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Informations about: Hydra, the 10 Ghz Frontend
Update Jan 18, 2021
DUBUS 3/2020 was released in Sept. 2020.,
(To subscribe to DUBUS, the bilingual magazine for the serious VHF and up operator,
click here: www.dubus.org)
....on this page you will find news, bonus material, FAQ and more...
What is Hydra?
"A 10 Ghz Extension for Adalm-Pluto(tm)"
Hydra is a minimal 3cm band frontend, enables you to use FM/CW also on 10Ghz.
The size of the PCB is made to fit on the ADALM PLUTO (tm by Analog Devices)
which is also called PlutoSDR. Hydra originated from one development for
El Cuatro, the multiband UHF/SHF receiver, see link below.
Hydra V3/V4/V5/V6/V7, same principle, but different power:
All versions have the following in common:
Doubler for 5-> 10Ghz, LNB for receiving, controls for +5V TX and +5V RX.
2 SMA male connectors fit on the ADALM-PLUTO, distance of the plugs (center to center)
is about 23.5mm. The 2nd SMA plug needs to be mated with your PlutoSDR, because the
distance of 23.5mm differs a small bit.
All versions work with SDRs from Analog Devices (e.g. Pluto), fits onto SMA connectors.
Works also with Ettus SDRs. But you need extra cables to connect.
HackRF one (with only one antenna connector for RX and TX) needs Hydra V0 (2-3mW) with
has pin-diode switch on the input. Available on request.
TX Power: V3:5mW V4:10mW V4r:15mW V5:12mW V6:30mW V7:60mW
Fundamental feedthrough (5.184GHz input to 10.368Ghz out): -40dbc
RX noise Figure: V2: 10-13db NF, V3, V4: 10db NF
RX frequency tolerance: 0.25ppm
Supply Voltage: 5V (+0 -0.5V)
Supply Current TX: up to 200mA (V6,V7: 300mA)
Supply Current RX: up to 75mA
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
(please send mail for the Q&A, all answers will be available here.)
What is the price including shipping?
Hydra V3, V4, V4r, V5 : € 99.- ***price reduction***
Hydra V6, V7: € 149.-
Reduced rates for tracked shipping: € 10.- to EU/UK, to US/VK/JA is € 15.-
Other countries € 15.- or € 20.-
Paypal is preferred. All prices are in EUR, include 20% VAT and are valid
from Jan. 18, 2021.
Availability depends, V4, V4r, V5, V6 are ready for shipping, if out of stock
delivery time is about 3 days.
How can I order?
Please send email (address see below) to me, including your shipping address. I will
contact you once i am ready to send the PCBs out.
What software do you use in general for Pluto?
Currently I do only the hardware, but my friends use SDRAngel, SDR-Console,
GNU-Radio and the Langstone project software. Once I have tried every possibility
myself in software, I will report here.
For now it seems that the Langstone software, with Raspberry Pi4 and 7" display is the
best for QSOs, but for testing purposes other solutions may be preferred.
-Portable testing equipment
-Microwave portable equipment
Other Published Articles:
Information about the El Cuatro FM/CW Microwave Multiband Handheld Transceiver, published
in DUBUS 3/2018 is here
Updates to the Hydra Article, published in DUBUS 3/2020:
The following clarifications to the schematic are found:
- on the +5V TX Line, the 100pF Capacitor should be very close to XX1002.
- both +5V TX and +5V RX line need a 2k2 or 3k3 resistor to ground to ensure switching
voltages at the specified range, for "low" 0-0,2V is specified.
Hydra V1 description:
Included here for illustration, was described in DUBUS 3/2020. No longer available.
is a extension for the ADALM-PLUTO (tm by Analog Devices) learning Module, and enables
the use of the 10Ghz Band (10368-10370, 10400-10450) and beyond. From a former project
"Hydra V0" was reused. For a detailed description, PCB layout and schematic see
Pluto must be set to (e.g.) 5184Mhz for TX and receiver must be set to (e.g.) 618Mhz.
Any more questions? Please email me and the answers will be added to the FAQ.
