Another new one for me. Hows the saying go, they always come in 3’s. Well this one must be the 3rd, though i hope to prove the saying wrong and work more 🙂
Slowly integrating all these bits together in software and currently all the relays are clicking in sequence when I change bands on the control board. If you look closely on the upper right, you will see an updated version of the Band Pass Filter board that uses different inductors and filter topology. I need to populate and test one filter to ensure its right and then build the entire board.
Something that I did not notice was that when I changed Ecad software my mounting hole pattern has changed slightly, so neither of the old filter board designs will stack with the other boards. So i have to redo the low pass filter board and I am going to redo the rf frond end board as well and move things around to make it a little more usable and to make sure the 3.3v regulator has a heatsink on it. With bugger all current running though it, it still gets burn your finger hot and that is not right. I am starting to wonder if these ebay parts are actually dodgy or something.
So i am on the 4th iteration of this board and I have just about got it right. Kind of sad that its taken me so many goes to get this right, but what can i say. LOL. There is still one bodge wire on the backside of the board because I somehow left off a trace joining one row of push buttons off the 5v line. I am also not sure about the 5V regulator, its running very hot and it should not because its should only have about 300ma running thought it and there is no short to ground anywhere i can find, to explain it running so hot. By hot im guessing its hitting over 60 Deg C as its painful to touch.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. I have gotten back into coding things up and am making inroads. It mostly works now. Pressing the mode button will cycle through LSB, USB and CW. The band button will cycle through 80, 40, 20 and 15m the 4 bands that this radio will support, selecting the appropriate filter banks for both Low Pass and Band Pass filter boards as well as change the IF filter to a narrow CW filter in that mode.
The logger button will put it into logging mode, which along with a keyboard will make log entries and save them to SD Card in ADIF format. The logger is loosely based on my old arduino logger code which can be found in the menu bar above. Though, the code that is going into this is much more refined and polished and fixes most of the clunkyness that was in the earlier versions. I am a much improved programmer now than i was a few years ago when i wrote that code.
The VFO button will exit the logger and put the radio back into VFO mode. I still need to add in a couple more push buttons, one to change the Attenuation setting and the final one to allow changing the TX RX offset. At the moment it is hard coded for a 600hz offset for CW operation, but, i am going to make that variable for real split operation in SSB as well.
Anyway, that is where I am at with this at the moment. When i get things closer to being done, I will probably make a video of all the functions in action to put on youtube. But that is likely to be a couple of weeks away yet. Lots of work to be done in the mean time.
Its taken me 4 and 1/2 years to qualify for Worked All Prefixes. Mostly this has been achieved using low power. I wouldn’t even call it mostly QRP. Maybe 50% at most. However its all been done with low power. And by low power, im talking less than 50 watts.
For 4 years i was license restricted to 10w SSB and CW and made over 1/2 the contacts. But since upgrading and getting FT8 and other digital modes, mostly I have been running between 20 and 30w.
FT8 has been a game changer for me. I have really upped the contact rate. Like close to 1000 contacts in 6 months and that is not being very active on the bands.
So along with the main WPX award, I qualify for 3 endorsements. WPX Digital Asia, well given that I have been operating almost exclusively on FT8 that one is no surprise. The other 2 are also low hanging fruit , Asia and Oceania. If you cant work everyone in your region there is really something wrong no? LOL.
The only disappointment here is that LOTW wants $50 Usd to process the award. Add in the 3 endorsements and cost will be $100 Usd. Converting to local currency that is $150. That is an extraordinary amount of money to have an award processed. Obviously I am not going to pay that. You would have to be mental in the head to spend that kind of money to have someone rubber stamp your participation award, so that the award manager can rubber stamp your award.
Applying for the award is $12 + postage Usd. Not bad, and reasonable. But, if i wanted the endorsements then that is 4 time $12 + postage. Say about $100 Australian. So in total, I could spend $250 or 1/4 the average weekly wage to get a participation certificate and 3 add on stickers
And they say ham radio is not a rich white mans folly. I mean, come on, that is an extraordinary amount of money for a piece of paper that only has some meaning to me that I have passed some arbitrary number of contacts. Horses arse comes to mind for wasting that much money on a piece of paper.
In a follow up to this, you actually do not have to apply for the award and get extorted by LOTW. You can fill out a spreadsheet and apply directly to CQ Mag and bypass the middle man. Now they might ask you to confirm some certain contacts just to be sure to be sure, but then you are only paying LOTW for a couple of confirmations and thats gotta be better than spending a small fortune on nothing.
So I will probably fill out the spreadsheet and apply for the main award. Being a paper chaser that i am. HEHE