A new amplifier

Sometimes, things just don't always work out according to plan. As an amateur, I've heard so many times on the air, "once I get this item in my station, it will be complete, and there will never be any reason to make any changes."  LOL, if I only had a dollar for each time I heard that short lived statement.

I thought a Alpha 8410 I purchased, would be perfect for my station. However, that idea was short lived at AB4D.  My "great deal" 8410 arrived with a lot of issues, including weak tubes, that could only produce about 1250 watts. I was able to repair all of the issues, except the tubes.  I liked the 8410, but discovered manual tune just wasn't for my style of operating.  I like to jump from band to band quite often, seeking DX station to work.  Instead of purchasing new tubes, I found the amplifier a new home. In the process, I earned a small amount to cover the parts and repair work I had performed. The new owner installed a fresh set of 4CX1500b tubes and is very happy with the amplifier.

I really missed the automatic tuning aspect of the Alpha 9500 I once owned, but didn't particularly like the expensive 8877 tube it used or the constant retuning during operation.  Once again, I was on the hunt for a legal limit amplifier to augment my station.  A new amplifier had to meet the following criteria; automatic tuning; uses a reasonably priced tube complement that is still in production; has a good reputation and support network; and is 100% duty cycle at legal limit.  I could only find one manufacturer that builds an amplifier which met all my criteria, OM Power of Slovakia.

I read many reviews about OM Power amplifiers, and the majority were very favorable. OM Power has been building amplifiers for over 10 years. There are many OM amplifiers in service that work flawlessly, performing battle in contest stations around the world, and working in harsh environments encountered at DXP's, at remote places across the globe. OM Power offers two automatic versions, the 2500A, and a 4KW+ beast, designated the 4000A.  Both use the Chinese FU-728F triode tube, a rugged Chinese military version of the Eimac 4CX1500b, but has a higher filament voltage requirement. They currently sell for about $300 each plus shipping from China. 

The 2500A and the 4000A both fit my criteria.  I spoke to a few individuals, and decided to purchase the OM Power 4000A, as the cost was not much more than the 2500A, It has so much overhead capacity. I expect the tubes should last for many years.  I look forward to adding the amplifier to my station. I am told, the auto tune feature works very well. It certainly will loaf along at legal limit, and become a welcomed addition to my station. I recently wrote a review about my short term use of the OM Power 4000A. That can be viewed here under my call of AB4D.


An IF Based Panadapter for the FTDX-1200

Recently, I've been contacted by several individuals regarding my installation of an IF out connection for a Yaesu FTDX-1200, utilizing the G4HUP PAT board.  A key building block to achieve a working IF based SDR Panadapter.  Similar to a FTDX-9000 I previously modified, the FTDX-1200 does not come from Yaesu with a factory installed IF out jack.

Both the FTDX-9000 and the FTDX-1200 share the same IF frequency of 40.455 MHz. The correct G4HUP PAT board to purchase for the 1200 installation is the model PAT50M (G4HUP PAT board). If someone is not accustomed to working with small surface mount components. I highly recommend ordering the assembled version, and also an installation kit from Dave, G4HUP.  The installation kit contains all the parts necessary to install the PAT board into the transceiver.

The addition of an IF out jack on the FTDX-1200 is not too difficult.  Unlike the FTDX-9000, it is not necessary to remove any circuit boards or dissemble the radio beyond removing the cabinet.  The installation is straight forward, and only requires a wire to be soldered between the PAT board to one leg of a relay, a wire soldered to a test point to provide DC power to the PAT board during receive, and a convenient ground connection to the PAT.  The last connections are the two ends of a length of Teflon coax between the PAT board and a rear mounted SMA socket.  All connections are made on the component side of the transceiver's main board.

First, remove both halves of the cabinet and set them aside. Next, I recommend that the chassis is carefully drilled, and prepared to receive the rear mounted SMA connector.  I found a convenient spot on the FTDX-1200 near one of the rear corners of the chassis.  However, before you mark the spot to drill the hole.  Ensure the planned location for the connector and hardware, will clear the circuit board, and any protrusions that are inside the chassis.  During drilling, it's handy to have a friend vacuum the loose aluminum shavings, to prevent them from accumulating inside the radio.

Once the chassis is prepped to accept the SMA connector.  I recommend to refrain from installing it until after the PAT board is installed, and the Teflon coax has been installed onto the SMA connector. It's just easier to attach the coax while the connector is on the bench.

