KD8CEC documentation

Ian Lee, KD8CEC has added further documentation on his website about his alternative firmware for the µBITx transceiver:

General features


Memory Channels

Reducing CW Key errors

You will also find additional resources on the website covering his AutoKey (built in software memory keyer), his uBITX Manager software and more.


Ian Lee KD8CEC has been busy releasing his Version 1.01 sketch for the uBITx.  However, he has also been busy with modding the wsjt-x Linux software to do some amazing things with the uBITx.

He has now announced the release of version 0.5 (Beta) of Wsjtx-Portable.

For those who are not familiar with wsjt-x, this software is a general purpose graphical user interface (complete with waterfall display) for digital HF modes.  The software is a great product, and is available in Windows, Linux, and MacOS flavours to cover every amateur operator’s PC set up.  What is more, if you have installed KD8CEC’s V1.01 uBITx sketch, this includes Hamlib CAT functionality so WSJT-X will work with your uBITx on all of those digital modes.

So what is WSTJX-Portable?   This is a modified version of WSJT-X that is designed to be used on a Raspberry Pi and a 3.5″ TFT touch screen.

Did you want a nice compact touch screen for your uBITx, but don’t want to hack your uBITx enclosure and push your Arduino Nano to the limits?  Then here is the answer! The uBITx is controlled by the Raspberry Pi via the 3.5″ touch screen.  You can dial up a frequency, set the step value, change band or mode, go to TX or RX, etc. right from the touch screen.   Quite a feat!

KD8CEC Software Version 1 release

Ian Lee Kd8CEC has released his official Version 1.0 release for uBITx transceivers, and almost immediately updated it with a bug fix (v1.01)!

You can download v1.01 from here, and find out all about the features in this first non-Beta release on Ian’s blog.    In summary, this official release will give you bug fixes, improved CW reliability, Split mode, improved RIT, IF shift, 20 programmable memories (10 with 5 character names), status display, default BFO settings and calibration that should work well without mucking around calibrating.  If that isn’t enough, how about CAT control of your uBITx from most PC software (using Hamlib), and a dedicated PC programming tool (uBITx Manager).

Ian has  also installed Mono and modified some of the programs to fit the Linux environment.   This has been tested on Linux (Raspberry Pi) and it worked correctly.  Ian’s blog has details and test videos can be found here:


EDITOR’S NOTE:  This website will shortly feature a comparison of the three initial software upgrades currently available to uBITx owners.   Ian’s is the only one that requires no hardware mods.

If you haven’t considered upgrading your software, then you should.  Two other upgrade paths exist,  and both have distinct features advantages over the stock software, but you will need to warm up the soldering iron with these other choices!   One features significant CW improvements (a must for hard core morse ops) and the other features a colour touch screen mod.   A detailed analysis of each option will come soon on ubitx.net


KD8CEC Software – Now up to v0.33 Beta

uBITx.net site developer, Mike ZL1AXG has been playing around with Ian Lee KD8CEC software releases and giving Ian feedback.

Mike gave the following review on the BITX20 group of v0.30:

This worked faultlessly for me, and I loved being able to adjust the step rate (I have it set on 10Hz now).

The band stacking registers and band switching is fantastic. I had intended modding the software myself to get band stacking and easy ham band switching, but I no longer need to bother! I may still add front panel buttons for band up/band down functions, but the menu band changing function is fairly handy already. It would be good to have a SPLIT function (in addition to A/B) and perhaps a limited number of programmable memories (10?).

I like the way that you can select either ham bands or general coverage RX. You go into the band change menu, and then hold the switch down for longer to toggle between modes.

I have some minor suggestions for improvement. The main thought would be to change the display of the RIT function to show the frequency offset rather than the absolute frequency (i.e. show -0.415 KHz or +0.001 kHz etc). This reflects how most people think of incremental tuning. Once you are done setting the RIT and exit the menu it would show the absolute frequency as normal on the display while the RIT still turned on. The display should, however, continue to display “RIT”/ There is a whole other line above the frequency display to show function settings on RX. Similarly you could show the keyer mode on the first line (e.g. STRAIGHT, IAMBICA, IAMBICB).

