The Sienna Finally gets on the air.
This has taken longer than it should have, but it is not a reflection on the quality of the kit or the support from the manufacturer. In all I have only spent about 40 hours on actual construction, but my busy life has forced me to set the transceiver aside at times while I tend to other things.
So in this segment, I get the transmitter built and do a slight detour to build the full front panel that I ordered from DZKIT. It has always been my intention to get the front panel and the embeded PC. I want to use it at this years field day and we bought a camper last year and I intend to take it camping with me. The all in one aspect makes it a perfect option for that use. So I ordered the front panel and the embed PC. In this segment I will go over the Tx build and the Front Panel Build. Then we finally get it on the air.
The build for the Tx was pretty straight forward as you will see from the pictures.
As you can see there are a lot of toroids to wind on this board. After doing the winding on the other boards, this went pretty well. Construction took about 4 hours and was relatively painless.
Then I ran into a snag. I put the Tx into the alignment mode position in the chassis.
Then proceeded to attempt to align it. No power output.
After a few days of back and forth with Brian of DZKit, still nothing. I knew it was something stupid, but just couldn't figure it out. Finally we found out that one side of R68, a SMD resister did not get soldered. Viola, we had life, I need better glasses! Only 10W at this point, but it was working.
In the meantime I ordered the Front Panel, so on to building that.
The Front Panel uses the original controller board, you just remove it from the blank front panel. Build the front panel board and mount it and the controller board to a new front sheet metal and back into the chassis.
The hardest part of this was deciding between the original colors of the Sienna or the new Grey/Black colors. In the end I opted for the Grey/Black colors, since they would match the colors of the console equipment that I will be installing along with the Sienna. More on that later.
Here you see the Front of the Front Panel after the switches and other parts are installed. Pretty straight forward. A lot of switches to solder in, but it all went well.
Here you can see the back of the Front Panel. The main feature you can see are the connectors. You need to take your time to make sure they are straight. Not too difficult, you just need to take your time.
Here you can see the Front Panel installed on the new Front Panel Sheet Metal. Note the meters and the Rotary Pulse Generators.
Next we install the original controller to the Front Panel. You have to change two jumpers to tell the controller that the Front Panel is installed. Then you line up the connectors on the Front Panel with the Controller and press gently on the controller board. Went without any problems.
Here you can see the Front Panel completed without the knobs. It looks good. and the feel of the RPG's are great.
Here you can see the Front Panel Installed in the chassis with the knobs on.
Finally, here you can see the Sienna working.
So I have it on the air using 10W. The Rx is really hot. I would say it out performs my IC-746Pro. With 10W, I have mainly been using PSK with a $4.00 USB Sound card I got off of ebay. In the last 7 days I have made more than 20 contacts, all the way into Canada and Southern California. I only have a 100' Windom, so I am looking forward to getting a loop up.
The menu is really easy to use. I like it better than my IC-746Pro, and the Icom is really a great radio.
So now I am waiting for the 100W amp and the Embeded PC. As soon as I get those installed I will do a final build post on it, but in the meantime, if you see or hear KBØASQ on the air, give me a shout to see how the Sienna performs. It's fun working stations on a rig that you put together yourself.
I would highly recommend this kit to anyone. Anyone with basic soldering skills can put this together, and with the excellent tech support, you can't go wrong. If I can do it, so can you.
About the Tech support. I have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years now and I have to do Tech support and rely on it daily. If I had the support that DZKit provides in the computer industry, I would have more hair left and lower blood pressure. Enough said.
I have posted a video of the Sienna receiving on my blog at KBØASQ
and we did a presentation for ARAN that you can find at http://w0wwv.org/index.php/topic,273.0.html