The first connection between the PAT board and the radio is for the IF tap. The connection location in the FTDX-1200 is on relay RL1007.  A small wire will be soldered from Pin 3 on RL1007 to the PAT board. The PAT board is marked "IN" on one end. There are three solder pads on that end of the board. The pad in the center is where the IF TAP wire will be soldered to the PAT board.  Dave G4HUP, highly recommends using the small wire from the kit to make that connection, and to use double sided tape supplied in the kit to place the PAT board as close as possible to the IF connection in the radio. There are metal shields on the circuit board that are close to RL1007. The shields make a good solid base to secure the PAT board in the radio. Just ensure the PAT board will not short out against the shields. I found that using a thicker material (Velcro) worked just as well to secure the board. It also provides a bit of spacing between the shield and the PAT board to prevent any short circuits.

Location of RL1007 in the FTDX-1200 (white/grey cube)...

Component side board layout, showing tap point on RL1007.  The connection is made right to the third leg from the left on RL-1007 (facing the front of the radio).

The next connections are to provide DC power and DC ground to the PAT board.  Towards the bottom edge in the middle of the PAT board, there are two solder pads. The one closest to the bottom is for ground and the one above it is for DC power.

The technical supplement for the FTDX-1200, indicates there is an RX9 line that terminates on the main board at TP1002.  A connection to TP1002 will provide 9 volts DC to the PAT board during receive. The ground wire from the PAT board can be soldered to any convenient DC ground point.

Location Area of TP1002 on the main board...

Component side board layout, showing DC positive RX9 point on the main board (TP1002).  (Facing the front of the radio).

The final connections are made using the Teflon coax provided in the installation kit, between the PAT board "OUT" and the rear SMA connector. If not already done, solder the coax center conductor to the center pin of the SMA connector, and the shield to the outer body.  Install the SMA connector in the rear chassis hole that should have been previously prepared.  Carefully route the coax through the chassis up to the PAT board.

Leaving a generous amount of slack coax between the PAT board and the SMA connector. Cut the coax and solder the center conductor of the coax to the middle "OUT" solder pad on the PAT board, and the shield can be connected to either one of the solder pads above or below the center pad as shown below.

The PAT board installation should be complete. Double check all connections, and reassemble the radio. In regard to the SDR radio. Myself and several other hams I know, have had good experience using the RTL dongles from Nooelec. They seem to be higher quality than the run of the mill Ebay/Amazon RTL dongles.  I certainly have not experienced some of the issues and poor performance noted by others using the generic RTL 2832 devices available on Amazon and Ebay.

73 de AB4D.    

Station updates

I recently decided to make some equipment and antenna changes at station AB4D.

I had several transceivers and an amplifier that I had owned for many years, but were no longer used. Therefore, I decided to sell off some of that equipment.  A FT-1000D, a FT-840, and a Alpha 9500 amplifier were removed from service and sold.  The new owner of the FT-1000D was very pleased to obtain that transceiver, describing it as a treasure, and it certainly was in pristine condition.

Based on the sale, I planned to replace the Alpha 9500 amplifier with a manual amplifier. I was fortunate enough to find a used late model Alpha 8410 for sale at a great price. That amplifier uses a pair of 4CX-1000 transmit tubes. Eventually, I will replace those with a pair of 4CX-1500B metal tetrodes.  

A few years ago, I changed from using a microphone push to talk switch, to a dual channel foot switch for both transceiver and amplifier T/R switching control.  At first, I used a Heil FS-2 foot switch. However, after a year of use, it was beginning to show it's weakness, as operation became erratic. Another issue that always bothered me, was the weight of the FS-2.  The Heil foot switch is light weight made of stamped steel with a rubber pad.  During operating, I was constantly chasing the foot pedal, because it constantly crept under the desk.  To help remedy the situation, I changed to a commercial style foot switch that is used for industrial equipment control.  The new switch is a Linemaster Clipper 636S foot control pedal.  The Linemaster 636S is made of cast steel, offers dual adjustable internal switches, and weighs a sturdy 2.25 pounds. I find the Linemaster 636S foot pedal to be a significant improvement over the Heil FS-2.

