Since the entire country is on Coronavirus lockdown at the moment, I figured it was time to get round to finishing off a couple of small blog posts while waiting for the restrictions to be lifted 😉
This is a small two-stage linear amplifier module available on eBay fairly cheap for SDR operation.This unit claims 3W (34.8dBm) power output at 0dBm input, however not surprisingly, this amplifier isn’t quite flat across the frequency range.
Here’s the readout from an R&S FSV7 spectrum analyser. The amplifier is being driven from the analyser’s tracking generator at 0dBm, and the output is fed back into the input via 60dB of external power attenuation. The span here is 1MHz-1GHz, and at the top end the frequency response is already beginning to drop off a cliff – the 1GHz rating appears to be the 3dB down point. The rated output power of 3W appears to only be attainable below 100MHz for the rated 0dBm input, after that it drops pretty quickly to about -3dB.
Output - dBm
Output - W
Extending the frequency span of the analyser shows the roll off at high frequency – this module really isn’t usable above the rated frequency range.
I thought it was time to add a bit of security to the gear I take camping, so this GPS tracker unit was sourced from eBay. This is a Rewire Security 103RS, a slightly customised version of the common Chinese TK103 GPS tracker.
The small module has all it’s power connections on one end of the unit, on a Molex multi-way block. The white connector is for a piezo-shock sensor – this interfaces with the alarm functionality of the unit. There’s an indicator LED for both the GPS & GSM status, and a switch for the backup battery.
The other end has the antenna connections, microphone connection for the monitor function, along with the SIM & SD card slots.
Once the end panel is removed, the PCB just slides out of the aluminium extruded casing. It’s pretty heavily packed with components in here. A switching regulator deals with the 12v input from the vehicle battery, and is protected by a polyfuse on the right. The GSM module is hiding under the Li-Po backup cell, unfortunately the sticky pad used to secure this wouldn’t come off without damaging something. The pigtails for both the GPS & GSM antennas are permanently soldered to the board here.
The bottom of the PCB has the GPS module, and mainly input protection & bypassing components. There is a FNK4421 Dual P-Channel MOSFET here as well, probably used for switching the external relay or alarm siren. The SIM socket for the GSM modem is located here in the corner.
Time for another eBay special: this time it’s an 8-port video distribution amplifier, with BNC connections designed for commercial/industrial equipment. Not much on the front panel above, apart from the power switch & LED.
The rear panel has all the connectors, input is on the left, while the outputs are in the centre. Power is supplied through the barrel jack on the right, 9v DC in this case.
Not much in English on the data labels, there’s also an authenticity label on the left to make sure you don’t get a fake.
Taking the lid off reveals a very small PCB, taking up less than a third of the aluminium case! The input stage is on the right, composed of a pair of SOT-23 transistors to buffer the incoming signal. There’s an KST812M6 PNP & an S9014 NPN Epitaxial. The signal is then fed to the output stages, all individual S9014 NPN transistors to the output ports.
The power LED is just poking in the general direction of the hole in the front panel, so this isn’t likely to work very well – it’s going to illuminate the inside of the case more!