I made a post to the 147_120 Projects group on Yahoo encouraging all to check out the mbed.com web site.

It’s been a long time since I posted to this blog, I guess it’s time that I got things going again. Now that we’re planning on restarting the long awaited Tech Parties, it will be good to have some things to post here.

Take a look at mbed.com, join the 147_120 Projects group on Yahoo, and stay tuned for where the new Tech Parties will be held.

I look forward to seeing you there!
Tracy N4LGH

This is going to be a good one. It will focus on the Stellaris and will provide a Stellaris Launchpad along with a Kentec LCD Display.

The $29 cost is a little over half what you would pay for the board and display plus you get hands on training that is invaluable. If you attend, their lunches are ‘Stellar’ ;]

You can get to all of the course material online and register at these links –
Register Here
Workshop Page (Pay attention to the many links! There is a huge amount of info here including 8 hrs of video!)

The training event will be held at the Avnet office at
2501 Discovery Dr #150
Orlando FL 32826

These people do things right! TI and Avnet have put on awsome presentations in the past, I have no doubt this will be one of them!
Tracy N4LGH

Recently I found this toroid in a piece of telco equipment. It was in the ‘junque’ box for parts so I have no clue what the equipment was used for, although the majority of things going in that box are ring generators and various other kinds of power supplies.


It looks like a wound toroid inside a wound toroid with *some* windings common to both. Possibly a current sensing configuration with provisions for power control.

I don’t have a high res photo for you close uppers. Click on the image to get a little bit bigger version.

Does this spark your imagination for a radio project? Regen? I just thought it was cool.

Tracy N4LGH

I love ‘Deadbug’ and ‘Manhattan’ construction. Look ’em up, neat way to build a radio.

Lots of people think Deadbug is for ‘quick down and dirty’ construction, and for many it is. But it also produces circuits with an excellent ground and many times better performance because of it. And frankly, Deadbug and Manhattan projects just Look Cool.

So my friend Corey is getting on Six Meters and broke out his old transverter that converts an all mode two meter rig to an all mode six meter rig. Neat. Way back then I had started a similar project that I never completed; a six meter to two meter transverter. Just the opposite of his because at the time I had a six meter rig but not a two meter rig and he had a two meter rig but not a six meter rig …

I decided to go ahead and complete some of the wiring I had left out and realized this booger got dirty over the years. I cleaned it with flux cleaner (alcohol) and it took most of the dust and surface junk and a bit of the old flux, but the copper is still ‘ugly.’

So now I’m in a quest for a chemical, I guess. I tried a fine ‘brush’ on the flux cleaner but I just can’t get between the parts. It would look awful if I did anyway. What I really want is something I can run over the board to clean it a little better than it is but something that won’t hurt those caps …

Here’s some pictures I took from the bench cam at work. You can click on them for a little closer look. They really don’t do the little booger justice, it just looks cool.













That’s the winning number and it’s worth, believe it or not, $120.00! We took in $240.00 toward the remote receivers in this half and half drawing. The winner has 30 days to contact me and pick up his cash!

Long distance winners can be paid by paypal gift, but will have to send me the ticket for proof. An emailed scan will be fine to get started but I will need the original before the payout will be authorized.

What a great show! I have a lot of pictures, I’ll be posting them later today or this evening.

Thanks for making it a great show!!
Tracy N4LGH

I’m very impressed by Texas Instruments. They’ve been on what I call the ‘Arduinish’ bandwagon for a long time with the ‘Launchpad’ MSP430 starter kit. Now, they’ve added a few more Launchpad kits for other processors such as the Stellaris and Piccolo processors.

But Tech Days was really cool. They had a LOT of good classes, and a mini trade show where many of the TI Partners displayed their wares. Many freebies like USB sticks, back scratchers, coolies and lots of good data sheets and catalogs.

But the best … was a small piece of paper in the TI bag they gave at the entrance. Subtle. It says ‘Tools for 10’ and when you read the fine print … it’s a $500 gift certificate!! WOW!

I’ve ordered a $400 DSP starter kit to learn DSP on. I chose one that had lots of audio features hoping it will help me learn DSP filtering and things like that. I can’t wait!

