Arduino CW Keyer Project (Alpha)

In order to get my first license (Technician Plus) with HF privileges, I had to learn morse code at a level of 5 words per minute. To upgrade to General, you had to learn 13 words per minute and to upgrade to the Extra Class, you had to learn 20 words per minute. I was always told it is better to try and practice at 13 word per minute as you can pick it up better with the right spacing but I never made it that far. A local ham who is SK now bent over backwards to help me learn morse code by sending to me over the air and allowing me to use tapes that he had to practice copying. I passed the test 1st time out because of the work that he put in.

Ever since I got licensed after passing the 5 words per minutes code requirement, I did not touch it again. This was not due to lack of interest, from what I can tell, but lack of time. You need to keep using it in order to stay proficient but you don’t really lose it all. I find myself send in my head occasionally, lol… I do feel bad for not pursuing the CW part of the hobby because I have missed out on some nice contacts and contests. Because I have lost some of the characters, I need to practice to get proficient again.

Since the requirement to pass the CW portion of the test was removed by the ARRL years ago, which I feel should not have happened, it made it easier for more and more people to get into the hobby. CW was a challenge and a good one. It challenges your mind and hand coordination and will always remain as a reliable means of communicating with other hams and even during emergencies, with other agencies on HF. Lately, the sun has been very upset and the radio conditions on HF have been less than perfect. Now, off of my soapbox and on to the project at hand. 😀

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First off, I want to thank Anthony (K3NG) for the hard work in the software for this project. If it wasn’t for the software, this may have never gotten done. To help myself learn CW and jump in with both feet, I am going to be building a copy of the K3NG CW keyer which has a lot of capability to work with. According to his web site, located at http://blog.radioartisan.com/arduino-cw-keyer/ here are the capabilities that are in place at this time. This is an awesome thing to play with and well worth it once complete. Below will show what I am doing and what I am using to make this project work with my hardware.

The features, which are available through the king_keyer application firmware, are located within the file called keyer_features_and_options.h. This gives a list of available features and options that you can add or remove from the firmware depending on your needs and or space available. From what Anthony told me, all I need to do is uncomment the FEATURE_ lines that I want and recompile to the Arduino Mega. There should not be any special configuration required to make the Mega work with this firmware.

Features

  • CW speed adjustable from 1 to 999 WPM
  • Up to six selectable transmitter keying lines
  • Programming and interfacing via USB port (“command line interface”)
  • USB or PS2 Keyboard Interface for CW keyboard operation without a computer
  • Logging and Contest Program Interfacing via K1EL Winkey 1.0 and 2.0 interface protocol emulation
  • Optional PTT outputs with configurable lead, tail, and hang times
  • Optional LCD Display – Classic 4 bit mode , Adafruit I2C RGB display or YourDuino I2C LCD Display
  • Up to 12 memories with macros
  • Serial numbers
  • CW keyboard (via a terminal server program like Putty or the Arduino Serial program)
  • Speed potentiometer (optional – speed also adjustable with commands)
  • QRSS and HSCW
  • Beacon / Fox mode
  • Iambic A and B
  • Straight key mode
  • Ultimatic mode
  • Bug mode
  • CMOS Super Keyer Iambic B Timing
  • Paddle reverse
  • Hellschreiber mode (keyboard sending, memory macro, beacon)
  • Farnsworth Timing
  • Adjustable frequency sidetone
  • Sidetone disable / sidetone high/low output for keying outboard audio oscillator
  • Command mode for using the paddle to change settings, program memories, etc.
  • Keying Compensation
  • Dah to Dit Ratio adjustment
  • Weighting
  • Callsign receive practice
  • Send practice
  • Memory stacking
  • “Dead Operator Watchdog”
  • Autospace
  • Wordspace Adjustment
  • Pre-configured and Custom Prosigns
  • Non-volatile storage of most settings
  • Modular code design allowing selection of features and easy code modification
  • Non-English Character Support
  • CW Receive Decoder (EXPERIMENTAL)
  • Rotary Encoder Speed Control
  • Sleep Mode
  • USB Mouse Support
  • Mayhew LED Ring Support
  • Alphabet Sending Practice
  • QLF / Straight Key Emulation (NEW)
  • USB Keyboard HID (Human Interface Device) Interface (Keyer = keyboard for your computer) (NEW)

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There has been a major change in CW keyer project that I was originally looking into, using this software, which I need to explain. I was originally looking at using the Arduino Yun for the CW keyer project which could also allow remote control via the “Bridge” over a web browser. This could have been done by tying into the web server portion of OpenWRT on the linux side the Yun and talking across to the ATmega programming. I found out that in order to take advantage of the full capability that the firmware has, I would have to look at a different hardware solution. The Yun could not support the firmware due to the size of the ATmega chip used on that device. The Yun uses an ATmega32u4 which is has a flash memory of 32kb (of which 4kb is used be the boot loader). It was recommended to use the Arduino Nano, which houses either 512 bytes (ATmega168) or 1 KB (ATmega328). I am not so sure about this, but many of these keyer projects are using the Nano for their size. I decided to go with the Arduino Mega 2560 which houses 256kb of flash memory (of which 8kb is used by the boot loader). I felt that if I wanted to use all of the capabilities that the firmware was offering, then this would give me the room to do so. There are other considers here as well.

Below shows the Digital / PWM / Analog Pins which are available on each Arduino and you can see another reason why I chose the Mega for this. To have LED’s, buttons, switches, and jacks, the more connections the better. Now, in the circuit, I’m sure that not all of these pins will be used for this as there are ways to tie connections together through a single line such as grounding and the 5 volt line to power the circuit.

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Arduino Nano Pins

Digital I/O Pins 14

PWM Pins 6

Analog I/O Pins 8

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Arduino Yun Pins

Digital I/O Pins 20

PWM Pins 7

Analog I/O Pins 12

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Arduino Mega 2560 Pins

Digital I/O Pins 54

PWM Pins 15

Analog I/O Pins 16

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ARDUINO MEGA 2560 SPECS

If interested, here are the technical specifications for the Arduino Mega R3. You will want to pay attention to the digital pins, analog pins and clock speed (CW Decoding).

Technical specs
Microcontroller ATmega2560
Operating Voltage 5V
Input Voltage (recommended) 7-12V
Input Voltage (limit) 6-20V
Digital I/O Pins 54 (of which 15 provide PWM output)
Analog Input Pins 16
DC Current per I/O Pin 20 mA
DC Current for 3.3V Pin 50 mA
Flash Memory 256 KB of which 8 KB used by bootloader
SRAM 8 KB
EEPROM 4 KB
Clock Speed 16 MHz
Length 101.52 mm
Width 53.3 mm
Weight 37 g

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One thing that is standing out as a change which has taken me some time to get documented is the pin layout of the Arduino Mega which is very different from the Yun and Uno that I have. As you can see below, there is a separate digital section which starts with pin 22 and goes to pin 53. Pins 23, 25, 27, and 29 appear to be 5V Pins and the digital ground is in the lower right for use by digital signals. The analog pin layout is across the bottom and are labeled A0 to A15. The power for the analog section is before the pins with two ground pins and a 5V pin. The way this is shown should give us plenty to work with when building out this keyer and the features in the firmware.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.47.09 AM

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K3NG KEYER SCHEMATIC

I have attached the schematic that K3NG put together on the original CW Keyer project. I will be using this for the major part of the build, but will be adding things like an LCD for programming and CW decoding. Since the pin layout will be different on the Arduino Mega, please ignore the pin numbering shown below as they will be changed in the programming to fit our Arduino Mega.

k3ng-keyer-schematic-2012052101

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ARDUINO 2560 Mega SCHEMATIC

Below shows the schematic for the Arduino Mega to give everyone a better feel for what this looks like. This can be found at https://www.arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/arduino-mega2560_R3-sch.pdf

