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A Diagnostic Guide

for the

uBITX
HF Transciever Radio Kit

by
Ufi Auttorri

May 16, 2018


1

CONTACT: Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/ufo.author

DISCLAIMER: Most of this document, writing, images and so forth, are the original work of the author.
Some parts have been quoted or abstracted from other sources (as noted) and assumed to be in the public
domain. In the open source spirit of the uBITX project I hereby release this work under Creative Commons
license version CC-BY-SA-4.0. Other authors of quoted or abstracted material may have other ideas. If you
are one of those authors and claim rights (under USA Copyright laws) then please let me know by
identifying the offending material and its location in this document. I will happily rewrite or remove it.

The author and others have checked the text and data provided in this document. However, it is provided
without any warranty of usefulness or accuracy. There are, most likely, undiscovered errors. If something
seems off or just plain wrong, don’t use it or do it. If you do find errors, please feel free to inform the author
so they may be corrected in a future version. Above all, please, don’t let the smoke out of your kit on our
account. The author would feel guilty and it might ruin the day.

This document contains various hyperlinks. They facilitate moving to relevant places within the document
and provide quick access to external materials. This tends to eliminate confusion and expedite study. There
are no known redirects to malicious websites. Hopefully your web browser will notify you if something changes
in that regard.
Introduction

This document is intended to assist fellow kit builders of HFSIGNALS’ uBITX (micro-BITX), a general cover-
age transmitter and receiver, i.e., an HF transciever kit. The measurements were taken from a kit shipped
in February of 2018. The board is stamped “ubitx v3 (C) hfsigs.com, 2017” and has the UTC2822M audio
amp IC in a socket. It was constructed and initially tested with the software that came pre-loaded into the
Raduino, V100R. That software was subsequently replaced with KD8CEC’s software, v1.073. This software
was installed, the unit calibrated and the BFO adjusted. The unit was operating to specifications when the
measurments were taken. No hardware modifications were made. The keying pull-up resistor was mounted
on the Raduino board.

Community Help
The Facebook “closed group”, uBITX, hosts the conversations of constructors around the world that are inter-
ested in Ashhar Farhan’s uBITX HF radio kit. The group fields questions that include shipping schedules,
building and enclosures as well as basic problem solving and troubeshooting.
The last item, troubleshooting, is the main subject of this document, containing useful information not
available elsewhere at the time of writing. The primary repository of discussion threads and sundry informa-
tion may be found at the BITX20 group on io.com. The group is for constructors of various BITX projects (not
just the uBITX) and covers design, construction, and offers solutions on various problems.1

1 Please note that there are various sites on the Internet using the term “bitx” and none of them have anything to do with building

electronic equipment.

2
Diagnostics

Easyflow Logic
2 I have followed the µBITX – Wire up documentation
– My problem is with receiving [See RX troubleshooting section.]
– My problem is with transmitting [See the TX troubleshooting section.]
– My problem is no display / nothing seems to work [See the Smoke Tests section.]
2 I have followed my own (or other) customized wire up
– No soup for you [Sorry, this document only supports the standard wire up configuration.]

3
Smoke Test and Preliminary Tuneup

Smoke Tests2
Level 1 - Does it light up?
There are many suggestions on the best way to safely apply power to an out-of-the-box unit. Everyone seems
to agree that it is wise to put a FAST-BLO fuse between a 12 VOLT DC power source (a current limiting supply
is best or fused battery).
Most of the supplied connectors come pre-wired. The DC power wiring harness consistes of a preassembled,
3-terminal female plug with a length of Black, Brown and Red wires. The Black wire, connecting to pin 3,
is the ground. The brown wire, connecting to pin 2, is the PA-PWR. The Red wire, connecting to pin 1, is
the +12V that powers the Raduino, display, and remainder of the board components. The primary DC power
socket must be user-wired before a smoke test can be made.
There are many ways to do this (and many thoughts on the “best” way). The one shown below is a reasonable
compromise between ultra-safe and the stock diode protection provided with the kit. In this test build, a SONY
ACNX1-W switching adapter was used. It provides 12v DC @ 1.4A. The power supply contains internal over-
voltage, over-current protection circuitry and will momentarily (and safely) shutdown in case of a short circuit
or other malfunction3 and is UL listed. It is recommended that you review the “WIRE UP” documentation on
the HFSIGNALS website.
2 Locate a 12 volt DC power source capable of sustaining 1.5 amps.4
2 Assemble appropriate wiring that will connect the power supply to the DC plug provided in the kit.
Check the polarity with a meter. The center connector should be positive and the outer, negative.
2 Locate an in-line fuse and holder to accomodate a 1.5 amp, FAST-BLO AGC fuse. Wire the fuse assembly
inline with the socket provided on the positive terminal, between the socket and the on-off switch. Check
the wiring for shorts and correct polarity.
2 Solder the (provided) 4.7k ohm resistor between pins 2 and 3 on the Raduino board. [REQUIRED]
2 Wire up the audio portion of the volume control. (As viewed from the rear, green wire to left terminal,
orange to center and yellow to right.)
2 For the uninitiated, the term “smoke test” is based upon the old-school theory that if smoke came rolling out of a piece of equipment