I decided to try out a new inverted V antenna for the 75/80 meter band. I read many reviews, but the double bazooka design was one that seemed to have most of the positive comments. One model in particular, the antenna manufactured by IAC Antenna, had very good reviews.   I ordered one, and had the antenna in my possession in about a week. Construction appears to be very good. Unlike many of the antennas offered for sale that uses re-purposed plumbing pipes in their construction. The IAC antenna uses a molded UV protected plastic center insulated that encompasses the two radiating elements and the feed line connector.  The antenna uses Belden RG-58 and heavy 300 ohm twin lead in it's construction. I installed the antenna as an inverted V, center supported on a 72 foot tower.  On the air testing indicates that the DB antenna works comparable to a 160 meter full wave loop@35 feet off the ground.  In some cases the each antenna was either leading or lagging, at certain times depending on band conditions.  The major advantage of the DB antenna is the considerable bandwidth. Relying on the internal SWR meter within a Yaesu FTDX-9000MP, the 1.5:1 bandwidth of the DB antenna covers 3.700 to 4.000 MHz.

73 de AB4D


A Panadapter using HDSDR and a RTL 2832U dongle.

In relation to the modification I recently performed to a FTDX-9000MP, adding a dedicated IF out port to support a computer panadapter.  A software package and SDR receiver is also required to complete a working panadapter system.  In researching the subject, I noted that many amateur stations have acquired a sufficient panadapter using the program HDSDR, and a simple RTL 2832U SDR USB dongle.  I decided to utilize that same method as well, and have been pleased with the results.

In addition, I also use Ham Radio Deluxe version 6.2, as my main rig control and logging program.  In my station, HDSDR serves as the panadapter display program, and slaves the SDR receiver's frequency to the main VFO of the FTDX-9000.  The below information and settings in HDSDR are in relation to the HRD/HDSDR combination. There are some minor differences in the settings for HDSDR, when HRD is not used, but I have not noted those settings.


To complete the hardware, I purchased an RTL 2832 SDR receiver from the company Nooelec, RTL Dongle.  It includes a 0.5 ppm TCXO and the newer 820T tuner.  That combination has proven to be adequate, and the particular dongle I purchased, also included a well made aluminum enclosure to assist with shielding.  Additionally, I ordered cables with the required connectors, to ensure I was able to connect the RTL SDR between the radio and the computer.

HDSDR/RTL Dongle Drivers:

Once the hardware is in place.  HDSDR and the correct driver for the RTL 2832U SDR receiver must be downloaded. To install the driver and HDSDR, follow the instructions provided on the HDSDR Hardware page for the RTL dongle, Instructions RTLSDR.  The basic instructions should get the SDR receiver communicating with HDSDR.


Once HDSDR is installed and the RTL SDR receiver is functioning, several settings need to be adjusted to ensure proper operation.  Below are the current settings in HDSDR I am using in my station to provide a panadapter for a Yaesu FTDX-9000MP.  Some of the settings may be specific to my station, because as noted above, I also uses Ham Radio Deluxe as the main logging and transceiver control program. HRD handshakes with HDSDR to provide the panadapter tracking. Some settings, such as the soundcard and bandwidth, may be dependent on the individual station's computer.

First, to the right of the Tune frequency display on the main GUI for HDSDR, there is a button labeled ExtIO.  Depressing that button, causes a small box to appear, and displays information about the device in use.  If the device driver was installed correctly, it should show a RTL2832 as the "Device".  In my station, the sample rate was automatically selected as 2.4 Mpbs, as was the Buffer Size (16kB).  In the lower right corner of the ExtIO pop up box, there are three check boxes. The boxes labeled RTL AGC and Offset Tuning should be checked and the Tuner AGC box should remain unchecked.

The other operational settings are adjusted by using the buttons located on the left bottom corner of the screen. Those buttons activate sub-categories and menus as follows:

Sound Card Selection (F5)
RX Input (from Radio): Line In (IDT High Definition Audio)
RX Output (to Speaker): Speakers/Headphones (IDT High Definition Audio)

Bandwidth (F6)
Input: 2400000
Output: 12000

Settings listed in the subcategories and menus under Options (F7) should be set as follows:

Select Input:  Generic RTL 2832U and MME 16 Bit Drivers, should be selected.

Visualizations:  The settings in this sub-menu default with eight options selected as shown.

Input Channel Mode for RX: I Left / Q Right, should be selected.

Output Channel Mode for RX: AF to Both Channels, should be selected.