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.59.59 PM

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Now that we have the schematics and other information needed, it is time to get this build underway. One thing to remember while working with the prototype boards, “SLOW DOWN AND TAKE YOUR TIME” It is very easy to make a mistake and short something out, if not careful. Below shows an example as to why you need to slow down and watch. In the below example for the Blink sketch, there are some green highlighted areas. These show the 5v (Red) connections across the top of the board, the negative (Black) right below. What I want you to look at are how the parts are laid out. There are green lines showing that each vertical line on the board are a single piece of metal inside. So if you connect the LED up like it is and try to hook something else up in the same trace, it will not work or could short the LED.

simplefade_bb

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CONFUSION

I was looking at the schematic and the symbols used show 5 x 0.01 microfarad (Electrolytic) Capacitors, 1 x 100 microfarad (Electrolytic) Capacitor and for the input audio circuit, 1 x 0.1 microfarad (Ceramic) Disk capacitor. The reason that I am bringing this up now is to help with what the circuit needs. While reading Anthony’s web site, the 5 x 0.01 microfarad capacitors should be ceramic disk capacitors and the 100 microfarad capacitor should be an electrolytic capacitor as well. It looks like the 0.1 microfarad capacitor in the input circuit should be a ceramic disk capacitor, that I will show later on in this post.

1. Ceramic Disk Capacitor

2. Electrolytic Capacitor

Capacitors

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INSTALL FIRMWARE TO ARDUINO MEGA

Let’s start with making sure that the build can be sent to the Arduino Mega with no hardware or compile issues. In order to do this, below are the steps that I used to get the firmware onto the Arduino Mega. These are the same steps used when uploading any sketch to any arduino using the IDE application shown below.

– Make sure that you have the Arduino IDE package installed from here – https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

– Download the firmware from this location – https://github.com/k3ng/k3ng_cw_keyer

– Since the above link if from GitHub, when you visit that link, go to the right side of the screen, and click on Download Zip

– Unzip the file into the folder into your Arduino sketch folder

– Before compiling and uploading your sketch, just take some time and go through the .h files to make sure it has everything you need for this build. For example, we need to change the pin layout to make sure that we have the pins set to what we need. We also need to uncomment features that we are looking for, etc. By doing this now, we will save time during the build and troubleshooting phases of this project.

– This should compile just fine, but I ran into an issue with the compiler saying the goertzel.h file was missing. To fix this, just go into the libraries folder and copy that file out into the main project folder and compile again. It should work just fine this time.

– If for some reason, the above does not work, try to load the Blink sketch from the IDE and see if it loads without error. If it has errors as well, change your USB cable and try again.

– Always remember that any changes to the code will require a reupload to the Arduino.

– If the .h files are located in the correct locations and you get errors, try to close the IDE and restart it again. Sometimes the IDE has problems with files being moved around while it is operational and can not see the changes live.

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ARDUINO PINS with keyer_pin_settings.h

Below shows the pin layout which is located in the file keyer_pin_settings.h. The setting that you see below are the default settings that come with the file. I have not changed them yet.

/* Pins - you must review these and configure ! */
#ifndef keyer_pin_settings_h
#define keyer_pin_settings_h
#define paddle_left 2
#define paddle_right 5
#define tx_key_line_1 11       // (high = key down/tx on)
#define tx_key_line_2 12
#define tx_key_line_3 0
#define tx_key_line_4 0
#define tx_key_line_5 0
#define tx_key_line_6 0
#define sidetone_line 4         // connect a speaker for sidetone
#define potentiometer A0        // Speed potentiometer (0 to 5 V) Use pot from 1k to 10k
#define ptt_tx_1 0              // PTT ("push to talk") lines
#define ptt_tx_2 0              //   Can be used for keying fox transmitter, T/R switch, or keying slow boatanchors
#define ptt_tx_3 0              //   These are optional - set to 0 if unused
#define ptt_tx_4 0
#define ptt_tx_5 0
#define ptt_tx_6 0
#define cw_decoder_pin A11 //A5 //A3  // if using OPTION_CW_DECODER_GOERTZEL_AUDIO_DETECTOR this must be an analog pin!
#define cw_decoder_indicator 24
#define tx_key_dit 0            // if defined, goes high for dit (any transmitter)
#define tx_key_dah 0            // if defined, goes high for dah (any transmitter)

#ifdef FEATURE_COMMAND_BUTTONS
#define analog_buttons_pin A1
#define command_mode_active_led 0
#endif //FEATURE_COMMAND_BUTTONS


//lcd pins
#ifdef FEATURE_LCD_4BIT
#define lcd_rs A2
#define lcd_enable 10
#define lcd_d4 6
#define lcd_d5 7
#define lcd_d6 8
#define lcd_d7 9
#endif //FEATURE_LCD_4BIT

#ifdef FEATURE_LCD1602_N07DH
#define lcd_rs 8
#define lcd_enable 9
#define lcd_d4 4
#define lcd_d5 5
#define lcd_d6 6
#define lcd_d7 7
#endif //FEATURE_LCD1602_N07DH

//ps2 keyboard pins
#ifdef FEATURE_PS2_KEYBOARD
#define ps2_keyboard_data A3
#define ps2_keyboard_clock 3    // this must be on an interrupt capable pin!
#endif //FEATURE_PS2_KEYBOARD

// rotary encoder pins and options - rotary encoder code from Jim Balls M0CKE
#ifdef FEATURE_ROTARY_ENCODER
#define OPTION_ENCODER_HALF_STEP_MODE     // Half-step mode?
#define rotary_pin1 0                      // CW Encoder Pin
#define rotary_pin2 0                    // CCW Encoder Pin
#define OPTION_ENCODER_ENABLE_PULLUPS     // define to enable weak pullups.
#endif //FEATURE_ROTARY_ENCODER

#ifdef FEATURE_LED_RING
#define led_ring_sdi    A10 //2    //Data
#define led_ring_clk    A9 //3    //Clock
#define led_ring_le     A8 //4    //Latch
#endif //FEATURE_LED_RING

#ifdef FEATURE_ALPHABET_SEND_PRACTICE
#define correct_answer_led 0
#define wrong_answer_led 0
#endif //FEATURE_ALPHABET_SEND_PRACTICE

#ifdef FEATURE_PTT_INTERLOCK
#define ptt_interlock 0  // this pin disables PTT and TX KEY
#endif //FEATURE_PTT_INTERLOCK

#endif //keyer_pin_settings_h

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ARDUINO MEGA POWER CONNECTIONS

Now that we have we the features chosen and the compiled release added to the Arduino Mega, we can start with the physical build and troubleshooting parts as they come along. I started by separating the voltage lines on the breadboard to make sure that I had what was need for the appropriate pin selections. This also shows what I was referring to about where the digital and analog voltage lines are located. Analog across bottom, digital on the right side or back side of the board. This should get us the voltage required for the circuit to work just fine. Now, I was told that there did not appear to be any separation between the analog and digital sections of this Mega, as far as we can tell. I am still researching to see if these are separate on purpose on just board or if they are electronically separate.

On the prototype board that I am using, there are two sets of voltage pins, the positive (5v) and negative (GND), which located on the top and the bottom. The positive (5v) lines are usually on the inside while the negative (GND) are usually on the outside. Depending on how small of large of the project, you could place the positive (5v) on the top and negative (GND) on the bottom to have them separated better.

