More than one Peaberry

General discussion and support for the Peaberry SDR V2.

More than one Peaberry

Postby W4MMP » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:14 pm

Hi,

I would really like to know how many of you have more than one Peaberry? I would assume that if you do, each has been built to cover different band ranges. This is relationship to me designing and building a multi rig interface. But is it really worth the effort?

Related to this, I have spent many hours researching what is needed to produce the Peaberry V2. Is there still a demand for it? David has given me permission to do so but I need to start from scratch. This a rather large undertaking for me as I have zero experience with using a electronic design automation (EDA) application, finding a manufacture to produce the PCB at a reasonable cost and so on.

Also related to this, I am currently researching a Peaberry clone from India. It is a single board multi band (80M - 10M) version of the Peaberry. It uses the same PSoC 3 and Si570 chips. This just maybe the way to go and give up on the idea of recreating the Peaberry V2.

So at any rate, how many of you have more than one Peaberry?
73
Ron / W4MMP
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby enghamradio » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:39 am

Hi Ron,

I have three Peaberry's built for different bands. The single board multi band radio clone sounds interesting. Are kits or assembled units available? What is the bandwidth?

Dennis
KE2GT
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby W4MMP » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:19 am

I am still checking on this rig that has been designed and built in India. I'm still waiting on approval to join the yahoo group that supports this rig. Stay tuned.
73
Ron / W4MMP
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby W4MMP » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:24 pm

Hey guys (and girls).

I know some of you have more that one peaberry. Please give me a hand let me know.
73
Ron / W4MMP
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby kz1x » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:54 am

Ron

You probably recall I had multiple PBv2 (and also v1) radios. I sold all but one of the v1 radios.

Much has been made of making a radio of this basic design to cover more bands. To do that requires a more sophisticated way of selecting bandpass filters and the filters themselves. Neither are difficult to create.

I already know you can modify the PSoC code. Were it me, I would simply employ a small additional MCU on I2C or similar to do the outlying relay control there, and, then use the filter modules from K5BCQ. It's kind of silly to reinvent the wheel when nice modules already exist, and, I think people would like a more modular approach anyway. You and I both saw the fabrication challenge for people at the level of SMD integration that David used.

I have done hundreds of similar 'kitting' sequences of RF devices at this scale, for quantities ranging from 4 or so up to thousands. I know of fab houses that can get the job done with minimal cost. Much of the best practice and vendors you can select from will have to do with if you are trying to build a profitable business or not.

On another front, there are two weaknesses in the PBv2 design that should be dealt with. One is the RF PA section, which isn't very clean. If you put the PBv2 on a spectrum analyzer, you'd quickly see what I mean. Also, the board is microphonic due to certain capacitors and the circuit that uses them.

I would engineer these problems out in a new design.

One of the things I would also incorporate is a 5W output PA that works 'better' overall, with a single ended RD16HHF1 transistor, and then offer an easy way to get to 20W or so such as the K5BCQ design amp, using two more of those same FETs. As 'BCQ references, many other designers (G6ALU, KE9H, WA2EBY, TF3LJ, K5OOR, NO5K, WA2EUJ...) have trod this space before, so, using that experience leverages best in class with simplicity of your own comprehensive effort. Focusing on designs around a single FET allow you to address costs and reliability. This FET is clean and robust for the purpose, just a delightful part to work with.

N2APB's monobander 'shell' for the SoftRock radio isn't appealing to lots of hams, despite the packaging and accessory integration, since for some reason the old Novice model of "focus on certain frequencies and learn there first" doesn't seem to have been picked up on by newer hams. That's too bad, but, it's progress I guess. Yet you can also probably agree that the 4 band model employed by the PBv2 should remain an option if for no other reason than entry cost and practicality. 40, 30, and 20 meters are where lots of "action" for digital modes is, and, your real competition is the not-a kit, $1200 Elad FDM-Duo.

