Minitioune and Portsdown UDP streaming to VLC on a PC

I had Portsdown, the Win10 PC and the target PC all on the same wired network and each allocated a fixed IP address in the range 192.168.2.n

VLC

In VLC on the target PC I selected Media/Open Network Stream, in the Network Protocol box I entered Network URL as udp://@:1234

 

MiniTioune

In the minitiouneConfig file I edited TS_AdrUDP=192.168.2.41, the address of the target PC on my local network. Also I amended TS_Port=1234

Selecting a DATV signal I clicked the UDP switch. VLC on the target PC displayed the video stream.

Sometimes VLC lost sync & then I reselected Network URL as above.

 

Portsdown

On Portsdown, via the RX/Config menu, I set UDP IP (the target PC) and UDP Port similarly. With a DATV signal frequency & Symbol Rate selected I tapped UDP Output.

I received Dave G8GKQ:

200702_Dave_G8GKQ_testcard_F

 

 

 

DATV reception from Es’Hail2 QO100

I had installed the Minitioune software on Win10, but I was struggling to decode signals via Minitiouner hardware. I improved my bias T. (The capacitor was rather high at 100nF.  I wondered if it was coming close to a self-resonance. I had 1nF to hand, so I used that instead. It is probably still a bit high. 100 pF should be fine).

Some while back, I bought a cheap Rocket LNB in order to take the lens for the dual-band feed. I decided to try the Rocket LNB on the dish, just running without any external reference oscillator. This improved the signal-to-noise ratio a few more dB as seen on my GQRX SDR software via the RTL dongle.

Sure enough, MT now decoded the WB beacon and other stations. The only problem is that the LNB’s local oscillator runs about 0.5 MHz high and drifts somewhat. As long as I tune the beacon first & store the LO frequency, it works better than with the Octagon and external locking.

I had assembled a Portsdown transciever using a Raspberry Pi version 3 and a 7″ screen bought from Pi Hut.

IMG_20200513_101527

Here’s the back of the screen:

IMG_20200513_101433

This morning I used Portsdown on receive to decode DATV signals with VLC doing the decoding. It was quick at deriving the FEC and measuring MER.

 

 

MiniTiouner hardware plus MiniTioune software

MiniTiouner hardware

I thought the MiniTioune  (developed by Jean-Pierre F6DZP) would be a good lock-down/self-shielding project. I had never tried Digital Amateur TV (DATV).

You need to be a member of the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) in order to use their online shop.  I bought:

MiniTiouner version 2 blank PCB

MCP1826 1 volt regulator

Serit FTS-4334LU NIM / tuner module

MiniTiouner USB interface module

These items came to less than 60 GBP.

There is a list of parts and a schematic contained in Mike Willis G0MJW’s Notes on building the BATC v2 MiniTiouner. I recommend you follow his advice.

Also see Adrian M0NWK’s professional-looking article with excellent hints and tips.

The Hammond 1455 series 103x120x53mm enclosure came from rapidonline (eBay).

The DC-DC Converter (MP1584 Adjustable 3A Step-Down Buck Voltage regulator came from alltopnotch (eBay).

The 7HC10 chip came from vila restor (eBay).

I made a couple of substitutions:

I didn’t find the ferrite bead chokes 28C0236-0JW-10, so I used Wurth 1.8 uH 20% Ferrite Rod Core Inductor, 5A Idc, 6mohm Rdc, WE SD from RS Components. These mount horizontally, but there is plenty of room for them on the board. Probably RS has a direct equivalent if you search for it.

I didn’t find the 3.3V regulators MCP1826S-3302EAB so I bought MCP1827S-3302EAB (rated 1.5A max). I found the specified 6’s right after I ordered the 7’s!

I didn’t find a small board-mount fuse holder, so I adapted one out of the junk box.

That added another 40GBP to the bill, so 100GBP so far.

I found some nice Panasonic 22uF capacitors with ESR < 0.25 ohm. Some similar Nichicon capacitors had ESR < 0.55 ohm so these should do fine too.

Most of the other components came from the junk box.

I was delighted to find that the MiniTiouner version 2 blank PCB from the BATC is a top quality board, easy to solder and hard to damage.

I set up the DC-DC converter separately on the bench. The tiddly pre-set pot is fiddly to set. I set the output to 3.8V as measured on a digital voltmeter. Surprisingly, another DVM agreed!

Following Mike’s guidance,  I attached the components to the board & soldered them in, but not yet attaching the Serit or the USB daughter-board. With a 13.8V feed, checking the regulator outputs I got 3.25V, 3.23 V and 1.13 V, so all OK. The DC-DC regulator still read 3.8V out.

IMG_20200515_144234

I added a 10K resistor to the FT2232H daughter-board.

IMG_20200519_115636

MiniTioune Software and PC set-up

I struggled to find the MiniTioune software, but I eventually found the Telechargement / Download Section and downloaded the MiniTioune V0.9.9.1 .zip file. I had to set up a Windows 10 PC (Win10) especially for this software. Oh for a Linux version!

The MiniTioune Software page says: “run the test programs found in the directory where you extracted MiniTiouner to”. I tried the first one I noticed.