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SUGGESTION: When you start to build this project out, don’t go with just 5volts to the arduino board. Go ahead and invest in a 12 volt supply for this project. The reason is that an LCD display, LED bulbs, etc will be added and could cause a drain from the main board. I have witnessed this already so I added a 12V 1.5 amp power supply and this project became more stable. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.54.12 AM

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ADD BUTTONS TO KEYER

Now we will look at adding the buttons to the board to make sure that we have room to build this out. According to the schematic below, there are six buttons which can be added. One button for the command section and programming and the others are memory buttons. You can add on as many as you need for this project. The buttons appear to be single pull / single throw buttons where one terminal is tied together with 1k resistors throughout the build. The initial resistor being added before the buttons is a 10k, according to the schematic. The resistors connect from the terminal back to the 5 volt line. The line heading off the page goes from the same voltage terminal to the analog pin 18 which will be changed to another pin to fit our Arduino Mega. The terminal connecting the actuator of the button is connecting to the ground.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.00.34 AM

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ADDING LED’s

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COMMAND AND MEMORY BUTTON CONFIGURATION

I have decided to break this out a little more than I should so that I can show what I am doing in the prototype build process. Below, you can see that I have left the voltage lines as they are for now, until I figure out if they are needed. Normally, I will use red wire for voltage leads and black for GND, but my wire kit that has the smaller wires, does not have black or red in the appropriate lengths. In the first image, I have added the buttons per the schematic. The first button will be the command / program button while the other buttons are set aside for memory usage at this time.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 8.00.16 AM

As I mentioned above, my project wire kit does not the proper color wires in the right lengths, so I went with what I had. In the second image, I added the grounds between the buttons and connected them to a single ground point at the bottom. By doing it this way, I have cleaned up a mess.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 8.00.02 AM

In the third image, it was time to add the resistors to the buttons. As this is a prototype, I wanted to hold off in cutting things down, until I was sure that this was going to work. As you can see, I connected a 10k resistor to the 5V line at the top and added 5 1k resistors in parallel between each button. Now we need to make a decision as to where the connection gets made to the Arudino Mega. I am looking at using Pin Analog 0 (A0) for this connection as I have not set it aside yet.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.59.48 AM

I have move a pin from the 10k resistor up one hole position and connected the wire that is going to the Arduino Mega. According to the schematic, it appears that this does go between the 10k and first 1k resistor.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 8.21.24 AM

This should get us some operational buttons to help test our project. In order to get the command buttons to work, you have to uncomment the FEATURE_COMMAND_BUTTONS, FEATURE_MEMORIES and the FEATURE_MEMORY_MACROS located in the keyer_features_and_options.h file. If you forget this step, it will not work. So now we want to make sure that the pin settings are set correctly in the keyer_pin_settings.h file. Below, I have chosen Analog A0 as the analog_buttons_pin. Currently, command_mode_active_led is set to a not active state. I have set this to pin 26 for the test. Once you have made the changes to the code, you can keep building or go ahead and upload to the Arduino Mega for testing. I would go ahead and press the compile button with the IDE to make sure these pins are set and ready.

#ifdef FEATURE_COMMAND_BUTTONS
#define analog_buttons_pin A0
#define command_mode_active_led 26
#endif //FEATURE_COMMAND_BUTTONS

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Now we need to add an LED so that we know if the command mode is active.

As you can see, I connected the positive lead to digital pin 26 with a 220k resistor in line to protect the bulb. The negative side of the LED is connected to the ground just above it. The program is telling port 26 that when the button is pressed, it should turn the LED on as a status reminder that we are in command mode of the keyer.
Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 10.57.57 AM

 

Below shows the result of pressing the first button, which is the command button. The LED which will be used, lit up when the button was pressed the first time and when off when it was pressed again. This is the expected behavior from the code changes that were made.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 10.58.12 AM

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Here is a schematic that I put together for the command and memory button with an indicator LED.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.07.19 AM

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SPEED POTENTIOMETER ADDON

Now that we have the command button in place, let’s add the speed control potentiometer to the project. There are three pins to these, a positive 5V, a ground and a wiper or analog input pin. The positive 5v pin will be on the left, the analog input in the middle and the ground on the right. Below shows the difference between the front and back of the potentiometer. The back has the notches in it where the front has the nomenclature of the potentiometer on it. Make sure that the front the potentiometer is pointing away from the buttons so that you know which is clockwise and counter-clockwise. Below is from the keyer_pin_settings.h file on a recommendation for this. I would go ahead and press the compile button with the IDE to make sure these pins are set and ready.

Speed potentiometer (0 to 5 V) Use pot from 1k to 10k

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.32.36 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.32.46 PM

When adding a real potentiometer for the real project, below shows the connections and where they connect to the potentiometer. Pin1 is 5v, pin2 is the input connection and pin3 is the negative or ground connection. There will be two potentiometers, so far, an LCD dimmer, and a CW speed control. If you are unfamiliar with adding a potentiometer, this URL has great information about that subject.

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Potentiometer

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.18.29 AM

As you can see from the clip of the schematic below, the potentiometer is going to be out CW speed control from 1 – 999 words per minute (WPM). I would be lucky to pick out 5 WPM at this point…lol. The left pin will connect to the 5v connection like the command button did.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.49.14 PM

 

I have connected the positive lead to the 5v strip at the top. The negative side of the potentiometer is connected to the ground at the top as well. The wiper or analog input pin is connected to the Arduino Mega on pin A1. This will give us the speed control for the CW keyer.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 1.06.11 PM

 

This should get us some operational speed potentiometer to help test our project. In order to get the command buttons to work, you have to uncomment the FEATURE_POTENTIOMETER and FEATURE_ROTARY_ENCODER located in the keyer_features_and_options.h file. If you forget this step, it will not work. If you uncomment this feature without the potentiometer in place, noise could falsely trigger WPM changes in the code. So now we want to make sure that the pin settings are set correctly in the keyer_pin_settings.h file. Below, I have chosen Analog A1 as the analog_buttons_pin. Once you have made the changes to the code, you can keep building or go ahead and upload to the Arduino Mega for testing. I would go ahead and press the compile button with the IDE to make sure these pins are set and ready.

#define potentiometer A1

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SPEAKER / SIDETONE CONFIGURATION

In order to test this project, it is a good idea to have a way to get sound to come out. In order to get the speaker to work within this project, there are no special FEATURE section for it. The only thing that came up with was going into the keyer_pin_settings.h file and changing the pin number for the sidetone_line to 48. You can use any pin you want, I chose this one out of the blue. If you forget this step, the side tones will not play. By looking at the part of the schematic that houses the speaker we can see that a 2N2222 transistor, a 0.1Mf capacitor and 2 x 100 ohm resistors are needed. I would go ahead and press the compile button with the IDE to make sure these pins are set and ready.

#define sidetone_line 48         // connect a speaker for sidetone

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 1.33.07 PM

 

From what you can tell from the picture below, I have added the speaker section to the project. This includes the 2n2222 transistor, a single 0.1 microfarad capacitor, and two 100 ohm resistors.The 2N2222 transistor are standard NPN switching transistors and they need to be connected a certain way according to the schematic, in order for them to work properly. As you can see, the emitter is connecting to ground, the base is connected to a 100 Ohm resistor going to Pins 48 of the Arduino Mega. The collector is connecting to the positive side of the speaker with a .01 microfarad capacitor in between it and the speaker. From the 0.1 microfarad capacitor, we are making a connection to the Vin pin on the Arduino Mega. I have tested this circuit and even with the volume being really low, when I turn the command button on and off, I do here the on and off tones. One more thing, if you have a speaker connected and you upload a sketch, you will get tones back as a verification that everything worked.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 2.59.47 PM

 

Revisions B on of speaker connection adding a terminal connector for easier removal. Add 1/8″ Jack for a speaker to connect to.

