20 Jun 2013

Finningley optical transceiver working fine

Although I posted this on the Nanowaves Yahoo group , I forgot to update folks reading this blog on the progress with this optical transceiver kit designed by Bernie G4HJW.

Well, at the weekend I finished building the unit and started testing it. The TX part worked first time, but the RX did not. Time to find out why!

Using logic and common sense, I carefully went through the various stages (8V regulator, later audio stages etc) and tracked the fault down to an intermittent preset SMA pot that sets the FET bias. The FET stage is the very high impedance stage that follows the PIN photodiode.

The error was entirely my fault and easily fixed by removing the part and redoing the surface mount joints. Now the full transceiver is working well (but yet to be put into 100mm optics) and the RX sensitivity is close to that with my K3PGP design RX. In the coming weeks I hope to get a transition piece to connect the transceiver "tube" to a 110mm drainpipe that houses the 100mm lens. I'll then assemble this onto a stable tripod with sighting scope and I'll be ready to look for QSOs.

One thing that puzzled me was how having the detector diode and TX LED slightly off-centre would work. In my mind I thought that the light would not be properly focused onto the devices, so losing sensitivity. Then someone pointed out that by slightly aiming "off beam" by around 1 degree the light would fall exactly onto the position on the transceiver where the LED or PIN diode are mounted.

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