and it no longer worked then the problem was that it couldn’t function properly without the smoke. Everyone agrees that putting the
smoke back in is much more difficult than letting it out.
3 The author can atest to the effectiveness of the protection circuitry as it activated when inadvertently transmitting into a high VSWR

antenna.
4 A 3A supply is specified but the 1.5A used in this testing seemed to work OK.

4
5

2 Wire up an 8-ohm speaker - polarity is not important. (not provided)


2 Wire up the power switch portion of the supplied volume control, per the diagram on HFSIGNALS.
Solder the protection diode across the switched terminals and ensure it’s polarity is correct. (The end
with the white band should connect to the 12+vDC line on the switch.)
2 Double-check all the previous steps before connecting the 12+vDC supply.
2 Connect the 12+vDC supply. Take a deep breath and remain calm. Turn the volume control switch ON
and rotate the volume to mid-range. (Hopefully the diode didn’t pop and no smoke came out.)
– The display should be illuminated and the default frequency displayed.
– A slight hiss/noise should be present in the speaker.
2 Turn the volume control switch OFF. This completes the smoke test.
If you made it through the last step (above) and nothing adverse happened then you’re probably ready for
phase-2 of the smoke test. Turn the volume control/switch combo ON. If all goes well, the LCD should light
up, the Raduino should boot up and display the mode, VFO (A/B) and frequency of operation. If so, then the
unit has passed the smoke-test. If not, turn it OFF, disconnect the supply and recheck all the connections. At
this stage you may complete the remainder of the wiring (mic, key, antenna, etc.) and proceed to alighnment.

Alignment
From the HFSIGNALS website, “The uBITX5 comes pre-aligned. You should do this only if you really think
it is out of alignment.“ So, what might make you think it is in need of alignment? Here are some possibilities:
2 You tune to a known frequency signal and the uBITX display does not agree. The zero-beat is off (there
is a steady audio tone, either above or below the known carrier frequency). [MASTER CLOCK]
2 You hear the audio of SSB conversations but it sounds “off”, perhaps too many high frequencies (or low).
[BFO]
2 The 7.074 Mhz CW (key down) power output, as measured into a 50-ohm 25 watt resistive dummy load,
is less than 5 watts. [PA BIAS]
If so, then you may benefit from following the recommended, corresponding tune-up item.

PA BIAS
Switch off the rig Locate the two PA bias presets (the blue square ones) Set both the presets to fully clockwise
position, gently. Attach a dummy load or a low SWR antenna and switch the rig on Attach a current meter to
the power supply so can monitor the current draw Switch on Press the PTT without speaking ( no modulation)
The current draw should be between 470 mA and 500 mA Slowly increase one of the two presets until the
current increases to by 100 ma Do the same for the other preset (the total current should have increased by
200 ma now) Now, blow a loud HALLLOWWW into the mic.
2 Does the current flick up? YES: You’re done with PA Bias. NO: Go to ???
5 The spelling has been changed in this document. The mu symbol is changed to the letter “u” for the remainder of this document, for
various reasons.
6

Aligning the master clock


All the frequencies of the uBITX are derived by multiplying/dividing to the required frequency from a single
25 MHz crystal. This crystal is rarely at exactly 25 MHz. We have to calibrate this clock to the exact frequency.
Here is how it is done. [NOTE: The directions below assume you are using the software that is installed when
shipped and not one of the community varients. Those often react/display differently than noted.)
2 Press the tunning encoder (detent switch) to display the menu

2 Rotate the tunning encoder (clockwise) until the display reads “Setup On?”
2 Press in on the encoder’s momentary push-button switch to enable setup. The display should now read
“ON.”
2 Tune the display frequency to an AM broadcast signal of known frequency.