SpeakerConnetion02

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TRANSMITTER KEY CONNECTIONS

I pushed a little forward last night and build the keying sections of this project. There were some things that I learned from going through the documentation on the Radio Artisan Page about this. First off, don’t let the schematic fool you, the three connections called Tx Key 1 – 3 are not for adding on keys but are for connecting to multiple radio key sections. So essentially you can connect one to Kenwood, one to an Icom, and one to a Yaesu and have them all on different bands, working a contest. To me that would be confusing, but the prototype has that capability built in now. Right now as it stands when it comes to a key being added, if you look where it shows right and left paddle, that is you iambic key connections. This is not only for sending CW but for using CW to do things within the command section of the project, if wanted. In order to make sure that the keying sections are ready to go, you have to change the ports for the tx_key_line_1, tx_key_line_2 and tx_key_line_3 entries shown in the keyer_pin_settings.h file. I set mine to Digital pin 32, 34, and 36 as shown. I would go ahead and press the compile button with the IDE to make sure these pins are set and ready.

#define tx_key_line_1 32       // (high = key down/tx on)
#define tx_key_line_2 34
#define tx_key_line_3 36

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 4.10.06 AM

 

 

In the below picture, you can see how I did a temp build using a secondary prototype board. This called for three separate 2N2222 diodes, three separate .01 microfarad capacitors, and three separate 100 ohm diodes. The 2N2222 diode are standard NPN switching diodes and they need to be connected a certain way according to the schematic, in order for them to work properly. As you can see, the emitter is connecting to ground, the base is connected to a 100 Ohm resistor going to Pins 32 for tx key 1, 34 for tx key 2 and 36 for tx key 3. The collector is connecting to the positive side of the jack with a .01 microfarad capacitor in between it and the jack.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 4.29.10 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 4.52.36 AM

 

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CW PADDLES ADDON

The next item is fair simple and it is adding the paddles to the project in order to be able to do CW and to control the command section. Keep in mind that you do not have to use the cw key to work with the command section, you can implement the PS2 keyboard section if you want as well. From the schematic below, we can see that the only items needs for this are the left and right paddles, two .01 microfarad capacitors and two ports on the Arduino Mega. In order to make sure that the paddles will work properly, you have to change the ports for the paddle_left and paddle_right entries shown below in the keyer_pin_settings.h file. I set mine to Digital pin 42 for left and 44 for the right as shown. I would go ahead and press the compile button with the IDE to make sure these pins are set and ready.

#define paddle_left 42
#define paddle_right 44

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 5.02.46 AM

Revision B on Paddle key connection adding an 1/8″ jack to connect the key.

KeyerConnection

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GEORTZ DSP CW DECODER

Now that we have the keying section complete, let’s look at the CW decoding section. This is an interesting section as it does not appear in the schematic above so we will be trying to integrate the circuit from OZ1JHM from their web site at http://www.skovholm.com/cwdecoder. The decoding is based on the Goertzel Algorithm and you can find more information at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goertzel_algorithm. Who knew that there was math behind the decoding. ;-D

The code for the Arduino is included in this project, but the schematic, shown above in this post, appears to be for a basic build which we will be adding to. There is a file which was included with the code called goertzel.h. This takes care of all of the decode algorithm needed to make this work properly. There are some settings in which we need to make so that the Arduino Mega will work with this code. Below contains some information of interest from the goertzel.h file about the sampling frequency and bandwidth information.

Notes from the original code author, OZ1JHM (with edits from Goody K3NG)

GOERTZ_SAMPLING_FREQ will be 8928 on a 16 mhz without any prescaler etc., because we need the tone in the center of the bins you can set GOERTZ_TARGET_FREQ to 496, 558, 744 or 992 then GOERTZ_SAMPLES_INT the number of samples which give the bandwidth which can be 

(8928 / GOERTZ_TARGET_FREQ) * 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 etc 

init is 8928/558 = 16 * 4 = 64 samples                 

	try to take GOERTZ_SAMPLES = 96 or 128 ;o)    

	48 will give you a bandwidth around 186 hz            
	64 will give you a bandwidth around 140 hz            
	96 will give you a bandwidth around 94 hz            
	128 will give you a bandwidth around 70 hz  

BUT remember that a high GOERTZ_SAMPLES will take a lot of time so you have to find a compromise

As I do not have the Arduino Due, I have to comment out that part of the code and uncomment the part for the Arduino Mega, as shown below. There are setting that we need to pay attention to if the decode does not work properly here. According to OZ1JHM the Target Frequency should work with 558 hz or maybe 744 hz.

// Arduino Due (84 Mhz clock)
//#define GOERTZ_SAMPLING_FREQ 46872.0
//#define GOERTZ_SAMPLES 252 //168 //84

// Arduino Uno, Mega (16 Mhz clock)
#define GOERTZ_SAMPLING_FREQ 8928.0
#define GOERTZ_SAMPLES 64

#define GOERTZ_NOISE_BLANKER_INITIAL_MS 6
#define GOERTZ_TARGET_FREQ 558.0  



#define GOERTZ_MAGNITUDE_LIMIT_LOW 100
#define GOERTZ_MAGNITUDE_THRESHOLD	0.6 //0.6
#define GOERTZ_MOVING_AVERAGE_FILTER 6

In the snippet of schematic shown below, the SPEAKER IN will be from the radio or SDR which will go through a 100nf capacitor which connect to a 10k ohm resistor to the 5V connection and a 10k ohm resistor to ground. The circuit will connect to an analog pin on the Arduino Mega. This will allow the DSP decoder to show the inbound CW on the display.

InDecoder

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 9.37.32 AM

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 7.57.17 AM

 

Above shows the schematic that I put together for the decoder section to help break it out. As with the cw_decoder_pin, there is a cw_decoder_indicator as well. I added an LED between ground and PIN 24 connection which allows decoded flashes to be seen. This works real well in seeing what the threshold is in the tuning. There is fine tuning on the radio to start the decoding.

#define cw_decoder_pin A11 //A5 //A3  // if using OPTION_CW_DECODER_GOERTZEL_AUDIO_DETECTOR this must be an analog pin!
#define cw_decoder_indicator 24

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LCD Display Add-On

As part of the CW Decoder project, you may want to add an LCD display for decoding incoming CW signals. Along with the GEORTZ DSP CW DECODER shown above, this works without an issue. There are some pinout changes that you will need to make in the keyer_pin_settings.h. This my keyer build I am using the following pinout. I am using a 4-bit 2 row LCD which is a good start.

//lcd pins
#ifdef FEATURE_LCD_4BIT
#define lcd_rs 38
#define lcd_enable 31
#define lcd_d4 33
#define lcd_d5 35
#define lcd_d6 37
#define lcd_d7 39
#endif //FEATURE_LCD_4BIT

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.17.46 AM

In order to get the decoder to work just do the following:

  • Tune your radio to the CW portion of the HF bands. Usually the lower end of most ham radio HF bands.
  • If you want to test with beacons, go to 10 Meter, usually around 28.130 you may hear beacon stations.
  • Make sure that you have the LED connected between ground and the pin that you decided to use.
  • Tune in on a station until the LED starts flashing with their code send. You will have to fine tune  to get it correct but the LED will see the right data being sent.

Example #1 of CW Decode Test

 

Example01

 

Example #2 of CW Decode Test

Example02

I will be playing around with the above settings within the goertzel.h file to see if I can get a better decode. Correctly, the code is sensitive and there is a certain location to tune before it thinks about getting it correct, and I have noticed that if there are multiple stations close by, the decoder tries to do its best but has issues. For example, if I saw K9AJ as shown above sending his call and someone came up close by, the decoder would have issues with both and did not know what to do.

For example, last night there were multiple station around 14.039 where I assume an overseas station was located and it caused a mini pile-up on CW. I was able to tune around and decode the stations as they were sending their call signs, but when there are multiple stations at one time, the one that you are listening to seems to get lost in the decode. This is why I need to learn more code and not totally rely on the DSP decoder. This part of the project is fun to add on and fun to watch every now and then, but I can not use it as a replacement for code knowledge, which I did not plan on doing anyway.

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NOW WHAT!

