What happened this weekend was that I wound up not building any antennas. Instead, I started re-writing the keyer software from scratch. It's an iambic keyer now, with no memory features, but there's a speed control and it displays the speed at which you are keying. Progress has been rapid, but now I'm having to think about how to proceed, so it should be slower.
This weekend, is the ARRL's June VHF Contest. I've got quadrifilar helix (QFH) antennas for 2m and 70cm, and they can work for the so-called "weak signal" modes, but I have no 6m antennas at all. I'm thinking of making a 6m QFH antenna to go with the others, but I don't know I can get it done by this weekend. Actually, I'm thinking of making a 10m QFH antenna, too. I've done the calculations needed to figure the sizes it would be.
Anyway, that's what I'm working on now. I'll let you guys know what happens.
Well, I had not one but two bad potentiometers, and there were three customizations I needed to make to the software for the keyer to work the way I expected, but I've got the speed control working and all of the memory buttons working and the two different PTT lines working.
What isn't working? Well, I destroyed one of the buttons when I recabled it, so I need another momentary contact switch. I don't know if I'll replace it. I mean, 11 memories is almost exactly as good as 12, right? I'm never going to use them all, after all.
At long last, I have a memory keyer. It was about four years ago, as near as I can tell, that it occurred to me that, not only was constructing a memory keyer based upon the Arduino a good idea, that it was sufficiently obvious that someone else must have done it already. That meant I could leverage their code and hardware designs to that end. After I found K3NG's design and and software, I decided that this project would make a good introduction to PC Board layout and good practice for surface-mount construction.
Several years ago, May of 2013 in fact, I set out to create a "skimmer" for PSK31. A skimmer is a computer program that listens to all of the conversations it can hear and decodes all the data. After messing with it for a while, and not having much luck, I set it aside. Until a couple of weeks ago, that is. Ed Manuel N5EM gave me some of his old QEX's, and one of them had an article on PSK31 written by the guy who invented it. He talked about how his PSk31 detector worked, and gave me some ideas on how to improve what I'd written.
It's been a while since I've put anything here, but I've been busy the whole time.
I received a Peaberry SDR V2.0 kit as a gift, and I've been assembling it. I've gotten to the point where the entire receiver is built and works, and I'm working on the transmitter. I'm building the 20, 30, 40, and 60 meter version of it, if anyone cares. At some point, I'll have to find a nice Linux SDR application I can use it with. Up to now, I've just be using the recommended Windows application because it's recommended. I want to control the uncertainties in any project I do.
Okay, I wired up the I2C interface to the LCD, connected the potentiometer for the speed control, and connected jacks for the key and the key out. Along the way, I found that I had labelled the I2C lines wrong, swapping the data and clock lines.
And, yesterday I created a keying cable to go between the keyer and the FT-102, and the radio keyed! So, I need to put it in a box.
I survived ApolloCon just fine, and I'm more energetic than I can remember being, so I have started to work on projects again. I have too many projects, but I still want my memory keyer to be finished, so I'm working on that.
A while back, I finished the board layout for the correct transistor pinouts, and I sent it off to OSHPark to be turned into actual boards. I also ordered parts. Last week I even found out what was wrong with my soldering iron (it wasn't set up right at the factory) and I fixed it. So, I was all set.
Just a quick note to let everyone know why I haven't been blogging. It's not because I don't have anything to say. I have been tempted to write about RM-11708, but I just don't have time. June is a horribly busy month for me, mostly because of my involvement in Apollocon, a science-fiction convention that has traditionally been held Field Day Weekend. I'll be back in July, and maybe even before then, but don't hold your breath. You'll turn blue.
I got into a bit of a twitter exchange yesterday with some people. It started because Rich Holoch KY6R made his own blog post with the title "The Future of DXpeditions?" and my response "Expensive hobby + expensive trips = lots of old people on DxPeditions. Nobody else can afford it." got several retweets and a favorite or two, and a couple of responses. I have trouble fitting what I think about this into 140 characters, so I'll post it here.