2 Set the display of the uBITX to read the exact carrier frequency of the station. If your calibration is
out, this will NOT be zero-beat (i.e., you will hear a steady tone+voice/music). Press the encoder button
again to display the menu and this time it should show a new option ‘Set Calibration?’. Press the encoder
button again to confirm this option Now, turn the encoder dial and zero-beat to the AM carrier signal
(the frequency display of uBITX will remain the same)

2 Press the mic PTT button to save the calibration.

Setting the BFO


2 Push the encoder button to display the menu.
2 Rotate it until the display reads “Setup On?” and press again to confirm.
2 Tune to an clean, preferably weak, SSB signal and fine-tune to its loudest (not the clearest)

2 Push the encoder button again to display the menu and choose the option ‘Set the BFO’.
2 Push again to enter this option
2 Now tune with the encoder for the best sounding audio

2 Press the PTT button to save the calibration. (The display should return to normal.)

This completes the BFO calibration.


Test Points

Table-1 lists various test points and associated measurements when the uBITX is in the state indicated in
column 1.
The states are one of {OFF, ON-RX, PTT-TX, PTT-TX-M, CW-TX}. They are defined as follows:
2 OFF, the volume control fully counter-clockwise and in the off position (no power to unit)
2 ON-RX, the volume control is mid-range, the power switch is on (the unit is powered up, the LCD is
illuminated).
2 PTT-TX, the mic push-to-talk switch is depressed only, no modulation.
2 PTT-TX-M, the mic push-to-talk switch is depressed and there is modulation.
2 CW-TX, the recommended pull-up resistor is installed, a key is connected and the key contacts are closed.

Orientation and Nomenclature


Images of the PC board are either TOP or BOTTOM views. In the top views, the edge of the board with the
heat sinks is considerd the “back” of the board. The edge with the LCD and Raduino, the front. As viewed
from the front, there is a left side and a right side. For purposes of reference in this document the left-front
quadrant of the board is quad-1, the right-front is quad-2, the rear-left is quad-3 and the rear-right is quad-4.
For example, Figure-1 displays quad-1.
TIP: When measuring voltages at the various test points on the main circuit board, it is better to
use one end of a resistor chip (connected to the test point) as a location to probe. The phsycial
distances between transistor leads are so small that it would be very easy to accidentally short
something out.

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Smoke Testpoints

This section is for a uBITX that is wired, has passed the smoke test, but does not seem to receive. Do this
simple sanity check: turn the unit on and set the volume to mid range. You should hear static or noise of some
sort coming out of the speaker. If not, there are several possibilities. If there is absolutely no sound coming
from the speaker then double check the wiring first. If that looks OK then the audio IC is probably defective.
You’ll need to obtain a new one, remove the old one and then replace it. If your audio IC (U1) did not come
inserted in a socket then you should also obtain a 8-pin DIP socket as well.

U1 Sanity Check
Before removing the suspect audio IC it might be useful to gather some additional data points before going to
all the trouble of replacing one that is soldered in, or even one that’s in a socket for that matter. This can be
done easily by measuring the voltages on each pin and comparing to the values listed in Table-1, test points
s5 through s12. If the measurements are relatively close then the audio IC may NOT be defective. Further
investigation may be useful.
2 A quick sanity check for the audio IC is to activate transmit using the CW key. This produces an 800-Hz
audio tone that should be plainly audible in the speaker (or headphones).6
2 CAUTION: Before attempting the test (above) be sure that you have the required pull-up resistor in-
stalled7 , a CW key attached8 , and a 20-watt dummy load attached to the antenna output (brown
wire to center, black wire to the ring/ground of an SO-239 or other antenna jack). If the antenna is not
properly terminated in a resistive 50-ohm load and securely connected you WILL (in all likelyhood) blow
your final transistors.9 You have been warned.
2 Keying the CW transmit mode at a frequency of 7.074 Mhz should do two things: generate about 10 watts
into the dummy load and produce the CW sidetone of 800 Hz at the audio output of U1.

Rx Chain Checkpoints
If the U1 sanity check passed but no signals can be heard, either by signal injection at the antenna input or
with a good antenna connection then the next likely culprit is either the Arduino Nano controller and/or the
6 Itwill also produce a louder click on unmodified units. After you get everything working, there’s a fix for that.
7 This is the 4.7k resistor that prevents inadvertant keying of the transmitter!
8 You could also just short the key lines together in lieu of attaching a real key or other switch.
9 This is where that inline fuse can save you from yourself.

