Sunday, May 30, 2010

ESSB: Transmitted Audio Quality on Single Side Band.

Transmitted Audio Quality: If you are a serious SSB operator like I am then you will pay close attention to the transmitted audo quality of your signal. Two black boxes that you basically use for HiFi SSB are the 8 Band EQ and the EQplus produced by Julius Jones, W2IHY. I have found that these two gadgets produce a transmitted audio that is as close as broadcast audio quality as I can get on SSB and Julius did a great job. I get consistently excellent reports on my transmitted audio quality and have also found that with signals that I receive and find with exceptional audio quality that the station on the other side is running the same pair of black boxes.

The equipment used for transmitted audio at my station. [ Visit on details about eSSB]

Following is a photo montage of some of the audio processing equipment and microphone that I use for ESSB:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yaesu FT-920 HF Transceiver.


Yaesu's engineers had dedicated themselves to the enhancement of Signal-To-Noise ratio in designing the FT-920. Since recovered audio is the most important consideration at both ends of the communication circuit, the FT-920 is particularly optimized for noise reduction, wide dynamic range consistent with excellent sensitivity, audio tailored to the operators own voice pattern, and ease of operation. The result is an efficient transceiver design without a peer in its price class.

High-Tech Receiver Front End
The FT-920's receiver front end, adapted from the FT-1000D and FT-1000MP legacies, utilizes an up-conversion technique, with a 68.9 MHz first IF being produced by the four-FET doubly-balanced first mixer. Following the first mixer, a four-pole "roofing" filter protects the following stages.

This front-end architecture results in excellent image- and intermodulation-rejection characteristics for the receiver system.

New-Design MOS FET Power Amplifier
Utilizing rugged MRF255 FETs in the final amplifier, the FT-920 produces 100 Watts of clean output power from 1.8 MHz through 54 MHz! Built into an aluminum die-cast unibody chassis, the FT-920's thermal dissipation capability is unnmatched in its class.

High Speed DSP
The audio Digital Signal Processing (DSP) system of the FT-920 runs at a blazing 333 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second), providing highly-effective filtering and noise reduction with a minimum amount of distortion or "artifacts" that can degrade reception. Noise reduction, bandpass filtering, and auto-notch filters are provided, in addition to a microphone equalizer to boost talk power and enhance audio quality.

Oustanding Digital Mode Features
Easy interfacing to digital modes is yours with the fT-920, and its flexibility for digital operation is beyond compare.Both AFSK and FSK connetinos may be accomplished, and the AFSK line is isolated from the microphone jhack, so you never have to worry about a "live mike" while you're on PSK31. PTT, fixed-level audio output, and squelch status lines are also available.

And for connection to a tape recorder, a convenient "AF OUT" RCA-type connector simplifies audio interconnection, independently from the TNC connections used for digital transceive operation.

CW Operating Flexibility
For CW experts, the FT-920 includes a CW Spot control, for precise alignment of your frequency to that of the station you're working. You also get a CW Tuning Meter, CW-Reverse sideband selection, a CW Pitch control, and a CW Message Memory electronic keyer, with storage and recall access from the front panel.

Advanced Multi-Function Display
The FT-920's Omni-Glow™ display includes a specially-engineered wide-angle lens, to ensure clarity of viewing over a very wide range of angles. The high speed digital metering includes a "peak-hold" feature, to allow easy monitoring of peak signal, power, or SWR values. You also get monitoring of the input DC voltage, speech processor compression level, DSP relative bandwidth, Clarifier offset, and a host of other information including tuning meters for both CW and FM modes.

PA3BFM reviews the Yaesu FT-920

Processed SSB Audio
Those who know me and my transmitted SSB signals know that I care allot about the transmit quality of my signal. I am not one of those local DX'ers who run tons of QRO power and don't care about the quality of their transmitted audio (you know the ones with excessive power, terrible audio, over compression and splattering!).

