Circuit 144MHz-2M Converter | Electronic Circuits

Circuit 144MHz-2M Converter

The reception of 2 metre signals is generally with a converter and short wave receiver, preferably of communications type. The latter will have sensitivity and selectivity better than average. With such an arrangement of equipment, the 144MHz or other VHF signal is changed in frequency so that the converter output falls within the tuning range of the receiver.

A converter of this type often has its own RF amplifier, and a relatively low frequency crystal controlled oscillator, followed by frequency multipliers. This allows high sensitivity and excellent
frequency stability, but is a relatively complicated and expensive item. Bearing in mind that at this frequency the RF amplifier will not, contribute very much gain, and that tunable VHF oscillators
are used in many domestic VHF receivers, it is possible to use the much simpler circuit in Figure 13.

L1 is broadly tuned to the wanted frequency band by T1, and signal input is to gate 1 of TR1. TR2 is the local oscillator, and the operating frequency here is determined by L2 and T2. Oscillator injection is via C3 to gate 2 of TR1. The frequency of the output from the drain of the mixer TR1 is the difference between G1 and G2 frequencies. Thus if the signal at G1 is 144MHz, and TR2 is tuned to oscillate at 116MHz, output will be at 144 minus 116MHz, or 28MHz. Similarly, with the oscillator set at 116MHz, an input at 146MHz to G1 will give an output of 30MHz. Therefore 144-146MHz can be covered by tuning the receiver from 28MHz to 30MHz. L3 is broadly tuned to this band, and L4 couples the signal to the short wave receiver.

The oscillator can actually be tuned above or below the aerial circuit frequency of the converter, as it is the difference between converter signal input and oscillator frequencies which determines the converter output frequency. It is also possible to choose other reception and output frequencies, provided L1, L2 and L3 are chosen to suit.

L1 and L2 are wound in the same way, except that L1 is tapped one turn from its grounded end. Each coil has five turns of 18swg wire, self supporting, formed by winding the turns on an object 7mm in diameter. Space turns so that each coil is ½in or about 12mm long.

L3 is fifteen turns of 26swg enamelled wire, side by side on a 7mm former with adjustable core. L4 is four turns, overwound on the earthed (positive line) end of L3.

Layout should allow very short connections in the VHF circuits. A co-axial aerial socket is fitted near L1. A screened coaxial lead is preferred from L4 to the receiver, to avoid unnecessary pick-up of signals in, the 28-30MHz range. The converter will operate from a 9v to 12v supply.

L3 should first be peaked at about 29MHz. If a signal generatoris available (that described later can be used) couple this to TR1 drain by placing the output lead near the drain circuit. Tune
generator and receiver to 29MHz, and adjust the core of L3 for best results. Otherwise, couple an aerial by means of a small capacitor to the drain circuit, and tune in some signal in the 28- 30MHz range, to allow adjustment of the core of L3.

It is now necessary to tune L1 to about 145MHz, and L2 to 116MHz, or 174MHz. If an absorption frequency indicator is available, this will permit an approximate setting of T2. A dip oscillator will also allow T1 to be adjusted. (The circuits shown later may be used here.) Subsequently adjust L2 to bring the wanted signals in at the required frequencies on the receiver, and peak these for best volume with T1, and check the setting of L2 core.

The converter is best assembled in a small aluminium box, completely closed, which can be placed behind the receiver. Note that if TR2 is not oscillating, no reception is possible through the converter. TR2 should be a VHF FET, such as the BF244, MPF102, and similar types, and if necessary T3 may be adjusted to secure oscillation here. The 40602, 40673, and similar VHF types will be satisfactory for TR1. If needed, frequencies can be brought within the swing of T1 and T2 by stretching or compressing L1 or L2.

The aerial may be about 38½in long, constructed as a simple self-supporting or wire dipole, with a feeder descending to the converter.

Amateur activity is most likely to be greatest at week ends, and in many areas a whip or very short wire aerial will provide local reception.

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