Tag Archives: FT8

KK4Z: Achieving Another Kilo Despite Solar Interference

Many thanks to Scott (KK4Z) who shares the following post from his blog KK4Z.com:


By the Hand of God at US-2173

by Scott (KK4Z)

I book my campsites often months in advance to ensure I get a good campsite. This particular trip was postponed twice due to typical life events that take precedence over having a little fun. Even this trip was not without its own issues. My wife and I forgot that this weekend was also Mother’s Day and unknown to us at the time of the booking was that there was going to be a 4 major Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) making an earth strike during the trip.

The last time I witnessed solar storms of this magnatude, I was in Gulfport MS doing EmComm for my Church in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was a humbling experience and it shaped my EmComm Philosophy.

I use the same gear for EmComm and FunComm. The equipment gets tested and exercised, and I remain proficient in its use. I also have an understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.

Most trips I take my go box.

It stays packed and contains everthing except a battery or generator to operate. I do keep a small switching power supply for mains power when it is available. Here is a look at the inside.

I have built rack mount or shelf type go boxes and in general, I do not like them. I have deployed to real disasters and found what I have here works the best for me. I do this enough that I am up and running in minutes. One thing I like is the versatility of being able to adapt my radio to the space I have to set up in. Your Milage May Vary, but for me and my 26 years in EmComm; this works best for me.

This weekend was spent at F.D. Roosevelt State Park (US-2173) near Warm Springs GA. The park was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He suffered from Polio and often would travel to Warm Springs GA for hydrotherapy. He built a residence there often referred to as “The Little White Hose”. During his presidency, he established the Civilian Conservation Core (CCC) during the Great Depression. This provided jobs to young single men to help families who had difficulty finding jobs. The CCC built much of the park.

The park contains 9,049 acres (largest in GA) and is built along the Pine Mountain Ridge. It is the southern most moutain range east of the Mississippi River. The highest point is Dowdell’s Knob at 1,395 ft and is a popular POTA and SOTA (W4G/CE-004) site. I took the Radio Flyer and stayed at the campgrounds near Lake Delano.

I arrived there right at 1300 hrs eastern (check-in time) and quickly got myself settled and ready to go. I knew the solar storms were coming and that my time maybe short. I wanted to finish my kilo here (#6) and needed 310 QSO’s. I had already postponed this trip twice so I was a little edgy. My gear for the trip was my 28.5′ Random Wire Antenna with the Peter my IC-7300. I had my Lenovo Thinkpad T-14 laptop and used mains power. The nice part about the antenna besides it performance, is I get zero complaints from park employees. No wires in the trees nor holes in the ground.

Friday’s band conditions were okay. There was lots pof QSB and I stuck with FT8 (35 watts). CW in these more rural parks can be iffy and this go I needed quantity. I started at 1430 hrs eastern and by oooo hrs Saturday (Friday Night) I had 134 QSO’s and when I quit at 2315 hrs I had a total of 230.

Saturday morning, after a quick breakfast I started up again at 0730 hrs. I operated until 1140 hrs when the bottom dropped. Luckily, I ended up with 338 QSO’s including 3 that were mader after the CME hit.

I decided my time would be best spent at home to spend Mother’s Day with my Lovely Bride so I packed up and headed for the house. My stats refelected band conditions and even though I made quite a few contacts, I only had three DX entities: Alaska, Canada and Mexico. I made contacts in 40 of the 50 states.

Operating this weekend reminded me that as reliable as HF commnications can be, it does have its Achilles Heel. For those in EmComm, never stop practicing, refining your techniques, or keeping your gear in order. For everyone else, it’s just another day in paradise.

73 de Scott

Video:

Activating Silver Sands State Park by pairing the QRP Labs QDX and the FT8CN Android App!

FT8CN Field Report

By: Conrad Trautmann (N2YCH)

February 24, 2024

I successfully activated Silver Sands State Park, K-1716, for Parks on the Air using the FT8CN Android app and a QRP Labs QDX transceiver.  Here’s my field report.

