1 Technician License Course Chapter 3 Operating Station Equipment Transmitters, Receivers and Transceivers PHYS 401 P. Reiff 2009
2 Generalized Transceiver Categories Single Band Dual Band Multi-mode Multi-band Hand-held (HT) VHF or UHF FM VHF/UHF FM VHF/UHF HF and VHF/UHF VHF/UHF
3 Single Band Transceiver Probably the most common starter rig. Operates from 12 volts dc, requires external power supply. Requires an external antenna. Can be operated mobile or as a base station. Limited to frequency modulation (FM) and either 2 meters or 70 cm bands. Up to approximately 50 watts output.
4 Dual Band Transceiver Same as the single band transceiver but includes additional band(s). Most common are 2 m and 70 cm bands. Could be tri-bander. Depending on antenna connectors, might require separate coax for each band or a duplexer for single coax.
5 Multi-Mode Transceiver Can be single or dual band. Main difference is that these rigs can operate on all major modes SSB/AM/FM, CW, Data, RTTY etc. More features add complexity and cost. Most flexible of the rigs that will allow you to explore new modes as you gain experience.
6 Multi-Band Transceiver Covers all bands can be limited to HF or can be HF/VHF/UHF (even can listen on frequencies you can t transmit on). Also covers all modes. Frequently 100 watts on HF, some power limitations on high bands (50 watts). Larger units have internal power supplies, smaller units require external power (12 V).
7 Hand-held (HT) Transceiver Small hand-held FM units. Can be single band or dual band (sometimes more). Limited power (usually 5 watts or less). Includes power (battery) and antenna in one package. An attractive first starter rig but make sure it is what you want.
8 Side-by-Side Single Band Dual Band Multi-mode Multi-band HT Freq Agility Limited Medium Medium Full Limited Functionality Limited Limited Full Full Limited Ease of Use Easy Medium Medium Difficult Easy Programming Easy Easy Medium Challenging Easy/Medium Power Low Low Medium High Low Cost Low Modest High High Low
9 Rig Vocabulary We will now go through some jargon and vocabulary specific to the functions and controls of a transmitter and receiver. This is a way to discuss how to operate a transceiver. These controls, though separate, are combined in a transceiver.
10 Transmitter Controls and Functions Main tuning dial (both TX (trans) and RX (receive)): Controls the frequency selection via the Variable Frequency Oscillator (VFO). Could be an actual dial or key pad or programmed channels. Variable frequency step size (tuning rate, resolution). Could have more than one VFO (control more that one frequency at a time).
11 Transmitter Controls and Functions Mode selector (both TX and RX multimode rigs). AM/FM/SSB (LSB or USB) CW Data (RTTY) Could be automatic based on recognized band plan.
12 Transmitter Controls and Functions Microphone controls Gain How loudly you need to talk to be heard. Speech Compressor or Speech Processor Compacting your speech into a narrow frequency range to enhance punch. Too much gain or compression can cause problems. Splatter Over-deviation Over-modulation
13 Transmitter Controls and Functions Automatic Level Control (ALC). Automatically limits transmitter drive (output level) to prevent problems associated with too much gain or compression. Also can control external power amplifier operation.
14 Transmitter Controls and Functions Transmitter on/off Push-to-Talk (PTT) Voice-Operated Transmission (VOX) VOX Gain (beefs up your speech) VOX Delay (reduces sending background beeps) Anti-VOX (won t retransmit when your speaker is live no echoes) Key jack (to plug in your CW keyer)
15 Transmitter Controls and Functions Microphones (Mic) Hand mics Desk mics Preamplified desk mikes Speaker-mics Headsets or boom-sets Internal mikes Speak across the mic, not into the mic.
16 Transmitter Controls and Functions Morse Keys Straight Semi-automatic (Bug) Electronic keyer, paddle One paddle dash, one paddle dot Can be reversed for lefties
17 Receiver Controls and Functions AF Gain or Volume Controls the audio level to the speaker or headphones. RF Gain Controls the strength of radio signal entering the receiver. Used to limit (attenuate) very strong local signals. Usually operated in the full-open position.
18 Receiver Controls and Functions Automatic Gain Control (AGC) Automatically limits the incoming signals during signal (voice) peaks. Prevents peaks from capturing the receiver and limiting reception of lower level portions of the incoming signal. Fast setting for CW. Slow settings for SSB and AM. Not used in FM because of the type of signal used in FM.