I launched Test My Minitiouner Version 2.3. Windows Defender didn’t like this! I clicked Run Anyway.
It detected NIM Tuner B and NIM Tuner A. I didn’t know the difference between MiniTiouner V2 and MiniTiouner V2+ so I clicked on the button MiniTiouner V2 as it says V2 on the board. The test program launched. I clicked I2C Master init (NIM). The journal said:

NIM I2C controller init OK. OK MPSSE is empty. Init MPSSE NIM I2C done!

This felt positive. It awarded a green light!I clicked Test NIM. The journal gave a spiel of read/write tests, but counted no errors. Another green light, but only 26% on the I2C performance scale.I clicked Test Digole Master.

Digole Master Init is not OK.

Digole Master was not happy! Digole Master 2.6 wasn’t happy either.I tried Test OLED1 Master:

Pb with OLED1_master SSD1306 init! NOT OK

I ticked led TS1 OK and led TS2 OK and clicked Read TS leds state:

TS1 led is ON. TS2 led is ON.

I quit that test application & launched Check MiniTiouner Driver and Filters V0.4A. I clicked USB Tuner. A long spiel included:

SeritPro NIM detected. initialising STV0910. STV0910 init OK.Synthesizer Detection, Synthesizer found, value $75. STV 6120 init OK.

5 green lights! I clicked Directshow:

Cannot find the “Universal Source” filter. Cannot add “Universal Source” filter.

It couldn’t find LAV filters either, so 3 green lights, but 2 red lights. The play buttons were greyed out so I clicked Network: 2 green lights!The MiniTiouner Softwage page said “All tests should pass – if it fails the USRC filter test try running the install_usrc_ax_winXP.exe file in the directory and run the test again”. I ran install_usrc_ax_winXP which finished with the message: DllRegisterServer in usrc.ax succeeded which sounded positive. I re-launched: Check MiniTiouner Driver and Filters V0.4A and clicked USB tuner.

FT2232H has bad device parameters. use FTprog to reprogram it

So install_usrc_ax_winXP might have scrambled the USB card? Time for a cup of tea… MiniTiouner hardware Version 2 says “If you obtained your module from elsewhere or you need to reprogram it it follow the instructions here“. Following the instructions there, I downloaded: FTDI CDM driverThe FTprog software and NIM tuner template.I ran CDM21218_Setup and followed the installation wizard. It installed two drivers:

FTDI CDM Driver package – Bus/D2XX Driver (06/16/2016 2.12.18) andFTDI CDM Driver package -VCP Driver (06/16/2016 2.12.18)

Next I ran FT_Prog_v3.2.76.375 Installer. A wizard launched. I left the boxes ticked for FT_Prog executable, Create Desktop Shortcut and Templates. It installed & I closed the wizard. I ran FTProg from the desktop icon. It found no FT devices. I tried a better-looking USB cable, re-booted windows & switched the MiniTiouner off & on. One or any of these actions may have helped.

I re-ran Check MiniTiouner Driver and Filters V0.4A. It gave 5 green lights for USB Tuner and Directshow had a green light for usrc filter. So it looks like install_usrc_ax_winXP did do something useful. Maybe a better lead has helped? There was still a red light for LAV filters. I re-tried FTProg with the poorer-looking lead. It found device information. I don’t know what is going on!

I re-tried FTProg with the better-looking lead, intending to proceed on the safe side. It found device information. I right-clicked device 0, selected Apply Template and From File and chose the using NIM tuner XML file. It applied the template. The device 0 Product description says: USB <-> Nim tuner.
I selected DEVICES and Program, clicked the Program button and closed the programmer. Checking settings:

Device 0/Hardware Specific/Port A/Hardware = RS232 UARTDevice 0/Hardware Specific/Port A/Driver = D2XX direct
Device 0/Hardware Specific/Port B/Hardware = 245 FIFO
Device 0/Hardware Specific/Port B/Driver = D2XX direct

After an internet search I found some CODECS from Cole Williams Software Ltd which I downloaded and installed. This gave me all green lights for the USB Tuner and Directshow tests, so the LAV was now flushed with success! However none of the Play… button video clips worked.

I suspected the NVdia on-board graphics controller was not doing the job when driven by the Basic MS graphics driver. I couldn’t find a Win10 driver for the on-board graphics controller. I installed another old graphics card: ATI Radeon 2400 and routed the monitor to this instead. Somewhere in all this, Win10 decided to update itself for a couple of hours, so I had a lunch break. When it finally finished (and reallocated various file types to MS products and demoted my Firefox browser without asking me – I was reminded why I generally avoid Windows!) I found in Device Manager/Properties/Driver that Win10 had allocated an AMD driver 13/01/2015 version 8.970.100.9001 to the ATI Radeon 2400Display Adapter“.

Re-running the MT Drivers & Filters test gave me all green lights. The video clips ran fine. Yay!

So the on-board NVidia graphics adapter in my HP Pavilion Slimline‘s motherboard did not work with MiniTiounter (MT), perhaps because Win10 didn’t find a manufacturer’s driver for it and loaded a Basic MS Graphics Driver instead. I was lucky that Win10 found a manufacturer’s driver for the equally old ATI Radeon 2400. The reasonably-priced current graphics adapter might be a Radeon 1310, needing only 30W; In the end I didn’t need to try this.