The constant compliments I receive over the air on the quality of my transmitted audio are a testimony to the efforts put into the front end audio processing.

With the 3 main rigs that I run on HF, FT-2000, TS-870S and the FT-920, I have paid special attention to ensure that the SSB signal is transmitted either in enhanced or extended SSB. But thanks must also be given to many friends on air and off air who are professional broadcasters as well as professional audio engineers who have given me lots of advice in order for me to achieve my ESSB goals.

For the FT-920 it is run in enhanced SSB mode and I use a combination of the KAM RT-1 - Ribbon Tone Dynamic Microphone into a Behringer FEX800 Enhancement/Effects Processor + FEQ800 Equalizer and a Behringer "Shark" DSP-110 Gate/Compressor/Preamplifier:

Here are some videos of what HiFi or ESSB can sound like:

Yaesu FL-2100B HF Linear Amplifier

This is the station Linear Amplifier, it is a Yaesu FL-2100B which operates in Class B grounded grid configuration using a pair of 572B tubes. Max. input power is 1,200 watts PEP.

Additional box fan used for ventilation of heat placed on top of the FL-2100B:

<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2">Yaesu</span> FL-2100Z
Configuration Class AB2, grounded grid
Frequency coverage 160m - 10m including WARC bands
Plate input power 1200W PEP SSB, 1000W CW, 400W AM/FM/FSK
Plate voltage 2400V (no load)
Drive requirements 100W PEP for full output
Input impedance 50 ohms unbalanced
Output impedance 50 - 75 ohms unbalanced
3rd order distortion products 31dB or better at 1kW PEP
Tube complement 2 x 572B/T160
Cooling system Forced air
Power requirements AC 100/110/117/200/220/234V 50/60Hz
Current consumption (100-117V) 18A
Current consumption (200-234V) 9A
Dimensions 157H x 345W x 326D
Weight Approx 20kg

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


The K-x combines solid photographic performance with a wide array of advanced features at an affordable price. It features PENTAX's innovative in-body Shake Reduction mechanism for sharper blur-free images, 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor, comprehensive Dust Removal system, HD movie capture and high-speed continuous shooting of approximately 4.7 frames per second in its ultra-compact body. These features, along with the user-friendly PENTAX-original Auto Picture mode and Live View with a choice of three different focusing modes assure great results every time.

This K-x one-lens kit includes the smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL lens which covers the wide-angle to medium-telephoto ranges.

High-quality image reproduction
The 12.4 MP CMOS image sensor assures high-speed image data readout and more flexible response to varying ISO sensitivity levels and can faithfully and accurately reproduce true-to-life images with fine detail and rich colour depth. It not only offers a wide sensitivity range between ISO 200 and ISO 6400, but also allows you to expand the sensitivity range between ISO 100 and ISO 12800 via a custom function, giving greater creative freedom to the more adventurous photographer. The PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II imagine engine, offers greater data processing speed and enhanced capability to produce higher-quality images with richer, more accurate colour rendition, as well as faster transmission speed of movie data.

High-precision 11-point AF sensor
The wide-frame SAFOX VIII autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to automatically capture even off-centered subjects in sharp, crisp focus. Select from 11 or 5 points or manually select any one of the sensors as the focusing point to accommodate specialized applications.

Compact, lightweight body
Despite the incorporation of the large 23.6mm x 15.8mm image sensor, the K-x is one of the most compact, lightweight digital SLR cameras available. It offers easy one-handed operation.

Live View function with choice of three focusing modes
The Live View function allows you to view the image on the LCD monitor during shooting. Select from a choice of three different focusing modes during Live View shooting: Contrast AF, which optimizes the focus based on the subject's contrast; Face Detection AF, which automatically detects up to 16 faces, selects the main subject's face from multiple faces, then captures it in sharp focus; and Phase Difference AF, which uses the AF sensor positioned in the camera body to optimize focus on the subject. Coupled with the half press focus activation, this gives unprecedented ease of use in Live View.