Clicking Input Channel for Calibration for RX, brings a pop up box as shown below, the setting for Mode: located in the top right corner should be changed to AUTO. All other settings are kept at default.

Swap I and Q Channel for RX Input, should be checked.

Misc Options: Normal Process Priority (default), should be checked.

Mouse Wheel: Directions Inverted and Mode Tune, should be selected.

RF Front End + Calibration is set as shown below. These IF frequency may be specific to my SDR receiver:

Recording Settings /Schedule is set to default.

DDE to HDSDR is set as shown below:

CAT to Radio (Omni Rig) is set as shown:

All CAT to HDSDR settings are at default.

An understanding of the Sherwood List...

On a recent afternoon, I was monitoring a conversation between two amateurs on 40 meter phone. They were discussing various transceivers that are on the market, weighing which one is better.  As I followed their discussion, one of them excitedly boasted, "Well my radio, the Elecraft K3 is the best radio ever made, it really blows away all other radios costing so much more!"  The other person inquisitively asked, how did you reach that conclusion?  He responded, "I read it on the Sherwood list, only that computer radio...the Flex 6000 rates higher, which isn't a real radio. My K3 beats all the other ones costing so much more than my Elecraft!"

I laughed, first for hearing a grown man become so excited over a radio. Second, because he was so proudly making questionable claims. I thought "better for what"?  In reality, it appears he does not have an adequate understanding of the test data (Sherwood Receiver Test Data) provided by Rob Sherwood, NC0B, and the minimal implication that high narrow spaced DR3 figures have, except under exceptional demanding conditions when using CW.  I appreciate the service Rob Sherwood provides, both because it gives valuable information to the amateur community, and it serves as an independent data source beyond what is published by the ARRL/QST.

Nevertheless, I routinely hear the type of misleading discussion noted above on the amateur bands. Many times, I've heard individuals continue to incorrectly cite the implication of the data provided on the Sherwood list.  It seems, many amateurs continue to relying heavily on the specific Third-Order Dynamic Range Narrow Spaced figures. Rationalizing, whatever radio is at the top of the list, it must be there because it is so much significantly better in all aspects than anything ranked lower.

However, there are many more factors involved in determining which certain transceiver is best for the individual.  Moreover, I note that many of the transceivers that show exceptionally high narrow space DR3 numbers, do not always show an equal level of performance for wide spacing.  A transceiver with higher narrow spaced DR3 figures, although better for the reception of CW signals during crowded band conditions, does not necessary make it a better transceiver for SSB.  A transceiver that has higher wide spacing DR3 numbers, may be a better choice for someone that routinely operates phone.  I suggest reading the document, Choosing a Transceiver Far from Simple by Rob Sherwood.

Rob Sherwood and I belong to the same Yahoo group for the Kenwood TS-990S.  I have read a few of his responses to individuals seeking his advice about certain transceivers, and which one is better.  Highlighted below is a recent typical response I've read from him.  I believe it clarifies his position, and shows his opinion, that somewhat minimizes the importance of specifically high narrow spaced dynamic range figures for the transceivers presented on the table.  Except under certain operating conditions, such as CW contesting or working a CW DX pileup, the higher narrow spaced DR3 figures are not that significant for routine operation.  Hopefully, sharing his response here will give others a clear understanding, that most modern transceivers with good but lower narrow spaced DR3 figures, usually are fine for day to day operating.

NC0B -"The first thing to consider is what modes do you operate and what is the minimum performance needed for normal casual operating.  For SSB I would say 75 dB is adequate most of the time. For CW I would say 85 dB is adequate most of the time. I would guess the 1200 I tested had a roofing filter that was somewhat wider and maybe off center. In any case the DR3 was 6 dB worse on one side than the other. On SSB much of the time adjacent channel splatter from a station 3 to 5 kHz away will be worse than the dynamic range of the radio. When would one prefer really large DR3 numbers?  In a CW DX pile-up or CW contest.  Also having really good phase noise (RMDR) would be really important on Field Day or your equivalent in Europe.  The 3000 has phase noise issues on transmit. If you got a good deal on a radio and it is performing well for whatever your operating habits are, then just enjoy the radio. My two main radios are an old IC-781 with a DR3 of about 75 and a TS-990S which has an RMDR of 87 to 98. I enjoy both radios and they perform fine in the CW and SSB contests I operate. A K3S might be better, certainly on Field Day, but I prefer large radios with really good receive audio.  They suite my needs which is all that matters.



