A Tiny Python Panadapter

My ultimate ambition in life is to build an Elecraft KX3. That comes as an extension of starting out in SDR radio with my SoftRock Ensemble plus having seen Elecraft K2’s I just love the quality of the products. The portability of a KX3 over a K2 makes field ops a real option (I know you K2 purists will be tutting in despair), so when I’ve saved my hard earned, that’ll be the number one project.

In the meantime, I keep a constant eye on the literature and when Radcom dropped through the door the other day I was taken with the article about building a homebrew panadapter for using, primarily with a KX3, rather than laying out serious money for Elecraft’s PX3 which does the same job.

Now the article made interesting reading and was based around Arduino modules. The motivation for the author was the original ‘Tiny Python Panadapter’ by AA6E – http://www.aa6e.net/wiki/Tiny_Python_Panadapter. So, suitably inspired I hit Google in a big way and started reading.

The original QST article can be found here – http://www.arrl.org/files/file/QST/This%20Month%20in%20QST/April%202014/Ewing.pdf

The Sourceforge project page is here – http://sourceforge.net/projects/tinypythonpanadapter/

Despite the Radcom article’s reservations about using a Raspberry Pi to run the project I decided to head down that route, primarily because already owning a Pi or two made better financial sense rather than buying loads of kit, plus there is a brilliantly documented guide written by Josh Murray (M0JMO) – http://www.tigerstyle.co.uk/blog/M0JMO-Tiny_Python_Panadapter-Raspberry_Pi_Setup_Guide-v1_2.pdf that makes things easier.

So suitably armed with a few bits and pieces, the objective is to build this –


I make no apologies for nicking the photo off the internet, it’s much better than anything I could take, plus at the minute I’m yet to build it!

Why are you building it I here you ask? Well, firstly it’s a really cool device and secondly with an existing SDR up and running, plus the potential to be able to use it with an RTL-SDR dongle makes it an interesting little side project. Thirdly, I can do this one indoors sat at a computer, rather than slaving over a soldering iron in the garage for hours on end. Fourthly, if it goes wrong I’ve still got a very useful platform with a TFT screen which can be used on other projects!