HD Movie Capture
The movie recording function extends the benefits of high-quality SLR photography to the world of movie shooting. It captures beautiful, true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 24 frames per second.

PENTAX-original SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism
The PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism effectively compensates the adverse effect of camera shake by as much as four shutter steps, assuring sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions. This innovative mechanism is compatible with almost all existing PENTAX interchangeable SLR lenses – both old and new.* * Lenses compatible with this mechanism are the PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mounted lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.

High-speed continuous shooting
The K-x's high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 17 images (in JPEG recording format) at a maximum speed of approximately 4.7 images per second at 1/125 second shutter speed – the fastest of all entry-class models. Its top shutter speed of 1/6000 second allows you to preserve sharp, crisp images of fast-moving subjects.

Innovative image processing functions to produce distinctive photographic effects
(i) Digital filter function
This function allows you to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways within the camera and produce highly creative visual expressions. With a choice of 16 different filters, you can even apply different filters, one after another, to a single image to create more personalized visual effects.
(ii) Cross process mode
The K-x features the new cross process mode, in which the camera automatically and randomly shifts photographic parameters for each exposure to create eye-catching images with unique colours – just like pictures treated with the cross process*** in film photography. This playful mode adds the elements of surprise and unpredictability to digital photography as you cannot expect the outcome until the captured image is actually displayed on the camera's LCD monitor. *** A film development technique that takes advantage of unconventional film developers to create a distinctive finishing touch with intriguing colours.

Other features
  • Energy efficient circuit design for longer battery life, capable of capturing approximately 1,900 images with four AA-size lithium batteries
  • Custom Image function to create unique finishing touches including the exclusive PENTAX B&W Infrared Mode DR (Dust Removal) mechanism to eliminate dust spots on recorded images and DUST ALERT to visually check for the adhesion of dust to the image sensor.
  • 2.7-inch, high-resolution wide viewing angle colour LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots Auto Picture mode for effortless, automatic selection of the most appropriate shooting mode, even during Live View shooting
  • HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide dynamic range from three different exposures
  • White balance control, featuring a new CTE mode to emphasize the colour components of sunset scenes features preview of the white balance while adjusting settings. The white balance can be saved from an existing image
  • Status screen for easy, at-a-glance confirmation and adjusting of various settings on the LCD monitor
  • Ten scene modes, with selection via simple icons
  • Automatic compensation for lens distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA and D FA series lenses)
  • In camera RAW processing of single or multiple images is possible with adjustment of the image parameters.
  • Includes the PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, with RAW-data processing and browser applications

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Tokyo Hy-Power HL-1.2Kfx High Frequency Linear Amplifier.

    The HF Linear Amplifier of choice and operation currently with my Yaesu FT-2K is the Tokyo Hy-Power HL-1.2Kfx which is entirely solid state, has a small foot print, require no-tune, just plug and play.

    This world-class compact amplifier is the easiest to handle and operate. Main PA section includes 4 high power MOS FET SD2933's.The amplifier's broadband characteristics require no further tuning once the operating band is selected.

    Frequency Range 1.8 - 28MHz all amateur bands including WARC bands
    Mode SSB / CW / RTTY
    AC Power AC 100/110/115/120V, AC 200/220/230/240V
    RF Drive Power 85W typ. ( 75 - 95W max.)
    Output Power SSB 750W PEP max., CW 630W, RTTY 400W
    Final Transistor SD2933 x 4 ( MOS FET by ST micro )
    Circuit Class AB parallel push-pull
    Cooling Method Forced Air Cooling
    Multi - Meter Output Power Pf 1kW, Reflected Power Pr 100W,
    Drain Voltage Vd 60V, Drain Current Id 50A
    In/Out Connectors SO - 239 ( Type M-J )
    (W) x (H) x (D)
    Approx. 232 x 142 x 350 mm
    Approx. 9.1 x 5.6 x 14.3 inches
    Weight Approx.15 kgs./ 33 lbs.
    Optional Accessories AC Power Cord x 1, RCA Plug x 2, Spare Fuse 8A
    ( for AC230V line ) x 2, Spare Fuse 15A ( for AC115V line ) x 2, Spare Fuse 1A x 2, Spare Fuse 2A x 1, User Manual x 1

    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    SteelSeries Seberia V2 Headset Aiming the Gamers and Audiophiles Heads.