Thinking about ways to further shrink down my mobile kit, I wondered if WSJT-X would run on a mobile phone. After some internet searching and reading various groups.io messages, I discovered that FT8CN is a digital modes app that runs on an Android device. It is also single wire compatible with the QRP Labs QDX transceiver carrying both the CAT control and audio. My goal was to see just how light and compact I could make my digital mode kit. Here’s a look…

Lenovo Android Tablet, QRP Labs QDX transceiver and a Bioenno BLF-1203AB 12V Battery

The Android device is a Lenovo Tab M8 (4th Gen), which can be found on Amazon [affiliate link]for about $80. It has an 8” screen, which is slightly larger than my mobile phone. I was happy to have the extra screen real estate since there’s a lot going on in the app and the size made it easy to see it all.

The FT8CN software can be found at N0BOY’s github site, https://github.com/N0BOY/FT8CN/releases. The most recent revision as of this writing is version 0.92. It’s an .apk file, which to install, you need to give your Android device permission to download via the browser. This is a direct download to the device and not going through the Google Play store, so it hasn’t gone through any security checks or validations. As with any of the software we use in ham radio, caveat emptor, or buyer beware. I would carefully consider this before downloading it to your primary mobile phone.

With that said, if you Google FT8CN, you’ll find plenty of videos and online resources to guide you on how to install it and set it up, so I won’t go into those details here. It’s fairly intuitive and each configurable field has an information button you can click for in-app instructions or explanations of what each does.

The Lenovo tablet has a single USB C port used for charging and connecting external devices, so I used a USB C to USB Type A adapter to connect to the QDX cable. Since this setup only requires a single wire, I plan to use a USB C to USB Type B cable so no adapter will be needed. For the first outing, it worked just fine this way.

The QDX’s on-board audio card and the transceiver control are all integrated into the application. It supports a number of popular transceivers including the QDX. When I connected the USB cable to the tablet, it automatically launched the application and presented a screen to click with the USB port. Once selected, the app displays a message saying the connection was successful.

I brought my Bioenno BLF-1203AB 12 volt battery to power the radio, which is actually larger than the QDX. That’s another opportunity for me to downsize the kit, finding a smaller LiFePo battery. I know some QDX owners use a standard  9 volt battery, that would certainly lighten the load. My QDX is built for 12 volts but it is possible to build it configured for 9 volts and still get full power out.

As pictured above, the entire setup was the 8” tablet, a USB cable connection to the QDX, a power cable from the battery to the QDX and an antenna cable. For the test, I used my Buddipole with a 17’ whip and counterpoise, which I knew would be resonant on 20 meters. I wanted to avoid needing to use a tuner. There is a compact tuner available which is about the same size as the QDX called the ATU-10, which works well if you need one and is about the same size as the QDX. I think it would be great to pair this kit with a Packtenna EFHW 20 meter wire antenna, which is also resonant and tiny enough to pack in a small bag with the rest of the kit.

Equipment List

Extra Items I brought for the test

I did a quick test of my antenna using the RigExpert antenna analyzer and at 14.074 MHz, I had 1.5:1 SWR, so I didn’t need to worry about damaging the final power amplifier on the QDX.

A windy day bending my vertical to one side at K-1716, Silver Sands State Park, Connecticut
AntScope shows a decent match at FT8 frequency.

Once everything was connected, I immediately started receiving stations. Here’s a screen shot of the decodes screen (below). The waterfall is on the left and decode list is on the right.  Odd and even cycles are easy to see with light and dark shading behind them. They are also labeled “0” and “1”.

I think one of the coolest features of this application is the labeling of the stations in the waterfall.

Here’s the same screenshot rotated to see the waterfall more easily.

You can see that the text of the stations calling CQ are a different color than the others. You can also see KS4YT calling CQ POTA. I always try to call other POTA activators when I see them to get the park to park QSO. When a station is calling you, the text is pink. Continue reading Activating Silver Sands State Park by pairing the QRP Labs QDX and the FT8CN Android App!

