Friday, July 18, 2014

432MHz Solidstate Amplifier Completed

Over 3 years ago I bought a W6PQL 432MHz amplifier module  with the matching LPF/Directional coupler. Before I moved out of the McKinney house I quickly mountedthe modules on a heatsink inside an aliminium chassis to protect it in storage. Over the last few weeks I have finished the metal bashing thanks to WA5YWC and built a PIC controller and LCD display.  The biggest issue was testing it as I no longer had a 432MHz transmitter in the USA. W5LUA kindly offered to let me use the facilities in his shack which included drive source, Power meter and dummy load.
The first thing we learnt was that the RF got everywhere inside the chassis. Initially there was no screening around the PIC board which caused measurement issues. After a trip to the local hobby store for some .015" ali sheet and the donation of many 1nF bolt in feedthroughs by W5LUA that issue went away. It was necessary to put a screening can over the directional coupler (W6PQL only suggests it for his 1kW amplifier) as the calibration of the bargraph meter changed dramatically when the cover was put on the box
When completed the amplifier gave 420W for 6W drive when running 17A at 48.0V. Looking at the W6PQL figures I could hit the amplifier harder to get the full 500W but this way I have a safety margin. All harmonics were over 65dB down on the fundamental power.

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