W1GHZ 903 MHz RX working!

Although I built the W1GHZ 903-MHz transverter and 756-MHz LO boards last winter, I didn’t have time or inclination to test them until this week.  These were purchased as a part of the first (October 2009) group buy orchestrated by W8ISS.  Instead of the INA-10386 MMIC recommended by W1GHZ, the W8ISS kits featured a Sirenza SGA-3586Z MMIC as the LNA, as suggested by the 4s_microwave group.  A better part (with NF < 2 dB), recommended to me by W9SZ, is the the SGA-4586Z, which I used on my 903 board and will use on my 1296 board.  This requires the bias resistor (R3, 51 ohms, on the 1296 board) to be changed to 100 ohms.

Since there is a lot of foliage between me and the W3APL beacon, I took the liberty of carting the transverter and IF rig to the beacon site (sorry no photos) on my lunch break yesterday.  Sure enough, it worked like a charm with the beacon pounding in on 147.0615 MHz.  The nominal beacon frequency is 903.055 MHz, so I don’t know if the difference is in my LO or the not-GPS-locked beacon drifting around.  At any rate, I’m pleased enough to continue the project…

The 1296RSU transverter and 1152-MHz LO boards are on the left in the photo above.  They have not yet been populated, but that’s an evening’s work.

Ethan Miller, K8GU, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Maryland, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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