An IF Based Direct Sampling Panoramic Adapter for the Yaesu FTDX-9000...

FTDX-9000MP + HDSDR + Ham Radio Deluxe....

As an owner of a Yaesu FTDX-9000MP.  I've always felt fortunate to have such a beautiful transceiver included in the line-up of the HF transceivers in my station. It truly is a work of art in design, performance, and quality of hardware.  Nevertheless, there has always been one item that is not factory installed on the FTDX-9000, one that I felt should have been included. That is a connector to obtain a signal from the first intermediate frequency path in the receiver.

I've always enjoyed experimenting with new trends in technology. Recently, with the introduction of moderate priced RTL SDR dongles, and several freeware programs. A useful real-time panadapter has quickly became a common addition to many ham radio stations. Naturally, I also wanted to add that capability to my station as well when using the FTDX-9000. There are methods to implement a panoramic adapter when using a modern transceiver that does not have IF out capability.  However, some of those are cumbersome.   I believe the most effective method is based on a signal directly from a transceiver's immediate frequency after the first mixer.

During a QSO,  I mentioned to a knowledgeable friend, Greg K3EWZ, that I was investigating a way to add a panadapter to the FTDX-9000 platform.  However the problem I was facing, there was no IF out connection on the FTDX-9000.  Greg was kind enough to provide technical guidance about the circuits in the FTDX-9000, so I could implement an IF out signal connector for the FTDX-9000.

A high impedance interface board with filtering, and adequate reverse protection is required to add an IF output signal connector to a transceiver.  A search for information, led me to the web page of Dave Powis, G4HUP.  Dave produces several high quality surface mount Panoramic Adaptor Tap (PAT) Boards, that also includes the necessary low pass filter and reverse protection to fit many different transceivers.  The first IF frequency of the FTDX-9000 is 40.455 MHz. Therefore, I ordered a fully assembled "PAT50M".  The "50" designates, the PAT board includes a 50 MHz low pass filter.  I also ordered a generic socket installation kit. The kit included most everything required to install the board.  However, because of the large size of the FTDX-9000 chassis. It's also necessary to obtain additional Teflon coax to reach between the tap board and a rear mounted SMA connector. I used RG-316.  However, RG-178A is recommended by Dave, G4HUP.  Dave also sells several other interesting items, and has additional technical information about the PAT boards on his website. http://g4hup.com/

Note: Please see the addendum at the bottom of this page for additional comments and recommendations received from Dave, G4HUP, regarding the installation of the PAT board.

The procedure to install the Panoramic Tap Board (PAT) necessitates performing some minor disassembling and alterations to the radio. That includes removing the main receiver (RX-1 board), and drilling several small holes in the back of the radio's rear chassis to install a SMA female connector.  Anyone considering this modification, should obtain a copy of the Technical Supplement (TS) for the FTDX-9000. A PDF copy can be downloaded from several sites. Information in the TS is critical as a reference, and should be kept on hand for review before and during the modification as necessary. The procedure below is specifically for the FTDX-9000MP. There may be differences between the various FTDX-9000 models. Individuals should verify through review of the technical supplement, that the information provided herein is applicable to their particular transceiver. 

The block diagram for the "MP Type" reveals, that after a received signal passes through the mixer circuitry, the first IF 40.455MHz signal is routed through the Mixer Switch Relay (RL-1010). Then, the signal branches out to the input of three relays, the beginning of the roofing filter switching matrix for bandwidths of 3KHz, 6KHz or 15KHz.  It is at that point the first IF signal chain should be tapped, after the first mixer, but before the roofing filter(s). The schematic diagram for the RX-1 Unit is consistent with the block diagram, reflecting that Pin 3 of RL-1010 is physically connected through a branch circuit to Pin 3 of Relays RL-1011, RL-1012, and RL-1013. A review of the RX-1 Parts Layout page in the TS (RX_1-3), shows the physical parts placement of the relays on the component side of the board (Side A) at section G-1.

