Just a quick video of what's next in Ham radio and some projects I've been working on, as well as others, to get there. Some highlights:
- MultiCodec - Codec2, AMBE...
- Remote Standardized Head Unit / Retrofit
- Less PC .. More Embedded
- More modular
- Easier to use and the possibility of installing station away from Radio.
- DSP development in the hands of more people.
- Older Designs get updates.
- Powerful Tools getting more accessible
- KiCad (New stable, RF Traces (Curved), Diff Pair Routing (USB, etc))
- Inexpensive STM32 and other DSP platforms
- Filter Creation and Simulation
An open source codec for compression is up and going (CODEC2).
AMBE is much easier to implement and get ahold of.
Remote heads are beginning to pop up commercially in the FlexRadio line.
More embedded projects/products including SM1000, FlexRadio head unit, and many many DStar node adaptors.
DMR radios have hit the market to warm up the digital voice market, many which are under $300 new.
What in the heck is in these?
I've alway wondered what was inside these. I'll never find out because of the weatherproofing epoxy. The face LCD cover is milled and it hints of low volume production. These are used to control the flow of water to a horizontal direction drill (HDD). This Vermeer unit fits many different models of their drills. This one was programmed for a 24x33 Vermeer.
Proof is in Vermeer Waterproofing
Wouxun Flash Issue Background
Wouxun's seem to either wear the flash chip out or are made with a bad batch of parts. Eventually all of them I've owned prior and everyone I know throws it in the trash. Below is a video of how to do the repair and its an easy fix. Wouxun used a very low write count part but there are better options as a direct replacement. The replacement part is a 24C64 found just about everywhere for under $1. Please repair these when possible and if you are unable or unwilling, hand it over to a new ham or send to an old one to be repaired.
I recommend using a hot air station but it is possible to carefully cut leads with cutters for parts replacement. When using cutters be sure to not rip any traces from the board. Go very slow and use a good tool. An alternative method is to heat and lift one lead a time. Mouser and Digikey both have alternatives for this part by searching for the 24C64. Right now links to these parts are as follows:
Wouxun Repair Video
Background of the GPSTM Conversion
I have several Symmetricom time references all of which are large. I really needed something compact for my newest bench area. I fumbled upon a Nortel card (GPSTM). It is basically a Trimble Thunderbolt. It has a few minor differences, utilizing the same software for configuration. It has a 10mhz output (SMB Connectors). I used a Symmetricom Distribution Amp to sync all my equipment on the bench (Signal Gen, HP 8935 Spectrum Analyzer, HP Frequency Counter). The only modification required is a 48V(24-48VDC) DC power supply. It is very straightforward to get one of these up and running as a repurposed GPSDO. It is small, compact, and won't break the bank. I completed this project for well under $200. A photo of the DC connection is below and a video as well.
Power Supply Modification
I did a quick teardown of an old handspring visor. It is a very simple design, powered off of 2 AAA batteries.
Short video of replacing the TFTA Connector. I used hot air and solder wick to remove the old part without any damage to the TFTA board.
On the first combostar I constructed the CAT4240 was easy to find. Now its a very hard part to source. Luckily the CAT4237 is almost a direct replacement.
I've added another GPSDO to my bench. This is a Nortel unit. Its fairly straightforward as its a Thunderbolt device. Requires 48VDC power.
Prototype boards for testing the RF module along with provisions for a low pass filter have been sent off for manufacture. I'm expecting to see these back in a few weeks. In the meantime below are links to the Gerbers for the test board as well as Kicad Modules for making your own boards that use the DRA818V module.
After trying many of the suggestions online about fixing this issue I figured out the quickest way to recover.
1. Do a unencrypted Time Machine Backup
2. Goto recovery mode and completely format the startup drive and set for normal (non encrypted) journaled file system.
3. Restore backup
Thats it the quickest way to resolve the issue without completely reinstalling.