8
9

State TP# ID Value Units Ref Notes


OFF s1 P1-1, 12.0 VDC CONN_01X03 +12.0 VDC @ 1.3A,
P1-2 section A3, (includes PA), over-current
Fig-3 protected w/auto-reset
OFF s2 P1-3 0.0 VDC “ 0.0 VDC, primary/common
ground
ON-RX s3 U3-3 5.0 VDC Fig-1 LM7805, Raduino board
ON-RX s4 P3-8 3.60 dBV Fig-4, Fig-5, P3-8, 12 Mhz Osc,
section A6 U1-CLK0 on R110,
Raduino SI5351A
ON-RX s5 U1-1 3.6 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 1
section D3
ON-RX s6 U1-2 10.8 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 2
section D3
ON-RX s7 U1-3 4.4 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 3
section D3
ON-RX s8 U1-4 1.1 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 4
section D3
ON-RX s9 U1-5 0.031 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 5
section D3
ON-RX s10 U1-6 0.0 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 6
section D3
ON-RX s11 U1-7 0.0 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 7
section D3
ON-RX s12 U1-8 0.06 VDC Fig-7, Fig-8 U1, TDA2822, pin 8 (pot
section D3 fully couner-clockwise,
minimum volume)

Table 1: Smoke Test Points

Si5351 used for all local oscillators.


Without specialized test equipment it will be reasonable to only look at CLK0. The BFO 12 Mhz signal is
on CLK-0. Its DC/AC measurements are found in Table-1, test point s4. If it’s working then there’s a better
than even chance that the rest are working too.
Table-2 has a complete list of DC measurements for the receiver chain. If your measurements are close in
value (+/- 5%) then we’re back to looking at other things, such as the Raduino oscillator clocks, CLK-1, and
CLK-2 and the remainder of the Rx chain. The other oscillators are too high in frequency and too low in level
to be easily measured by common test equipment. Even sensitive fequency counters that can read signals
above 100Mhz may not work without a high-impedance, broadband preamp.
Receiver Test Points

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State TP# ID Value Units Ref Notes


ON-RX 5 Q10-1 2.31 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q10, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
ON-RX 6 Q10-2 1.63 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q10, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
ON-RX 7 Q10-3 7.63 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q10, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
ON-RX 8 Q12-1 6.94 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q12, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
ON-RX 9 Q12-3 7.94 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q12, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
ON-RX 10 Q12-2 6.25 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q12, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
ON-RX 11 Q30-1 2.0 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q30, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
ON-RX 12 Q30-3 7.38 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q30, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
ON-RX 13 Q30-2 1.31 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q30, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
ON-RX 14 Q32-1 6.63 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q32, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
ON-RX 15 Q32-2 10.8 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q32, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
ON-RX 16 Q32-3 5.3 VDC Fig-1 Quad-1, Q32, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
ON-RX 16 Q70-1 1.3 VDC Fig-1 Quad-2, Q70, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
ON-RX 16 Q70-2 0 VDC Fig-1 Quad-2, Q70, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
ON-RX 16 Q70-3 0.2 VDC Fig-1 Quad-2, Q70, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3

Table 2: Rx Test Points


Transmit (Tx) Testpoints

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13

State TP# ID Value Units Ref Notes


TX, PTT 17 Q20-1 2.31 VDC Fig-5, Quad-1, Q20, 2N3904,
50-ohm 1.1 AC RMS section C2 base, pin 1
dummy load,
no
modulation
“ 18 Q20-2 1.6 VDC “ Quad-1, Q20, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
“ 19 Q20-3 7.5 VDC “ Quad-1, Q20, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 17 Q22-1 6.7 VDC “ Quad-1, Q22, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
“ 18 Q22-2 6.1 VDC “ Quad-1, Q22, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
“ 19 Q22-3 11.4 VDC “ Quad-1, Q22, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 17 Q40-1 2.2 VDC Fig-5, Quad-1, Q40, 2N3904,
section C4 base, pin 1
“ 18 Q40-2 1.6 VDC “ Quad-1, Q40, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
“ 19 Q40-3 7.3 VDC “ Quad-1, Q40, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 17 Q42-1 6.7 VDC “ Quad-1, Q42, 2N3904,
base, pin 1
“ 18 Q42-2 5.9 VDC “ Quad-1, Q42, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
“ 19 Q42-3 11.3 VDC “ Quad-1, Q42, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 20 Q6-1 2.0 VDC Fig-5, Quad-2, Q6, 2N3904, base,
section D5 pin 1
“ 21 Q6-2 1.3 VDC “ Quad-2, Q6, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
“ 22 Q6-3 9.8 VDC “ Quad-2, Q6, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 23 Q90-1 3.3 VDC “ Quad-4, Q90, 2N3904,
2.7 AC RMS base, pin 1
11.5 AC dBm
“ 24 Q90-2 3.0 VDC “ Quad-4, Q90, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 2
“ 25 Q90-3 11.3 VDC “ Quad-4, Q90, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3

