Microwave transverter kit building

Created 3rd February, 2014

Building microwave transverter kits for 1296 MHz and 10 GHz, by Dave VK2JDS
For for SSB / Digital weak signal modes, via both Terrestrial and EME DXing.
Microwaves is becoming the new frontier, now that the gear and parts are becoming more accessible, due to
more ex-commercial surplus and more kits available
some sources of kits are:
VK5EME Minikits
VK3XDK kits
SG Labs 1296 MHz Transverter
VL2BKC ZLPLL Frequency reference kit
VK3HZ Frequency reference kit


PLL Unit

the two incarnations of the VK3XDK PLL board. The first two views are either ends of the same PLL box

this is probly the best unit, its got the 10GHz multiplier in it, and only requires two SMA jumper leads to the
transverter. The transverter is in a plastic box and has a 10GHz Austar feedpoint attached to it, it goes straight
onto a Austar dish without mods and the PLL sits along the arm or behind the box connected via hardline.

this is the other incarnation of the VK3XDK PLL board, all working again after PLL chip changed due to failure,
This is to drive the alternate 10GHz transverter for the dish here, requires a long diecast box to separate the
multiplier from the transverter pcb.


10 GHz (3cm band) Transverter - VK3XDK Version 1 for 10.368 GHz usage

some pics : the VK3XDK v1 10 GHz transverter at feedpoint of old austar dish, note the PLL box underneath

overview, minus the 10MHz reference coax and the RG58 to the 432 IF ssb rig

back view of the VK3XDK v1 10GHZ transverter

here is the VK3XDK v1 10GHz transverter, its IF radio is a 70cm rig. Operating freq is 10368.00 and IF freq is 432.00

the transmit/receive feedhorn all built up and working and just bolts to a standard Austar dish.
it requires the PLL module plugged into it and 10MHz reference etc


10 MHz Reference source

You need a similar box and drill a few holes etc and mount the atomic reference. You need to wire it up. This is what it looks like

This is the rubidium source mounted in a box.
The rubidium runs off 12v, connected to the PLL unit, for 23cm connect one cable to the transverter,
for 10GHz plug two SMA cables in and fit a jumper on the PLL end sockets


1296 MHz (23cm band) Transverter - VK5EME Minikits

here is the 23cm transverter hooked up to a ft817. the transverter is the larger diecast box, the PLL is the smaller one.
the transverter has a sequencer and rf detector in it, so using fm you can get it to do the TR switching by itself, for
ssb best to use a ptt control line . the IF radio is a 2metre rig with the output cut down to 2 watts max
this unit is the old version of the transverter, this webpage shows the new version and the associated power amp etc.
(check the VK5EME Minikits website, look under 23cm transverter kits)
there might be a page showing the older one there somewhere

23cm xverter, has the sequencer full kit inside (check the VK5EME Minikits website for Sequencer kits)

these are the dc connections. +12v is the dc input, the next is dc out to run the LNA and antenna relay
then a manual tx switch (for ssb), next is the 12v out to the relay to power up the transmit power amp.the relay can be a
cheap car spotlight relay from supercheap auto or repco etc
the plugs are 2.1mm dc types from jaycar

this is the power amp, its a vk5eme design and runs about 12 to 15 watts on fm. similar on ssb. its on his website, same as
the 23cm transverter kit and LNA kit

next pic is the LNA, its a vk5eme kit, the old version (from VK5EME Minikits website)

it will require several N to N cables to hook all these modules together.
if you are going to use it portable then short jumpers would work. best to keep the cable from the antenna to the TR relay
and LNA as short as possible.
all these boxes can be mast mounted (in a weatherproof case) for home station use.


Microwave Info Snippets

The 10 GHz Xvtr + LNA:
the Rx with small dish (90cm or greater) should see a increase in noise when aim at a tree or the ground.
the Rx will see moon noise with at least 2.5m dish or greater,
the Rx will see sun noise with a 90cm dish or greater,
Rcv using spectran/wsjt, the echos off the moon from the 10GHz beacon that uses a 8 metre dish when it is in high power mode, using 90cm dish or greater,
Rcv using spectran/wsjt, the echos off the moon from the 10GHz beacon that uses a 8 metre dish when it is in 50w power mode,using 1.2m dish or greater,
With a 2.5m solid dish (or larger) and 3 watts on 10GHz you should be able to work other EME stations using jt65


NOTE: only licensed Amateur Radio operators can operate this modified equipment on assigned Amateur frequencies/bands.

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