Archive for the ‘Arduino’ Category

Update on CW Decoder

January 25, 2015

Received the 4×20 (4 lines, 20 characters per line) LCDs. This made using the CW Decoder so much more enjoyable to use. I changed the code a bit to put the WPM rate and my call sign on the first line and then three lines of cw.

I need to take a picture of the setup now as it is easier to read the CW as it is displayed and then post it here on the blog.

Hello to Fred, KD8IXP. He is a local ham who is always bugging me about updating my blog. He just received two PIXIE transceiver boards, and has promised me to get on the air with one of them so I can hear what it sounds like. I will report back on this when he finally fulfills his promise!!!


Arduino Stuff

January 20, 2015

Been doing some Arduino stuff on the workbench. I saw an article that used an Arduino for a CW Decoder. Built it but it didn’t show anything on the LCD. After some checking, realized that the schematic I was using and the software I had loaded onto the Aruduino didn’t match as far as LCD wiring. After some experimenting with various pin-out configurations, I ended up with a working cw decoder.

CW Decoder-5

I also built up a breadboard for future Arduino experiments and prototyping. I have three books that I bought this last year that deals with Arduino projects and Ham Radio. This breadboard will be perfect for doing most of the experiments detailed in each of the three books.


I am also doing a VFO/Sig Gen project with Todd, VE7BPO.  All of the project will be detailed in the Michigan QRP Club’s quarterly publication called the T5W. Todd is doing most of the work, and my part will only be the VFO section. It is based on a project done by Wes, W7ZOI in 2009. Called the 8640 –JR (a humorous namesake after the famous HP 8640 signal generator) this signal generator uses only 1 VFO but covers three ranges by applying HC74 series CMOS logic for frequency division.

That is it for now. Stay tuned for solder fume snuffing while the temps are chilly and the ground is white!

72/73…Mike, WB8ICN

KX1 Upgrades

December 4, 2014

I have been adding to my Elecraft KX1 rig. Added the 30 meter mod and as of tonight, have built and installed the ATU mod. I plan on using the KX1 while we are in the RV and having the ATU is a definite plus with a non-resonant antenna. I received the Ten Tec Rebel rig last week. Checked it out and all seems fine, but have to wait till Christmas morning before Santa will let me play with it. But, this will be a big part of what I plan on doing this winter…ARDUINO learning!

I do have some Arduino projects I might start now that all the outside work/chores are done. I do want to try to use an Arduino for a CW decoding project. Have seen a couple of blogs that have done some work in this area, so I won’t have to start from scratch.

The weather in November was quite an eye-opener for most of the northern part of Michigan…but December has proven to be quite tame and I hope it stays that way. I might even try to get some antenna projects launched if the current temperature trend continues.

That’s it for now…stay tuned.

Update on PHSNA

March 23, 2014

Todd, VE7BPO has posted some pictures of my PHSNA system on his web site. Look near the end of section 1 at  (with a sub-title of QRP-POSDATA for March 2014  — Poor Hams Scalar Network Analyzer  (PHSNA) – ) for a look at the pictures. I am now playing with some software written by Nick, WA5BDU that incorporates many of the newer functions!

72/73…Mikey, WB8ICN

Winter Updates

March 5, 2014

Been doing some bench work, though I am still not doing a good job of posting my work here. Built a SNA using an Arduino, DDS module, and a W7ZOI power detector. The web site for this project is located at and is a fun project. I had a RLB I built a few year ago, but just finished another one from a kit offered by the same group that offered the SNA. I ended up with a bridge directivity of a bit over 35 dB, which is pretty good. I sweep my YAGI beam and had about the same result as with my previous homebrewed RLB. Below is the sweep using my old RLB

Yagi Sweep 13 to 30 MHz Chart (1)





I have built and sweep several LPFs, BPFs, and crystals. My next endeavor is sweep components to see the response compared to frequency. Should be interesting.

That is it for now. Been the coldest winter I can remember here and have used the electric heater in the shack here in the basement more than I care to admit…the electric bill really shows it when I do this for an extended period of time. We have had weeks at a time without ever getting above the freezing mark of 32 degrees (F), and many nights and a few days of below zero temps. Thinking that maybe next winter we might go south and try to get sun tans during the winter months <smile>.

Fall 2013 Update

September 28, 2013

Had a great summer camping (RVing with our fifth-wheel), but the leaves are starting to fall so guess its time to put the RV under the cover and start playing on the workbench and getting back on the air.

Want to finish playing with the vertical antenna ideas for our RV, then start playing with some of the new microcontroller boards I have gotten over the summer. Have found many ham radio related Arduino projects so guess that will be first on my list of things to do. Have to yet to build the PTO for my 4SQRP kit so that is a “must do” in the month of October. Also want to do some playing around with some test equipment ideas that have been floating around in my head. Going to be a busy winter. The forecast is for more snow than average so will not be going out to sun-bath much in the next few months.