I love the way in which you have corrected the frequency display below 1MHz and opened up the RX to 1kHz to 100MHz. A shorter press allows you to set the step function. A long press on the dial switch gives you dial lock. This works well. I like the way the step speed increases when you turn the dial faster, but the dial no longer goes crazy, throwing you half a Megahertz away on outside the ham band. Well done!

The function to monitor ADC levels could be very useful for those having issues with CW keying. My uBITx has always worked fine with both manual and paddle keys. This suggests that the resistor tolerances are probably a bit narrow. My resistor values may be closer tolerance than what others have received. A check on the monitor function shows this to be the case.

I didn’t find documentation on exactly how the ADC monitoring function works. I believe it shows a continuous stream of readings on the port (0 to 1023) with 6 readings at a time. However, I don’t think you can exit from this function without turning off the rig? This allows you to press dit, dah or the manual key to get a reading for the ADC value being received by the arduino. This then allows the setting ranges to be adjusted.

If you are still fence sitting about a software upgrade you shouldn’t be! Upgrading the stock software is reasonably straight forward. Let me tell you that if you have a stock uBITx, you should definitely be downloading this sketch and increasing functionality and ease of use. It is a fine effort.

Mike notes that v0.33 released today adds several new features including some of his suggestions above.

The final release (v1.0) will be a MUST for everybody as it comes with essential bug fixes and many new features, while working with the stock unmodified uBITx.

Alternative software for your uBITx

What do you know, but two new software forks for the uBITx are shortly to be forthcoming.   One is focussed on significant hardware enhancements and the other is designed for stock uBITx hardware.

A stylized red stamp that shows the term beta testing. All on white background.

VU2SPF Software

uBitx.net has already foreshadowed the 2.8″ display from Joe VE1BWV with its software from VU2SPF that is expected to be released shortly.  This software will feature full touch control along with physical optional buttons,  100 memory channels, a tunable BFO. VFO, memory selection and all bands will be selectable from the touch panel.   However, this software has still to be released.

KD8CEC software

Meanwhile, Ian Lee KD8CEC has announced his Beta release of a further update for the stock uBITx.   Version 0.30 has already been released as a final version.   However, version 0.31 is out for beta testing.

This release features CW Keying, Frequency Tune and CW performance meeting the demand for such features from users.   CW keying improvements will continue to use original hardware.  However, it is also possible to set the CW Key analogue to digital conversion range to reduce mis-keying errors that some (but not all) have observed.   Reporting of the resistance detected allows you to know your exact resistance and key contact status (in case the key needs cleaning).  These functions need testing.

The source code for frequency tuning has been rewritten.  Ian has applied a threshold parameter, speed weighting, and a step function. The problem of an arbitrary change in frequency when turning the knob should have disappeared.   When a particular threshold has been exceeded, the frequency step will begin to change,  but Ian has added some logic to prevent the thresholds from becoming unnatural.
If you want to fine-tune, turn the dial slowly and the step rate will change, getting smaller as you turn more slowly.   There thresholds are more gradual  and change more slowly, to give a more natural effect.

The tune steps now are 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200, but you can change these in uBITX Manager 0.31 (Beta release).    You can change the step rate by pressing holding down the function key slightly longer than you would normally to enter the menu. If you keep holding it down for even longer, the Dial Lock function will be enabled.

Band setting is already present in version 0.3O, with the ham band set to “region 1” as the default.   In a similar way to controlling step rate, you can change to state by pressing the function key in the band select menu for a longer time.    You can set up to 10 frequency bands in uBITX Manager to suit your country or your preference.

These new features, a description of the features and details of how to upload firmware (both source code and compiled firmware) can be found here:


Details on how to upload firmware and access firmware versions up to version 0.27 can be found here:

Ian has indicated that future versions of his software are likely to require hardware modifications.