Ultimate III kit completed and tested

U3_1

Completed kit waiting for attachment to GPS receiver.

I managed to find time to build Hans G0UPL’s latest kit yesterday morning and am happy with the results of today’s initial testing.

Assembly time of the main kit plus one low pass filter (for 30m) took a bit over 2-1/2 hours. The parts assembly aspect of the kit consists of two small boards – the main circuit board and the filter for band of choice. After these are completed, two other boards (DDS VFO and digital display), both of which are pre-assembled, plug into the main board.

Hans cautions against using a power supply greater than 5 volts so I searched high and low for a 5V wall wart without success. I ended up using 4 NiMH AA batteries at 5.2 volts. Alkaline AA’s in this configuration would probably be too high but the lower per-cell voltage of the NiMH’s is perfect.

This little gadget is very versatile in terms of the many modes it offers. My initial tests were in plain vanilla CW and just scrolling through the menu items to configure mode, frequency and other parameters. All went well as I monitored my transmitted signal on the K3.

In addition to the basic kit, I also have another low pass filter (for 40m) to build and have to attach the GPS receiver (also ordered) to the Ultimate III.

For WSPR operation, maidenhead grid is derived from the GPS receiver’s coordinates. Additionally, the GPS signal serves to calibrate the frequency of the kit and does away with the need to perform a manual calibration.

U3_CW1

Configured for CW – no GPS required.

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  7 comments for “Ultimate III kit completed and tested

  1. January 7, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Glad it’s working well, John. I have a kit on order. Just hope I’m up to constructing it. Already have a GPS receiver that should work with it. Will be listening out for you.

    Julian, G4ILO

    • January 7, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Julian, I think this is a great choice of kits for you – you like the digital modes and enjoy tinkering with new ones…and there really are only a very few parts to install to make this kit functional…perhaps less than 2 dozen or so. The part that will tax your patience will be in programming it and that’s why I stopped at CW yesterday. To proceed further, I need an empty house with no distractions and I’ll get that Thursday and hopefully then be on the air in WSPR mode.

      Yep, it would be cool if, after our posts, comments and emails to each other over the years, we could finally make RF contact!

      Have a look at this page, Julian:
      http://www.ae5x.com/docs/filter/filter.html

      Various parts of the manuals seemed to contradict themselves so I uploaded screenshots here and then asked for clarification on the YahooGroup. Word from Hans is that any and all of the images are correct due to layout of the board’s traces

      73 for now & keep us posted on how your build goes,

      John AE5X

  2. January 8, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Hi John,

    this is an amazing gadget. I`ve built it last month and I had some practice with it right now. I was on air on the 40, 30, 20 and 10 Meter Band in WSPR Mode and it works great. The longest way my “200mW” went was to Australia. Just with the 200 mW fired in a vertical antenna :-)
    I wrote some articles on my radioblog also. If you want to have a look at it you can reach my blog under: http://www.dl2ymr.de it is in german language but you can use the google translator if you want.

    73 and have a lot of fun with your Ultimate3
    Michael, DL2YMR

  3. Anthony WR3T
    January 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

    John,

    I also put the same kit together over the weekend. I did 3 filters (10m, 20, and 40m) and the unit in about 3 1/2 hours. Most of the filter time was spent watching college football on New Years Day winding toroids so it wasn’t all the bad. Mine isn’t on the air just yet because also need to wire up a power supply. I finally found a 5v wall wart from an old electronic picture frame, but I also have a 9v one that I might hook up to a regulator to clean up the output a bit. It’s just been too cold in the basement this week to go down and finish it up.

  4. January 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Hi Michael & Anthony – thanks for the comments.

    It never ceases to amaze me what can be done with this mode. I will have time tomorrow to dedicate to getting my U3 programmed and on the air. I’m curious about how you guys mounted yours. Hans mentions the effect of even minor air currents causing drift. I would like to mount mine in aluminum enclosure which will require a rectangular hole for the display – not something I’m good at! – and a header to allow the GPS rx to be plugged and unplugged without having to open the enclosure.

    I see from his website that Hans is also working on a relay board that will allow filters for all bands to be installed and then switchable via a menu option, making this a true multi-band rig.

    Michael: Nice website – we have the same interests. My photography is at http://timelesspixel.com

  5. January 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Hi John,

    wow your pictures are really great. I wish I could shoot so wonderful portraits.

    73 de Michael, DL2YMR

    • January 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Tnx – was thinking the same about yours.

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