Another consideration to installing the PAT is to provide the required power to the board.  The recommended voltage is between 8 and 12 volts. The circuit diagram shows an interconnect line designated as RX9, representing that line is high during receive, providing approximately 9 volts.  That line terminates on the component side of the RX-1 board at TP 1014.  The RX-1 Unit Parts Layout diagram shows TP 1014 at section H-3.  TP 1014 is simply a small solder pad. To provide power to the TAP board, a small wire is soldered between the PAT and TP 1014.  That is the only connection that will be made on the component side of the board. The other connections are on the solder side (side B) of the RX-1 board.  The area on the solder side of the board where the connections will be performed are shown on the RX-1 Parts Layout diagram for "Side B", in sections 1-B and 1-D.

To begin, the bottom cover from the FTDX-9000MP must be removed.  Loosening the screws for the side covers helps ease bottom cover removal.  Once the bottom cover is removed, that area reveals several boards, including the two identical receiver boards (if so installed). The RX-1 board of interest is installed in the center of the radio, and is for the (main) VFO A.  To remove the main receiver board. It is first necessary to remove a few other components.  However, before removing any components. I highly suggest that multiple photographs and detailed notes are taken to ensure that adequate information is available to assist when reassembling the radio. The FTDX-9000 has multiple connection points on the RX-1. Some connectors look identical, and making an error is possible, unless there is adequate references beyond what is provided in the technical supplement.

To remove the RX-1 board, working from the front of the radio, there are two metal shields that have a conductive tape bridge between them, one shield is mounted on the VFO A RX-1 board, and the other is mounted to the VFO B RX-2 board.  It is not necessary to disturb the tape. Rather, remove the five screws that secure the shields, remove them as a unit, and place them to the side.  No other components will be removed from the VFO B RX-2 board.

Shields on RX-1/RX-2

The next component to remove is the BPF-1 unit from the VFO A's RX-1 board.   It is mounted under the shield that was just removed from the RX-1 board. The BPF-1 is installed on two pin style header connectors, and is secured by two hexagon fasteners.  First, remove the two hexagon fasteners, and then remove the BPF-1 by gently lifting both sides of the BPF-1 equally to release the board from the connectors.  Once the BPF-1 is removed, the screws that secures the RX-1 board to the chassis are accessible.  Next, remove the screws, disconnect the associated wiring from the on-board sockets, and remove the board from the chassis.

BPF-1 on RX-1

Once the RX-1 board is on the work surface, installation of the PAT board can begin. As described above, there are only three connections that must be soldered to the RX-1 board. One on the component side at TP 1014, and two on the solder side, the IF tap point and a ground.  Referring back to the technical supplement, RX-1 Part Layout Diagram, Side B, at B-1. The layout shows the tap point where the center conductor of the RG-178A coax that is included in the generic socket kit will be soldered to Pin 3 of RL-1010.

Below is a photo of the actual tap point on the RX-1 board. There are the eight pins on relay RL-1010 shown in the photo. From this orientation, the connection is made to the top row, second pin from the right.

Once the tap point has been identified, the PAT board should be installed close to the connection point.  I used Velcro to attach the PAT board to the RX-1.  After the PAT board is in position, the RG-178A coax provided in the connector kit can be installed from the RX-1 tap point to the PAT board.  It is unnecessary to solder the shield of the coax cable to RX-1.  Only the center conductor of the Teflon coax cable should be soldered to the RX-1 board.  The PAT board conveniently provides  two grounded solder pads for the coax shield on each side of the signal input solder pad.  Only one is used, and provides flexibility in orienting the cable during installation.  The second connection from the PAT board to the solder side of RX-1, is simply a DC ground. Any convenient attachment point that goes to ground can be used for that connection. 

As noted above, the final connection that involves soldering to the RX-1 board is the 9V+ DC supply point. That wire is soldered to TP 1014 on the component side of the board, and the remaining end is soldered to the PAT board. I found it was easier to solder the wire to TP 1014 before attaching the wire to the PAT board.

Final connection before installing the RX-1 back into the radio is an approximate 28" length of RG-316 to the PAT board's output solder pad. Once complete, the RX-1 board can now be installed back in the radio, while carefully routing the unterminated RG-316 towards the rear panel SMA attachment point.

The installation of the SMA female connector is fairly straight forward. Simply install the SMA connector in the rear panel. Solder the center conductor of the RG-316 to the center pin of the SMA connector, and solder the shield to ground connector supplied in the generic socket kit.  I installed the SMA on my FTDX-9000 in the left corner of the rear panel, which seemed to be the most open area available on the rear of the FTDX-9000's chassis.

