NJQRP MicroBeacon


Bob Applegate, K2UT (project mgr)
Last update: 01/24/1998

After today's great meeting, I got inspired again to work on the beacon/keyer (I might use the term "beacon" or "keyer" interchangably; they're the same thing). There were some real big technical issues dragging down my enthusiasm for the project, but Jim, WK8G, came up with the obvious answer that solved a lot of the big headaches. More on this later. BTW, I (K2UT) am doing the web pages directly related to the keyer to take some of the burden off George, so blame me for the different "feel" of the pages.

At this point, we generally know how the front panel and user interface will work. The controls will consist of the following "devices":

Hey, why isn't there a power switch or a straight key input? Easy: the power switch is really external to the keyer in that it goes between the power connector and the beacon's PC board, and the straight key can short the rig connector to ground external of the beacon. No need to include those as part of the beacon design that I can see (opinions welcome).

One of the big problems was related to timing inside the software due to all the real-time issues involved. The keyer software needs to do these basic jobs:

Yes, there are lots of timing issues, and probably a few that my mind held from me just to let me sleep at night The other big concern was getting a processor with enough I/O lines. From what I can gather, we'll need about 20 I/O bits (ouch!).

There is where Jim comes in. After the main meeting, he was eating lunch and we got talking about embedded controllers. I mentioned the timing issue and all the I/O lines and he suggested an easy solution: add another processor! The other processor would do some of the I/O and timing intensive operations and leave the main processor to do the main jobs.

We need input from the group in selecting the hardware. The components up for discussion are:

Please check into those pages and provide comments.

Bob - K2UT

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Last Modified: Oct 2, 1998