Typical Hydra package contents
All versions of Hydra areis shipped in an antistatic bag, with one SMA plug not
mounted, this has to be fittet to your Adalm Pluto, as the distance between the SMA
connectors is slightly different. The cable on the top is for +5V, a manual switch is
sometimes mounted for testing, but can be replaced by a relay (which is switched from
USB or Raspberry PI port). The board is tested for TX and RX performance, RX/TX
function and that the 25Mhz oscillator is continuously running. The TCXO for RX
is always on, regardless of RX/TX state to have more stable frequency.
Description of Hydra V3, no antenna switch
Hydra V3 is without the antenna switch, there is a seperate SMA connector for TX
and a seperate connector for RX. You can add PA, LNA, filters and antenna relais
yourself as needed.
If you are serious about activity on 3cm, please consider using a transverter.
Description of Hydra V4, the Power-Hydra.
Hydra V4 uses a different pin-diode-switch (ADRF5019) so there are less losses on
TX and RX. Also the spacing between the parts has improved for easier rework.
V4 is smaller (36x48mm) but has no longer the footprint for the EMI-shield.
The PA is a NLB-310 amplifier, and provides 10mW of output power.
10mW is enough for *any* line-of-sight QSO with a 40 or 60cm dish, and works even
with a mountain as reflector (27km total path length).
And - finally a new feature: The +5V RX can be switched on also during TX, or can
be active all the time. The switch voltage is derived only from the +5V TX line, so
you can find and hear your own TX frequency in GNU-Radio.
Description of Hydra V4r, Hydra with Rogers 4003c.
Hydra V4r is the same as V4, but is build on Rogers 4003C material. Power output is
15-20mW. Electrically identical to the Hydra V4, but less loss.
Description of Hydra V5, 10mW for use with external PA and LNA
Hydra V5 is the same as V3, but NLB-310 amplifier for about 12mW.
Power output is about 30mW. No antenna switch included.
Illustration only, this version was not yet build, but the performance can be
estimated from the other similar PCBs: power output is in the 12mW range.
Description of Hydra V6, a better amplifier: HMC451.
Hydra V6 is the same as V4, but HMC451 amplifier for about 30mW.
With ADRF5019 antenna switch included.
Description of Hydra V7, more power with HMC451 amplifier.
Hydra V7 is the same as V5, but HMC451 amplifier for about 60-80mW.
No antenna switch included.
Bonus material, which was not available
in time for DUBUS 3/2020
is always done with the same footprint for +5V TX and +5V RX.
It can be done manually:
- with a miniature switch (e.g. Hartmann SX254)
- With a small SPDT switch (see photo)
or automatic from your Raspberry, laptop or PC:
- With a mechanical SPDT relay, which can be a seperate USB relay
- or a relay driven from Raspberry Pi 3.3V Pin (like Langstone project).
- The relay then provides +5V RX and +5V TX seperately to the pads, see above.
So no extra +5V supply to the Hydra PCB and no manual switch is needed.
LNB LO Options:
The LNB in default configuration works with 9750 Mhz (25Mhz x 390). The LNB
features also a "high band", where the multiplicator is 424 which gives 10600 Mhz
LO (25Mhz x 424). You can remove the 25 Mhz Oszillator and feed your own frequency
as a reference frequency. I successfully used 24,1 to 25 Mhz, but 26 Mhz failed.
So you could adjust the receiving frequency also to 144 or 432 Mhz, if you want.
So for synchronous receiving with several RCVRs you only have to feed the LNBs with
the same phase of reference signal.
About the author:
Fred, OE8FNK, now also microwave manager in OE, is doing UHF/SHF amateur radio for a
lifetime. His background is microprocessors and software, but interest radio and radio
astronomy made him build electronics and RF. All equipment is made to enable
all radio amateurs to participate in UHF/SHF activities, and to create local
activity on microwaves bands (70cm-3cm), often within the local club or district.
This is often done with the absolute minimalistic equipment, and the least
possible TX output power, but encourages some to maintain their equipment and activity
on microwave bands.
We are making contacts over a distance of 60-100km monthly in activity contest,
with 0.0003 to 0.06 Watts now for many years on frequencies from 1-10Ghz. And now even
doing experiments on 24Ghz and 122Ghz over shorter distances. Results are
documented and available at http://mikrowelle.oevsv.at
Still reading? Any more questions? Appreciate your comments and feedback :-)
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