QRPer Notes: One CW Question, CW Haptic Device, and Easy Elecraft KX2 FT8 & FT4

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to another QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


VE6LK’s “One CW Question” YouTube Series

My good friend, Vince (VE6LK), came up with a great idea a few weeks ago: reach out to CW ops and ask one question that might help newcomers to Morse Code. Each video is 2-3 minutes long and features a number of ham radio operators who operate CW (I’m chuffed to be one of them).  I’ve learned something from each of these videos. Click here for the full playlist, or start watching via the embedded player below:


LICWC CW Haptic Device

Many thanks to Perry (N5PJ) who shares this video from Kyle (AA0Z):


Simple FT8/FT4 via a KX2 and iPhone

Many thanks to Jason (KD9ZHF) who shares the following video from Mark (KD7DTS):

N2YCH: January POTA Travel in Frozen Alaska!

Many thanks to Conrad (N2YCH) who shares the following field report:


Conrad’s January Alaska Activation

By: Conrad Trautmann, N2YCH

Why would you go to Alaska in January?” is what everyone asked me.

I’ve wanted to see the Northern Lights for as long as I can remember. The best time to see the aurora borealis is between late August to late April in Fairbanks, Alaska. Days are short in January, sunrise is at 10:24am local time and sunset is at 3:38pm. It’s twilight before the sun comes up and after it sets so it’s not pitch dark, but it’s mostly dark for about 19 hours a day in Fairbanks at this time of year. Once I began researching, I learned that peak viewing times for the aurora are between 10p and 2a local time even with the extended darkness. Check aurorasaurus.org for more information.

So, the answer to the question is, “The odds are better to catch the Northern Lights in the winter.”

Cold weather and snow doesn’t bother me having lived in Syracuse, New York for ten years. I have experience with winter weather and driving. Fairbanks is one of the best places in the state to see the aurora since it is directly below the “Aurora Oval” and it has over 100 days a year when the aurora is visible. Except for January 12th through the 15th, 2024, when the sky had 98% cloud cover and it was snowing. Aurora viewing was not happening during my visit.

However, this trip was not a total loss by any means. There are things to see and do here, including activating parks! I activated three parks in three days, Denali National Park (K-0022), Chena River State Recreation Area (K-7228) and Creamer’s Field Wildlife Refuge (K-9697). I’ve heard stories from hams in Alaska that propagation can be spotty, that there can be total radio blackouts from solar flares and that bands we don’t usually worry about in the lower 48, like 20 meters, can be useless at times. I packed enough equipment and antennas to activate on any band from 40 meters to 6 meters, up to 100 watts using my Elecraft KX3 with the Elecraft KXPA100 amplifier. On the first day at Denali, I used the amp for the entire activation, but I realized at the end of the day that Thomas, K4SWL, who runs “QRPer.com” wouldn’t be too happy with a field report from “QROer.com” Conrad, N2YCH. To remedy that, I activated my second park using just my KX3, no amp. At K-7228, my first 11 QSO’s were QRP and the park was officially activated using only QRP power. I activated my third park QRO, read on and I’ll explain why.

[Thomas here: For the record, readers, I gave Conrad a Special Use Permit to mention QRO on QRPer! Ha ha! Of course there’s no problem going QRO from time to time!]

Back to propagation, I emailed one of the most active POTA activators in the area prior to my trip to get a sense of what to expect. I highly recommend doing this for anyone planning to travel somewhere and activate. Look at the POTA pages for the parks you want to activate and you’ll surely see a repeat activator with a Kilo award or many visits to those parks. They know the parks the best and also what to expect for propagation. They also share your passion for POTA and are usually very happy to help. The advice I received was that it would be difficult to make contacts on 20 meters and that watching the MUF (maximum usable frequency) charts would serve me well. (Check out hf.dxview.org) The activator said 10 meters would probably be the best band during daylight hours. He was exactly right. Even with QRO power, 20 meter reception in Alaska was noisy and my signal did not get out very far on FT8 watching the pskreporter.com spot map. I moved to 10 meters and quickly had a steady pile up. I stayed on the air until I depleted a 9ah and a 3ah battery I brought. What fun!

