than once!), tried changing from port 25, to 3535 and other flavors’, all to no avail.

It turns out that in the Go Daddy e-mail mangers panel, SMTP Relays should show 250, mine showed originally 0.

The resolution was to delete the account, and recreate the exact same one back again, and miraculously, the SMTP field had 250 in it, and everything worked, I could send mails again 🙂

smtpI did try and edit the existing account to manually trigger the SMTP to 250 from ), but this generated an ‘Invalid ‘error, so was not an option.

To stop Windows Live giving outgoing error messages based on the unsent mails, from the ‘Home’ tab, scroll down to ‘Outbox’ and delete unsent mails.

 

General information and status updates.