Grandpa Created a Monster and a Monkey.

When I was 12 my grandfather came in the front door after work and said get your pencils and paper we are going to take a class. My being a typical 12 year old was thinking this man is out of his mind I really don’t need any more homework. Here we are 40 years later and I was just thinking I couldn’t have been more wrong if I had put some thought into it. It was fun with some fun people, and an end that would be rewarding.

That is the class that got me into a life long hobby with some lifelong friends. It gave me another language which I am fairly fluent. Let’s face it, I dream in CW. Which coupled with my PTSD nightmares could be construed as funny to the outside observer, but that is for a different story. Gramps was proud of that monster he created and even aided in my delinquency quite often. He figured it would be a fun hobby and the key to a job later on he told me in later years, and he was prouder every time I came home from the FCC with a new interim card. He was especially proud when I came home and told him I had applied to change my call after I got my extra. my call then was KA7MTY (Mighty Ticklish Youngster), and that had to go! Like I said he encouraged the monster.

Fast forward to 40 years later. The old man has passed on, but his monster lives on and it actually has become an addiction for me. I am now looking to retire in a few years and play with the hobby and garden some. I purchased a Peterbilt 579 Ultraloft to get me to retirement. while I am also getting my ND, I have realized that one cannot exist on homework alone, so why not bring the monster back to life once in a while when I am on the road. I am also a creature comfort seeker in my middle age.

I am now the proud owner of a Yaesu station for my truck. a new rig in a new rig so to speak. I actually have put up a new page called the mobile shack.  I can cover 80-6M with the antennas I have gotten to do the job. I have a computer that will run digital modes and my paddles are ready to get put in the truck on Monday when I go back to work. I was actually thinking about running  down to Kingston, NV on our property and operating field day from there next year(2021). Set up would be a breeze! Just park and done! Instant 1A station. The generator is even built in.

I digress though. I was just thinking about the 40 years I have had this hobby and why and how I got into it. Then that brings me back to Gramps and his impromptu decision to take a class, and the fun I have had for the last 40 years, and how I miss the old man who gave me a fantastic hobby and most of the other attributes I have in my life. I also think about the monster and the money I would  have saved by taking up something like bird watching.

73’s and Good DX,

KX7N

Welcome to DMR

A friend of mine gave me the broad strokes of how DMR works, and if I got a radio he would help me program it. He did inform me that it would take a while for me to get my head around. Well, I purchased an Anytone AT-878UV hand held at  the SEAPAC convention, and there was not a bit of BSing about getting my head around it. Infact, my  doctorate level pharmacology class is simpler than DMR radio!

So far I have the 1,2 time slots down and that is about it. The colors, networks, and code plugs remain a total friggin mystery to me, as are how to upload these CSV files to the rig. I did hook up my radio to a PC and using the software was able to look at some of the settings, and I now have my DMR code (3143464) for those who wish to add me to thier “contact list.” In the mean time I have my softrock rxtx ensemble inbound today, as are a mini dipole for 30M. I also have a couple of antenna projects to work on today like a squalo antenna for 6M or a Moxon antenna.

 

Return to Normalcy

Some balance is returning to our household after the addition of Athena. Athena is well on her way to becoming an adult Great Dane. It was not an easy adjustment though and my antennas took some of the brunt of the chaos. Athena decided that my coax tasted good and chewed clear through the coax feeding my vertical. Despite that she is a healthy 14 weeks old and 23 pounds. I am also happy to report she is sleeping through the night now so the XYL  is getting some sleep that is until I go to work.

My µBitx is still sitting as I have not received the resistors I need to finish the build of the S meter sensor, but I am chomping at the bit to get finished with the radio and get it on the air. I have the rest of the parts in place and soldered in, but there is a gaping hole for a 1k and 10k resistor, and the damn thing will be done and I will finally be able to get the radio on the air.

I am still going to hold off on the case as I decide whether to put a V5 board in or not.

