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 Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder

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Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 Ham M7VIC
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PostSubject: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeMon May 17, 2021 10:40 pm

Hiya all,

Hope you're all keeping well.


Back to some more antics building stuff.

Some of you may recall I went mad, (yeah, I know, already 'mad' Wink), and bought myself a late 1970's 2m radio just because I liked the look of it.

https://charlietangodxgroup.forumotion.com/t3042-radio-headaches-and-tales-of-an-old-yaesu-ft-227r

She was all working, (how lucky was that?!), but needed dragging into current times as the old 1750KHz burst tone is a bit outdated and no longer able to access repeaters. Enter modern day CTCSS, (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_Tone-Coded_Squelch_System

A quick scout around the web and there are plenty of sellers of these little devices of various design as well as prices to retrofit to older radios.

I only wanted a 77Hz tone to access my local repeater GB3PI so rather than simply buy one.....I thought I'd build one! Smile

You could do the same as other designs, choose a microcontroller, hookup a programmer, learn to program a microcontroller, find out you're useless at it and search the internet for help only to be left disappointed.....
.....I thought I'd go old school and build an analogue design.

The original Yaesu unit for this radio utilised a Tone encoder/decoder 'chip' the old NE567, another ubiquitous chip designed by Hans Camenzind famous for his LM555 timer design.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Camenzind

This integrated circuit only produces a square and triangle wave output so needs a low pass filter to 'shape' the output to a sine wave. This being important so that there are no harmonics on your sub-audiable tone signal. (You'll get annoying tones or droning sounds on your transmitted audio otherwise - some designs on the web don't filter!! Be warned.)
A simple LPF or Low Pass Filter will suffice, so I chose a 'Butterworth' design being familiar with it.

I chose the equally old and in/famous LM741 despite having some modern day op-amps just to keep that old school vibe going. Wink


Feverish with excitement I set about collecting the parts I needed and dug out my old breadboard.....

Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Ctcss_10


Doesn't look as impressive as it seems but I discovered much to my annoyance that I have not aged gracefully!
My once dextrous hands are reduced to being as 'nimble' as bear-paws! My eyesight isn't doing much better either and I had to dig out my +3 dioptre reading glasses just to read the part values!!

I used my old faithful 1971 all valve Telequipment oscilloscope to check I got a sine wave. The 'jitter' on this old thing meant I wasn't able to get an accurate frequency measurement so resorted to clever use of transmitting through a dummy load on a simplex channel whilst listening on a Baofeng set to 77Hz CTCSS. Twiddled the frequency pot to the LM567 until the squelch broke open on the Baofeng and jobs-a-good'un. Smile

Tested in on the GB3PI repeater, lovely chat with a helpful Ham who gave me an audio report and this breadboarded monstrosity proved it does indeed work.

Time to make it into a 'proper' board so that I can squeeze it into the radio.....
(The breadboard won't fit and I'd like to use it again for something else. Very Happy)


This was where my ageing hands and eyesight became an issue again. A board like this would've taken me mere moments to build as a younger man but took me the best part of the day! After much swearing, mistakes made, dropping parts never to be found again I finally got there.....

Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Ctcss_12


None too shabby for an old blind git!

It's not exactly tiny but small enough to squeeze into the FT-227 where the original encoder would have sat.

BTW, this is not 'veroboard', that copper tracked stuff that will have you hunting around for ages for little slivers of solder shorting between tracks! Nope, this is good old plain perforated board, holes and nothing else. Means you can stick the components exactly where you want or need them and wire them together appropriately underneath point to point. (Great construction method if you later wish to produce a PCB - rather than relying on software to do it for you. Wink)


Now is this old fashioned tech going to be good enough?
Will it wander around the 77Hz meaning you can't reliably open a repeater?

The capacitor I used on the 567 is an MKT or Polyethylene terephthalate film capacitor which is very stable with tight tolerances.
The resistor chosen was a metal film 1% type again for the tolerance and stability.


So how good is it?

Well after subjecting the circuit board to a trip in the deep-freeze compartment of the home refrigerator, (shhh...don't tell the wife!), getting it down to about -10'C it sat firmly at 77Hz. Lovely. So I also subjected it to the heat of a hair dryer, (again...don't tell the wife!!), getting it to a heady 50'C and once again it sat at a steady 77Hz.

My radio room doesn't get to either of those temperature extremes, (thank God!), so it should all be more than OK.
(I was actually impressed it stayed that stable....I'm not even that stable! Very Happy)

So onto wiring it into the old radio....

Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Ctcss_13

Loads of room!

...and yes, I did burn the tip of one finger soldering those wires into there. Only takes the slightest touch of a 400'C iron to make you sound like a wild cat! Cor did I spit!


Anyway, all done and best of all.......I didn't half have fun building it! Smile


The cost? Mere pennies as I had most of the parts laying around in my old component drawers.

The reward? I get to use this old girl in earnest chatting to a couple of my friends calling them on the repeater and even jumping to one of the old simplex channels to chat direct. I may even get to chat to people new on the old GB3PI repeater.


Old radio, old tech from old components, the UK's oldest repeater, chatting to old friends.......

.....being used by an old git operator.

Couldn't ask for more.



Anyway, more of my 'waffle'. I enjoyed writing this up and I hope some of you enjoy reading it.


Take care and all the best,
Victor

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Equipment Used : Optima, Superstar 360fm, Stalker 9fdx, President Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeMon May 17, 2021 11:59 pm

Nice work, Victor.👍😎

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Equipment Used : Squawk Boxes & Wires - Both Annoy the other half :)

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeTue May 18, 2021 7:43 am

Nice one Voctor,

Auld age doesn't come along itself with your eyesight failing, dexterity out the window and your swear box filling up on the side of the workbench.  Razz
 
Great to see you're enjoying your new (old) radio and your old grey matter is still ticking along nicely.
 
Just goes to show, a little ingenuity goes a long way.

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Equipment Used : Various

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeTue May 18, 2021 9:44 am

Hi John,

Cheers mate, much appreciated. Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder 1f44d 


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Graeme,

Hope you're well, haven't heard from you in a little while.

Yep, grey matter seems to be still working even if the fingers and eyes aren't obliging. Very Happy
If I had a swear box it'd be full of I.O.U.'s!

It was worth the burnt finger and I'm really enjoying using this old radio. Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder 1f44d 



Much appreciated.

All the best,
Victor

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Hotel Zulu 253
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Posts : 86
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Join date : 2021-04-25
QTH or Location : South Australia
Equipment Used : Galaxy 959, GE 3-5826A, 1/2 wave Station Master

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeTue May 18, 2021 12:24 pm

Very impressive, what a great project.
Well done Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeTue May 18, 2021 4:49 pm

Hi Andrew,

Cheers mate, much appreciated. Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder 1f44d 


Not that impressive when you consider I used to be an electronics engineer, but that was as a younger man when my eyes and fingers still worked! Very Happy

The best thing is that it works and I had great fun building it. Couldn't ask for more.

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QTH or Location : Coldwater, Ontario
Equipment Used : ICOM at the moment
Age : 65

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeTue May 25, 2021 8:58 pm

Fantastic Victor, well done!  In the true spirit of a Ham....  I need it, dint wanna pay for it, I will make it!
Hats off to you sir!

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 1:08 am

Great job, Victor! Projects like this are one of my favorite parts of playing radio.

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 6:51 am

Hi Jeff,

How are you buddy, keeping well I hope.

Thanks very much, it is appreciated. I did have a lot old fun rummaging through my old components piecing this together. A good test for the old grey-matter as well as testing the limits of my now less than dexterous fingers and failing eyesight. Very Happy
I agree with your sentiments, there was a time when many a Ham would rummage through spares concocting a solution to a particular problem. Off the shelf solutions maybe handy, but I don't believe anywhere near the same fun that can be had.

Cheers again. Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder 1f44d 


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Tracy,

Hope you are keeping well too there in the States.

Thanks to you also, much appreciated. I agree, I get a thrill from such endeavours and radio is the perfect choice for many a project whether it be wiring up an antenna or going the whole hog and repairing/restoring a transceiver. A lot of fun and self reward can be had.
Thanks again to you with regards the pointer on the 220MHz version of the radio I fitted this in, it was a lot of help and gained me much more information. 


All the best.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Really appreciate all the comments on my little foray. Made me enjoy it all a little more. Smile

I have recently acquired another radio kindly donated to me since this and looking forward to getting it back to working order. She will also need some enhancements for which I have some other ideas to achieve this.

As they say .......watch this space.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeThu May 27, 2021 12:09 pm

What a neat job, the little board fits just nicely too, the tinkering really is one of my favourite aspects of the hobby, when you get eventually get it to work another.

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeThu May 27, 2021 6:55 pm

Great job done Victor i can just about solder a pl259 to much shake on the hand, but my good wife can solder been teaching
how to solder pl259 and joining of wire she is great,

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PostSubject: Re: Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder   Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder Icon_minitimeFri May 28, 2021 5:13 am

Hi Alan,

Hope you're keeping well mate. 

Yep, board squeezed in nicely despite my ageing eyesight. Very Happy

Was fun to make and keeps an old radio in use like they should do. Part of the reason for getting my ticket was so that I could play around with things like this and was pleased that my first contact using it was with a Ham with whom I'd never spoken. Just made it all that much better!  Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder 1f44d 

Much appreciated.

All the best.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Stephen,

Much appreciated, thanks.  Homebrew CTCSS Tone Encoder 1f44d 

Well done teaching your wife how to solder. My wife loves the radio malarkey but won't touch a soldering iron, however my eight year old granddaughter was thrilled when she soldered for the first time! Very Happy
(She was amazed to learn about soldering and how everything electronic is connected and held together in such a way.)

Thanks again.

All the best.



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A big thank you to everyone again, it's been great to hear from you all.

It's doesn't matter if it's a full blown electronics project, terminating your own coax or even stringing up a homemade antenna, little projects really can make radio just that little bit more special. Smile


My very best to all,
Victor
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