October 1997 - Page 2


Writren By: Tim Roske, AA2WQ

The Ten-Tec 6 meter transverter kit is a fun and educational project that can add a new band to your station at a great price.

I was looking for an electronic building project this summer and decided it was time to try 6 meters. I have previously built one other radio kit, a 1 watt transceiver for 40 meters. It works fine and I have made numerous contacts with it, including some dx.

The Ten-Tec 1209 transverter converts any mode from any 2-5 watt 2 meter radio to 6 meters. Another model is available to convert 20 meters to 6. The price of the complete kit, including a nicely finished enclosure and a precisely written, 45-page instruction manual was $95 plus shipping. Compared to the price of a standalone 6 meter rig, it sounded like a bargain to me.

To build the kit you will need: a soldering pencil, some fine rosin core solder, some solder wick to remove unwanted solder bridges, wire cutters, a pen knife and a non-conducting alignment tool for final adjustments. A magnifying glass is helpful for checking for solder bridges against a circuit board x-ray view in the instruction manual.

To test the rig you will need: a VHF wattmeter to verify a maximum of 5 watts input, a multimeter, preferably one with a 1000 mA meter, a receiver, and a

50 MHz signal source. A frequency counter would be helpful for testing the local oscillator. The book gives many helpful suggestions on how to test with a minimum of gear. For example, I used a harmonic of a 40 meter signal to test the 1209's receiver.

Following the instructions by the book, I was able to complete the project in about a week of evenings, spread out over several weeks. Some circuit board pads are extremely close together, so I tried to go slowly and carefully. The rig is built in seven stages that can be tested as you go along. This makes a lot of sense, as there is no reason to build the second stage until you know the first is working.

The only problem I had was that the first stage, a 94 MHz local oscillator, would not turn on. After double checking my work and reading some voltages, I called the T-Kit technical assistance line and the helpful folks there suggested that I try a new crystal. Delivery of a replacement was delayed by the UPS strike, but the crystal was eventually replaced at no charge and the oscillator came to life immediately.

My goal was to complete the project in time for the September VHF QSO Party and I made the deadline. Before the contest, I worked Mac, KB2SPM on a local repeater to be sure all was

OK. I tacked a 1/2 wavelength dipole up in my attic and gave SSB a try, using my old Kenwood TS-700A 2 meter all-mode for the input. Again, no problems.

With about 8 watts out from the transverter, I could work anyone I could hear on FM, SSB and CW. Unfortunately, band conditions were poor for the contest. Still, I worked about twenty stations in six grids and five states. I'm sure I could have done better with a small beam or by operating from a hilltop location.

Kit building has been a great way for me to learn about electronic circuits. From the experience of building two radio kits, I have gained as much practical knowledge of electronics as I gathered from studying for my extra class license. If you have been thinking of building a kit, I can highly recommend Ten-Tec. With a little careful attention to detail, and maybe a phone call or two for technical support, you can have the satisfaction of going on the air with a rig that you put together yourself.

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