Entries tagged with “Homebrew”.


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

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.

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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
http://developer.android.com
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
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10748?
http://www.adafruit.com/products/885

Here are some projects people have done with the IOIO
http://pinterest.com/ytaibt/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

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The Penguin! This was the happiest thing I've seen from and embedded linux project since I started chasing the NGW100. I haven't given up on the NGW, but for just over $100, this kit can't be ignored

I FINALLY HAVE an embedded linux kit working with a touch screen. Mind you, I have not yet installed or set up any of the tools for Linux, Windows or QT development on this board yet, but it looks so far to have a lot of support and CURRENT information!
 
I haven’t done anything but turn it on and click a bunch of icons. One thing I did notice, once a program starts it runs until you stop it, even if you reboot. I still haven’t found how to stop a running process, but I’m sure I’ll find it soon.
 
For instance, there is a nice little program that illustrates the 4 LEDs on the board – one function counts from 0-15 in Binary. Guess what? This little thing is counting it’s ass off all the time, even though I told the app to quit lol. I’m sure there are some inconsistencies on this distro ;]
 
What a nice, COMPLETE kit!!
At first glance this sure looks like a complete kit – as far as the hardware goes anyway! There is every cable you will need, a power supply (wall wart) and even a ‘JTAG’ programmer. I’m sure this JTAG is just for the mini2440, but it’s the only kit I’ve ever seen come with one. This is a necessary tool if you ever hose the ‘bootloader’ in a board like this. Also, if you choose to bypass using an ‘OS’ and just write native code for the processor, you will need this to program it.

A complete hardware solution including the MINI2440 board, a 3.5 inch touch screen, every cable you need, the wall wort supply, and even a JTAG programmer for programming the FLASH.


The CD is packed with example code and supposedly all the tools you need to build Linux, Windows or uCos2. The only drawback I found to programming, and this is only from one post I found on the web, is that it appears you need the full PRO version of Visual Studio, not the ‘Express’ edition. I found it in this post.

Looks like a PDA example to me! For some reason they have a kind of 'background image' behind the apps - note on the title bar those lines aren't there ... at first when I saw this I thought it was the display - but on other pictures, and te video, these lines do not appear.I'd certainly remove these if I recompile.


There is a lot of work already done for any interface you ever want to build. With all the work done on PDA’s and Smart-phones, you will not want for example code for displays whether you use Linux or Windows to develop. Keep in mind my motivation is to be able to control modern day RF chips with this controller – I want to have it be the display, the hardware controller and the audio interface.
 
I was impressed with the manufacturers site although it isn’t really mature, there is good information on it and they’ve gone through the trouble to put up a Forumboard and monitor it. I’ve perused the posts and responses and while there doesn’t seem to be the resident gurus like there are on AVRFreaks forums, a lot of the questions get answered.
 
The company’s Download Section is pretty good; they have datasheets for every part on the board and information on every aspect of the board. Most are links to other locations but are good quality material.

This 'World Clock' is remarkably like a Greyline Propagation Map


My Motivation with this board is to make a modern radio controller. There are already hundreds of apps for amateurs that manipulate audio. key rigs, keep logs, etc, that will be nice toys on a ham radio transceiver. The big rigs put stuff like the world maps, etc. I’ve been staring at this ‘World Clock’ for a while, it remarkably resembles a greyline propagation map!
 
There are 34 ‘GPIO’ lines that can be used to control any line you want, and a serial control line that I don’t yet understand that can address many 2 line serial devices. There’s input for a camera, audio in and out, 6 user buttons and 4 user LED’s. Opie, Android, WinCE, all are ready to control a digital radio!
 
In the coming weeks as I get this thing going I intend to document everything I do – failures and successes. The NGW100 board was a great find, but we let it ‘mature’ and is now difficult to support. PLUS, if you put all the functionality into the ‘NGW that this board has you’ll spend nearly $300 …
 
The only thing I haven’t found on this board that the Mediama add on for the NGW supplies is a LiPo battery charger. I got one from Sparkfun and would love to apply it to this little marvel. Actually, I got the beefy three cell version … Think it will run a transceiver for a bit? ;] It would be very interesting if this charger would be able to interface with the USB on the board? Or something that would interface with the GPIO would be even better.
 
Here are a few more pictures. This sure is a neat toy – I’ll report more this week!

A nice looking little JTAG programmer

The board - you can find many better pictures on the Manufacturers website

We need to recompile this - message says please waiting ?? lol I love Chinglish!


 

 
 

Look at this crew ;]

Burt Nate Homer Roy Jim Dave Vern and John at the last weekly tech party to he held at Verns. Another fun and productive meeting!

The only thing consistent is a constant state of change
What a great tech party. We’ve had a great year!
 
All things must change, and so with the Wednesday Night Tech party. Vern announced that there is a health issue in his family and he is needed at home.
 
We all appreciate the marvelous host that Vern has been since the establishment of the BiTX20 builders group and the ensuing Solder Social which grew into the Tech party.
 
Thank you, Vern! We wish you all the best and pray for a full recovery.
 
Burt and Nate studying intensely!

Burt and Nate checking out the data ... note all the cool digital toys surrounding them. Click the picture for a closer view.

The Tech Party needs a new facility. Perhaps two? Vern says he can probably host one meeting a month after a bit. Which got me to thinking, what if we did three tech parties a month, one at Verns, then one near the east side and one near the west side? Perhaps a ‘triangle’ with Vern to the North and spots to the Southwest and Southeast. That way everyone will have one tech party per month that is ‘closer’ to them.
Before we got the BiTX project going I had started doing the Technet from guest locations – Local amateurs homes, restaurants, parks, etc. So moving around isn’t a new concept to the technet, shouldn’t be a problem for the tech party, don’t you think?
 
