Arduino for Ham Radio.

Started by gil, September 07, 2013, 02:47:56 pm

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gil

Hello,

I have delayed way too long getting into the Arduino microcontroller board.. Being a programmer and decent at electronics, I have no excuses. So, I am ordering one next week. $30, what can go wrong? I would like to have it send and maybe even decode Morse code of course. One project that would be right up our alley would be a Geiger counter beacon. The Geiger counter module would send it's results to the Arduino, which in turn keys a low power CW transmitter at a certain interval. It would send something like "BCN RAD 30 CPM DE XXXXX" say every hour. 30 being collisions-per-second (I think). If I can get the Ardiono to decode Morse, then I might be able to get the beacon to reply to requests, like: "CPM? DE XXXXX". Ideally the beacon would be solar powered.

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11021
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11345

Imagine such a beacon in every city!

It will take me some time to get acquainted with the board and it's programming interface, but regarding any such CW beacon project, I wonder about legalities... Isn't broadcasting prohibited? How do beacons get away with it? (Not to mention W1AW?).

Suggestions for other projects?

Gil.

KC9TNH

Contact the NorCal DX folks; they've facilitated a beacon program (20m and up) all over the world. It's not broadcast; it's a transmitting beacon.  Not schooled on all the ins/outs but it's obviously doable.

Sounds like the gem of a good idea.  A friend & I were commiserating the other day over the how to actually get real propagation info for real operators when the net goes dark, for real.  There are a number of ways (e.g., monitoring beacons, catalog requests via WINMOR from the SWPC), but, in particular, the lower bands are really ignored when compared to bands that DX'ers favor.  CONUS beacons in several locations on 20-80 would be really good.  As he put it, "what about 40m, what are we chopped liver?"

A beacon on a lower band, say 40m, that did the same thing as the NorCal beacons, would be of great benefit.  The lower bands in particular are subject to those solar & geo-mag mood swings that can make everything seem like it's quiet, but it's because nobody's signal is making its way back to this Big Blue Marble.

You might be on to something.
8)

KK0G

Like you Gil I've seen all the Arduino activity lately and thought I should look into further for no other reason than it just sounds interesting.

Your Geiger counter idea sounds interesting, keep us in the loop on your progress. No you would not be broadcasting with a beacon, remember broadcasting is a one way transmission intended for reception by the public. You'd be sending one way transmissions intended for reception by amateur radio operators - perfectly legal.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

gil

Thanks guys  :)

QuoteYou'd be sending one way transmissions intended for reception by amateur radio operators - perfectly legal


I suspected as much. It might be a popular project, given what's coming to us from Fukushima! In case of nuclear attack on our soil, it would tell people which areas are safe or not. The Geiger beacon would be deployed after the event and get power from a solar panel, since the area might have to be evacuated.
The Geiger board is a bit expensive ($150) but since I need to learn the basics first, it can wait. If I end-up doing it, I will certainly document is and make the code available.

I have also thought about an automatic magnetic loop tuner using an SWR bridge and a step motor..
However, I can use my hand for that! If the loop was further and outside, maybe..

Gil.

KK0G

Wait a sec now, if you're going to send some one into the affected areas after an event then we don't really need the Geiger counter in the first place......... just check to see if the guy that deployed it died from radiation poisoning LOL
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

gil

LOL, right... Not the way I'd like to go... I am curious as to how Fukushima is affecting our food supply. The FDA raised the minimum amount of allowable radiation levels in foods.. Hardly the right way to deal with the problem!  :o So, I'd like to find out for myself.
There are probably many possible applications of the Arduino that I am not thinking about, but that should change once I start messing around with it.

Gil.

KC3AOL

Considering the simplicity of what you want to do, you might look into the new Trinket:
http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2013/09/03/new-products-adafruit-trinket-mini-microcontroller-3-3v-and-5-5v-versions-7-95/

It's a smaller/cheaper option if it can handle the program and has enough io ports for your application. BTW, you can just get ATTiny85 chips and wire them, but it takes a bit more work and you'll need to get a programmer for the chips.

I actually ordered the six pack of Trinkets. First project will be a humidor sensor/display/alarm. Not sure what I'm going to do with the others yet.

Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk 4

KK0G

Quote from: KC3AOL on September 08, 2013, 08:07:48 am
Considering the simplicity of what you want to do, you might look into the new Trinket:
http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2013/09/03/new-products-adafruit-trinket-mini-microcontroller-3-3v-and-5-5v-versions-7-95/

It's a smaller/cheaper option if it can handle the program and has enough io ports for your application. BTW, you can just get ATTiny85 chips and wire them, but it takes a bit more work and you'll need to get a programmer for the chips.

I actually ordered the six pack of Trinkets. First project will be a humidor sensor/display/alarm. Not sure what I'm going to do with the others yet.

Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk 4



That thing is very cool and dirt cheap, thanks for sharing. Of course I have NO IDEA whatsoever what I'd ever use one for 8)
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

gil

Neat, yes, for the final project, that would be great. I still want to regular size for for experimentation..

Gil.

KC3AOL

I was actually thinking that they might work for an automatic or remote control for a magnetic loop antenna...

Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk 4

gil

QuoteI was actually thinking that they might work for an automatic or remote control for a magnetic loop antenna...


Now that is a great idea! Thanks.

Gil.

KC9TNH

Quote from: KK0G on September 07, 2013, 05:41:40 pm
Wait a sec now, if you're going to send some one into the affected areas after an event then we don't really need the Geiger counter in the first place......... just check to see if the guy that deployed it died from radiation poisoning LOL
Every miner needs a canary, right?  8)

You mean the Guv wouldn't communicate the actual consequences & truthful state of affairs?


This is Bethesda calling, stand by now for a report from our experts in New Mexico...

KK0G

Quote from: KC9TNH on September 08, 2013, 04:02:12 pm
Every miner needs a canary, right?  8)



The simplest answer is usually the best solution to a problem. ;D
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

KC3AOL

BTW, have you seen the TenTec Rebel? It's an Arduino-based QRP CW transceiver.
http://www.tentec.com/rebel-model-506-open-source-qrp-cw-transceiver/

Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk 4

gil

QuoteBTW, have you seen the TenTec Rebel? It's an Arduino-based QRP CW transceiver.
http://www.tentec.com/rebel-model-506-open-source-qrp-cw-transceiver/


Waoh, I had no idea this model even existed! Thank you  :)

Gil.