Table 3: Tx Quiescent Test Points, Group 1


14

State TP# ID Value Units Ref Notes


TX, PTT 26 Q911-1 0.22 VDC Fig-5, Quad-4, Q911, 2N3904,
50-ohm section F1 emitter, pin 1
dummy load,
no
modulation
“ 27 Q911-2 0.75 VDC “ Quad-4, Q911, 2N3904,
base, pin 2
“ 28 Q911-3 10.9 VDC “ Quad-4, Q911, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 29 Q912-1 0.22 VDC “ Quad-4, Q912, 2N3904,
emitter, pin 1
“ 30 Q912-2 0.75 VDC “ Quad-4, Q912, 2N3904,
base, pin 2
“ 31 Q912-3 10.9 VDC “ Quad-4, Q912, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3
“ 32 Q92-1 0.22 VDC Fig-5, Q92, 1/4 PA driver,
section F2 2N3904, emmiter, pin 1
“ 33 Q92-2 0.84 VDC “ Q92, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, base, pin 2
“ 34 Q92-3 10.9 VDC “ Q92, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, collector, pin 3
“ 35 Q93-1 0.22 VDC “ Q93, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, emmiter, pin 1
“ 36 Q93-2 0.84 VDC “ Q93, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, base, pin 2
“ 37 Q93-3 10.9 VDC “ Q93, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, collector, pin 3
“ 38 Q96-1 0.22 VDC “ Q96, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, emmiter, pin 1
“ 39 Q96-2 0.88 VDC “ Q96, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, base, pin 2
“ 40 Q96-3 10.9 VDC “ Q96, 1/4 PA driver,
2N3904, collector, pin 3
“ 41 Q97-1 0.22 VDC “ Q97, 1/4 PA driver, 2N3904,
emmiter, pin 1
“ 42 Q97-2 0.84 VDC “ Q97, 1/4 PA driver, 2N3904,
base, pin 2
“ 43 Q97-3 10.9 VDC “ Q97, 1/4 PA driver, 2N3904,
collector, pin 3

Table 4: Tx Quiescent Testpoints, Group 2


15

State TP# ID Value Units Ref Notes


TX, PTT 44 Q94-1 3.1 VDC Fig-5, Q94, IRF510, 1/2 PA final,
50-ohm section F3 gate, pin 1
dummy load,
no
modulation
45 Q94-2 11.3 VDC “ Q94, IRF510, 1/2 PA final,
drain, pin 2
46 Q94-3 0 VDC “ Q94, IRF510, 1/2 PA final,
source, pin 3
47 Q95-1 3.3 VDC “ Q95, IRF510, 1/2 PA final,
gate, pin 1
48 Q95-2 11.3 VDC “ Q95, IRF510, 1/2 PA final,
drain, pin 2
49 Q95-3 0 VDC “ Q95, IRF510, 1/2 PA final,
source, pin 3
50 U2-1 4.2 VDC “ LM78L05ACZ bias
regulator, out, pin 1
51 U2-2 0 VDC “ LM78L05ACZ bias
regulator, gnd, pin 2
52 U2-3 10.9 VDC “ LM78L05ACZ bias
regulator, in, pin 3

Table 5: Tx Quiescent Testpoints, Group 3


Figures

The Raduino and primary uBITX schematic are reproduced here for convienience.
A pdf of the original uBITX schematic may be found here:
http://www.hfsignals.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ubitxv3.pdf

16
17

Figure 1: U3, 5v Regulator on Raduino


Figure 2: Raduino Schematic
18
19

Figure 3: uBITX Schematic


20

Figure 4: P3-8, 12 Mhz Osc, Raduino board, SI5351A, U2-CLK0


21

Figure 5: Pathways: Rx (green), Tx (pink), RF-out (magenta), Control (yellow), Shared (cyan)
22

Figure 6: Quad-1, Rx Transistors


23

Figure 7: Q70, UTC2822 Audio Amp


24

Figure 8: TDA2822 Pin Reference


25

Figure 9: 2N3904 SOT-23 pinout


26

Figure 10: PA Finals, torroid markup


27

Figure 11: LM78L05, 5v Reg, SOT-93 pinout


end-of-text

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