This is a large metropolitan area and so there will never be any one location that is more convenient than another. There will always be someone excluded because of distance. This way I think more people will have a chance to participate.
 
SO, if you have an idea for a facility please email n4lgh@147120.com or leave a comment on this article. This coming Wednesday we’ll probably take the night off – if we haven’t secured a facility by then everyone is invited to my place in Winter Garden until we find locations more convenient to everyone else.
 
This past Wednesday was a lot of social but we got some great discovery done in the microprocessor world. I gave Nate a couple of PIC chips to play with on his new proto board and encouraged him to pick up a PIC programmer. There was some really god discussion on the various development kits available for the PIC, AVR and STMicro uP’s.
 

Coming along nicely! the crystal filter is installed, but needs to be tested, as is the audio amp. Go Vern!

The BiTX project is coming along nicely for most. More of us are conquering the VFO, although we will need to do a session on the VFO circuit again to learn to recalculate the other capacitors in the system to accommodate different values of variable capacitors.
 
I found this awesome calculator online. Can someone get this figured down to C code? This is nice –
 
http://py2ohh.w2c.com.br/trx/vfocolpitts/ecolpitts1.htm
 
Most of the guys have populated the crystal filter and audio amplifier portions of the board but haven’t tested them yet. Jim has almost the entire board stuffed, he’ll be mounting it in a chassis soon! This is going to get exciting when we start putting these things in enclosures and getting them on the air!
The next meeting, wherever we are, will be spent mostly on testing. We’ll have the IFR to run them on and several of us will have lab power supplies to run them with. It will be a hoot, ya’all come on out now, ya hear? ;]
 
Tracy N4LGH

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Hellraiser Transmitter Project - Photo by Hans Summers

Hellraiser Transmitter Project - Photo by Hans Summers

Hello again. I would like to share another resource that will inspire, inform, and astound. Hans Summers, G0UPL, is an Electronic Wizard of the Twelfth Degree (see the International Brotherhood of Electronic Wizards Handbook for further information). He has built a website that abounds with inspiration. His projects are visual and functional. He likes to use tubes and will spurn convention to create a visually appealing project. This is art. The amount of information is sure to keep you busy and should be bookmarked for reference.  I am interested in his extensive information on Huff and Puff Oscillator stabilizers and identifying crystal parameters. He builds his own test equipment and documents so that we can follow in his path. Several QRSS projects are detailed. I have added QRSS to my list of future projects. Thank you Hans, for sharing a lifetime of experience at HansSummers.com. 73

Robin

NORCAL S9

NORCAL S9

When I started planning the Hendricks BitX20a Project there were several pieces of test equipment that I found would help. One of the needed items was a signal generator. NorCal QRP Club makes a fine kit with easy to follow directions for those such as I, i.e. directionally handicapped. It has four crystal controlled frequencies. I needed 11Mhz so a quick trip to Sky Craft (that was a joke) supplied a crystal that was exchanged for the supplied 10Mhz crystal.  The S9 kit is a mix of surface mount and through-hole construction. It also has an attenuator that drops the signal to an S1 level. I am guessing  this could be helpful when adjusting the receive end filters. Upon completion I found the signal to be very weak and when I switched in the attenuator the signal disappeared. I took it to my Elmer, K4DF, and he described the circuit to me as we hooked it into his HF rig. When he finished showing me the oscillator and attenuation circuits he suggested I check the solder joints in the oscillator section. A magnifying glass and some quick soldersmoking solved the problem. This kit will fit in a Altoids tin, but I do like looking at it. These kits are great fun and provide practice with an iron. Soldersmoking rules. 73

Robin

KC4ZVW, Dave, commented on my last post and ask some basic questions that started me thinking. Does it work? It leads me to why I am building the BitX20. I have a strong desire to learn electronics. This project allows immediate feedback on each section that is completed.

Crystal Radio

When I completed the audio amp, I needed to find an input source to check it out. Travis, my son, and I built a crystal radio with an audio amplifier circuit. This Fox Delta design is made to learn with and has the ability to separate the audio amp from the crystal radio. I fed the signal into my BitX and it worked. I have already received the local AM station through my Bitx. DAVE, it works.

Then I built the Mic Amplifier. By jumping a signal and powering the audio amp section I was able to hear my own voice through my small amplifier setup. Yes it does squeal when you get the mic near the speaker just like the real audio setups, and yes I played with all the feedback noise I could create. That worked too.

I have completed all soldering on the radio. A radio is an oscillator that allows us to throw electromagnetic waves through the air and catch them at a different location. This radio has two oscillators. One is a carrier oscillator that is a 11.00001 Mhz, and the other is a variable oscillator, VFO, that is close to 3.0 Mhz. When combined, the frequency that adds up is near 14. Mhz, the 20m Band! Well , there’s a problem Dave. First, I have both signals oscillating and measurable although the VFO is only variable by 3.5 Khz. Not enough to qualify as a VFO. On this radio I will need a couple of hundred Khz to cover a portion of 20m phone band. I soldered in a different variable resistor and air variable capacitor and the oscillations stopped. I will go back on that change. Second, I am unable to find the 14. Mhz signal. I have unbalanced the modulator to let the carrier signal through to the mixer near the VFO and where I feel it should be, it ain’t.  There I is. Stuck again.

Dave, does it work? Wonderfully! I am learning radio theory, trouble shooting, soldersmoking, and burning my fingers. LIFE IS GOOD. Oh… the radio, well I’m sure it will work when I am done. 73

Robin