www.shaneburrell.com Telecom – Electronics – HAM Radio – Test Equipment – Rescue

16Aug/150

BFDX TD-503 DMR Review

BFDX TD-503 DMR RADIO

I've been using the BFDX TD-503 for several months on the local DMR repeater and NCPRN.  The main reason I really like it and its found its place above my Mototrbo and Hytera is it the GUI by default shows the Frequency and Channel Name.  Controls are standard and easy to use.  The case is high quality and it has some heft to it.

It has been left out in the rain, taken on swift-water calls (submerged in the river), dropped, banged, and otherwise abused with no issues whatsoever.

BFDX TD-503 In Water

BFDX TD-503 in Swiftwater

BFDX TD-503 In the Rain UTV

BFDX TD-503 - Rain UTV

 

BFDX TD-503 - Confined Space Ropes

BFDX TD-503 - Confined Space

Programming is easy and the cable is inexpensive.  The audio quality is better or on par with both my Hytera and Mototrbo's in both analog and digital mode.  This radio works great on analog repeaters as well.  I've been using this pretty much exclusively for any outdoor adventures (UTV'n, Rafting, Swift-water Rescue, Climbing) without fail, mainly because of its price point and performance.  At $250 brand new its much less expensive than a used Mototurbo or Hytera.

Video

I had some issues with the audio on this so bear with it.  Also standard definition only.

 

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8Aug/150

What’s Next in Ham Radio Rant

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:

What's Next...

  • 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

Details

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.

Video

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25Apr/120

HP 8935 E6380A EL Display Fix

I have a HP 8935 E6380A service monitor that had some pretty severe screen burn.  After looking around for a replacement I wanted to see how hard it would be to adapt a current LCD to the 8935.  Suprisingly it was fairly easy.  I had a 10.5 inch display and after probing around a bit to see what signals/power were on the A1A1 connector (400 i think) I started playing with a FPGA dev board to convert signals to something I could see on the screen.  It works but doesn't fill the entire screen and its not the right size hardware.  Now that I have a PLAN B and I've found a 6.5"ish lcd I can readily buy cheap, I'll troll along with the burnt display till it fails or I can't stand it anymore. I'm hoping there is a lot of interest in this to other 8935 owners and its something I can justify doing in the near future.

Some things I played with while I had the 8935 apart and the 10.5" connected:

- Inversion to have some way of preventing screen burn.

- Adding some color (Changed boarder color, changed color of spectrum analyzer portions of the screen) This isn't something that can be done everywhere. If its simply which pixels get what color it's trivial.

- Added text to the parts of the screen not used going from 512x256 to 640x480.  Could add ADC to show voltages etc as extra info.

-Centered screen and added border.

 

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23Mar/122

DMR NEXEDGE VOIP DSTAR Switch / Trunking

I've been working on a hardware to spin up a homegrown DMR/NEXEDGE/VOIP/DSTAR switch using freeswitch, some AMBE hardware, and common DMR radios (Hytera and Mototrbo) for use in Ham.  I have been working a board design I did last year to handle the AMBE codec.  The basic idea is to have a way to convert the AMBE codec to G711 to allow interface to other systems.  It also allows trunking/routing between systems.  If this something you might be interested in doing or helping with please let me know.  I'm really interested in hardware donations including NEXEDGE, DSTAR, and Hytera gear.

 

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30Jan/120

Digital RF Modem Board AVR32

This is my initial work with developing a digital modem board for RF use.  I have various digital modulations working on this prototype.  The AVR32 isn't quite enough to do everything on board.

 

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25Apr/110

SBTDM Prototype Exar

Here is the TDM interface card I've been tinkering with. More to come...

 

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1Apr/110

KICAD 2940 Build OSX Mac 64 Bit

KICAD2940

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30Mar/110

KiCad Mac OSX Build 2933

I've been working with KiCad lately.  Initially I started with the windows version, then the linux version and I've managed to build a MAC OS version. The binaries are below in a zip file.

 

KICADOSX64_2933

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21Oct/100

APRS AVR C vs Processing (Arduino)

I've gotten ton's of emails (100 or so) about the code for the APRS node I've been hacking away at.  I normally use an Arduino type board for prototyping.  However, the code is in C.  I do sometimes use processing to quick test something but generally things destined for the embedded world are in C.  Below are some projects I found related to what I am working on.  Some use the CML chips some don't. In the low cost model I don't use it.  I have been playing with a CML chip for digital type radios but they drive the cost up with what I am attempting to do which is build a device within the reach of just about any public safety department in volume.  And please if you don't mind, post questions as comments rather than emailing me directly.  That ensures that any Q&A can be seen by everyone.

http://garydion.com/projects/whereavr/   - This is a really nice setup, different application but very tidy setup.

http://sites.google.com/site/ki4mcw/Home/arduino-tnc - Hope to see more from this.  Its what more of you are looking for with PDE files provided.

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21Oct/100

APRS Display from the bench to usable in the field…

I started this project months ago with the goal of having software and hardware that could be used in the field.  I have it working on the bench and a very crude setup that I can attach to either my TM-V71a HAM radio or my LMR based TK-3180 handheld for search and rescue.  I'll need plastic and not just any plastic but something rugged.  I plan on continuing to write more code with the crude version to add some public safety specific features as I have completed 99% of HAM related operations.  If you would like to build one of these to test with and help improve the code and hardware please let me know.   The next evolution will be a plastic housing and some redesign to make it as small and low power as possible.

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