I've been working on this Peaberry kit for longer than a year, now. I've been tweeting updates and stuff because there's not a lot to tell. It's taken so long because it's, by far, the most complicated tangible thing I've ever built. I've written programs that are more complicated (it's what I do for a living, after all, and people never seem to want simple programs) but those aren't tangible. Of course, I have run into problems during the construction. It's part of the nature of the beast.
Well, I've been working on the memory keyer and it now can record and play back memories programmed through the keyboard. I can send a serial number that gets updated automatically, and I've fixed the odd bit here and there. I've confirmed it compiles through the IDE on Windows, although I'm still stymied by the IDE under Linux. I also tested to see if it really would key the FT-102. It does.
Well, I've been working on the keyer. It turns out that the Arduino Mega has the I2C bus on different pins than the Arduino Uno. Since my keyer shield doesn't actually have pins for that location on the Arduino, I had to come up with an adaptor mechanism. I bought some extra long pins from Jameco and put two of the wires into a two-pin housing, and now I have a display. The lack of sidetone output was traced to a broken wire going to the speaker. The paddle inputs didn't work, but that turned out to be a software error.
It's been a while since I wrote anything, so I thought I'd bring y'all up to date about what I've been doing.
It occurs to me that I never explained why I'm re-writing the keyer software. To recap the project up to this point: I have wanted a CW memory keyer for a long time, and I had wanted to do some project with the Arduino. However, I didn't think that my circuit design skills were up to designing the necessary hardware and I didn't really want to write the software, and it occurred to me that someone else might have decided to use the Arduino as the basis of a memory keyer and have designed hardware and written the software necessary to make it do what I want.
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.