19 Receiver Controls and Functions Squelch Turns off audio to speaker when signal is not present. Used in FM primarily Open allows very weak signals to pass through (along with noise). Tight allows only the strongest signals to pass through. Advance the squelch control until the noise just disappears.
20 Receiver Controls and Functions Filters Band-pass filter Used to narrow the width of signal that is passed. Can attenuate adjacent interference. Notch filter Very narrow filter that can be moved over an interfering signal to attenuate it. Noise blanker or limiter Limits signal spikes that are frequently associated with random naturally generated noise.
21 Receiver Controls and Functions Reception and Transmission Meter. In transmit, indicates output power or ALC or other functions as selected by switch setting. In receive - indicates signal strength. In S units S1 through S9 S9 is strongest. Also have db over S9 to cover very strong signals.
22 Receiver Controls and Functions Receivers can be limited to ham bands or can cover other parts of the spectrum. General coverage receivers cover a wide area of the spectrum and can be used for shortwave listening (SWL).
23 What is a Repeater? Specialized transmitter/receiver interconnected by computer controller. Generally located at a high place. Receives your signal and simultaneously retransmits your signal on a different frequency (standard offsets:.6 Mhz VHF). Dramatically extends line-of-sight range. If both users can see the repeater site.
25 A Little Vocabulary First Simplex Transmitting and receiving on the same frequency. Each user takes turns to transmit. Is the preferred method if it works. National VHF simplex frequency:
26 A Little Vocabulary First Duplex Transmitting on one frequency while simultaneously listening on a different frequency. Repeaters use duplex (and some DX sites too). Output frequency the frequency the repeater transmits on and you listen to (shown in the list). Input frequency the frequency the repeater listens to and you transmit on. (In a list often shown as + or the standard shift.
27 Things to Know to Use a Repeater Output frequency. Frequency split. and therefore the input frequency. Repeater access tones (if any). Generally PL (steady) subaudible tones Rarely coded tones
28 Repeater Output Frequency Repeaters are frequently identified by their output frequency. Meet you on the machine. Here the specific frequency is used. Let s go to 94. Here an abbreviation for a standard repeater channel is used meaning MHz. How about the NARL repeater? Here the repeater is referenced by the sponsoring club name.
29 Repeater Frequency Split The split, shifts, or offset frequencies are standardized to help facilitate repeater use. There are + and shifts depending on the plan. Different bands have different standardized amounts of shift.
30 Repeater Access Tones Sometimes multiple repeaters can be accessed at the same time unintentionally. To preclude unintentional access, some repeaters require a special subaudible tone to be present before the repeater controller will recognize the signal as a valid signal and turn on the repeater. These tones are called by various names (depending on equipment manufacturer). CTCSS PL Privacy codes or tones
31 Repeater Access Tones Access tones are usually published along with repeater frequencies. Could also be announced when the repeater identifies. PL is Tones are generally programmed into the radio along with frequency and offset.
32 Repeater Controller Computer that controls the repeater operation. Station identification (Morse code or synthesized voice). Same ID requirements as you have. Time-out protection. Sometimes called the alligator. Protects against continuous transmission in the event of a stuck PTT or long winded hams. Courtesy tone repeater time-out timer reset.
33 Data Modes Connecting computers via ham radio. Some systems use radio to connect to Internet gateways. The bulk of the work is done by specialized modems or computer software/sound card. Terminal Node Controller (TNC). Multiple Protocol Controller (MPC).
34 TNC MPC Provide digital interface between computer and radio. Package the data into proper format. Convert digital data into audio tones representing 1s and 0s of digital data. Send/receive tones to transceiver. Control the transceiver.
35 Data Station Setup
36 Antennas: The Dipole Most basic antenna. Two conductive, equal length parts. Feed line connected in the middle. Total length is ½ wavelength (1/2 l). Length (in feet) = 468 / Frequency (in MHz).
37 The Dipole
38 The Ground-Plane Simply a dipole that is oriented perpendicular (vertical to the Earth s surface). One half of the dipole is replaced by the groundplane. Earth Car roof or trunk lid or other metal surface. Radial wires. Length (in feet) = 234 / Frequency (in MHz).
39 The Ground-Plane
40 Loop Antennas Dipole Variations Quad (4 legs) Delta (3 legs) Horizontal (generally 4 legs around a rooftop)
41 Directional (Beam) Antennas Beam antennas focus or direct RF energy in a desired direction. Gain An apparent increase in power in the desired direction (both transmit and receive). Yagi (rod-like elements TV antennas). Quad (square wire loop elements).
