New version of Allard’s firmware for BITx40

Just as the BITx40 goes out of production, Allard PE1NW has released a new version of his acclaimed firmware for the BITx40.

This is known as the Raduino v1.29 version, and can be downloaded from here: https://github.com/amunters/bitx40

New in this release:

  • Added Roger Beep (NASA style “Quindar Tone” as used in Apollo missions).
Note that the PTT sense, RX/TX and CW Carrier mods must be installed for this feature to work.
Press Function Button 7 times to toggle this function on/off.  It’s OFF by default as some find it annoying. Others find it helpful in pile-up situations though.
Allard says “Use responsibly!”

Allison KB1GMX commented that the “Roger Beep” was not a common thing until the CB mess broke down in the early 80s and it was often accompanied with other electronic noise makers and profanity. Then that mess started moved into the lower (CW) sections of the 10M band and they got tired of freebanding.

Most of us back when that used CB found it annoying and unneeded especially for SSB. The general feeling is it was those that were disruptive or trying to feel like they were running something important doing it initially. It was especially noxious when it appeared in the 80s. Then it became a feature on CB radios (a signal that those that were modified for non CB allocated frequencies) and later Chinese made HTs.

For the Space activities (Mercury and later) it was needed as the communications were actually full duplex on the data links and you had to have some way of knowing when the other guy was done as in really did release the button and it was also to confirm the button didn’t stick as in heard in the astronauts headphone when he released  the button (or VOX). Until CB adopted it if you heard a over beep is was likely a repeater (usually ham) or space based radio (space program).

To date I know of the use of “over beep” appearing is standard communications systems, those being Space program, Repeaters, military systems that use satellite links, and CB.

It does however represent what one can do with a MPU of reasonable power and some programming skills!

Reference

CEC Firmware Release v1.200 for all versions of uBITX

Ian KD8CEC has released his latest firmware.  This requires a minor configuration flag to be set to your µBITx version (3, 4 or 5) in the sketch before compiling and uploading the code to your µBITx.

Earlier µBITx versions do not require upgrading as no new features have been added to the firmware other than compatibility with the new v5 board.

CEC beta release for v5 board

 

Ian KD8CEC has announced a beta version of his firmware (Version 1.12) for the uBITX V5 board.  He has written an article about it here.

All existing firmware functions for V3 and V4 are available on the V5 beta.

The same version of uBITX Manager will work with the v5 Board.

Only the LPF control and the frequency control part are changed in the V5 code.  Ian has released firmware V1.121 for V5.

Reference

Release of CEC firmware v1.1 (non-Beta)

Ian KD8CEC has released version 1.1 of his CEC firmware.  This the first major release since Beta version 1.097.    He has also released new versions of uBITx Manager (for Windows) and Nextion screen firmware.

Version 1.1 includes all additions or improvements from the last non-Beta release version 1.08.   This includes features and bug fixes addressed in Beta versions 1.09, 1.093, 1.095,  and 1.097.   No further changes have been made to the Version 1.097 Beta version.

You do not need to upgrade if you are using Version 1.097. This is the version with only the version number changed.

Major Changes since the last official release

  •  The firmware supports additional features for the Nextion  and TJC LCDs
  •  Read & Backup uBITX, ADC Monitoring, ATT, IF-Shift and more on Nextion LCD (TJC LCD)
  •  Factory Reset (Both Character LCD and Nextion LCD are applicable)
  • Signal Meter using ADC (A7 Port)
  • I2C Signal Meter
  • Spectrum display
  • Band Scan
  • Memory Control on Nextion LCD (TJC LCD)
  • Speed Change CW-Option on Nextion LCD
  • Fixed Band Change Bug (Both Character LCD and Nextion LCD are applicable)
  •  uBITX Manager removed the Encode and Decode buttons. The procedure has become a bit easier.
  • I2C Device Scan on uBITX Manager ( Both Character LCD and Nextion LCD are applicable)
  • Si5351 I2C Address can be changed
  • Recovery using QR-Code Data from Server
  • Nextion LCD and TJC LCD can display Spectrum and CW Decode (using Stand alone S-Meter)
  • Fixes for other Minor Bugs

Please refer to the link below for details.
http://www.hamskey.com/2018/09/ubitx-firmware-cec-version-11-release.html

Please download the related files from the link below.
https://github.com/phdlee/ubitx/releases/tag/1.1

Nextion LCD or TJC LCD’s GUI have not changes since the 1.097 (Beta) distribution. If you are using a different GUI that is customized by other helpful developers, you should not need to upgrade the firmware.  Some screen sizes are still not supported in ver 1.097 (and therefore in version 1.1).

For further details see Ian’s blog at www.hamskey.com

Why has KD8CEC’s firmware been so successful?

There are several alternative firmware versions available for use with the µBITx transceiver.   So why has the KD8CEC firmware been so successful with uBITx owners?

