Im Shutting Down

I will be closing my blog down for sometime. I am soon to be without an income, or a very reduced income for quite sometime, so I am taking this opportunity to make backups of my blog and to hand the server back. I have to do everything I can now to survive and this is certainly a non essential item.

The server will remain up until payment is due and then I will turn it off. I may bring it back up from home off my broadband service, but that would be a rather slow option. Things are what they are, and we all have to do the best we can right now.

Good luck everyone and Gods speed. What i will probably do once i have some normality and get back into homebrewing is do my videos, youtube costs nothing.



Pro Crastination

Pro as in very high skill level of doing nothing but looking busy. HAHA, Well i really should be building the hand held, I have the boards here and its just a matter of assembly and giving them a go. But, for some unknown reason I was digging in my box of arduino crap and came across these 2 modules. The first is an Analog Devices SSM2167 variable compressor and noise gate, the second is Maxim Integrated MAX9814 which is an AGC mic amplifier.

And this got me thinking because after the hand held build the very next thing will be a superhet receiver which will start life as a receiver to mate with the CW transmitter and later will become a ssb transceiver. Part of that build will be a single unified front end board, that has on it a micro controller, in this case its going to be an ESP32, a bunch of peripherals, like keyboard interface, SD Card slot, real time clock, SI5351 PLL Synth, a few push buttons for various radio functions, a couple of LCD screens, rotary encoder etc.

Also on the board will be the entire audio chain, which, when i designed it originally contained an pre amp with agc, select-able ssb or cw active filters and an LM386 AF amplifier because i was not thinking ahead of myself. I have a better AF amp ic that i can be using and it has a shutdown pin, so i can send logic level from the micro and mute the AF amp on transmit. And now, i have these 2 modules.

I can now see using 2 sets of these in an SSB transceiver build. First in the receiver, audio coming out of the product detector is routed into the compressor and noise gate, then into the agc before it is sent off to the audio filters and then to the AF amp. Seeing that I would have quite a bit of gain just in these 2 modules, I would not need to lots of gain from an LM386 and I could then use a much better sounding and higher wattage audio amp.

And then on the transmit side, have the exact same thing, compression, noise limiting and agc on the mic. Lets be honest here, how many home brew transceivers actually incorporate such luxuries as these. Each of these modules is around $5 aud off ebay, the Analog Devices IC i can buy for a couple of bucks and the passives I have, its a TSSOP package and something i can solder, so it is something i can integrate without mounting the module. The Mic AGC is a leadless package and not something i can really deal with at home, well i could, but i really do not want to. So that module will have to be mounted to the board.

People have been saying that 2020 is going to be a very interesting year for home brew, and from the way things look to me, it looks true. From the QSX probably making an appearance to novel items like AGC, compression and noise gates being incorporated, to other unique SDR based receivers like this one over on Circuit Salad things are already looking rather interesting indeed.


2020’s First Task

I have been slowly collecting SMD parts, most of the bigger stuff is just as easy to use as through hole, so making the change has not been such an issue as i thought it might. But, the problem comes, how to sort and store them. Well there is a solution, the uSleeve by EEVblog. Dave Jones has these really high quality parts sleeves on his webstore. They are kind of expensive for plastic sleeves, but, they anti static and come in A4 sizes, one with 10 pockets and one with 7 pockets. You get 10 of each for $25 Aud shipped. So I am in the process of moving parts out shoe boxes and into A4 ring binders.


First Contact

No this is not a sad story about when the Australian Aboriginals first met white people and had their lands taken from them, this is the beginning of the story of 2020 and the first contact I made, hopefully the first contact of many. Nothing exotic here about VK2 but it is the first contact in the log for 2020 and the beginning of a new decade in amateur radio for me. Onward and upwards.


Merry Christmas 2019

Its been a long year, I have not achieved half as much as I would have wanted to, but that is how things go. I do hope to get some bench time next week and move a few projects along that have been sitting waiting for attention for months. Things are winding down at work, so I should have some time next week. Anyway, if I do not post again before hand, have a very merry christmas and a happy new year. Bring on the new decade.


SETI at Home

So what seems today like 500 years ago I got involved in the Seti At Home Project. Actually i got involved not long after it first started with my initial sign up date being the year 2000. Horay for the stats they keep. Anyway, while chatting with some friends, I was reminded about Seti and that it has been a long time since I had even thought about it. So i downloaded the client and fired it up and have let it run in the background of my computer ever since.

I have always been a bit of an astronomy fan boy, particularly radio astronomy and being a radio fanboy and homebrewer of sorts, Seti is a pretty good fit. Its funny, back in 2000 I think i was running a 486 and it took a day to process a data block, now with a fancy GPU in my office computer I am processing a data block every hour. Havent computers gotten faster.

And its not just aliens you can give up your computer processing time to. The science united project that also uses the Boinc client has plenty of other scientific projects that could use the help of distributed computing methods to crunch the data. So if you got a buzz for science check them out and give them a go.