As I have stated previously I purchased a 1296MHz transverter from SG-Lab in Bulgaria. Anyway, upon applying power to it and testing the transmit (with an IF of 145MHz at 2.5W from my FT-817) I noted that it was not working as described. Upon opening up the top of the case I noted that one of the components was raised and obviously burnt. I contacted Hristiyan, LZ5HP, at SG-Lab and sent photos of the faulty component in situ. He immediately identified it as a short in the choke having caused the problem and I returned the unit to him. Two weeks later it was back with me in full working order with a replaced choke. This time when I applied power and some IF it worked as it should.
I also mentioned that I would look at constructing a DL6WU Yagi but, unfortunately, work has got in the way and I just haven’t had the time. I looked online for suppliers and, after much deliberation, decided to purchase one from Dual Antennas in Serbia (www.antennas-amplifiers.com). This was down to both price and quality. Although there are manufacturers both in England and in Germany, Dual seemed to offer the best deal. For a 13 element Yagi it cost me 59€ plus shipping. there was the other issue that when it arrived in the UK it was held by customs for a week whilst they added import charges and VAT but that only came to £19.15.
The 23cm Yagi from Dual.
So now I am fully operational on all bands from 80m – 23cm (except 4m currently). I have not yet had a QSO on 23cm although I have put out a few CQ calls, so maybe next Thursday evening during the UKAC contest.
The 23cm Yagi up at CVO Towers
The transverter visible in operating position below the X1M HF QRP set with the FT-817 providing the IF to the left.
The SG-Lab 23cm Transverter
So I finally bit the bullet and decided that it was time to extend my amateur radio boundaries beyond 433MHz. I read various reviews and product descriptions and decided on purchasing a SG Lab 1296MHz transverter. I sent an e-mail to Hristiyan, LZ5HP in Sofia Bulgaria who constructs these units enquiring about pricing. He promptly replied with a return e-mail and a PayPal invoice for 145€ (£132GBP). I paid up (cheaper than expected) and within two days had tracking details and confirmation that it was on its way. It actually arrived surprisingly quickly (about 1 week) using Bulgaria Post and then Royal Mail when it arrived on our shores.
The unit supplied is enclosed in a smart tin case and comes complete with an HB9CV “test” antenna printed on FR4 laminate. Both are shown in the picture above. There is also a DC plug (you need to supply the wire and solder this yourself) for the power. You will also need a BNC to SMA pigtail lead to connect to whatever you choose to use as an IF. I am making use of my mostly redundant FT-817 for this. The IF is from 144 -148MHz.
For a test antenna, the supplied HB9CV demonstrates a rather good match as can be seen from the above Smith Chart produced by my MiniVNA Tiny. With 3.2dBd gain it has quite promising performance as a suitable antenna for local ops too. The instructions are available online at http://sg-lab.com/amateur.html and these will be needed for setting up the unit. Nothing too complex though but you will need to remove the top cover and possibly use some long nose needle pliers. for setting jumpers.
The picture above shows the transverter with the top cover off for the purpose of setting up using the jumpers. Output power (up to 2W) can also be adjusted here using the trimmer visible on the left.
Most functions can be monitored using the LEDs at the side.
After purchasing this then discovered that the completed units are stocked in the UK by Kanga Products (www.kanga-products.co.uk) so I could have obtained it possibly faster and cheaper but we live and learn. I may look at the 13cm (2300MHz) transverter at a later date – also from SG Lab and I will look then to see if Kanga have it first.
Now I am going to build a DW6LP type Yagi Beam for 23cm so I can put the unit to full use.