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QRPLabs QCX 5W CW single band transceiver

QRPLabs QCX 5W CW Single band transceiver

Another Arduino basd project, well not quite. The Arduino Uno is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328P. This kit from QRPLabs also uses the ATmega328P. The software is not open source. Updates are provided as hex files.

This kit is extremely well documented. It is worth buying and assembling just for the documentation.

The assembly instructions are very clear and contain operation theory and alignment process.

Once assembled the device would not start. According to the excellent troubleshooting doc the processor had not been reset.

I had performed the modification for reliable microcontroller startup (repurposing inductor L5) during assembly so turned to the troubleshooting manual for direction. First was to go back and  check components then touched up the soldering around the processor and crystal and she started Ok.

QCXBuild

Next was to follow the assembly manual and align / tune then update the firmware. Again wth the excellent instructions there were no issue here.

Update Firmware from Mac;

I’m going to update the firmware from Mac using avrdude.

Purchased a USBAsp AVR programmer locally. It has a 10pin connector so get a 10 to 6 to match the ISP interface on the QCX or use dupont connectors like I did.

There are instructions on the QRPLabs site for win process for using  but No I want to use my Mac. Again Google is your friend. Given allready have XCode installed, I decided to just install avrdude and use the command line.

Install avrdude on Mac OSX.

Process is straight forward.

Open a terminal session and install Homebrew;

ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)” < /dev/null 2> /dev/null

Then install avrdude;

brew install avrdude

So the software is installed.

First Plug in the USBASP and verify the computer can see it (About->System Report) then check avrdude can see the QCX;

Allens-Air:QRPLabs allen$ avrdude -c usbasp -p atmega328p
avrdude: warning: cannot set sck period. please check for usbasp firmware update.avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions
Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.00s
avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e950f (probably m328p)
avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FC, H:D1, L:F7)
avrdude done.  Thank you.

Noting the warning message. A quick Google revealed this is not an issue and there is a parameter you can pass to avrdude to skip skip the check so not worried, Ok then lets flash the device;

Allens-Air:QRPLabs allen$ avrdude  -c usbasp -p ATmega328P -U flash:w:T1.00f.hex
avrdude: warning: cannot set sck period. please check for usbasp firmware update.avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions
Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.00s
avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e950f (probably m328p)avrdude: NOTE: “flash” memory has been specified, an erase cycle will be performed         To disable this feature, specify the -D option.avrdude: erasing chipavrdude: warning: cannot set sck period. please check for usbasp firmware update.avrdude: reading input file “T1.00f.hex”avrdude: input file T1.00f.hex auto detected as Intel Hexavrdude: writing flash (32076 bytes):
Writing | ################################################## | 100% 21.78s
avrdude: 32076 bytes of flash writtenavrdude: verifying flash memory against T1.00f.hex:avrdude: load data flash data from input file T1.00f.hex:avrdude: input file T1.00f.hex auto detected as Intel Hexavrdude: input file T1.00f.hex contains 32076 bytesavrdude: reading on-chip flash data:
Reading | ################################################## | 100% 16.32s
avrdude: verifying …avrdude: 32076 bytes of flash verified
avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FC, H:D1, L:F7)
avrdude done.  Thank you.

thats it done  ! Now running version 1.00f. 

From here I intend to go through the troubleshooting instructions with my new oscilloscope and explore the device.

W8TEE and K2ZIA Antenna Analyzer

Another Arduino based project. This time an W8TEE and K2ZIA Antenna Analyzer.

AABench

Purchased the PCB from https://qrpguys.com/w8tee-k2zia-antenna-analyzer

Not a kit so sourced the components. Easy to order from china off eBay. Took about 2 weeks for all the bits to come in.

Assembled and she started but the SWR for a 51ohm dummy load was off the scale.

The audrino and screen are ok. Checked and double checked solder joints so needed to verify the DDS and SWR bridge operations.

