Diskussions- und Newsboard des DARC-Ortsverbandes I40
allgemeine Kategorie => SParkle Project => Message started by: SP9BSL on 30. June 2020, 09:19:45

Title: The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 30. June 2020, 09:19:45

Hello all,
I promised some info on the project I work on for some time, so let's begin. I decided to design my version of RF board based on Direct Digital Conversion - in short DDC.
This is a variant of the official RF board for OV I40 project, and it uses the well known part of it - the UI board and of course our UHSDR. Because the UI board is only a part (the brain:) ) of this project I decided to call it with new name. After some discussion with friends i decided to call it SParkle. The first two letters is prefix of the place I live, the rest is to be recognizable among others known... The SParkle because this is a small initial version of trx which was defined by the dimension of UI board and to distinguish it from the bigger that will come in the future - the SPark.

Ok, calling it a "RF board" is some kind of misunderstandig because the solution consists of several boards that this design I would call modular:

  • Base board - interface to OV I40 UI, with all the usable pins, I/Os and aditional I2S interface is conected, also this boards has 4 sockets for cards and two connectors for amplifiers, connectors for speakers, fan and some aux io
  • DDC board - the main receive and transmit circuit board based on Intel EP4CE15 (LQFP144) + ADs6145 + AD9744 with all the antialiasing/banpass filters and ADC/DAC frontend amplifiers and attenuators. Board can provide/receive signals at low HF bands up to 6m, for4m and 2m. Last two are created by filtering the aliases and doing some magic on IQ signal digitally.
  • Filter board - a set of low/high pass filters for transmit/receive filtering, and HF LNA
  • HF PA - the 160m to 6m linear amplifier which can work with max power of 80W(160m) and 40W (6m) with reasonable output IMD at the level below -25dB
  • VHF PA - this board is under construction and can't say nothing about it now
  • HF ATU - optional, future development (controlled by the UI, no separate microcontroller)
  • Aditional mixer board for 70cm, 23cm, 13cm - as above: future expansion option

  • This design is intended to be powered from 24V to allow the PAs to work in right conditions (the finals are designed to work with this voltage).
    Of course all will work with 13.8V but the power will be limited to about 20W.

    The connectivity issue (lack of I2S) causes one modification of UI board: removal of RX/TX codec and connect 6 points to ribbon flat cable with 6 pin plug - not a big problem for anyone...

    I will describe all the modules with separate threads.

    The modules are designed to be compatible with the case which I will also present in separate thread.

    One thing to keep in mind - this is experimental project - like all we do as hobbyists, it needs time to make it work and then correct it to work as it should work at certain acceptable level. So far, me and my friends who have tested it - well.. we are optimists ;) The other idea is to use most of the boards (with except of base board) to next new design with bigger LCD based on 7" RA8875 - hope next year.
    The whole idea is to provide an option (counterweight?) to the official version because it was a pain to see the Ralf's UI boards assembled laying in the drawer, I think it suffered there by the lack of interest :)

    Please do not send me PMs here for the sake of capacity of the server and the patience of Andreas :) Please ask the question in apropriate threads or drop me an e-mail at sparkle (at) sp9bsl.pl.

    For this moment our small team are testing the board and changing the schematics and boms, so let me to not show the schematic untill the boards will be ready to ship (if there will be interest of course...). The project is cetified using the new license - CERN-OHL-S v2 with remark that the sources of pcbs (gerbers) will not be published at least at the start.

    I will also post some videos here when the firmware will be ready to show the differences to mcHF, we are still in the debug process where not all functioning as it should.
    All the informations presented here will be available then on my web page.

    You can see the block schematics below and the overall look of the whole unit in next posts because I can't attach more than one picture per post.

    Edit: colleagues asked me to mention that this is not easy project. A lot to assemble (small components) and then test. Some equipment and knowledge how to use it will be needed, at least nanoVNA and 100MHz oscilloscope.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 30. June 2020, 09:20:24

Some virtual views:

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 30. June 2020, 09:20:55

and the real, current state:

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: DL8EBD on 30. June 2020, 10:25:53

Wspaniały Sławek!
This looks really fantastic what you have developed there.