Lastly: whatever you make, it needs to work, directly and with full support, on the variety of popular SDR applications out there. The level of frustration I felt and others expressed when trying to do simple things like operate the PB on JT9/JT65 is palpable. No amount of radio hardware is going to get on the air unless and until this problem is addressed. Simple (and I mean, SIMPLE) RX/TX and frequency control, and sound I/O, are necessary. No VAC sound loopbacks, no emulated serial ports, none of that crazy and unworkable complication.

Hope some of these comments are relevant and useful.

Steve KZ1X
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby W4MMP » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:41 am

Hi Steve,

Quite insightful and elegant. I will give what you have mentioned careful consideration.


Yes, I have no intention to reinvent the wheel. As you have pointed out, there many existing solutions for issues such as BPFs, amplifiers and such and I fully intend to incorporate existing technology in the final product.

When I returned to ham radio just over two years ago I was looking for a lower cost way to come back to the hobby. When I left the hobby (some 15 years ago) SDR was to be the promised land of low cost yet high performance rigs only to see commercially produced SDR rigs with the same if not higher price tags as non-SDR rigs. (I understand the "non-SDR" rigs use SDR principles internally, but that is not the point I'm attempting to make). I suppose I was naïve, but thought a rig based on SDR was to be of high quality (a good RF front end) but of minimum component count. All the heavy lifting to be accomplished in software.

So, I hope to create a product that is modular, expandable and contain all the elements that you have mentioned in the close of your email. And of course at a lower cost entry point than existing product lines. I don't know if I can, but it is worth a shot. I am retired and when I'm not tending to the farm chores, this is what I do :)

Thanks,
73
Ron / W4MMP
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby therrick » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:03 pm

Hi Ron,

I also wrote to David but never received a reply. I bought a couple of PSoC kits for developing and learning the PSoC's. I am not really that good with the entire design of the/an SDR. I am learning as I go. If I can help in any way let me know.

Also I have built probably close to 100 Peaberry's and last year I built all the prebuilts that David sold. I was hoping to work off his design and improve on it including looking for different part suppliers and redesigning for parts readily available.

I have 2 V2's but they have been cannibalized for repairs and I never replaced the parts.
73,
Tim Herrick, KQ8M
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby donde » Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:48 am

Hey Tim,

I guess you know I received the Peaberry. It's still sitting on the workbench. Haven't plugged it in to listen to the receiver yet.
Not trying to interfere with your conversation with Ron. But, still would like to get the TX working. Ron, if you are reading this, maybe you can help me by working with Tim for he has spent a lot of time trying to fix it. The problem is very elusive. I think it must be a broken or shorted trace. Thanks.

Don ... W6RWN
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby W4MMP » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:46 am

donde wrote:Hey Tim,

I guess you know I received the Peaberry. It's still sitting on the workbench. Haven't plugged it in to listen to the receiver yet.
Not trying to interfere with your conversation with Ron. But, still would like to get the TX working. Ron, if you are reading this, maybe you can help me by working with Tim for he has spent a lot of time trying to fix it. The problem is very elusive. I think it must be a broken or shorted trace. Thanks.

Don ... W6RWN


Hi Don,
I'm happy to help. But please start another thread for trouble shooting your rig. In that new thread please let me know what your working conditions are such as the model (which bands is your Peaberry configured for, which host application you use (please say HDSDR ;), have a dummy load? and such). What test equipment do you have available to you?
73
Ron / W4MMP
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Re: More than one Peaberry

Postby uv199 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:27 am

Hi Ron, I have two V2's I built and use regularly. 160, 80, 75m and 60,40,30,20m. You make a comment " This is relationship to me designing and building a multi rig interface". Are you wanting to design an interface to be able to use multiple Peaberry's or designing a multi band rig? Personally I have no problem switching them out when I want to work a different band group. I was actually hoping the next rig Dave made would be a Multi band rig as I had no plans of building anymore V2's. They work great but the next interest for me would be a Multi Band rig. I do use my V2's with the k5bcq 20watt amp as kz1x describes to your reply and saw that BCQ does make the multiband bandpass filters so that may help.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance. A multirig version of a Peaberry would probably be welcomed by many on this forum that have built and use the Peaberry..
Paul
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