My old Dick Smith device is not cutting the mustard so borrowed an oscilloscope from Lacky VK3ALM. Traced the signal into the SWR bridge and nothing out. Checked the components and well my bad as the 51ohm resistors were in-fact 51K ohm. Bit of a difference. Replaced and off she went !

Downloaded the latest WA2FZW software from IOGroups – https://groups.io/g/SoftwareControlledHamRadio/files/Improved%20Analyzer%20Software

The documentation and a debugging guide are available from this group, essential information.

AAHoused

Use a case from radio parts (CB8808). Yes there is a pimple in the middle. No intention to remove as works fine.

So far have scanned all my antennas at home. I can recommend this device. Not a kit but the process to source and assemble was fun.

µBITx

DSCN9461

HF SIGNALS started shipping the μBITX boards (or micro BITX) December 2017. This is a a fully wide-band 3 to 30 MHz transceiver with upper and lower sideband and CW, power up to 10 watts and solid digital control. The circuit boards come wired and tested and with all the hardware. An interesting component of this radio is the Radino. This board has a Arduino Nano controller and a Si5351 for all local oscillators.

Radio Description – http://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/ubitx-circuit-description/

uBITX Net – great source of uBITX information.

groups.io has a group for the varies BITX projects.

Wiring Up

I chose not to use the plastic case that it came with or to print a 3D but instead purchased an universal enclosure from Amateur Radio Kits (INKITS). It took 6 weeks deliver, which was not unexpected.  These things take time and worth the wait, The case is excellent value. Metal and came with additional installation hardware including PCBs for the external connections.

uBITx wiring – http://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/ubitx-wire-up/

Case Manual – https://groups.io/g/BITX20/files/UBITX%20CASE%20MANUAL%20%20PCB%20FRONT%20PANEL.pdf

uBITX Net has a list of updates to make.

Initial build photo below. Have added additional wiring for ground issues and wired in USB interface. Will get a photo next time case off. Will be soon enough 

Wiring 003

 Digital to the Left, Analogue to the right. Pin 1 to the left

Boards 

Update – VU3SUA case documentation –  https://ubitx.net/2018/08/03/vu3sua-case-documentation/

Used the front panel board that came with the case. Proved to be convient and tidy but still not without its challenges. You will need to follow Sunil Lakhani on facebook to gain pictures of the boards, assembly tips and info for the board

Wiring 002

Encoder

The encoder is not straight through.   

1<->1,2 <-> 4,3<-> 3, 4 <-> 2

 

Encoder

CW Paddle

You need to add two resistors to support a CW paddle. Follow the directions on uBit.net.  

PaddleModFirmware Upgrade

Worked as advertised. Again checkout ubitx.net – http://ubitx.net/compare-software-options/ 

Decided to go with KD8CEC firmware – http://ubitx.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ug1072_087.pdf

Get the latest from https://github.com/phdlee/ubitx

Install Arduino software, if not already installed. Install the USB drivers for the Arduino compatible board (CH340 serial interface) used by Radino for MacOS here 10.9+ or here 10.12.

Download the firmware files from GitHub, compile and upload to the Radino.

Bingo so now you have a HF  full source code for the HF transceiver on your computer. That is cool in initself. 

I ended up running version 1.08. Manual – http://ubitx.net/manual-kd8cec-firmware/

Upgrades

The board is v3. I want to address the T/R click noise and add an CW Audio Filter. Also saw pcbs for filters based on Glenn VK3IL’s blog.

Nick VK4PLN uBITX Add-On boards – https://vk4pln.blogspot.com/2018/03/vk4pln-ubitx-add-on-boards.html

Kess ND6T uBitX Add-On boards – http://www.nd6t.com/index.htm and ordering instructions in BitX20 group.

To Do

Calibration 

Calibration of these devices appears to be a black art;

Notes

 

Noise

I still have noise UBitxAudio.m4a when using the speaker. Headphones are Ok. It appears too be a Ground Loop problem.

Deployed common ground via a star config which improved the audio however still have the noise when using the speaker.  

