For as long as I’ve been involved in amateur radio I’ve wanted to get into Amateur Television (ATV).  I just never seemed to have the money to get started.

Now that DTV has made NTSC Television more or less obsolete, there is starting to be some surplus equipment available.  I suspect that more and more NTSC equipment will be hitting dumpsters as the year progresses.  So far I’ve been able to secure a few items to get me started.

Exciter- I picked up a couple of frequency agile UHF modulators.  They output about 15mW of RF.

I also have a couple of amplifiers designed to take about 10mW of television RF and amplify it up to a couple of watts.  From there it feeds yet another amplifier, and finally, a driver section out of an old low power transmitter that should make 50W or so.  Ideally I’d like to make at least a few hundred watts.

Ultimately I plan to make this into some sort of ATV repeater, obviously the output will be in the 432MHz band.  The input will likely be 900MHz and possibly 2.4GHz as well.  I don’t yet have receivers for either.  Yet.  But I have my eye on some that are pretty reasonably priced.

Whenever I mention this crazy scheme to anyone I get the inevitable question:  “what are you going to transmit”?  The answer to that is, “I don’t know”.  Anything.  Everything.  It seems like it could be a very valuable tool for emergency communications.  We could send back live video from the scene of a disaster, and rebroadcast it so that any agency in the county would be able to see it.  Or it could transmit live weather radar during storm spotting events.

So far I’ve only gotten far enough with this project to determine that I need to get different firmware in the modulators to allow them to transmit in the ham band.  Once I get past that hurdle I can hopefully make some progress on my new journey into ATV.

Filed Under: ATV

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