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Wednesday 31 January 2018

M1KTA SO2R controller

Asked if I could share details of the SO2R controller...

It seemed impossible to find a current project for this that was being kitted and pre-made commercial kit seems way too expensive so in order to make this as small as possible (using through hole) I've put together an Arduino Uno shield. This all started based on the work from NCJ July 2010 by Paul Young, K1XM and then the SO2R box YCCC created. All from a while back and discussions with a quite a few along the way going back a bit. I looked a bit at the stuff M1DST had done too.

Design choice was this absolutely MUST only use very common through hole components, nothing unobtainium.
Everything apart from plugs and sockets HAVE to fit on an Arduino Shield.
(I did play with a MEGA one too but no idea where that is right now.)
Design choice ALL connections HAVE to be on the outer edges of the board, absolutely nothing in the middle. Those square 4 pad switches definitely got moved.

Not complete by a long way and only really a prototype and being a cynic I expect it will get ripped off somewhere which is why not posted all the details this was an early layout and it 100% was re-organised, I just plonked the basic required components on the shield board to see if fitted, no tracks. This has tracks both on top and bottom of the board.

What does it do? Well if no PC or Arduino (I added an external power option) you got the ability to MANUALLY switch between 2 rigs .... PTT, CW key, Microphone and Headphones with AF control was all be off board. Honestly nothing is rocket science!

It can work like that all manually if you do not want to do anything else, it doesn't need the Arduino and the 'plan' was build it so manually I can switch from rig1 to rig2 if the PC is not there. In my case I used to see if there is an opening etc as I'll have the 2nd rig and separate antenna all setup. Now the extra bit is I kinda followed the OTRSP protocol so it should be usable by Win-Test by sending a command but I have not tested that bit in anger.

BTW ZERO band data, as this had to be small and I don't use it anyway so you cannot use this for switching antennas or BPF/LPF/ATU etc It could be added I expect.

After a chat with Ash, 3V8SS I added an LCD instead of the LED, meant adding to the Arduino code and only works if the arduino is present and powered. The LED work in either case.

The Arduino bit, I munged the code from K1XM and 3V8SS's versions into something this will work with.

I am sure using a Nano and SMT components this could probably be made even smaller (and lighter).

The isolation of the audio components from ground might be a wise choice if you have group loop issues but not added isolation transformers at this point.

My rigs are either separately CAT controlled (or not at all like ATS-3B) with either their own keyer or either a K1EL or KD1JV Simple keyer connected so I didn't include any of those bits either.

Saturday 20 January 2018

SO2R based on SO2Rduino

For DX trips building an SO2R controller based on the SO2Rduino from K1XM NCJ Article by Paul Young -

Got the relays and other components so putting something together to see what is possible.

Will look at using with non CAT controlled radios as well as an SDR RX input.

As move long will post info.

The relays I'll be using at 5V versions...MCB-S-205-C-M basically as have them.
Pretty sure got plenty of some 12V versions as well.

In addition (as will use an Arduino MEGA will look at including an OLED display and possibly a VSWR meter, so don't have to have an extra bit of kit on trips.

One crazy idea is to use a K2 as one TRX and as have a spare K2 enclosure build the SO2R into it, along with the second TRX and anything else might normally require on trips.

Will probably be for CW only and I'll not bother with the mike/phone switching for SSB or data modes.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

C6AKT BERU Propogation (was from G3TBK originally)

From C6AKT I suspect I'll roughly follow this plan...
Z being 5 hours ahead of local Bahamas time.
So 10:00z will be 05:00 local time.

Was originally written when conditions were a lot better though.


       10:00z    3.5 MHz        VE, Other Carib, VK for first few minutes
       10:30z    7 MHz            VE, VK
       11:30z        14 MHz        G, VE, Other Carib
       12:30z    21MHz        Med,
       12:35z    14 MHz        G, VE
       13:00z    21 MHz        VE, G, Africa other Carib
       14:00z    still 21 MHz, as above + VP8 also wkd on 28 MHz
       14:30z    28  MHz        Short opening to VE, Africa
       14:45z    21 MHz        VE, G, Africa
       15:00 – 18:00z     Mostly 21 MHz, but short spells on 28 MHz to VE
       18:00        14 MHz        G, VE
       20:00        28 MHz        short opening to VE7, ZL
       20:00-22:00  14, 21, 28        short openings, VE, VK, ZL, Africa
       22:00        7 MHz            G, VE, 9M2,
       22:45-23:00 14 MHz        VE6, VE7
       23:00-23:45  21, 28    MHz        VK, ZL Short reliable opening
       23:45        7 MHz            G, VE
       00:15        3.5 MHz
       00:30        21 MHz        VK    Very short opening
       01:00        7 MHz            G, VE
       01:15        3.5 MHz        G Very fast rate
       01:40        7 MHz            G Very fast rate
       02:30        3.5 MHz        G, VE, Mediterranean
       03:30        7 MHz            VE, Mediterranean
       03:45        14 MHz        ZL, VK Short reliable opening
       04:00        3.5 MHz        G
       04:20        14 MHz        ZL, VK
       04:40        3.5 MHz        G, VE very strong
       06:50        7 MHz            G VE, Very fast rate
       09:00 until end 7 or 3.5 MHz    Very slow, VE, VK on grayline in last few minutes

As QRP don't think it will matter but if there are any sunspots there might be an opening to G on 28 MHz between 13:00 and 18:00 and another opening to G on 21 MHz. I'll also try to grab any other local stations at that time.

Advised that whenever rate slows it is important to check other bands,
especially during the night, as there are often short unpredicted
openings. I'll have a second KX3 and couple SDR's so might 'park those on the non active bands so can spot 'openings'.

Unless find out otherwise I should be the only C6 QRV in BERU which will make me an immediate multiplier for many but I need to watch out for others like V31GX who will be the same for me those QSO will effect scores.