GroundStar

Current solution is to stick to headphones and use the device.

Update 03082018

Updated the pic to show grounding. The brown wire goes to the common on front panel board. Still noisy.

There is a lot of information as to audio available uBitx.net and iGroups.

Conclusion

This is a fun radio.It’s cheap, it works and requires very little skills to  get operational.

Think will source another board. The uBitX v4 boards have no Audio IC On the board. 

Options;

 

Arduino Sensors

Arduino Sensors

Specialist Devices

45 in 1 box Sensor Kit

S l300

I’ve picked up one of the 45 sensors kits from eBay.This kit contains;

1.Arduino PS2 joystick module
2. Infrared sensor receiving module
3. Laser head sensor module
4. Temperature and humidity sensor module
5. Infrared emission sensor module
6. 5V relay module
7. Avoidance of the sensor Intelligent car infrared sensor photoelectric switch
8. ARDUINO finger detection heartbeat module
9. High sensitivity microphone sensor module
10. Metal touch sensor module
11. Flame sensor module
12. 3-color LED module
13. Hunt sensor module
14. Linear magnetic Hall sensor
15. Rotate the encoder module
16. Active buzzer module
17. Magic light cup module
18. Small passive buzzer module
19. Digital temperature sensor module
20. Light Breaker Module
21. Temperature sensor module
22. Two-color LED total negative module 3MM
23. Mercury opening module
24. Hall magnetic sensor module
25. 3-color full-color LED smd module
26. Arduino mini reed module
27. Tilt switch module
28. Colorful flashing LED module
29. Push the key switch module
30. Photoresistor module
31. Vibration switch module
32. ARDUINO percussion sensor module
33. Temperature sensor module
34. Analogy Hall Magnetic Sensors
35. Microphone sound sensor module
36. Large reed module
37. Two-color LED module
38, breadboard power module
39, ultrasonic module
40, MP1584EN step-down module
41, SD card reader module
42, gyroscope module
43, soil modules
44, DS1302 clock module
45, water level module

The “user manual” that comes in the case is a picture in the lid for a 37 in one kit so will work through each one at a time.

Manual from Jaycar for some of the sensors 

Libraries:

Notes:

  • The digital pins 0 and 1 are used for serial communication. As long as you aren’t doing serial communication (including uploading sketches), you can use them for other purposes but you loose the ability to communicate and up load sketches.
  • The analogue pins are for analogue input only not analogue output. You can use them like any other pin by referring to them as pins 14 to 18. They can be a digital input or a digital output.
  • Arduino works with 5 V and Rasp Pi with 3.3 V. Add a resistor divider to lower the voltage to something between 2.2 and 3.4 Volt. At divider with a (bottom) 3K3 and a (top) 2K2 resistor will divide the 5V to 5x(2.2+3.3)/3.3= 3V, so yes its possible to use many of the modules, but they are probably designed for 5V devices.

4. Temperature and humidity sensor module

LM315 Temperature and Humidity Module

  • Humidity Range: 20-90% RH 
  • Humidity Accuracy: ±5% RH 
  • Temperature Range: 0-50 °C 
  • Temperature Accuracy: ±2% °C 
  • Operating Voltage: 3V to 5.5V

The DHT11 humidity and temperature sensor appears to be an easy to add humidity and temperature data. Such a device will fit into the current ideas of a ‘sensor net’ which include home environmental monitoring (internal and external) as well as a garden monitoring systems. Given the dual information in a single chip and use of a single data line then is may included on the base board for all sensors.Will need to look into sourcing the chip seperatly

 

DHT11

TempHum

Libraries:

Current Code

#include <dht.h>

dht DHT;

#define DHT11_PIN 7

void setup(){
Serial.begin(9600);
}

void loop()
{
int chk = DHT.read11(DHT11_PIN);
Serial.print(“Temperature = “);
Serial.println(DHT.temperature);
Serial.print(“Humidity = “);
Serial.println(DHT.humidity);
delay(2000);
}