Well, there are some more things to come, including drilling a case for the final project so that I can add the speed and LED contrast potentiometers, the power, decoder and command mode LED’s, the LCD Display, as well as the jacks for the TX keyer circuits, the jacks for the paddles and straight key (Needs Added), as well as power and USB connections to the Arduino. Still a lot to do, but I need to wait for a board or two to be built so that I can add to a case,

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Links and References:

http://blog.radioartisan.com/arduino-cw-keyer/

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

https://github.com/k3ng/k3ng_cw_keyer

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-read-a-schematic

https://www.arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/arduino-mega2560_R3-sch.pdf

http://fritzing.org/home/

http://makerzone.mathworks.com/resources/getting-started-with-arduino-mega-2560-hardware/

http://www.skovholm.com/cwdecoder

http://www.justradios.com/uFnFpF.html

 

Interesting Find

While talking with a friend in the subject of today’s usage of satcom and HF traffic, something really peaked my interest. Some of the older equipment is still in use which is amazing which shows the quality of technology back in the day compared to throw away technology today. A lot of companies have gotten away from quality and moved toward quantity for more profit and with that in mind, the parts used have gotten cheaper and cheaply made as well. Being a ham radio operator, working satellites for ham radio has been an interest for quite some time. Even build a satellite, is an interest but right is still too expensive. A ham radio operator could build a cube sat for low cost these days but there is still a learning curve that needs to be looked at. So I just rely on my Arrow antenna for 2 meter / 440 and have fun anyway. 🙂

As part of the discussion, it was mentioned that while the fltsatcom birds were still active, they were used more by “Brazilian Pirates” speaking in Portuguese. There are a few articles on the internet which discuss how Brazilian Pirates found a way to use Navy Fltsatcom F7 and F8 satellites to talk to each even in the most remote areas was interesting. Disturbing, yes, but interesting to say the least. The Fltsatcom satellites were put in the air in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the transponders are still active today. These satellites were placed into a geosynchronous orbit, about 22,250 nautical miles above the Earth’s equator. Most satellites today, especially ham radio satellites and low earth orbit (LEO) and are moving around the earth as we speak. The Fltsatcom system may or may not be used much anymore by the military as technology has moved forward so much lately, but some of the satellites themselves are still alive.

Essentially, some time back, when all of this started, the Pirates have found a way to modify ham radio 2 Meter rigs to move into the a section of the 200-300 range by doubling the frequency. There is no way that I am going to modify my 2 Meter radios for something like this. Apparently, they were using some sort of makeshift frequency doubler which not only doubled the frequency that they were using but also the bandwidth itself. For instance, if 2 meter radios were set to use 5KHz then the doubler were change that to 10KHz in the milair bands. This made for crap audio because they would splatter on the channel in use. As a ham radio operator, this peaked my interest to see what was still in use in that part of the spectrum, so I decided to see what I could hear by using my RTL dongle instead of doing any modifications to my ham gear. It is too risky to make those types of mods and could jeapordize a ham radio license. With a homebrew 3 element yagi antenna and the RTL dongle, I was highly surprised at the results.

I want to thank Mark for the help with the antenna specs that I used and the tips to gets things to work so that I could experiment in this part of the band. There have been some trials and issues, but all have been worked out. The original 3 element yagi used a loop dipole as the driver and I believe that when I tried it here, I was unable to hear anything. Now, at the time when I did try to hear something, I really didn’t understand the whole azimuth and elevation thing about listening to the Fltsatcom satellites. I decided to change the driver element slightly and went with a dipole type driver which works real well.

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Mark recommended that metal coat hangers get used as they are flexible, cheap and most have them around the house. As you can see below, I did go with the hangers for the director and reflector elements on this antenna. I am going three element for now to see how this works and to see what I can hear out there. As this is my first iteration of this, here are the dimensions used which were converted from what Mark gave me.

Materials:

PVC Pipe (23 – 25″ Long)

75 Ohm cable – RG59 or RG6 (Maybe 10 – 15 feet)

Metal clothes hangers (Maybe 10 to start off with)

A way to mount the elements to the boom, either drill the boom or use a material to attach them. I drilled the boom for the director and reflector element and separated the driver by placing it onto a piece of material that I had in the garage.

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Dimensions:

Director – 19.96″

Driver – 10.72″ each side for a total length of 21.44″.

Note: The driver, in this case, need to be a folded dipole as shown below.

Reflector – 22.72″

Book Length – 21.61″ or longer

Distance from Director and Reflector Elements – 20.62″

Distance from Driver and Reflector Elements – 9.25″

Note: The center conductor of the coax must be on the left side of the driver element and the shield of the coax on the right side. Make sure that if you are using a metal material for your boom that you DO NOT place the driver element on that boom as you will cut down the effective db of the antenna.

11717165_10207609641267887_1218167868_n

If going with a folded dipole type of drive for the antenna, here are some things to help.

– Use RG59 or RG6 center lead wire for more flexibility and is very cost effective. I use some RG6 that I had laying around which has the same effect as the RG59.

– From the curve circles around to the other end of the element, make sure that each side has a spacing no more than 1/4 to 1/2 inch spacing. Below shows an example. I used electrical tape to keep the spacing where I needed it.

11716063_10207615292969176_2136552582_n

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Change to the Change: ;-D

I decided to try a different approach to the drive element which does seem to work real well. I went with a split driver element which is 11″ on each side. The center conductor is still on the left side of the antenna, with the antenna facing away from you, and the shield of the cable is still on the right. Below shows the finished antenna with the split dipole at 11″ on each side, totalling 22″ across.

11752106_10207694805556941_1999846092_o

11742856_10207697209977050_2617455513602463563_n

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Now that we have the antenna built, it is time for some listening fun. There are many things floating around out heads which have some interesting sounds and stuff coming from them. If you are not familiar with what is going on with the “transponders” as I needed clarification as well, then let me try to explain. If was explained to me that the satellite transponders are like opening windows and letting air come through. They are a way for the communications to get from one location to another. As you can see in the images below, the wide, light blue bars, which are constant happens to be that windows allowing any station access that can reach the satellites. Thanks Mark for the explanation, BTW.

The first that I want to bring up is the sound of a waterfall dripping through your receiver. This can be heard on 243.810. It is a spread spectrum transmission from FLTSAT which is constant. It does have a sound like a waterfall or dripping water in the radio. Below shows what the dripping looks like within HDSDR.

20150723_085322

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The pirate which have taken over the satellite transponders are loud and like to yell at each other from what I can tell. From the articles that I have read, these people can be anywhere from secluded areas of Brazil to the most populated areas and could be truckers on the road as well.  As some of you may know, truckers are notorious for being very loud on the radio and I believe that this is out of habit. One thing that you will notice is that these are not just short conversations, but they sound like they are writing a book, hahaha. That is how long they can go. It sounds like cell phone conversations over satcom. I remember back in the day that government entities would be unable to speak over Satcom because that these pirate would splatter all over the place and end up on channels that they were not supposed to be on. That is still happening today. Anyway, below shows what the pirate active looks like on the transponder channels.

Some have asked where to point the yagi and that is dependant on where you live. From where I am, I point the yagi at around 146 degrees West for the following to come into view. Since these are geostationary satellites, the position should be pretty close.

11745828_10207697203256882_2187182562100775581_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A satellite beacon:

Beacon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I learned something new, which I should have known while working ham radio satellites and that is with geostationary satellites, these don’t move but there are two in close proximity to each other, if pointing south. 105W and 99W. Each of these have different traffic but you will find that the pirates are saturating things quite a bit. I point somewhere around 146 degrees West for some things and around 220 – 240 degrees West for CONUS stuff. I still try to keep the elevation at around 17 degrees. I may have to adjust that though.

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Below shows what the transponders look like for the 248 and 249Mhz range. These are different from others and seem to include encrypted data streams. Cool to see though. This open up other transponders around the UHF spectrum as well and yes, there are still pirates around others as well. (Those Pirates – “shake fist hard”)

11791833_10207719833262618_616757787_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This images shows a close up of the 248MHz transponders and you can see that some data is flowing through.