Still to arrive is the Stellaris Launchpad. There are a LOT of plug ins called ‘Booster Packs’ which are similar to Arduino shields. In fact, some of them are compatible but I don’t understand it well enough yet to explain which ones and why.

SO, keep a watch out for more cool freebies, downloads, classes, and inexpensive toys as I note them here on the blog and of course on the Wednesday Night Tech Net.

Tracy N4LGH

As you can clearly hear, the repeater has been taken down for repairs / mods and whatever it takes to make it sing the happy song we all expect again. Be patient, this is volunteer work! I’ll update here as things progress.

Tracy N4LGH

As told in last nights Tech Net, the repeater is DOWN until the new antenna is installed at the new tower. I’m told there is a possibility for the antenna to be installed today, but remember we are less than secondary in their priorities so be patient. Shortly after the antenna is confirmed installed, the repeater will be put in place and on the air.

Expect some differences in coverages and possibly some glitches until it’s settled in.

I’ll update here as news arrives. Until then, we can use the 147.015 repeater as long as we follow normal repeater protocol. Chill, we’ll be able to play ‘120 style’ when we get back on our own box. For now, just consider yourself a GUEST in someone else’s living room and behave yourself accordingly ;]

Tracy N4LGH

Last night on the net I spoke a little about the Android operating system. It’s gaining a lot of popularity and is hugely supported, and it’s FREE.

We should consider this for a myriad of reasons, I’ll just mention a few that hit me.

1) It’s designed for communication systems. What do we do? ;]
2) It’s open source and accommodates free software and development quite nicely
3) There is a huge support community for writing ‘apps’ on Android
4) There are a number of hardware accessories that are coming on the market to facilitate talking to homebrew hardware or commercial equipment.

Here is a link to the development platform. Again, it’s free, and there is a huge pile of data to sift through
The ‘Get the SDK’ link is at the bottom.

These little devices should be available soon. Some are now.
There are others, these got my attention

Here are some projects people have done with the IOIO

I think an informed conversation on the Android platform would make for a great net. Read a little about it and perhaps even download and install the SDK. Got the Hello World app running on your phone or tablet? Tell us about it! Failure? Lets try to solve it.

I see a great application of Android and homebrew radio with the proliferation of inexpensive Tablet PC’s coming on the market. Also, there are devices like the Mini6410 and other project type embededed devices that are capable of running Android and have LOTS of IO built onto them. Do a little creative searching and see what other similar hardware you can find and what projects may be out there that interest you.

Keep in mind you can still develop for older versions of Android. Why? Lesser capable hardware for one, as well as devices that are not intended to run a display with all the fancy graphics and touch screens.

Perked a little interest? I hope so. If so, bring yourself to the next Tech Net and lets talk Android for Ham Radio!

Tracy N4LGH


We’ve been talking a lot about the various free and inexpensive eval / demo / project boards from the various chip manufacturers but so far we’ve skipped Renesas.

Well, looks like they’ve been in the game a while as well and are offering freebies through their site as well as Avnet Express. Although, AEs spin is a little frustrating as they offer five different free boards, but their promotional code only works once per customer. Oh well, pic one and go ;]

I chose the RX-Stick for the RX MCU. I followed the Getting Started instructions and the install went exactly as they stated. I used the High-Performance Embedded Workshop that came on the included CD (an unusual plus for a freebie) instead of the recommended updated version from their website as it is HUGE and I don’t have much bandwidth at home.

The Getting Started guide quickly steps you through opening an example project, compiling it, writing to the board and executing it. Startup was quite dramatic as nothing other than Windows installing a driver happened when the demo board was plugged into USB (with a provided cable, nice). I’d say that’s a drawback and a plus that the example has to be started from the debugger;

All in all I’d say it’s a very positive out of the box experience for one of these inexpensive demo / dev kits. The Software, ‘HEW’ is quite complex but they give a blank skeleton of an app to start from so you don’t have to learn all that just to start learning. It does look like one could go quite a way with what they have provided.

Take a look at what Renesas is offering –
Renesas Promotions

And Avnet –

Have fun!
Tracy N4LGH

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