Here’s another random bit of RF tech, I’m told this is a wireless energy management sensor, however I wasn’t able to find anything similar on the interwebs. It’s powered by a standard 9v PP3 battery.
System control is handled by this Microchip PIC18F2520 Enhanced Flash microcontroller, this has an onboard 10-bit ADC & nanoWatt technology according to their datasheet. There’s a 4MHz crystal providing the clock, with a small SOT-23 voltage regulator in the bottom corner. There’s a screw terminal header & a plug header, but I’ve no idea what these would be used for. Maybe connecting an external voltage/current sensor & a programming header? The tactile button I imagine is for pairing the unit with it’s controller.
The bottom of the PCB is almost entirely taken up by a Radiocrafts RC1240 433MHz RF transceiver. Underneath there’s a large 10kΩ resistor, maybe a current transformer load resistor, and a TCLT1600 optocoupler. Just from the opto it’s clear this unit is intended to interface in some way to the mains grid. The antenna is connected at top right, in a footprint for a SMA connector, but this isn’t fitted.
Recently I’ve noticed my usual mobile rig, the Baofeng UV-5R, has had very poor receive, and non-existent transmit.
I did a power test on the radio, and confirmed it was still outputting it’s rated RF power. Trying another antenna proved that the radio was fine.
Time to tear down the antenna & see if it can be fixed!
Here’s the antenna, just the factory rubber duckie. As with all these antennas, they’re a compromise between size & their efficiency.
Giving a gentle pull to the antenna sheath while it’s attached to the radio allows it to come apart. The quality actually doesn’t look to bad. It’s very similar in construction to my Diamond X-30, just on a much smaller scale.
At the bottom of the antenna is the matching network, an inductor & ceramic disc capacitor. Here lies the problem with this antenna.
Here where the capacitor joins onto the feedpoint from the SMA connector, the solder joint has come away. This was a very poor joint to start with, and the solder hadn’t wetted the capacitor lead at all
After cleaning the joint, and applying some flux, a new joint was easily made with some Real Solder.
Here’s the joint freshly repaired, the antenna is now back to full working order. It even seems to work better than the others I have 🙂
Now the final bits have arrived for the SWR Meter module, I can do the final assembly.
Here the SMA connectors are installed on the side of the eBay meter, for forward & reverse power tap.
These are simply tee’d off the wiring inside the meter where it connects to the switch.
The meter is connected to the module via a pair of RG58 SMA leads, above is a readout before calibration, using one of my Baofeng UV-5Rs.
I’m using my GY561 eBay Power Meter as a calibration source, and as this isn’t perfect, the readings will be slightly off. If I can get my hands on an accurate power meter & dummy load I can always recalibrate.
Tools are only as accurate as the standard they were calibrated from!
After calibration, here’s the readings on 2m & 70cm. These readings coincide nicely with the readings the GY561 produce, to within a couple tenths of a watt. SWR is more than 1:1 as the dummy load in the GY561 isn’t exactly 50Ω.
Shortly I’ll calibrate against 6m & 10m so I can use it on every band I have access to 🙂
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