Okay, so for the QRP activation, I was at a trailhead parking area out near the Chena Hot Springs resort. Before the activation, I stopped and did the tour of the Aurora Ice Museum and took a dip in the natural hot springs. I do recommend the hot springs if you ever go to Fairbanks. It was -10F degrees when I was there, quite an experience.

Chena Hot Springs

I intentionally wanted to delay my activation from early morning to closer to sunset to see if operating during the evening gray line passing over would help improve the number of contacts I could get. The short answer is that it was worse…way worse. I went back to activating closer to sunrise on my third day and had similar results as I did the first day, much better. Sunrise wins.

The map above shows my initial ten QRP QSO’s from K-7228.

What really continues to amaze me is just how far my signal can reach with the portable equipment I was using. I brought the Buddipole so I could configure it as a vertical or a dipole. I tried it as a vertical on 20 meters on my first day and as I said, the reception was poor. The beauty of the Buddipole is that I could quickly reconfigure it to a 10 meter dipole. With the tripod, it’s roughly 10’ off the ground. There was no wind to speak of, so I didn’t need to guy it. If there was, I would have used a bungee cord to secure it to the car bumper or side mirror.

It breaks down and fits in the bag I bought with the Buddipole tripod and I tossed it into my checked bag on the plane. With the tripod and mast, it’s just a little too long for the carry-on bag. I could have brought a fiberglass push up mast and wire antennas in my carry-on, but I decided on the checked bag and brought the Buddipole to have as many options as possible. After all, I was traveling all the way to Alaska. Continue reading N2YCH: January POTA Travel in Frozen Alaska!

BG6LH Designs a Board for Integrated Yaesu FT-817/818 FT8 Operation

Many thanks to Cao (BG6LH) who writes:

Hi, Thomas!

I would like to share my QRP FT8 kit for Field Operation.

A long time ago, I was seeking the most lightweight QRP kits for FT8 field operation. My goal was to have just one radio, one antenna, one phone, without too many cables, boxes, etc.

Finally, I designed a PCB. It is a Bluetooth DIGI Adapter and can be mounted on the rear panel of my FT-818.

Just plug it to the DATA and ACC jacks. It can be powered by ACC jack’s 13.8V Pin.

It works well with FT8CN, an android FT8 app.

Now, my dream has come true!

My Antenna was a so-called GAWANT, designed by JF1QHZ, I guess it’s a simple Vertical EFHW. I built it with a 1.2 meter rod.

It’s working on 7~28MHz bands, not very efficient, but so small and portable.

For FT8 QRP POTA, field operation, all of these components can be put in a small bag, and deployed in minutes.

I shared my PCB design on Github. If anyone wants to modify it, you are welcome to do so!

https://github.com/BG6LH/FT-81x-BT-DIGI-Adaptor

Thank you for sharing this, Cao. This is absolutely amazing and an incredibly clever design! I suspect a lot of FT-818/817 enthusiasts will make this same build via your design!

Thank you for reaching out and for sharing your work with the QRP community! 

Field Report: Dave ventures into the fog to play FT8 POTA!

Many thanks to Dave (K1SWL) who shares the following field report:


October 6th POTA activation

by Dave (K1SWL)

I’m pretty much a died-in-the-wool CW guy. I’m not averse to dabbling in other modes, though. Friday, October 6, 2023, was such an occasion. I’d noted that there’d been little recent Digital activity in one of our area’s Parks. As if it needs more familiarity, it looms over I-91 only three miles from the Connecticut river. As a result, it’s been activated more than 75 times.