11787373_10207719179326270_1637001975_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some frequencies of interest to see what is going on:

243.810 – Waterfall (Spread spectrum transmission – If you can hear this, then you should be able to hear the rest)

255.550 – Common Usage for Pirate Slow Scan TV (SSTV)

252.150 – SSTV Usage (Have Not Heard Anything, Yet)

260.65

251.275

251.325

251.85

269.650 – Radio Cuba (Yes, I said Radio Cuba) They are transmitting 24/7 on this one

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Some resources to check out

http://fas.org/spp/military/program/com/fltsat.htm

http://archive.wired.com/politics/security/news/2009/04/fleetcom?currentPage=all

http://www.radiohobbyist.org/blog/?p=913

 

Kyles Science Fair Update – So Far

This is an update to the progress at this time point in time on my sons Science Fair Project on The Effects of Solar Flare on Radio Communications. As you will see below, there have been three events so far. More to come. 😀

http://kf4bzt.com/?p=153

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School of Science and Technology Science Fair

10455146_10206176873849597_4947719260520536490_n

January 14, 2015, Kyle did compete at the school level for the science fair with the project The Effects of Solar Flare on Radio Communications. I am not sure how many people judged but I believe that it was teachers, administrators and some upper classmen. He had to go through this one by himself at least for the presentation piece. He felt very confident and comfortable this time around with what he was presenting and he did learn a lot about the effects of solar activity on not only ham radio communications but also power grids as well. He also learned how solar flare are created and far their impact can be.

15517_10206177044453862_4096342873077968400_n     10430901_10206177317340684_1456264075389119289_n     10922532_10206177356741669_6917070246631908019_n

On that same day, The School of Science and Technology did the awards presentations for each category. I am proud to say that Kyle came out with 1st Place in Physical Sciences at the school level. This was an awesome accomplishment and gets places him at the next level. The next one is called the Alamo Junior Academy of Science science fair.

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Alamo Junior Academy of Science science fair at Robert E Lee High School

1506616_10206313007252847_3662374690707298222_n

This has been a wild ride for Kyle so far, during the weekend of January 31st, Kyle did compete in the Alamo Junior Academy of Science science fair at Robert E Lee High School here in San Antonio. This was for the top 1st place winners from the school level science fair which is a cool accomplishment. This was Kyle’s first time in competing away from the school level and was a great opportunity for him to see how this works. There was a lot of work with a new Oracle system that the kids and teacher had to use and get used to in order to progress further. This science fair was in front of three judges where he presented with his slides using a projector. This one, I was able to be in and see him perform. He did a great job and was confident in what he was presenting. There were some nervous issue from Kyle as he appeared to be presenting too fast, but the judges were happy and were able to get the information that they were looking for with time left. I think that I was more nervous and it was very difficult for me as his dad and mentor on this project to keep my mouth closed…LOL. Maybe it is a good thing that parents aren’t aloud in most competition areas.

From the School of Science and Technology side where Kyle attends, there were 7 total from both junior and senior divisions, I believe, that presented. Each placed in their fields of study.

The following day, February 1st, was the awards presentation for that science fair. This was the moment that we were all waiting for and was nerve racking. The kids were seated in the middle with their teachers while the parents and guests were placed in the outer sections. The awards presentations were ran efficiently while there were four categories with sub categories within each. Kyle was in the Earth and Space category once he began his journey outside the school level. Now the time that we were waiting for, Kyle came in with Highest in Category for Earth and Space. This moves him up into the regional science fair called the Junior Science Academy Regional Science Fair.

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Highest in Category Awards
 
2602   –   Kyle Jacobs   –   School of Science & Technology   –   Earth & Space
 
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Junior Science Academy Regional Science Fair at St. Mary’s University

 11000508_10206473013972915_5791968846399339992_n

Kyle has done a great job so far and he is finding out that as he keeps going, the more difficult the science fairs are and the more competition gets greater. For the School of Science and Technology on Loop 410, we are down to two senior and three junior participants for the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The competition took place on the weekend of the February 15th at St. Mary’s University here in San Antonio and it was a big deal for most schools that came. This is a larger venue for the participants as the competition used both the main arena and the upstairs workout areas of the main gym. It was impressive to see how this science fair was ran. During setup, on Saturday February 15th, the parents were able to accompany the participants to their staging areas that were assigned to them. I was cool to see some of the projects which were being presented and there are so many talented kids out there. There was only thing that was inspector found during setup and it was a little sticker that needed to be attached to the board which basically said, “The images, graphs, etc created were created by the participant”. Once we added that, Kyle was good to go. Kyle did see three of his team mates

1484677_10206408158591571_7301230756741143413_n    

Each person received a certificate for participating in the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair which was left at their display.

11000594_10206418081399635_4633867295563951697_n

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On Sunday February 22nd, the awards ceremony took place for the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair. There were so many corporate and government awards given out are well as several scholarships awards. It amazed us with everything that was presented. The funny part about this was that once the placements were done, Kyle did not place which means one of two things, either he didn’t get anything at all or he placed higher than the standard first place. Well, both me and my wife were surprised and happy at the same time. Kyle eneded up with a Fifth Place Grand Prize which placed him in the ExxonMobil Texas State Science Fair coming up in May here in San Antonio. This is an incredible accomplishment and we are extremely proud of Kyle. The School of Science and Technology where Kyle goes is now down to two junior division participants. Michael, his team mate, took 1st Grand Prize in Behavioral and Social. Way to go guys!!!!

Fifth Grand Prize
 
Fair   –   Place   –   Project #   –   Category   –   Student Name   –   School
 
1   –  5th   –   2602   –   Earth And Space   –   Kyle Jacobs   –   School and Science and Technology
 
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As a second surprise to this, Kyle also won a special certificate from the Broadcom MASTERS which shows that he is in the top 10%  which are 300 national Semifinalists to compete. This states that he has been nominated to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS competition later this year. Kyle will need to apply and do what he needs to in order to make it to this one. We are so proud of Kyle for being selected for this. It is a huge honor and accomplishment for him. The page below states that this will be in Washington DC, but will find out more as the school get the information.

Final Awards List
 
Sponsor   –   Award   –   Project #   –   Student First Name   –   Student Last Name   –   School   –   Category
 
Broadcom Masters   –   Certificate   –   2602   –   Kyle   –   Jacobs   –   School and Science and Technology   –   Earth And Space
 
 10945551_10206476733665905_554478761706290496_n     11009117_10206476733905911_4834367771465768177_n     10413427_10206230287742055_1266503788546638651_n
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First Experience with JT65

First off, I want to start this post by thanking Dan, W0JMP for the help last night in using this awesome mode. He was my first JT65 contact and my first 30Meter contact. Awesome stuff indeed.

I finally added my Rigblaster M8 to my Kenwood TS-440S and thought that I would try listening to some data last night. I heard some things about JT65 and JT9 being used for weak signal communications such as moonbounce (EME), and meteor scatter. It appeared from my research that it is use in weak signal HF as well. It is impressive how weak the signal can be in order for the waterfall to see the station and the application to decode the data. The first image shows my first attempt at listening and decoding data coming in. I was using 10.130 as the receive frequency because at night, 20Meter up to 10Meter were dead. The application was decoding some stations which is step one. 🙂 From what I have been reading the lower the wattage out, the better for this mode. It has been said that 25 – 30 Watts may be considered high wattage. The higher the wattage the more QRM that you will cause for other stations. I need to turn mine down then.. 😀

IntialListen

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The application which I used is called WSJT-X which has a lot of capability in making this form of communication much better. Dan mentioned that timing is very critical and he recommended that I use dimension4 to help with the timing. He mentioned that my timing was about 0.8 seconds off, which was ok, but not perfect. I now have it installed and ready to rock.

http://www.thinkman.com/dimension4/

Another application that Dan recommended is called JT-Alert which will alert to what calls are coming in over JT65 and should keep you from duplicating the call on the same band.

http://hamapps.com/

This video is not mine, it just shows how to run JT65 with JT-Alert and you can see where Dan is popular. His call shows up in this video as well. This is not mine.