The G4HUP PAT board is working extremely well, and am pleased with the addition of an IF out connector for the FTDX-9000.  I am still experimenting with various software pan adapter programs, most recently as shown in the top photo, HDSDR+Ham Radio Deluxe+Yaesu DMU all working together.   Bandwidth coverage is more than adequate. As an example, on 20 meters when using the FTDX-9000 and HDSDR,  I can expand the panadapter to a span of nearly 2.4MHz (13.000MHz to 15.400MHz).  Side by side testing of the main receiver against the unmodified identical sub receiver, does not reflect any adverse affects from the installation of the G4HUP PAT board.

HDSDR on 20 meters utilizing the G4HUP PAT board installed in a FTDX-9000MP...

Second view, showing activity during a recent CW contest at the bottom of the 20 meter amateur band.

ADDENDUM: I received the following useful comments and recommendations from Dave G4HUP, the designer of the PAT board mentioned above.  His comments should be considered when contemplating the addition of a PAT board/IF out connector to the FTDX-9000.

Dave notes, that based on the expansive spectrum of 2.4 MHz I can view with the Panadaptor.  It's assumed that I tapped the IF signal path before the first IF filter.  In doing so, there may be unwanted mixer products visible in the display, and can be identified as signals that tune in the reverse direction of genuine signals that are present in the display.  Although I have not yet noticed the anomaly of erroneous signals using HDSDR and the modified FTDX-9000mp.  I cannot guarantee that will not be an issue for other individuals that perform the modification.  During previous testing by Dave on a Yaesu FT-897. Tapping the IF signal before the IF (roofing) filters, resulted in mixer products that rendered the panoramic adapter display unusable for the user.

Consideration of using a different tap point within the IF signal path may be more appropriate.  He recommends, that if the PAT board input is connected after the IF filter, the visible spectrum is less, but all signals present in the display would be genuine.

In relation to the installation. He recommends not using coax for the input connection to the PAT board. Rather, recommending using some of the fine wrap wire supplied in the connector kit. The wire is lower in capacitance than coax, and reduces the risk of excessively loading the tapped circuit.  Additionally, the PAT board should be mounted as close as possible to the tap point using the double sided adhesive tape supplied in the connector kit.

Finally, he recommends a better coax to use in this type of installation from the PAT board to the SMA connector is RG-178A rather than RG-316, which is 1mm smaller in diameter, and therefore easier to handle.

Update: I recently installed a PAT board in a Yaesu FTDX-1200, because the FTDX-1200 is another radio that does not provide an I.F. out connector on the rear panel.  In that configuration, similar to the installation I performed on the FTDX-9000.  I also tapped the IF path after the first mixer, but before the roofing filter.  Additionally, instead of using coax for the input connection on the PAT board. I used fine wire as suggested by Dave, G4HUP.  That installation also did not reflect any erroneous signals or mixer products on the panoramic display.  The owner of that FTDX-1200 is extremely pleased with the results.
73, Jim AB4D.


I've been altering my station for the past two years, seeking improvement in operability and modernization, while retaining a bit of nostalgia operating.  I believe I am nearing a plateau period in regard to my station equipment.  Previously, I began assembling a vintage Drake 4-Line station to use by acquiring a pair of non-operating TR4C's.  I now have a complete operational Drake station consisting of a TR4C transceiver, RV-4 remote VFO, AC-4 power supply, and L-4B amplifier (photo below).  Unfortunately, one of the TR4C's I acquired was in such poor condition, repair was not feasible.  I donated that radio for parts to Ron Baker, WB4HFN.

Recently, I also added a fully optioned Yaesu FTDX-3000D to the station. The FTDX-3000D is one of Yaesu's most recent offerings and reports have been good. That rig will be dedicated to mostly digital modes of operation. It seems well suited to that task as it provides built in decoding.  Moreover, it integrates well with the Ham Radio Deluxe software and DM780, the main control/logging/digital program suite used in the station.

In the immediate future, beyond operating I visualize that most of my efforts will be spent on antenna projects and additions to the station's operational aids.  Currently, I am assembling the components required to install an IF out jack in a Yaesu FTDX-9000MP and a Yaesu FT-1000mp Mark V. Tapping the intermediate frequency chain will facilitate the addition of a real time pan adaptor to those transceivers.  I've been experimenting with some of the improved RTL dongles from Nooelec.com, and some of the freeware available from various sources.  That technology appears promising to suit my purposes.