How do you get on 23cm ?!?

I was recently looking at getting some radio gear that would get me up onto the Australian 23cm Amateur Radio Band. My first thoughts was to find some second hand commercial amateur gear, but this was soon dashed when 20 year old radios on eBay were fetching more than A$1000 in less than pristine condition. They are hard to find !

My second thought was of course a transverter. Where I would take one of my 2m or 70cm transceivers and “up-convert” the output onto the 23cm band. This is usually done by a combination of loads, mixers, fixed oscillators and amplifiers that you buy assembled or as a kit. Since I wanted to do both FM and SSB this presented something of a problem as the receive transmit frequency split for Australian 23cm repeaters is +20MHz. This means the radio attached to the transverter IF port has to be capable of wide band receive, which is not very common. So my calculator again suggested after I’d built a transverter, added a dedicated IF radio I’d be somewhere northwards of A$750… sigh that second hand commercial radio looked good again.

One of my local radio club members then introduced me to the Analog devices ADALM-Pluto SDR and the Pluto Charon 23cm module from Minikits here in Adelaide. I was hooked and two new toys were duly ordered and shipped. The cost of both the ADALM Pluto and Charon 23cm module was less than A$450 delivered but I did have to do a little shopping around to get the Pluto at a good price.

I then started researching what exactly you can do with one of these little devices and what exactly I’d just bought. I’m simply amazed at what Analog Devices have stuffed into this little box, better yet I’d received one of the Rev D platforms which has all the bells and whistles. As I discover things about the Pluto, I’m sure to blog them here soon.

I was again pleased to find the ADALM-Pluto was already supported by SDR-Console written by Simon Brown G4ELI. I’ve used SDR Console for many years in all of my HF contesting stations to display waterfall information. Using it for transmit was going to be a new experience.

Now to wait for that postman !