42 Directional (Beam) Antennas Multiples beams away from the reflector Yagi beams towards the shortest elements
43 Directional (Beam) Antennas All beam antennas have parts called elements. Driven element connected to the radio by the feed line. Reflector element is on the back side. Director element is on the front side toward the desired direction.
44 Coax Feed Lines RG-58 RG-8 RG-213 RG-174 Hardline (differ in thickness, resistance to UV or outgassing)
45 Coax Connectors SO-239/PL259 BNC N SMA
46 Feed Line Devices Balun (Balanced to Unbalanced. Needed for ladder lines) Duplexer (one antenna, two feeds) Antenna switches SWR meter Antenna analyzer Antenna tuners
47 Antenna Supports Trees. Towers or masts. Covenants and antenna restrictions must be considered. 200 ft TX limit (aircraft) (note ground plane wires to allow a short vertical high up on a mast)
48 Power Supplies Most modern radio equipment runs from 12 volts dc. Household current is 120 volts ac. Power supplies convert 120 volts ac to 12 volts dc volts dc is the common voltage you will see. This is the charging voltage for motorized vehicles. Most equipment can handle V
49 Power Supply Ratings Voltage and Current Continuous duty how much current can be supplied over the long term. Intermittent duty how much surge current can be supplied over the short term. Regulation how well the power supply can handle rapid current changes.
50 Types of Power Supplies Linear: Transformers Heavy (physically) Heavy duty current Expensive Switching: Electronics instead of transformers Light weight and small Not as robust Less expensive
51 Inverters and Generators Inverters convert dc into ac. Square, triangle, sine-wave inverters. Can be choppy Generators create ac. Gas powered. Various voltage and current ratings. Special precautions.
52 Batteries Create current through a chemical reaction. Made up of individual cells (approximately 1.5 volts per cell) connected in series or parallel. Battery types. Disposable. Rechargeable. Storage. Power capabilities rated in Ampere-hours. Amps * time. (longer usage if you use less power)
53 Battery Charging Some batteries can be recharged, some cannot. Use the proper charger for the battery being charged. Batteries will wear out over time. Best if batteries are maintained fully charged. Over-charging will cause heating and could damage the battery. Some batteries (lead-acid) may release toxic (or explosive) fumes during charging so require ventilation.
54 Handheld Transceivers Single, dual and multi-band versions (with increasing cost and complexity). Some have expanded receiver coverage (wideband receive: DC to daylight ). Very portable and self-contained. Internal microphone and speaker. Rubber duck antenna (short). (can attach to external mag-mount antenna on car) Battery powered.
55 Nice to have handheld accessories Extra battery packs. Drop-in, fast charger. Extended antenna. External microphone and speaker. Headset.
56 Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) Unwanted, unintentional signals from some electronic device that interferes with radio wave reception. You can prevent creating RFI by operating your transmitting equipment properly.
57 RFI Mitigation Filters Filters attenuate (reduce) interfering signals but do not totally eliminate them. High-pass generally on the receive side. (e.g. filter out car ignition noise) Low-pass generally on the transmit side. Band-pass used within most radio equipment.
58 Types of RFI Direct detection offending signals get into the electronics circuits to cause interference. Overload strong signal that overwhelms the weaker, wanted signal. Harmonics even multiples of the offending signal that coincide with the wanted signal.
59 Cable TV Interference Usually the result of broken shielding somewhere in the cable. Loose connections. Broken connections. Corroded connections. Usually solved by proper cable maintenance by cable supplier. If the subscriber is a legitimate subscriber.
60 Noise Sources Electrical arcs (motors, thermostats, electric fences, neon signs). Power lines. (NEW concern: BPL = internet on power lines) Motor vehicle ignitions. Motor vehicle alternators. Switching power supplies. Computers, networks, and TV sets. Hospital equipment
61 Dealing with RFI Make sure you operate your equipment properly. Eliminate interference in your own home first.
62 Dealing with RFI Take interference complaints seriously. Make sure that you re really not the cause (demonstrate that you don t interfere within your own home). Offer to help eliminate the RFI, even if you are not at fault. Consult ARRL RFI Resources for help and assistance.
63 What the Rules Say RFI from and to unlicensed devices is the responsibility of the users of such devices Bottom line If your station is operating properly, you are protected against interference complaints BUT Be a good neighbor because they may (probably) not be familiar with Part 15 rules and regulations
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