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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.