Have several QRP rigs I have built but have not used in quite awhile…so plan on doing the musical chair thing and play with them this winter also. Maybe it is time to sell some of these older rigs and keep just a couple for me…stay tuned for the result of that decision.  Drop me a line at if you have any ideas/projects that you might want to share.

Summer Projects

July 25, 2013

Been messing around with my end-fed antenna while camping. Not much luck, but then again band conditions were not too good either. I plan on trying out some vertical antenna ideas for the RV in August.

Been playing with both the Arduino Due and UNO boards. Finally got the USB ports straightened out so I can run both boards at the same time by using port 4 and 5…I sure miss the old days when assigning port numbers was the norm! I think I will be doing a lot of microcontroller projects this winter. I did find a working RF section for my HP spectrum analyzer so want to try some LPF, HPF, and BPF experiments once it is too cold to play outside.

Just gotta include this last bit of news…my neighbors across the road own about 80+ acres and there are a lot of blackberries this year. I have been picking every couple of days and freezing them for this winter for toppings on my cereal. I just love them with my cereal!

OK, I will shut up for now. Right in the middle of Vacation Bible School and I teach third and fourth graders. They ask more smart questions than most adults I know! God Bless each and everyone of them! Will add an update in August about the antenna work both here and on my web page.


FDIM, Hamvention, KX1

May 25, 2013

Well, as they say, FDIM/Hamvention is in the history books. We camped at the KOA with about 200+ hams and had a very enjoyable time. I think I go now to Dayton for the social aspects of FDIM and Hamvention, whereas years ago it was to find bargains and new kits. I did buy the new 40 xcvr from the 4SQRP gang…it is called a Cyclone and uses a neat version of a PTO VFO. The case is made of the same material as the PCB, so that will be a new one for me. I also bought the RF Section (8554B) for the HP spectrum analyzer that I had but without a working RF Section. Also found a blue LCD shield for the arduino microprocessor board. All in all, the trip was very good even though there were a few days of cool weather while we were camping just north of Dayton and then some rainy weather at Shipshewanne.

I made my first contact using my KX1. Was on 40 meters and worked Bill, W9VC down in Richmond. IN. Bill has a very good first and it was fun to chat with him.

I tried operating the first part of the week while at Dayton, but some X-Class flares on Monday and Tuesday (prior to FDIM/Hamvention) made band conditions unworkable. I had to want to give my new end-fed antenna a work out, but that did not pan out. We are going to NY next month for some fishing and visit the XYL’s family, so will try again then.

I am listening the the CQ WW WPX CW contest right now with the KX1 and have found that the variable receive filter is worth its weight in gold. I really like being able to adjust the bandwidth on the fly when conditions get crowded. I can adjust from 0.3 to 2.0 KHz and it makes copying so enjoyable! Guess the KX1 and K1 will both be in my camping box for the summer…hi hi.

That is about it for now. Trying to get some yard work done this weekend before I doing some bass fishing next week, so solder fumes and dit/dahs are on hold for the moment.

Stay tuned for how my antenna experiments go this summer with the RV…

Laptop Woes and The Arduino

October 23, 2012

Tried to load Win XP on an A860 Dell laptop that had LINUX on it about a week ago…but was lacking the drivers to get many functions working including networking and internet to work. I found a 3.3 GB package from Russia that said would scan and update drivers for Win XP. Tried reloading Win XP today with the same results (lack of drivers) but then ran the driver update package and that seemed to fix everything. Was still missing the FT232R USB UART driver and a serial port driver…but found them with the Arduino software. So spent the afternoon playing with Ardruino micro-board and enjoyed it! Hope to get comfortable with the Arduino and then use it to interface with some projects on the workbench. Was really taken back with the ability to read analog voltages and then report those voltage to the laptop.

Been raining here a lot so no antenna work.  Did get leaves picked up once, but still have to repeat that process at least once more.  Several trees with lots of leaves left…but it won’t be long before all the trees are bare for the winter season.

Got on 40 CW last night and had a nice chat with Ken out in MO. He is 83 years young and only works CW…needless to say, he has a great fist and a joy to talk to.

Been clearing out lots of junk the last few weeks. We have garbage pickup early every Monday morning, so spend the weekend filling the trash bin with stuff that I forgot I even had. One of these days, I might even have room to buy new junk so I can fill in all the holes on shelves that I have created.

Got the Reggie II on the workbench and started doing the interconnects between the four PCBs. I have several projects that I have started over the years but never finished…so plan to complete them before I start any new kits or projects.

Stay tuned…