This was Mount Ascutney State Park in VT, and at 3144′, features a paved road to the summit. Off I went!

Finding a parking space at the summit lot wasn’t an issue. The top of the mountain was socked in above 2500 feet. Visibility was 30 to 50 feet, and sightseers were inexplicably scarce.

I normally use a 20M end-fed antenna and homebrew pneumatic launcher. The stunted trees at that elevation made that less practical. I used instead Hustler resonators for 10M and 20M atop the truck cab on a mag mount. I usually consider that setup a compromise, but at 2000 feet above average terrain (HAAT), it didn’t matter.

The operating position inside the truck is quite comfortable. A melamine-clad slab serves as the operating surface. (see above) The chain at the far end was a design ‘iteration’. I’d originally just supported that end on the passenger-side arm rest. I’d operated from the driver’s side, and one day got out, went around and absent-mindedly opened the passenger door. The whole station headed for the ground. I caught the rig but the Vibroplex Iambic paddles were a loss. A fabulous excuse for a Begali- and a hard protective case! When I’m operating from the truck, an IC-706MKIIg and 15-AH Bioenno battery does the honors. If gear needs to be carried any distance, the KX3 makes more sense. The station itself takes two minutes at most to set up.

So how’d it work out? A closeup of the WSJT-X screen (seee above) illustrates it. (The device is an MS Surface.) I was getting as many as 3 replies to my CQs at a time. I wound up ‘interleaving’ three contacts at a time. It got confusing! I need to look into ‘Fox/Hounds’ operation to speed things up for the future.

All in all- a great success. A total of 62 FT8 contacts in a little over 2 hours. 16 of these were on 10M at the start and the balance on 20M. The attached QSO Map (att. 4) shows the contact distribution- mainly eastern US with a few Europeans for good measure. Will I do it again? You bet!

73- K1SWL

Field Radio Kit Gallery: KI7URL’s (tr)USDx Ultralight Portable Kit

Many thanks to Jim (KI7URL) who shares the following article about his portable field radio kit which will be featured on our Field Kit Gallery pageIf you would like to share your field kit with the QRPer community, read this post. Jim writes:


(tr)USDx Ultralight Portable Kit

by Jim (KI7URL)

I like to take amateur radio with me wherever I go. In my backpack, I keep a Yaesu FT-60 (powered by 18650 batteries, but that is a different discussion). But I do not like to limit myself to VHF/UHF.

My wife, on the other hand, does not think my “go bag” should take up a significant portion of our suitcase when we travel. I did build a slimmed-down go kit with my Yaesu 891, but that was still north of 12 pounds (vetoed by Wife). Then, I made a go kit with my Yaesu 818, but that was still near the 10-pound zone (again, vetoed). I needed a slimmer package.

I turned to the likes of the QCX mini or other CW-only radios. The problem is that I still am far from proficient with my code, so relying only on CW was a bit more frustrating than I wanted it to be. The (tr)USDx, an open-source radio about the size of two stacked decks of cards, interested me in both price point and functionality. It has SSB, CW, and digital capabilities….on five different bands! Once it was in my hands, I had to build a kit around this new radio!

I want to keep my radio protected, so I started with a small dry box. On the inside, I printed a ‘redneck laminated’ (see also: packing taped) a quick setup guide for using the radio on digital modes if I ever have an in-field case of “the dumb.”

The radio is powered by a small RC battery. I chose this for size, weight, and availability (had it lying around from another project). When fully charged, it reads 12.6 volts. I added powerpole connectors to it because who does love powerpoles (be careful not to short the battery when adding power poles)? I have a small power adapter that goes from powerpoles to the 1.3mm connector so I can use my bench supply or other power sources without making another cable.

I have two antennas that I use (a K6ARK end fed and a QRP Guys No-Tune end fed with 26 gauge wire for 20m). But I like the QRP Guys one because I mostly do 20m and I think it was slightly lighter than the K6ARK antenna (don’t quote me on that though, I loaned the K6ARK one out and have not gotten it back). Plus, not having a tuner lightens my load as well!

