My radio blog

My radio blog

Working on a project - openASC

Ham radioPosted by Mikael Larsmark 2007-11-28 22:32
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I was working on one of my big projects during the whole weekend. I am buildling a open source project similar to the SAC X box that YT6A has created. I got this idea a few years ago (you can see it on my homebrew page) about buildling a box to controll all antenna switching, rotators etc and communication run over a bus. It will have a lot of different features, the hardware is 95% finished and software development has started.

The plan is to make it open source so that if people are interested I don't need to do all the work myself, even though there will be an official release. I have not decided how to sell the hardware, but probably it will be in kit form. I will test to order PCB frontpanel (with labels etc) and see how good that looks, that is a cheap way of making a good looking front and backside, I hope.

The nice thing with this box is if you for example run a M/S, M/2 station you will be able to control everything from each position, so no more screaming about people rotating towers etc, you can do it yourself from the device on your operating position.

I did some programming on the graphical display and also did some work on the configuration software. The device will have inhabit function so that if you have a FT1000 for example the inhabit pin can be used to prevent any damage to antenna switches since the openAS can control when the radio should put out RF. That way you can even have TX/RX antenna combination without any worries to burn relays.

The display on these pictures are not the one I will use on the actual box. This is a spare PLED I had from another project, it will be a LCD on the openAS box with white background and black text.

This is an example of how it could look when having a big station. You can see the rotator indications on the right side and the inverted background on that 6/6/6/6el stack is that that antenna is currently used. If you have a multiband antenna, like the KT34XA and you select it, all other boxes will get a parathesis around it, which indicates that the antenna is currently in use by another radio.
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Here is a picture of the configuration software, written in java:
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I have also designed driver modules that can be used for up to 20 relays. All these are connected to a one-wire bus (similar to the old 10base2, ethernet over coax), so you can use reglar RG58 with BNC-T connectors etc to connect more devices. Both sinking and driver modules will be possible to use. All needed to be done with the addon modules is to set it's address, which is done with a 4 pin DIL switch on the board itself.

So stay tuned...still a LONG way to go before it's anything near finished.

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