A Slight Delay

Athena and her rawhide (8weeks old)

Well my µBitx has run into a slight delay.   Athena has joined our household.  Athena is a Chaos machine with teeth, and I am protecting the µBitx. We picked up a Great Dane Puppy last Saturday. She is exploring the world with her mouth at this stage of the game, so rather than pick up a new radio I have boxed the µBitx until she settles in some.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and my radio is sitting on the shelf still. Why? Because like a moron I forgot to buy the resistor values I need to make the simple s meter.  Athena is still with us as the XYL has not killed her. Actually I think it is the dog has made her way into the XYL’s heart.  I did pull out the radio and parts I had set aside for the Simple S Meter  and started building the circuit board for the S-meter sensor and found I didn’t have the 1k, or 10k resistors for the project. Back on the shelf we go and my µBitx has to sit and stare at me for a couple more weeks while I wait on the mail.

Then the fun begins. I am going to get a 3D printer to print an appropriate case for the radio.

µBitx is coming to life

I have been working on my µBitx pretty steadily as kits and parts come in for the last month. I am almost done with installing the front end and digital interface kits from amateurradiokits.in . I have also figured out why I could not write to the raduino from the KD8CEC memory manager.

I have been taking my time as I have been waiting for parts like the new rotary encoder which is sitting on my desk ready to be soldered up. I am still waiting on the new volume pot, so I can solder that up and I am in business. The radio will have the settings already installed and ready to go when the hardware is installed.

The issue I was having with the memory manager was a settings problem and all is setup and displaying correctly now. I had read that you need to use 2 stop bits when you connect to the µBitx. Well, I was having all kinds of write errors doing that as well as information not being displayed correctly on the Nextion screen. Well I was in a hurry to do my 7698th upload to the raduino and I had to reconnect and accidentally hit one stop bit and low and behold everything came together and all of the attempts to write to the memory addresses was successful. So, for the connection settings look like this 36000, None, 8, and One.

I will get more pictures up later, but now it is off to move 100k lbs of rebar for the day.

73’s

KX7N

Priorities

Well Sunil from amateurradiokits.in outdid himself. I am getting the SDR add on, AGC kit, and front end board today via DHL. One week after ordering them online from India to the United States.  Don’t get me wrong I would love to be putting them in my µBitx today. Alas, I have to stare at them until Sunday afternoon. I am also getting my ND, and am almost done with my first pathology course, and I have my work of course. I should have it done on Saturday! Even after putting in a 30 hour work week (short due to the New Years holiday). I would love to sit here and expand on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the body, and mitigation, but at this stage of the game it is way too late for me and I am not really that far into the research.

I am very excited about the boards that are getting here though. I can’t wait to see them in place. Then it is time for a 3d printer to come home to my desk, so I can design my case unless Sunil gets a version of his cases for 3.5″ screen on his site before I get my printer.

Things are looking better

My µBitx got an upgrade today; a 3.5″ Nextion touchscreen was installed. Hamskey.com  made it very easy to do, and do yourself a favor and order the screen from somewhere other than Amazon. They are a bit pricey. The process is simple though. Oh, I put the warnings afterwards so you have to read the whole thing.

Upload the KD8CEC firmware to the µBitx. If your display comes up all w’s then you did it right.  Load the display drivers onto an sd card (between 1Gb and 32Gb.). Wire the adapter up to the included USB adapter, and plug it in; once again if it come up to a demo screen; you did it right. Now shut down the display and insert the sd card and plug it back in. The display should come up and update from the sd card. Reboot the display with the sd card out. If you see the µBitx display with all zero’s in the vfo display; your in good shape. Then it is just a matter of wiring it up. I didn’t find a schematic, but once again KD8CEC to the rescue as there is a picture of the display wired into the display socket on the Raduino. Then power up the µBitx and you should see your VFO values.

OK, now the warning. Follow the Directions on Hamskey.com! It is very easy to screw up this display!

You have been informed and warned about screwing up. Have a good time installing this upgrade. It is worth the effort.

73’s

KX7N

So Much Easier

As I get older I find I like somethings to be a lot less work and neater; and find I will pay for it. My µBitx is one of those things. I purchased it last January; it arrived in March, and I wired it in December. Well, I was poking around for a case for the new 3.5″ display for my µBitx, and I find there are 3 kits out now from Amateur Radio Kits. That have come out in between getting my radio kit and when I wired it that when I incorporate them into the radio will make it a much cleaner install in the case, and more computer control friendly, as well as SDR compatible.