Deployed for digital modes.

I have a retired smartphone in my kit that I use for some logging and some other ham-related apps, but mostly for FT8 using the FT8CN app. I also have WoAD on there and soon I hope I can get WinLink functionality with a small TNC as per this video by OH8STN. HF WinLink would be a good benefit with a lighter load than packing in a laptop or Raspberry Pi.

The kit weighs in at 2 pounds 6 ounces (just over a kilogram). This could be stripped down if I only did an SSB, Digital, or, gasp, a CW activation. But as it stands, the small form factor and low weight make the wife happy!

73,
Jim
KI7URL

Equipment:

Conrad’s Kayak POTA Activation on Minnie Island

Minnie Island K-1698 Kayak Activation

by Conrad (N2YCH)

9/1/2023

As many readers know, I am on a Parks on the Air (POTA) quest to activate all references in the state of Connecticut. There are 136 parks, and four of them are only accessible by boat. You may have seen my recent field report here on QRPer.com about activating three islands located in the Connecticut River. For those islands, I enlisted professional help from a boat captain with the navigation experience and proper tools (like radar and maps) to access those islands.

The final boat-only accessible island is Minnie Island, located in the middle of Gardner Lake in the town of Salem, Connecticut. I DO have experience kayaking on a Lake, thanks to my uncle, who has two kayaks and has taken me out on Tillson Lake in New York’s Hudson Valley a number of times. Unlike the challenges the river posed, I felt like I could manage the lake on my own. I did need a kayak, though, which I didn’t own.

I had to do some kayak research then. In case you didn’t know this, different kayaks have different specifications on how much weight they can hold. I’m a big guy, six foot five inches tall. Add me, plus a backpack of radio equipment, and I needed to be sure I didn’t sink.

I started on eBay, looking for people selling used kayaks. There are all different kinds of kayaks. Some made for the ocean and dealing with waves and others for casual lake paddler. Some have rudders, some have small, sealed cockpits and some even have motors. I had no idea how serious you could get with all of the accessories and options. I was really looking for something simple.

After striking out on eBay, I found a fishing supply store at the end of the Connecticut River that also had kayaks you could rent. I visited their web site and was happy to see that they were having an end of season clearance sale, where they were selling their rentals. I visited their shop and after looking at my options, I ended up buying an Old Town Vapor 10 kayak. It came with a paddle and life jacket and it was 50% of the price new. A great bargain. The added benefit is now I own my own kayak…a friend suggested that now that I do, there might be IOTA activations in my future.

What sold me on the Vapor 10 was the open cockpit. No trying to squeeze myself in and plenty of room to bring a backpack with the radio equipment in-between my legs. Also, I was able to fit it into my Jeep Wrangler.

Next stop, the Gardner Lake Boat Launch, which was about a 30 minute drive North. Continue reading Conrad’s Kayak POTA Activation on Minnie Island

Scott’s Georgia Parks On The Air weekend field report

Many thanks to Scott (KK4Z) who shares the following post from his blog KK4Z.com:


Georgia Parks on the Air at FD Roosevelt SP K-2173

Friday evening, Mary K4SEZ and I traveled to FD Roosevelt State Park for a weekend in a very nice cabin. The cabin is located on Pine Mountain with some exceptional views. As you can guess, I brought some radios with me. I went QRV right before 1800 hrs. local to make sure all my equipment worked prior to the contest. Besides, the contest I had a regional HF net that I needed to check into Saturday morning. The contest starts at 0800 hrs local Saturday and the net was also at 0800 and lasted about 20 minutes.

