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Panoramic display unit

PSG-1800 is a panoramic display unit (German: Panorama Sicht-Gerät), sold from the late 1980s by AEG-Telefunken 1 in Ulm (Germany). The device was largely developed by ELCOM in München (Germany) and was intended as an accessory for the E-1800/x and E-1900/x series of receivers.

The device is housed in a 19" 3U rackmountable case that has the same look and feel as the front panel of the E-1800 HF receiver and the E-1900 VHF/UHF receiver. At the left is a crisp and clear Electro-Luminescent (EL) Display 2 on which the monitored part of the spectrum is displayed.

The device takes its input from the 10.7 MHz (or 21.4 MHz) 3 IF output from a high-end receiver and converts it to a panoramic spectrum view with a maximum span of 1 MHz. At the rear are two separate IF inputs, allowing the spectrum from two receivers to be watched simultanously.
PSG-1800 panoramic viewer

The device is largely digital and is under control of an Intel 80186 microprocessor. The input is first processed in a very complex IF Interface and then digitized, using an AD872A A/D converter made by Analog Devices [1]. For a fast and accurate display of the monitored spectrum, with a configurable low-pass filtering (averaging), the device uses the so-called Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) functions of a dedicated TMC2310 FFT processor chip made by TRW (later: Raytheon) [2].

The PSG-1800 has a modular construction and consists of a wide backplane into which a range of industrial (computer) cards are inserted. The image on the right shows the rear side of the device, with some of the cards partly extracted.

At the left is the IF interface that takes care of the analogue processing of the IF signal from the (external) receivers. It is the only card that is not plugged into the backplane, simply because it is too large. It takes the full depth of the case and passes its data straight to the FFT controller. It is supervised by the IF controller unit to its right.
IF interface, Data acquisition card and FFT processor (partly inserted)

The rightmost card that is partly extracted in the image above, is the actual FFT processor which takes care of the hard work of doing the FFT calculations for the spectrum curve, something that — at the time the device was developed — was not possible in software. To the right of the FFT card are interfaces for external storage, the 80186 processor card and the video interface. The latter is built around a TS68483 graphics controller [C]. It drives the EL display at the front panel.

  1. Over the years, Telefunken products were also sold under the AEG, DASA, EADS, TST and Racoms brands.
  2. Also known as a PLASMA display.
  3. Option that had to be specified when ordering.

PSG-1800 panoramic viewer Rear view Frontal view Front pane with EL graphics display Graphics (EL) display EL graphics display IF interface, Data acquisition card and FFT processor (partly inserted) Video graphics card - controller
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PSG-1800 panoramic viewer
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Rear view
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Frontal view
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Front pane with EL graphics display
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Graphics (EL) display
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EL graphics display
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IF interface, Data acquisition card and FFT processor (partly inserted)
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Video graphics card - controller

Controls and connections
Below is an overview of the controls at the front panel of the PSG-1800. At the left is the clear electro-luminescent (EL) display that has a resolution of 320 x 256 pixels, of which 256 x 256 pixels are used for displaying the spectrum view(s). The remaining space is used for displaying the meaning of the function buttons (F1-F5), which varies depending on the current menu level. Two cursors can be displayed for reference purposes, each of which has a set of control buttons.

Controls at the front panel of the PSG-1800

All connections are at the rear of the device. At the right are the power inputs. The device can be powered from the 220V AC mains, or from a 12V DC source. At the left are the inputs for the IF signal from the external receiver(s). If necesssary, the device can be synchronised to a 10 MHz signal from a common reference. This is particularly useful for evidence-gathering in a setup with multiple receivers and PSG-1800 units. When unconnected, the internal 10 MHz oscillator is used.

Connections at the rear side of the PSG-1800

At the center are the CPU and the interface cards. The CPU (UP 1800) features an 80186 CPU and two full RS-232 serial ports (SER 1 and SER 2) for external communication and remote control. To the left of the CPU are two interface cards for connection of external storage (ES 1800). To the right of the CPU is the video graphics card (GR 1800) that supplies the image for the EL display.

Block diagram
Below is the block diagram of the PSG-1800. At the far right is the ISA bus to which al sub-units are connected. It is implemented as a wide backplane with ten 96-pin DIN 41612 sockets. Each socket accepts a eurocard-size (10 x 16 cm) ISA96/AT96 compatible card. In the diagram below, the cards are shown in the same order as in the actual device. At the top is the IF interface that accepts two IF inputs from external receivers. It is supervised by the IF controller card, that consists of two PCBs. The sampled output is delivered directly to the ISA bus via a ribbon cable.

Block diagram of the PSG-1800 panarama viewer

The samples are picked up by the FFT card, which then performs its Fast Fourier Transform calculations on them. The result is then presented on the built-in electro-luminescent display (ELD), using an advanced video graphics card (VIDEO), all under control of the main CPU.

Although the PSG-1800 was marketed and sold as an AEG/Telefunken product, it was in fact largely developed and manufactured by ELCOM GmbH, a small engineering company in München (Germany). For the implementation, ELCOM used a combination of readily available industrial PC components — such as the 80186 processor cards made by the German company ELCODATA — and in-house developed specials, such as the IF interface board and the FFT processor card.

When ELCOM was asked in the mid-1990s by the Dutch Radio Monitoring Service — at the time known as HDTP-RDR — to develop a monitoring receiver for intercepting and locating clandestine transmitters (pirates), ELCOM used many parts from the PSG-1800 as the basis for the design.

The new system became known as PAN-2000 and was built around an existing ICOM IC-R9000 receiver, with a dedicated FFT processor (shown in the image on the right) developed by ELCOM. It is fitted in the same 3U case as the PSG-1800 and has no user controls on its black front panel.
ELCOM FFT unit developed as part of the PAN-2000

The PAN-2000 features a nearly identical IF interface, plus the IF controller, the FFT processor and the video graphics card of the PSG-1800, complemented by additional interfaces for handling the user-interface, the antennas, the attenuator and the external ICOM IC-R9000 receiver. Unlike the PSG-1800, the PAN-2000 is built around a 80386 CPU board and has an additional AMS bus.

 More about the PAN-2000

  1. A/D Converter AD872A, Datasheet
    Analog Devices, Revision A, November 1997.
     Obsolete — Replaced by AD871

  2. TMC2310 FFT Controller, datasheet
    Raytheon, November 1990. Revision D. Retrieved July 2018.

  3. TS68483A Advanced Graphics Controller, datasheet
    SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, September 1993.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 02 September 2018. Last changed: Monday, 03 September 2018 - 13:57 CET.
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