So I’ve been very bad at updating lately but to be honest, there hasn’t been a whole lot to say! Back in April, I placed an order for some test equipment which I’ve been drooling over for a few years. It took a year’s worth of working extra shifts, saving birthday and Christmas money, etc .. but I finally managed!
After the obligatory happy dance and some bench-clearing, it was time to unpack all the goodies and test it all out! I started with the DG1022 which is a two-channel 20MHz arbitrary function generator. This little piece of kit will make two-tone test among other things very easy to perform. I can load arbitrary wave forms by USB or via software control, creating virtually any waveform up to 4k-points.
Next on the list was the DS2202 – a two-channel 200MHz digital oscilloscope. Many electronics hobbyists consider the Rigol 2000 series to be the very best in bang-for-your-buck and very much outshines other scopes in this class. The DS2202 is not cheap – it was a very significant purchase for me, and I am absolutely thrilled with my decision. I was initially looking at a four-channel scope in the 1000 series but after looking at the specs, etc. the 2202 was far and away the superior oscilloscope. I am very happy to add the DS2202 to my test-bench and it will be replacing my (very) old and (not so) trusty Tektronix 475.
Finally, the piece of equipment I wanted most of all: a spectrum analyzer. I was very close to purchasing a few spectrum analyzers from various sources, all of which were quite old, albeit still relevant in terms of specifications. None of the spec. an. units I saw had a tracking generator which could easily have added $1000 or more to the over all purchase so I decided to go with a brand new DSA815-TG (tracking generator option built in) from Rigol. The specs on this spectrum analyzer are extremely good for a piece of test equipment in its price range. I am not likely to require any spectrum analysis beyond 1.5GHz for the immediate future, so the 9kHz to 1.5GHz I have available (with a 10Hz RBW) will do me just fine.
I had to fire up the spectrum analyzer right away and I was very impressed with the whole experience.
I’m looking to purchase a directional coupler which will allow me to make very precise SWR sweeps of various antennas – something that I look forward to experimenting with. Rigol does sell a return loss bridge and SWR software option but the cost is nearly $700 which a bit steep. For the next few hours of operating time, I have the SWR measurement available to me as a trial. Luckily, work is being done to prolong that “trial period” 😉
My 80′ tower is still a work in progress. It had spent the past couple of months as an assembled 40′ grass-killer. I’d like to live the land a bit before trying to decide where to put the tower – advice given to me by a few wise people. I’ve got two places in mind, we will see what comes of the two locations. I am thinking that fall may be the time at which I revisit the tower location / installation affair.
It is meant to be a guyed tower, so that will mean installing three anchor points – something which further complicates one of the operating locations. In theory, I could erect the tower as a non-guyed structure to a height of 40′ at best, though I will have to revisit the structural stress / failure point analysis I performed some time ago – I may also try to enlist the help of an engineer just to sanity-check my plan. (hey you, reading this, can you help me?! :))
Well, that is the update for now! I’ve got some more work on radio related projects on the go right now – including some prototyping; I’ll make another post in a day or so with the details. Should be good fun / educational.
Cheers for now!