Some key reasons put forward by uBITx.net:

  1. KD8CEC firmware is fully compatible with the standard issue kit.  No hardware changes are required to make it work.  This is a critical point of difference with all of the other variants, and probably the most important factor associated with the success of CEC firmware.
  2. No custom wiring changes are required when using the firmware.  This is a further significant factor in widespread adoption.
  3. The firmware fixes problems that come with the factory firmware – although some argue that CW modes are still not fully addressed in the CEC firmware.
  4. Using CEC firmware means no loss of features from the default factory firmware.   Other alternatives offer fewer or different features from the factory firmware.
  5. Users are familiar with the  user interface, as it reflects the default firmware’s “look and feel” with the standard display supplied with the kit.
  6. It is easy to upload a hex file to the Raduino. Constructors without a working knowledge of the Arduino IDE can upload files easily.
  7. All full releases of CEC Firmware are available as open source firmware.  This follows the same structure as the original code, although most of the code has been replaced.  Open source is not released for beta versions (and for good reason).
  8. No additional processor is required, unlike other firmware variants.  A mechanism for adding additional processors has been added in ver 1.097 (Beta).   This promises a future where multiple processor support will be available.  You won’t be locked into a single processor type.
  9. Addition of a Nextion display or additional processor is relatively straightforward.
  10. The firmware on the Nextion display can be edited by others to provide a different “look and feel” or to add or subtract features.   This is independent of the firmware for the transceiver.

Using uBITx Memory Manager with the HF Signals v4.3 Firmware

Remi F1MQJ has modified the manufacturer’s v4.3 original firmware (published on may 23 2018) to include communication with KD8CEC memory manager.  

This could be very useful for those wanting to stick with the HF Signals latest firmware, while making it easier to view or update initialisation settings, such as calibration of frequency or setting the BFO injection point, in the original firmware.

Modifications are the same as those described by Ian KD8CEC  here but are adapted to the HF Signals V4.3 original firmware.

The file removes all text after .ino in your firmware directory replacing the original ubitx_cat.ino file.   

You can access this file at the following URL:
https://groups.io/g/BITX20/files/ubitx_cat.ino_modified_KD8CEC_F1MQJ.txt

KD8CEC v1.097 Beta will be released shortly

Ian KD8CEC has been busy again in conjuring up new features in his CEC firmware.   He is tempting us with descriptions of two new features:

  • Nextion display update that makes it easy to adjust keying speed and to select the keyer type (Iambic A, Iambic B or Straight Key) even while in TX
  • Adding an additional arduino, connected to the Raduino via i2c, to provide an S-meter function.

The first feature is well explained by the photo above. The second feature is a bit more difficult to describe.   By adding a US$3 additional arduino the µBITx now has double the number of analogue and digital ports and another 32K of program space.   This could be a fun ride!  The first function is a basic one, but an important one.   A much more sensitive S-meter.   But wait there’s more, as yet to be fully described.  If you already have a Nextion screen, it looks like you may be in line for a half decent signal analyser function.

Connecting up the arduino

The circuit is pretty straight forward, and involves just a couple of resistors and a capacitor, along with wiring to +5v and ground, and the two i2c lines.

Latest firmware release v6.00R for BITeensio

W0EB and W2CTX have just completed and released a powerful new set of firmware for their BITeensio card.

Details about the BITeensio and links to the firmware can be found on the website at www.w0eb.com.

Release Announcement

“As of this morning, July 8, we have released a powerful new version of the firmware for our BITeensio card, V6.00R, that utilizes the Teensy 3.6’s capability to utilize USB “Host” mode  and connect a standard USB ASCII keyboard (many wireless ones work too).  PJRC (the people that make the Teensy  www.pjrc.com ) offer a standard USB cable thatcan plug into the Teensy. (You do have to add a 5 pin header to the Teensy 3.6 board) on the same side, and just to the right of the USB “Micro B” connector into which you will be able to plug the standard USB 2.0 cable.  The red wire (+5V) must be plugged into the pin indicated by a white square in the outline on the Teensy 3.6.In this version, we have implemented a comprehensive command list that allows many of the standard “menu” commands, including the operating frequency, to be entered using the keyboard.

“Also included is a brand new Keyboard CW keyer that uses most of the K1EL keyboard keyer’s character/key mapping.  The V6.00R firmware is released as pre-compiled “HEX” files and placed in the appropriate directory of the “Files” link on the www.w0eb.com website.   We are not denying anyone that wants it the source code, but you will have to ask for it with the understanding that if you cannot compile it or if you modify it, you are on your own as we just don’t have time to troubleshoot it for you.”

Reference

KD8CEC firmware hint – CW frequency display

The KD8CEC firmware provides a lot of customisation features through uBITx Manager software.  Many user of Ian’s firmware are not aware of all the built-in features of his firmware.   This is one such instance!

JJ1EPE raised a concern that his display in CW mode was “off frequency”.  Well, it was from his perspective, but then the display was all the time showing the TX frequency not the offset frequency where the station he was listening to.

CW offsets create headaches in how you represent the frequency on a display.  In SSB the frequency you see on the display is the frequency of the suppressed carrier on receive and the same on transmit.   If you tune to the carrier frequency of a received station you won’t hear anything.  To get a sidetone we have to tune off the transmit frequency by a few hundred hertz.  Most people have worked out how to set the offset on the uBITx.

The standard that Ian KD8CEC has applied is to always show the TX frequency  by default (except where RIT or SPLIT mode is selected).

However, if you want to change the approach, do the following in uBITX Manager:

– Enable Adjust CW Frequency

– Shift Display Frequency on CWL, CWU Mode

If you select this function, the LCD will show the frequency at which the radio is being transmitted (the offset you prefer is added or subtracted to the actual RX frequency reflecting the CW-L or CW-U mode selected).   This may be just the thing you were looking for!

Reference