Rig Control by VK4HAT

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.

 

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WPX and 3 Endorsements

WPX Award Confirmations

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.

WPX Endorcements

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.

LOTW Fees

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.

LOTW Horses Arse Award

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

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Volt and Ammeter

Volt and Ammeter

So i discovered something last week or so ago while building power amplifiers. Its a total pain the the butt to be pulling everything apart to wire in the DMM to measure current when setting the bias for fet devices. Also that the meters in my Chinese power supplies are just about useless for anything less than an amp.

So with that in mind, i grabbed out a couple of analog panel meters that I have had sitting here for just about for forever, drew up some artwork in my favorite 2d design package and then went out into the garage to cut and bend some sheet aluminum into something that resembles a case.

Yeah the case is not my best work, but its perfectly serviceable and does the job that its meant to do. IE it houses and protects the meters. So now i can plug this into the power supply, plug the device under test into this and monitor both current and voltage while keeping my DMM free to be used for other jobs.

Yeah I know that you can use 2DMM and achieve the same result, but why spend a lot on an expensive DMM that is going to sit doing nothing most of the time, when for about $10 you can make a bit of test gear that will be good enough.

73, Rob.

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Change Is As Good As A Holiday

Its been a while since i have shaken things up around here. Over the last few days I have been migrating to a new server. Actually, rather than being on a VPS i am now on a dedicated server. Its an older server, but the price is great and the specs are perfectly adequate for what I am doing and the outbound data allowance is huge.

So having managed that migration rather smoothly, I have changed my URL to something that better reflects what is going on here and I have also gotten signed digital certificate and am going SSL. So other than a couple of hard coded links, most things here should work by using HTTPS.

So with that change in the air, i am going to go through the old posts and delete things that never worked or were just plain stupid as well as probably add or change some of the content I keep on here. Deletions won’t be wholesale, but there is enough junk on here to warrant a little bit of a clean out. And after i go through the images as well, i might get my backup file to something a little more convenient than the 5gigs its getting close to.

So my first post here was on September 16, 2015 and in that 3 and 1/2 years I have gone through 3 hosting providers. I have also learned a lot. Looking back on some of my old projects the boards i am making now look almost professional compared to the agricultural things I started out making. I also much prefer blogging over making youtube videos also. I do not do any of this to make money. I do it for fun and relaxation only.

I have been thinking for a while to start making more static content for the website. Mostly i make blog posts and they eventually slip off the front page and become history. Well, i can also make static pages within wordpress and I have some ideas of things that i would like to write about. I have some things here that are part written pieces that I was going to submit to another site that i might end up cleaning up and posting here. We will see how that goes.

For now, the cleanup starts. The old URL robs-blog.net will redirect to here and then, I will start looking at content and a serious look at some projects. I think i have the skill, ability and knowledge to actually pull off some good work, both in the design and building of a project as well as writing content that might be enjoyable to read and be useful.

73. Rob.

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