W1GHZ "simple and cheap" transverters
for 902, 1296, 2304 and 3456 MHz

A few years back, prolific author, experimenter and ham W1GHZ came up with a design for low-cost microwave transverters for the rover station. I was interested. Somewhere along the line, the 4Smicrowave group organized a group purchase of boards and parts. I was a little disappointed to have missed it. When W8ISS announced that he was going to do the same in October of 2010, I jumped at the chance.

In 2006 I built the W1GHZ 222MHz transverter for my FT817. It was a fun build, I learned a lot and gave a couple presentations to local ham clubs about this build and transverters in general. So even though I don't actually get on the air much, I occasionally do have time to devote to operating and it's nice to have equipment ready.

The transverter boards cover 902, 1296, 2304 and 3456 MHz. Because I am crazy, I ordered LO and boards for each band.

Part of the design with these transverters is that a single (or few) LO are needed -- I opted for an LO per transverter:

902MHz: 36MHz x 7 = 252 x 3 = 756MHz + 146 = 902MHz
1296MHz: 64MHz x 3 = 192 x 6 = 1152 + 144 = 1296MHz
2304MHz: 80MHz x 3 = 240 x 3 = 720 x 3 = 2160 + 144 = 2304MHz
3456MHz: 80MHz x 3 = 240 x 3 = 720 * 5 = 3600 - 144 = 3456MHz

So here's documenting the progress with this project. I received my boards and parts kits from W8ISS in early December. Plan is to sneak a few minutes here and there, work on the oscillator boards first and then complete the transverters, in order of whichever band is available to test via QSO first. I think that means 1296, 2304, 902 and 3456.

Sun Jan 2 17:43:32 CST 2011

756MHz LO completed for the 902MHz transverter. Also built a little 1x1" regulator board to supply the necessary +8V. The whole thing went together easily enough. As far as I can tell there are really no cookbook directions for this, which is fine. Having to study the board and the schematic for parts placement I have to be just a little more familiar with what's going on that I perhaps otherwise would.

756MHz LO board SMT components installed

Thu Jan 13 13:45:58 CST 2011

Started on the 902 transverter board. Got a dozen or so of the caps soldered down. Not too bad considering my limited time in the shop and that I had to figure out what I wanted to work on! I also need to work on the 5354A converter for my 5345A counter -- it's not quite working, bummer. Passes all of the self tests but doesn't lock on any frequency. (probably something blown in the front-end...)

Sun Jan 16 22:11:04 CST 2011

902MHz transverter board completed. I think that was the easy part. I now need to come up with a good IF radio solution. I have an FT817 that would make sense to use, I suppose. Just need to be careful that I don't run too much power into the transverter.

I also have a 10M radio that I could hack up to install a 28 to 144MHz low-power transverter. I don't know that there's any way to do that on the cheap.

And then there's the issue of transverter sequencing.

And enclousures.


This page last modified Sun Jan 16 22:11:12 CST 2011 by timc!

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