Posts

APRS I-Gate

Image
  APRS I-Gate Filed in Microcontrollers on Jan.05, 2022 Introduction In early 2021, I was approached to build a small, easy to use version of an APRS I-Gate. This device listens for APRS packets from your radio receiver, and forwards them to the internet to be displayed at the aprs.fi website. In this post I will detail the steps used to build and program this APRS IGate that runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero-W. The goal is to have a headless device (when desired) which automatically boots up the necessary programs and runs them when powered up. It will connect to a preferred network to forward the packets to the internet. Also included is a simple one-button shutdown routine, so there is no need for a keyboard in day-to-day operation. This process is documented on a Linux Mint machine. Utilities and details may differ for other architectures Here are links to PDF documents with build/configuration instructions… RaspberryPi_Zero_W_OS_Setup Rasp

IC-2720 Installation in 2012 Ram-1500

Image
  IC-2720 Installation in 2012 Ram-1500 Filed in IC-2720 on Jan.02, 2022 I was reviewing my photos folder today, and ran across this project from 2016 that I never made a blog post on. Here is a brief overview of that installation. I’m not providing many details, as this was done several years ago, and I can’t remember many of them. Maybe it will be useful for others with this vintage of Dodge Ram pickups. I had been using magnetic mount antennas on my 2012 Dodge Ram pickup since the time I had bought it new. I was concerned with running RF coax near any airbags that might be in the side panels of the truck. It had some badges on the side panels indicating there might be some. After owning the truck for four years, I decided to take a chance on making my antenna connections more permanent. I started by removing the dome light from the roof. I don’t remember now if I had to remove screws or not to do this.   Remove Dome Light I used a Unibit to dril

ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller – Part 4

Image
  ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller – Part 4 Filed in Antennas on Jul.29, 2021 Calibration Now it is time to calibrate your ERC. Start by checking the calibration of your HyGain Ham-IV controller. [ ] Press and hold the Brake lever on your controller. [ ] Press and hold the CCW lever to move the rotator to the stop at the end of the left scale. [ ] Release the Brake and CCW levers. [ ] Check that the meter reads exactly 180 on the left hand side.   Full CCW [ ] Adjust the mechanical screw under the meter to show exactly 180. [ ] Similarly, use the Brake and CW levers to move to the right hand side of the scale, until it stops. [ ] Check that the meter reads exactly 180 on the right hand side. [ ] Adjust the “Calibrate” knob to read exactly 180.   Full CW [ ] Run the ERC Calibration routine by pressing the “Calibrate 1” Button on the Service Tool.   Calibrate [ ] Sele

ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller – Part 3

Image
  ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller – Part 3 Filed in Antennas on Jul.29, 2021 Installation My HyGain Ham-IV rotator was built in 2016. The control box has changed in its layout over the years. In the documentation from the CD, the picture of the Ham-IV shows that the meter board is installed vertically behind the meter. In my version, it is installed horizontally (parallel to the chassis surface) on the switch side of the cabinet. Since this is where the ERC-4 was supposed to be installed, I had to find a new location. I chose to install it in the space under the transformer. There really didn’t seem to be many options, but this location worked out well. There is plenty of space between the transformer and the cover of the cabinet. [ ] Choose a location to install the ERC-4 into the controller cabinet.   Mounting location for the ERC-4 There was some challenge to drilling the holes on the back plate. I didn’t feel

ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller – Part 2

Image
  ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller – Part 2 Filed in Antennas on Jul.29, 2021 Checkout [ ] Connect 11 – 15 vdc to the barrel power connector. The center contact is positive, the outside is negative. [ ] Place the Jumper on JP1 [ ] Measure your input voltage (11 – 15vcc) at the +12V test point to ground [ ] Measure +5vdc +/- 0.2v at the test point +5V to ground [ ] If all is well, you may remove power from the board, and install IC1 & IC2 into their sockets. *** Pin 1 is top-left on both chips*** This usually requires the pins of the ICs to be straightened, as they tend to arrive bowed out too wide for the sockets. I just use a flat surface (my bench top) and lay one side of the IC against the surface at about a 45 degree angle, pressing gently to bend the legs in slightly. Then I repeat for the legs on the other side of the IC. Be careful inserting the ICs, it is easy to miss a pin and bend it. That us

ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller

Image
ERC-4 Interface & My HyGain Ham-IV Rotator Controller Filed in Antennas on Jul.28, 2021 Having recently added a Flex Radio 6400 in my hamshack, I’m making progress on being able to operate the radio from my office in the house, while the radio is installed in my garage workshop. The radio makes remote operation very easy, with nearly all functions adjustable over the ethernet link. The next step is to be able to turn my rotator from the computer in my office, while the rotator control box is located in the shop. In order to facilitate this operation, I purchased an ERC-4 rotator controller from Vibroplex. I have another one of these that I use with my balloon tracking station, and it has worked well with my Kenpro 5400 AZ/EL rotator.   ERC-4 Rotator Controller My HF rotator is the HyGain Ham-IV. It is an azimuth only rotator, with push levers to rotate CCW or CW, and a middle lever for a brake release. The ERC-4 controller supports all three of th