Friday night was amazing! Twenty and forty meters was wide open. Using FT8, I made 223 contacts between 1800 hrs Friday and 0300 hrs Saturday morning. I worked stations as far west as Japan and Australia and as far east as Rwanda, Ukraine, and European Russia. Unfortunately, the rest of the weekend was not near as exciting. Between 0800 hrs Saturday morning and 1230 hrs Sunday, I made an additional 477 contacts. The bands were up and down and the pace was a little slower. I worked 48 States and 34 countries when it was all said and done. Sunday morning had an opening on 10 meters and I made 19 contacts many into Europe. In total, I had 700 contacts.

My antenna was my tried and true homebrew 28.5-foot random wire antenna which I named my K4SWL antenna as the original idea from Tom.  It uses one 17-foot counterpoise.  On this trip, the wire I used was 14 ga (I think), coated Flexweave I got from The Wireman many years ago.  I was using some 20-something gauge I got from SOTABeams but because I use this antenna a lot, I worried about the thin wire breaking.  I use a 9:1 UnUn with a 1:1 current BalUn to help with matching.  The antenna is matched by an LDG RT/RC 100 matching unit.  This is fairly new to and so far I like it. The tuning circuit out by the antenna helps keep stray RF out of the shack. It was also quite windy here Friday night and Saturday.  The antenna held up well.  The only issues I had were some of the sections on my MFJ push-up pole would collapse affecting the tuning.  This pole is probably nearly 20 years old and should be replaced.

The radio was “The Rock” my IC-7300. I ran FT8 the whole time at 35-45 watts and the temperature gauge on the radio never moved past cool. Now that the FTDX10 has found a home in the shack, it’s nice to have my old friend back in the field with me.

The cabin is located on the ridge line of Pine Mountain, elevation ~1250′ ASL. Besides great views, it also gave my antenna a large aperture which may account for the many DX contacts I made.

I mainly worked FT8 as I also had to listen to a couple of conferences on the Internet and didn’t want to disturb my wife when she was doing things other than radio. We had a nice weekend away and of course, being able to bring radios is a huge bonus. When I get back home and settled, I may send the log to the GA POTA people. I don’t really contest anymore but they might find it useful for cross-checking.

Here is a YouTube Video of the activation.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to read this post and much more at KK4Z.com!

From idea to kit: Adam introduces the Arduino Digital Modes HF QRP Transceiver (ADX-S) kit

Many thanks to Adam (BD6CR) who shares the following guest post about his latest project:


From Open Source Project ADX to Kit ADX-S

by Adam (BD6CR)

BD6CR @ CRKits.COM

Original Design: WB2CBA

Modification and Kitting: BD6CR

I knew Barb, WB2CBA from his uSDX design a few years ago and I introduced both DL2MAN and his designs in my blog. So, when I came across the ADX – Arduino Digital Xcvr a few months ago, I immediately ordered both the ADX (through hole) and the ADX UNO (surface mount) PCB samples.

I started building the ADX UNO and put it in a dental floss case and made a few contacts on park bench. However, the soldering is too much for my eyesight. So, I turned back to the ADX because I don’t need to solder any SMD parts, since both the M328P and SI5351 are module based. I could build the project in 3 hours and it worked the first time.

However, I felt unsatisfied with the strong BCI since the CD2003 radio receiver chip was connected as a direct conversion receiver. JE1RAV mentioned in his QP-7C modification project that he tried JA9TTT’s idea to build a superhet SSB receiver with the TA2003 or CD2003, so I tried and it worked very well. I have decided to name the new circuit as ADX-S, where S stands for Superhet.

I shared the great news with Barb and he encouraged me to carry the flag to make it a kit, since my design D4D was his first digital radio and he loved it.

You can refer to Barb’s page on ADX here.

My hardware modification can be outlined in this schematic. I have added an FL1, PFB455JR ceramic filter by Murata and a C25 coupling capacitor from CLK2 of SI5351 module. The RX audio comes from pin 11 instead of pin 4.

I modified it by cutting two traces on the ADX PCB and it looked ugly, so I redrew the PCB. Continue reading From idea to kit: Adam introduces the Arduino Digital Modes HF QRP Transceiver (ADX-S) kit