The cleaner install in the case comes from not having the Analog and Digital wires all divided up and heading to different places in the case. The front panel adapter has the microphone, key, speaker/headphones on a PCB board that both the digital and analog ribbons run to. The speaker actually comes with a two  pin connector to the board instead of two wires coming from one of the ribbon cables. So that takes care of most of the installation clean up. I am satisfied with how nice and tidy things will be.

The SDR and digital modes functionalities will arrive in the same DHL package. I have the Digital Adapter board coming with it that provides USB, DB9, and audio in and out.

I also purchased a new functionality that should be incorporated into the original boards with these other two kits; an AGC board. The µBitx does not have one built in for those of you just joining us. I have seen 3 or 4 listed as being available for purchase from different designers and a couple of PCB designs are free to use, but the kit is always better for me as I don’t have to get on Ali Express to chase down the individual parts as I did for the SWR bridge. Which by the way have all shipped despite my ordering them on Christmas Eve Day.

Well That is where I sit on doing mods right now.. sitting waiting on stuff to come to me. Which, I don’t mind.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all 73’s and Good DX

KX7N

 

No Smoke Here

My µBitx is on the desk wired, software upgraded, and only a few things left to do. My 3.5″ display is on the way, as are a ton of parts from Ali Express to make the SWR bridge. I have it hooked up to my dipole and I know the receiver works. In fact, when I had it plugged into the computer for the firmware upgrades I was hearing some nice CW signals, and got a nasty surprise as I forgot I had it on 7.074 (in USB Mode), and I tried to work XE2UF with my Yaesu on FT8. Even through The headphones that was screaming loud. As I said, there are a few small things left to do.

I need to wire the microphone, speaker, and power switch, and I have a cold solder joint on the volume pot just to get it together with only the display mod. Even that is going to get a boost next weekend. I ordered the Nextion 3.5 inch  touch display, and have a 4gb xd card sitting around for it to run on.  The people who have done the mod recommend one or two GB on this card, but I don’t have anything smaller.  I read it is ok to even use an 8 or 16 GB card. I have been reading all of the warnings that come with with how to set up the touch displays on the uBitx. I am also thinking the AGC is a must have. I don’t like the audio pop. I am liking a couple of features.

I am liking the menu driven radio. I am also liking the fact that both this radio and my LDG Z11 Pro II tuner are working from a RS 7a power supply without taxing the little guy to death.

I am still having write issues with the memory Manager that DR. Lee put out. It has not successfully written to my radio yet. I am going to work on that today, Then go start Celebrating Christmas.

So, to all I say, Merry Christmas! Be safe and enjoy your family.

73’s

KX7N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have moved

I recently moved my website back to a self hosting site. I also bought a couple of domains. The one I purchased for my wife is Tarilane.com . I am quite sure she will have some fun with it as she is sitting beside me editing her new WordPress installation. She is posting some of her pictures that she has taken. I also bought dipoleantenna.biz just for Gee Whiz.  Speaking of Gee Whiz; it was a Gee Whiz moment that caused the hosting move. I wanted to put some add-ons on KX7N.com to start doing something with the internet real estate. My old host wouldn’t allow it with the plan I had, and to add insult to injury, I had another host for my e-mail.. Not cool.

I had the idea to add classifieds to my site. The classifieds are just for hams and ad free, and for a buck you can feature the listing for a year if need be. There were several reasons behind the idea to put up a classifieds site. I have tried all of the classifieds for used ham equipment and found them lacking pictures. I have also tried to use some of the standard apps and got people wanting to know what a Kenwood TS 850 even was. Lets not even mention The CB’ers that asked if it had more than 40 channels.   Needless to say I was a little hacked off when I heard that, so here I am editing and adding locations. I have most of Oregon done now. I even listed a couple of the items I am clearing out of my shack to minimize things laying around not being used or planned on being used again.

So if you like the looks of it feel free to use the classifieds, there is a link to your social media so you can promote the item, and most of all have fun.

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