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I put a feeler out on the ham radio Facebook page on Feb 11th, about this mode and got some awesome help for my first time attempt on this mode. As you can see, Dan, W0JMP chimed in with some information on how to use the application to establish communications. Here are some items that were mentioned.

– Hit the TX6 button which is the CQ KF4BZT EL09 text. This will be sent over the air

– Once someone established communications, the lines will turn read showing that they are talking to your station

– When a contact is established, start with Tx1 button and work your way down. The other station will respond with the same information

W0JMP KF4BZT EL09

W0JMP KF4BZT -18

W0JMP KF4BZT R-18

W0JMP KF4BZT RRR

W0JMP KF4BZT 73

– When you get to the final transmission, you will have the option to log the contact with information in a pop-up window.

 

FirstJT65Contact

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First Night Contacts – Feb 12th- I am happy with the results and the states that I am picking up on 30Meter now. 😀

FirstNightJT65

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LOTW Entries from the first night. Not too bad at all.

LOTWEntries

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I found that there are different bands to choose from just like most other modes.

10Meter – 28.076.0 USB

12Meter – 24.917.0 USB
alternate 24.920.0 USB

15Meter – 21.076.0 USB

17Meter – 18.102.0 USB
alternate 18.098.0 USB

20Meter – 14.076.0 USB
alternate 14.075.0 USB

30Meter – 10.139.0 USB
alternate 10.138.0 USB
alternate 10.137.0 USB

40Meter – 7.039.0 USB
alternate 7.036.0 USB
(USA) 7.076.0 USB

80Meter – 3.576.0 USB

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ALL JT65A FREQUENCIES found from the URL http://hflink.com/jt65/

  • JT65A operators use USB VFO FREQUENCY for spots.
  • JT65A signal is about 1.3+kHz higher than the VFO frequency
  • The JT65A Passband is about 355Hz. Bandwidth is about 200Hz.
  • JT65A may be used in the 500Hz bandwidth segments of bandplans.
  • Normal operation of JT65A is a sync audio frequency of 1270.5Hz.
  • Sync tone is the reference mouse-click frequency for JT65.
  • JT65A signal bandwidth extends about 200Hz above 1270.5Hz sync.
  • The lowest tone of the JT65 signal is normally 1270Hz.
  • The system allows approximately +/-600Hz auto-tuning on receive.

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The following notes are from the URL http://hflink.com/jt65/

Special Notes on Good Operating Procedure:

1. Operators should be careful of frequency selection, accurate clock, and calibration. Always listen and observe the waterfall spectrum of signals on the frequency before transmitting, and during activity.

2. JT65A is a weak signal digital QSO mode. Always use very low power on HF to avoid QRM to other JT65 signals and other modes. 20Watts ERP is maximum for normal activity and DXing in the 40metre to 10metre bands.

3. Normal activity of JT65A is in the “weak signal” part of the ham bands, near the PSK, MFSK, and Olivia 500 frequencies. JT65A should not be used in parts of the ham bands where faster digital modes are in use.

4. The long tone carrier duration of JT65 transmissions has potential to cause severe interference to other modes.

5. Do not use JT65 in 10144kHz-10150kHz because JT65A is NOT COMPATIBLE with MFSK, FSK, HELL, OLIVIA, CONTESTIA, ALE400, or RTTY and can cause severe interference to fast time-sharing modes such as PACKET, PACTOR, ALE, PSKmail, and APRS.

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Good Information

http://www.packetradio.com/pdfzips/jt65-hf-setup.pdf

http://hflink.com/jt65/

http://hamspots.net

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73 For Now

Tim

KF4BZT

TX7G QSL Ordered

I have ordered my QSL from the TX7G DXpedition team and it should be heading out in a couple of weeks. This one will go on my wall. Once I calculate my logs,  MARQUESAS will be a new Island on the Air (IOTA) and grid square as well. Once I receive the card, I will post a picture here. 🙂

Grid Square – BL91we

IOTA – OC027

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LOTW Confirmation:

Station
Call Sign KF4BZT
DXCC UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CQ Zone 4
ITU Zone 7
Grid EL09tm
State Texas (TX)
County BEXAR
Worked Station
Worked TX7G
DXCC MARQUESAS ISLAND (509)
CQ Zone 31
ITU Zone 63
IOTA OC-027
Grid BI91we
Date/Time 2014-10-21 23:56:00
Mode SSB (PHONE)
Band 12M
Frequency 24.95600
QSL 2014-11-12 03:13:38

Record ID 622730102 Received: 2014-11-12 03:13:38

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eQSL Card – Waiting for the real one!!

_cfimg-5550307952859328101

K1N – 2015 Navassa DXpedition The KP1-5 Project

Hi All,

“The following information below about the KP1-5 Project is from the URL http://navassadx.com/ which has some great information. NOT MY OWN INFORMATION”

The KP1-5 Project Mission Statement

The purpose of the KP1-5 Project is to work toward a solution to the closure of Desecheo and Navassa Islands to Amateur Radio operators by achieving lawful, periodic access to these islands pursuant to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorization.

While operating from these islands is a worthwhile goal, the KP1-5 Project is dedicated to a long term partnership that jointly benefits the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Amateur Radio operators worldwide.

Navassa Island had become a National Wildlife Refuge in 1999 which makes it more difficult and expensive for teams to visit and work from.

The team of operators are Bob K4UEE, Glenn WØGJ, Mike NA5U, George AA7JV, Ralph KØIR, John K6MM, Craig K9CT, Tomi KT4TTT, Lou N2TU, George N4GRN, Mike N6MZ, Jeff NM1Y, John W2GD, Gregg W6IZT and Jerry WB9Z.

kp1-regionmap-usgs

Navassa Coordinates: 18°23’50.35N, 75°0′46.75″W

Grid Square:  FK28lj

IOTA:  NA-098

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Now for my post…. 😀

I want to say that working DXpedition stations can be fun, challenging and aggravating at the same time. It is fun to be able to work rare locations, around the world, like this one. These guys are working from the Navassa Island which is a United States island located in the Caribbean. It sounds like the outside weather conditions have been hot, windy and dirty where they are. These guys have some great patience while working stations from all over the world. I just wish that others stations had the same amount of patience, to include myself from time to time. It is challenging for a station such as my 100 watt Kenwood and fan dipole to break through the huge pileups that take up the voice and digital parts of the bands during events likes this. So I learned that you need to be able to do a lot of switching between the transmit and receive splits that are in use. On 20M, they would transmit from 14.155 and receiving between something like 14.240 – 14.250. On 10M, I heard them transmitting on 28.304 and receiving around 28.320 28.340ish. Always listen to the calls that they are responding to and switch back to their receive to get an idea of where they are listening. There will be RST reports passed by each station. I think they have such a large split because of the amount of traffic and QRM, so that they can heard the legit stations.

“Try not to station on the pileup frequency with the spread that this team is using. You will have better luck in making contact.” I have heard ops make contact with other stations who were not with in the pileup.

By having a larger split like they are using for the voice QSO’s, this makes the challenge a little harder but not impossible. Just makes sure that when working within their transmit segment, that you listen for the louder stations. I found times where they responded to the louder stations, then potentially move around within the split. I can understand the frustration that people have with this as the split is so large, but it is still doable.Trick here is listen, listen, listen…..