Future:

Simple code with interface to LCD;

#include <dht.h>
#include <LiquidCrystal.h>

LiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2);

dht DHT;

#define DHT11_PIN 7

void setup(){
lcd.begin(16, 2);
}

void loop()
{
int chk = DHT.read11(DHT11_PIN);
lcd.setCursor(0,0);
lcd.print(“Temp: “);
lcd.print(DHT.temperature);
lcd.print((char)223);
lcd.print(“C”);
lcd.setCursor(0,1);
lcd.print(“Humidity: “);
lcd.print(DHT.humidity);
lcd.print(“%”);
delay(1000);
}

 

Notes:

Arduino Bluetooth HC-06

Arduino Bluetooth HC-06

Bluetooth HC 06

HC-06 Wireless Serial 4 Pin Bluetooth RF Transceiver

Description:

  • Bluetooth module for use with any microcontroller.
  • Uses the UART protocol to make it easy to send and receive data wirelessly.
  • A breakout board for easier connectivity
  • Designed for 3.3v level ttl but will accept 5v level as well
  • Built in antenna with a range of up to 30 feet (range is dependent on a lot of things such as any obstacles or walls in the way so it may vary)
  • Supports baud rates from 1200 to 1382400 bps (default is 9600 bps)
  • VCC input voltage 3.3v to 6v
  • Bluetooth Specification v2.0+EDR
  • The HC-06 module is a slave only device. This means that it can connect to most phones and computers with bluetooth but it cannot connect to other slave only devices such as keyboards and other HC-06 modules. To connect with other slave devices a master module would be necessary such as the HC-05 version which can do both master and slave.

Connections;

  • Connect the HC-06 Ground (GND) pin to ground (duh!).
  • Connect the HC-06 VCC pin to 5v.
  • Connect the HC-06 TX/TXD pin to Arduino digital pin 4.
  • Connect the HC-06 RX/RXD pin to Arduino digital pin 2.

The Software Serial library comes pre-installed with the latest version of the Arduino IDE. It has been developed to allow setting up serial communication on (almost any) digital pin of the Arduino, using software to replicate Arduino’s native serial support. See the SoftwareSerial library page for more details on its features and limitations.

Datasheet – http://silabs.org.ua/bc4/hc06.pdf

Conclusion:

Unfortunately this device does not work with iOS based devices.There is no workaround. HC-05 simply doesn’t work with iOS, because iOS only supports a few Bluetooth profiles. This is because Apple uses MFi Licensing Program. What does work is BLE. It’s not part of MFi.

HM-10 and HM-11 are the BLE brothers of HC-05/06, and rumor has it that they work fine with iOs and Android

18102017 – Ordered an HM-10. Wil not bre requiring every device to have BlurTooth capabilities but do want a iOS interface so will have on the internal master.

Nordic nRF24L01

NRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Antenna RF Wireless Transceiver Module

S l1600

NRF24L01+ Specifications

  • NRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Antenna Wireless Transceiver Module
  • Maximum operating speeds up to 2Mbps, GFSK modulation efficiency, Anti-interference ability, Particularly suitable for industrial control applications.
  • 125 Channels, Multi-point communication and frequency hopping to meet the communication needs.
  • Available software to set the address, only received local Address when output data(Provide interrupt instruction), can be directly connected to a variety of microcontrollers
  • Built-in hardware CRC error detection, Multipoint communication address control.
  • Standard DIP Pitch Interface for embedded applications
  • Low-power 1.9 ~ 3.6V, only 1uA on Power down mode
  • Built-in 2.4Ghz antenna
  • Size:34mm * 17mm(L*W)

24L01Pinout 800

Connection to Arduino

 

RF24View

RF24 Connect

Libraries:

Others;

 

Conclusion:

This device will be the preferred method for device intercommunication. Intend to use the work described by manicbug as a basics.

Do not expect issues but will be watching RF interference as host an HF amature radio station at home.