I found a bigger monitor so that I could run 1280x??? pixels.

I tried running MiniTiounter (MT) in Win10 user mode. Windows Defender objected to MT; I clicked Run Anyway. Then MT needed permissions to “make changes on my device”. I gave it Administrator permissions. Win10 Defender Firewall needed permissions too.

Thurs-21-May-2020. I connected the feeder from the 23cm antenna to the top F connector of the MiniTiouner. I left off the jumper LNB-A2 so that the MiniTiouner didn’t try to feed DC up to the yagi.

I aimed the 44el 23cm Wimo yagi at Lincoln cathedral. I set MT to 1400 kS/s, 1310,000 kHz, 0 offset. Nothing received. Finally I realised that in moving the coax cable that I had disconnected the DC supply to the pre-amp from its usual bias T;  I had forgotten the pre-amp altogether! I put that right. The repeater output came in at -68dB on the  RF Power meter, which seemed good to me. I was delighted to see a picture!

G0KOO accessed the repeater from near Boston. His were the first DATV signals I’d ever received from a radio amateur.

200521-1930_G0KOO

Here is one of the GB3VL Lincoln Repeater images:

200521-2051_GB3VL_flypast

The hardest part with MT has been setting up the PC with it’s graphics card, driver and CODECS. But thank you Jean-Paul for making it all possible.

A dish for Es’Hail-2, QO100

Last year I experimented with using a 13cm band yagi for the up-link and an LNB strapped alongside my horn on the dish I use for terrestrial work for the down-link.

I’ve now put a dish up for the Qataris’ Es’Hail-2 satellite. It is a 1.1m off-set PrimeSat dish.

Prior to putting it up,  I had bodged a bit of aluminium  box tube to take the dual-band feed. I checked the dish’s focus with a few stick-on mirrors and the sun as an light source. There did seem to be a bit of distortion in the dish, though it looked in excellent condition, with no visible damage. I may be able to squeeze out this distortion using the braces for the LNB arm.

Bearing in mind how windy it gets here I’ve used belt and braces in mounting the dish. I decided not to get the larger 1.3m dish. I felt the 1.1m dish would be easier to manoeuvre  up to the roof and also it would be less affected by wind. I’ve used two steel chimney lashings to hold two brackets. I decided the usual aluminium pole might not be up to the job, so I set a section of steel scaffold pole in the brackets. The dish’s two clamps are fixed to the bottom of the pole. In case of the dish clamps somehow working free, there is a third clamp at the bottom of the pole to stop the dish dropping off.

I’ve fitted braces to the LNB arm to hold the arm steady in the wind.

Being low down on the chimney and on the easterly side of the house, the dish is in the lee of the strong westerlies and south-westerlies.

IMG_20200429_124932

The 13cm patch antenna in the bigger plastic box is not really working as circularly polarised. It is more like linear, effectively from a dipole, but the return loss is quite good. The patch is fed with a shortish length of Ecoflex 10.

The LNB has a bit of “satellite” coax taking the signal back into the station. I found the connectors on my thin “WiFi” coax were very poorly fitted. I use this to carry the 27 MHz reference oscillator signal to the LNB. I soldered a proper SMA connector on the LNB end of the cable. An LNB lens takes the signal from the dish which is then piped along a short length of copper waveguide (22mm domestic copper pipe) into the LNB. The waveguide is held by pipe clips mounted on short lengths of stainless steel studding. The LNB has a bit of a twist on it in an attempt to optimise the match to the polarisation from the satellite.

I sealed all the connections with self-amalgamating tape.

See Dual Band Feed construction.

Note: I had originally mounted the N-type socket for the patch feed with the socket mounting flange inside the plastic box, but this meant the N-plug did not mate reliably, so I re-mounted the socket on the outside of the box.

23-April-2020 opening on 3cm: Kjeld OZ1FF

I was chatting to Tony G8DMU on 3cm. We were checking beacons on the continent on 3cm. He could hear DB0GHZ which I could not. I could hear beacons in the Netherlands which he could not: PI7ALK, PI7RTD and PE9GHZ. Neil G4DBN joined us.

A few of us worked Kjeld in JO45BO at 670 km. I chatted with him on SSB. He gave me 55 for my 3W to the 80cm dish.

23-Apr-20 1949 OZ1FF 57 55 JO45BO

Usually, when I can hear DB0GHZ then I can work Kjeld, but I couldn’t hear that beacon this time. I could hear no other beacons except those in the Netherlands. Tony is not that far from me, but his beacon view was completely different to mine.

21-April-2020 23cm UKAC

This was hard going. I heard too little of Jon GM4JTJ to make a contact. I missed Nick G4KUX, who was very strong. Richard GD8EXI could not read me; we hardly ever fail. I could copy Conrad PA5Y weakly, but he lost me. Gordon GI6ATZ read me on CW! So Gordon was my best DX.

Conditions seemed a little better to the south east.