And of course: I want to have that :D
Since I have two OV I40 UI circuit boards, I would like to use one of them for this project.

I will follow your project with great interest.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 30. June 2020, 10:27:57

Thank you Thomas,
I also have 2 boards, one with F7 and one empty for H7. I just received a set of H7 directly from ST...

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: DG8YGW on 30. June 2020, 12:41:31

Hi Slawek,
excellent job and a really great extension of the OV I40 UI. ;D
I would also like to build one of them.
I am ready for a new UI desktop version with a bigger Display
and more functions / elements in the near future.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 30. June 2020, 21:19:06

Ralf, we will discuss the new design when this will be finished. I know that there is high demand for bigger display and for sure it will be designed. For now I wanted to develop the rest of the boards with the UI we have today and prove the concept is ok.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: S58J on 09. October 2020, 04:44:24


Lately I don't see much activity on the forum's threads however I believe that Sparkle project deserves our support and admiration. You developed a really cool and capable radio and I can just wish that it evolves even further.

Just a word of caution: simplicity vs complexity/price. We are talking about home made projects - and home builders are mainly the target group on this forum.

Common guys we have great developers among us, let us make some noise on the forum. Being silent serves no one!

All the best.

Janez, S58J

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 09. October 2020, 07:24:59

Hi Janez,
still working hard on this. Although the good weeather outside doesn't help :) There is always some more important things to do. Anyway, the project is moving forward, we are starting to integrate it with the UHSDR code as permament part. I meet some limitation found in fpga code which had to be processed, it's already done.

The complexity - yes, this is not mcHF - the complexity is higher but first assumption is fulfilled: not to use BGA chips. I know, some are able to mount them but not everyone.

The current state of work is PA tuning, this is last stage of testing.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: F4HTX on 21. December 2020, 08:00:46

Hi Friends,

For sure, I'm in ! Can't wait to start working on this.

Thanks U Slawek !


Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: OM6IN on 21. January 2021, 08:47:03

Me also :)
VY 73

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: Olli on 24. July 2021, 14:03:23

Was ist los mit dem Ding??
Hier passiert irgend wie nix mehr.
Was ist los?
Giebt es Probleme?
Wird es behaubt was fertiges geben?
Hir im Forum giebt es schon son Ding das schon ewig fertig sein sollte aber auch
bis heute nicht läuft.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 24. July 2021, 15:36:13

nothing is wrong, it's just hobby - other things have higher priority. I have dispatched all the second batch of pcbs among beta testers. I will inform you when new batch arrive.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: Olli on 26. July 2021, 18:38:04

Wie melde ich mich für den TRX Sparkle Betatester an? ??? ??? ???
Ganz mal was anderes was wird das Ding behaupt kosten???

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on 27. July 2021, 09:28:35

Quote from: Olli on 26. July 2021, 18:38:04
Wie melde ich mich für den TRX Sparkle Betatester an? ??? ??? ???

You can't. The beta tester group is closed.

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP3OSJ on Today at 10:50:47


[youtube FR7wEYbHGnE]

and read: #765
http://www.cqham.ru/forum/showthread.php?43466-%D0%F3%F1%F1%EA%E0%FF-%F0%E5%EF%EB%E8%EA%E0-mcHF/page77 (http://www.cqham.ru/forum/showthread.php?43466-%D0%F3%F1%F1%EA%E0%FF-%F0%E5%EF%EB%E8%EA%E0-mcHF/page77)

Is SParlke ready to go?


Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP9BSL on Today at 11:01:07

yup - Wojtek SP4EBI - a friend. Participant in tests.
You just said that DDC is not for you...

Title: Re:The presentation
Post by: SP3OSJ on Today at 11:27:23

Hi Slawek

Well, take more pictures and show something more.
I am very curious what you will show. I am rooting for you very hard.
Tomorrow marks 2 years since you presented the first concept of SParkle radio.


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