    SteelSeries has released a pretty cool set of full size headphones called Siberia v2 and they have the heads of Gamers and audiophiles turning! Siberia v2 headphones feature 50mm speaker drivers, a retractable head band, the frequency range is 10 to 28,000 Hz and they are of 32 ohm impedance.

    SteelSeries Siberia v2 incorporates an ‘invisible’ retractable 50-16,000 Hz microphone system (you can find it at the bottom of the left ear-cup) that you can use for VoIP chatting. The headphone has a good 2 meters extension cable and two 3.5mm jacks for audio and mic.

    SteelSeries Siberia v2 headphone is released in two models, one with USB sound card while the other is just a plain model. Both have been available since November 2009.

    At time of writing I am listening to these cans and find that they are very comfortable with the headband being self adjustable via self retracting wire cables. The leather ear pads are also very soft and pliable and there is no pinching or clamping feeling when wearing these cans. The sound is extremely dynamic and fast with details in full abundance but not over whelming or fatiguing. Bass is not constricted, it is well controlled and expansion is deep for these new cans right off the rack. Tonal balance, transient response and coherence for all ranges is extremely good.

    The model I have is the plain version and not the USB version.

    The nice part is the mike which can be completely concealed when not required. I am very pleasantly surprised by the overall quality and design of theses cans. The design is also extremely stylish and tasteful.

    A set of cans that I do recommend for those die hard gamers/ head-fi'ers amongst you.

    Retail pricing : $79.99 - $93.87

    Of Interest:

    SteelSeries Siberia v2 Headset Selected for the 52nd Annual GRAMMY® Awards Performers and Presenters Gift Bag

    2010-01-26 16:57:03

    SteelSeries, a leading manufacturer of game peripherals and accessories, today announced that the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Headset has been selected to participate in the 52nd Annual GRAMMY® Awards official gift bag. As the headset of choice for both gamers and music lovers, the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Headset brings GRAMMY presenters and performer's superior sound and microphone technology in a stylish and comfortable design.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Runsheng Disc Demagnetizer SH-2A

    How does an aluminum disc magnetize? The inks used on the the disc label may contain materials that can pick up a magnetic charges as they are moved in and out of their case and the CD transport, and whilst spun at high speeds. The impact of this magnetization is very acute on older discs, which can be sonically rejuvenated with a Disc Demagnetizer. But even brand new CD's, DVD's, Blu-Ray, and other formats will benefit.

    Each demagnetizing cycle takes about 8 seconds. After the first cycle, turn the disc over, and run the second cycle.

    Originally developed by Japanese companies who marketed such products at a very high price, the Chinese made Runsheng SH-2A does the same job at 1/4 to 1/5 of the cost of Japanese products. I tried the cycles on a few of my favorite CD's and I immediately noticed they sounded cleaner, quieter, bass was tighter, mid and upper registers had sparkle and have luster.

    The Chinese Runsheng SH-2A is retailing for US$62.00 and is a steal compared to the price of similar Japanese products. It is marketed in NA under a different name and also not at such a low price.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    New VFO Spinner Knob - IC-R71E.

    Today I replaced somewhat scratched old VFO spinner knob on the Icom IC-R71E with a new VFO Spinner knob rescued from a defective Kenwood TS-440 that was written off. The rubber trim around the side is better then the original Icom knob for tuning. Here are a couple of photos: