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 Post subject: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Wed 15, 2021 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 19, 2015 1:49 pm
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What would be a good frequency counter to use on my home brews? Sometimes you wait forever for a station ID. It would also be handy for ham radio signals


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Wed 15, 2021 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4950
Location: Texas
There's some really inexpensive frequency counters on eBay and Amazon that I have heard work really well.

That being said, if your primary use is with a receiver to decode what frequency is being received, there may be some more work involved.

I have heard that some regenerative radio enthusiasts can read the frequency with a counter by throwing the regenerative radio into oscillation. It would not as be as direct a process with a superhet. Years ago Radio Electronics or Ropular Electronics had a project which would give a digital readout to any superhet. It was too complicated for me then and may still be.

My brute force workaround for this is to have my trusty digital readout radio next to the analog radio that I'm listening to. I tune it to the same signal and just read the frequency on the digital radio.


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Wed 15, 2021 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 786
Location: Dallas, Texas USA
jimbob wrote:
What would be a good frequency counter to use on my home brews? Sometimes you wait forever for a station ID. It would also be handy for ham radio signals


If you are able to pull out an oscillator signal (without degrading reception) you could use one of these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/333979789362

If there's an IF frequency, you can enter that and it'll add / subtract it from your VFO frequency.

Not knowing your specific setup, I don't know if this would suit you.

Mike Yancey, KM5Z
Dallas, Texas


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Wed 15, 2021 10:29 pm 
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If you want to display the actual frequency your receiver is tuned to your frequency counter must have:

1) - A presettable (+/-) offset to add (or substract) the receiver I.F frequency.

2) - High input sensitivity and impedance to be able to lock on the receiver's L.O without loading or disturbing it. (loose coupling is preferred)

Point (2) above is usually the tricky part.


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Wed 15, 2021 11:03 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 5:37 pm
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Location: Montreal, Quebec
I'd argue the first is harder, since there are lots of frequency counters, but only some intended for the purpose, that have the ability to add an offset.

A frequency counter intended for testing won't have offset.


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Thu 16, 2021 1:19 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
What type of homebew receivers do you build - TRF, Regen, Superhet, etc.? The simplest way to ID a station's frequency with a frequency counter is to measure the output of a signal generator whose frequency is set to beat against the station being received.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Thu 16, 2021 3:23 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 19, 2015 1:49 pm
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After all the answers,I think I'll just be patient and wait for station id's ! I thought you just held a probe somewhere strategic and got a reading. Thanks for the info guys.


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 Post subject: Re: Frequency counter
PostPosted: Sep Thu 16, 2021 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2771
Location: Saskatoon
jimbob wrote:
I thought you just held a probe somewhere strategic and got a reading.

Yes. Some frequency counters are sensitive enough to do that. That's what I do with my homebrew superhets. However, as already mentioned, if you're using a regen, then you'll need to increase the regeneration control to make it oscillate. Once you have your frequency reading, you can readjust the regen again for most sensitive operation.


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