The massive QRM issue makes these events aggravating and are the majority of the problem that are being noticed. All I can say is that if I can make the contact, so can you and I was so excited to make it happen as this will give me a new Island on the Air (IOTA) and Grid Square as well.  Now to try other bands and maybe modes to see if I can get them elsewhere. 🙂

K1N Official Navassa DX Page – http://navassadx.com/

K1N QRZ Page – http://www.qrz.com/db/K1N

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My Confirmation from the K1N team.

K1NDxpedition

73 and Good DX,

Tim

KF4BZT

Kyles Science Fair Project

SOLAR FLARE EFFECTS IN RADIO COMMUNICATIONS

My son Kyle, had a great idea for a science fair project which had to due with sun spots, solar flare activity and ham radio communications. This was a great project which got him a little further into ham radio and also to help him learn about how solar activity can affect all kings of radio communications. I am very proud of Kyle for doing this and I believe that he has learned quite a bit about this topic.

Now study for your license Kyle!!!!!!

Below are the slides that Kyle put together to make this project come together and this will be presented to his school this week. Yea Kyle!!!!!!

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Here we see the entire board with the slides that are required for his presentation

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On the left side of the board, we see the Introduction, the Background Research, Question which needs to be answered and Hypothesis to prove or disprove

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In the middle of the presentation we find the Averages of Solar Flare Probability, M Class Flare Probability and X Class Flare Probability. We also have the average table which bring the information together in the averages chart for the time taken to gather the data. There is also the Source Of Error and Bibliography slides.

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On the right side of the board, we can see the Materials list for this projects, the Procedure that Kyle used during his experiments, any Further Research, and the Conclusion.

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The procedures that he used in this mainly consisted of looking up the days sun spot numbers, X and M Class probability numbers, and choosing the frequencies in the 20 Meter, 17 Meter and 10 Meter bands to listen to. He documented the finding during these procedures and there were some impressive results. The reason for checking these bands is that they are more daytime bands and see to give decent results.

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Here we see the 20 Meter Band Results for the time frame that Kyle ran through the procedures.

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Here we see the 17 Meter Band Results for the time frame that Kyle ran through the procedures.

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Here we see the 10 Meter Band Results for the time frame that Kyle ran through the procedures.

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Here is part of Kyles data sheet that he put together. This shows the Date, Band, Frequency, Solar Flare Probability, M Class Flare Probability, X Class Flare Probability, Sun Spot Number, Time and Expected Results for the band. The results for Nov 29th (Day 2), Dec 02nd (Day 5) and Dec 4th (Day 7) showed the best probabilities of either having a solar flare or not.

Just use the scroll bar below to move right.

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Below shows the solar forecasts for the days that Kyle did his experiments. There is some good information in this to help show what the excepted conditions should be.

Friday 28 November last updated 27/2344 UTC
Low to moderate solar flare activity is expected for 28-Nov.
The solar wind is light.
Geomagnetic conditions are at quiet levels, but could become unsettled during 28-Nov.
Short-wave radio fadeouts are possible, depending on solar activity.
High-frequency radio communications are otherwise normal.

Saturday 29 November last updated 28/2321 UTc
Low to moderate solar flare activity is expected for 29-Nov.
The solar wind is light.
Geomagnetic conditions are at quiet levels, but could become unsettled during 29-Nov.
Short-wave radio fadeouts are possible, depending on solar activity.
High-frequency radio communications are otherwise normal, with enhanced maximum useable frequencies expected on 29-Nov.

Sunday 30 November last updated 29/2332 UTC
Low to moderate solar flare activity is expected for 30-Nov.
The solar wind is light to moderate.
Geomagnetic conditions are at quiet levels, but could become unsettled during 30-Nov.
Short-wave radio fadeouts are possible, depending on solar activity.
High-frequency radio communications are otherwise normal, with enhanced maximum useable frequencies expected on 30-Nov.

Monday 01 December last updated 30/2326 UTC
Low solar flare activity is expected on 1-Dec.
The solar wind is light to moderate.
Geomagnetic conditions are quiet but expected to become unsettled
with a predicted rise in the solar wind speed on 1-Dec.
High-frequency radio communications are normal, with slightly enhanced maximum useable frequencies.

Tuesday 02 December last updated 01/2356 UTC
Low solar flare activity, with a chance of moderate activity.
Minor coronal hole effects in progress and expected to persist for two to three days.
Moderate solar wind.
Geomagnetic conditions at quiet to unsettled levels with isolated unsettled to active periods, mainly at high latitudes.
Short-wave radio fadeouts possible.
High-frequency radio communications normal at all latitudes with isolated degraded conditions at mid to high latitudes.

Wednesday 03 December last updated 02/2356 UTC
Low solar flare activity, with a chance of moderate activity.
Minor coronal hole effects in progress and expected to persist for two to three days.
Moderate solar wind.
Geomagnetic conditions at quiet to unsettled levels with isolated unsettled to active periods, mainly at high latitudes.
Short-wave radio fadeouts possible.
High-frequency radio communications normal at all latitudes with isolated degraded conditions at mid to high latitudes.

Thursday 04 December last updated 03/2344 UTC
Low solar flare activity, with a chance of low to moderate activity.
Minor coronal hole effects in progress. Moderate solar wind.
Geomagnetic conditions at quiet levels with isolated unsettled periods.
Active intervals possible at high latitudes.
Short-wave radio fadeouts possible.
High-frequency radio communications variable at low pwlatitudes, mostly normal at mid latitudes,
with isolated degraded conditions at high latitudes.

Saturday 06 December last updated 05/2345 UTC
Low solar flare activity, with a chance of moderate activity.
Minor coronal hole effects in progress.
Moderate solar wind.
Geomagnetic conditions at quiet to unsettled levels with isolated active to minor storm periods at high latitudes.
Short-wave radio fadeouts possible.
High-frequency radio communications mostly normal at low to mid latitudes with isolated degraded conditions at high latitudes.

Sunday 07 December last updated 06/2353 UT
Low solar flare activity, with a chance of moderate activity.
Minor coronal mass ejection effects possible.
Minor coronal hole effects in progress.
Moderate to strong solar wind.
Geomagnetic conditions at unsettled levels with some active periods.
Short-wave radio fadeouts possible.
High-frequency radio communications normal at low latitudes
with isolated degraded conditions at mid to high latitudes.
Aurora sightings may possible from extreme southern Australian
regions if anticipated mild shocks combine with the present elevated solar wind stream.

Wednesday 10 December last updated 09/2304 UTC
Low to moderate solar flare activity is expected for 10-Dec.
Coronal hole effects are still in decline, with the solar wind now moderate.
Geomagnetic conditions are at quiet to unsettled levels.
There is a small chance of short-wave radio fadeouts.
High-frequency radio communications are normal,
with isolated degraded conditions at high latitudes.

Thursday 11 December last updated 10/2326 UT
Low to moderate solar flare activity is expected for 11-Dec.
The solar wind is now light to moderate.
Geomagnetic conditions settled during 10-Dec to quiet levels.
There is a small chance of short-wave radio fadeouts.
High-frequency radio communications are normal.

Thursday 11 December last updated 10/2326 UT
Low to moderate solar flare activity is expected for 11-Dec.
The solar wind is now light to moderate.
Geomagnetic conditions settled during 10-Dec to quiet levels.
There is a small chance of short-wave radio fadeouts.
High-frequency radio communications are normal.

Friday 12 December last updated 11/2330 UT
Low solar flare activity. Moderate solar wind.
Geomagnetic conditions at Quiet to Unsettled with
isolated periods of Active levels at higher latitudes.
High-frequency radio communications normal.

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Here is one the items that Kyle used to show how the bands would be during the time that he was experimenting on the air. This includes the sun spot number and the expected band conditions.

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Below is another item that Kyle used for the sun spot and solar flare probability information. This is located live at http://spaceweather.inf.brad.ac.uk/fm/

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