AD8307 RF Power Meter II — boards from JLPCB

I ordered the boards for this project with JLCPCB in China. This is my first attempt of working with a professional PCB manufacturer and I am extremely pleased by the results.

AD8307 RF Power Meter

My first finished KiCad project is a prototype of a RF Power meter with input attenuation built around an Analog Device AD8307. An excellent tutorial about log amps can be read in March 1999 edition of Analog Dialogue. KiCad PCB: And the 3D rendering of the same PCB: The next step will be PCB ordering, […]

How to install Python 3.7 on Raspberry Pi

This short guide explains how to install Python version 3.7.0 on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian. First, get rid of old versions: Ensure system is up to date: Install the dependencies needed for building the distribution: build-essential tk-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libreadline6-dev libdb5.3-dev libgdbm-dev libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev liblzma-dev zlib1g-dev libffi-dev Get the python src distribution: […]

Altera Qsys, NIOS II and FPGA fun

One very interesting feature of Altera FPGAs is that almost any system can be created in its next-generation system integration tool Qsys using a standard library of reusable IP blocks. The system interconnect fabric is automatically generated by Qsys and binds the blocks together. The system interconnect manages dynamic bus with matching, interrupt priorities, arbitration […]

End of week — pin planner

This week was quite busy to complete my assignments for the FPGA Course. I was running out of time because I did not estimate properly my available free time and things got crowded at the office, at this end of week. With a lot to do there, I barely found any time to focus on […]

FPGA Course

I’ve been quite busy lately and neglected the blog. I enrolled on Coursera for a very interesting FPGA course, in what seems to be a FPGA specialization from University of Colorado Boulder. I have always had somewhat a reserved attitude towards FPGAs mainly because I believed that these are hard to understand and need a […]

Error opening serial port

Encouraged by the latest developments, today I started building a new application that will  allow remote connection to Kenwood TH-D74, remote control and APRS data transfer. However, while building and running the app I got the following error: If you encounter this, be aware that it is generated by application sandboxing. You can think of using […]

TH-D74 BLE or “Bluetooth Low Energy”

Struggling to understand how Universal Unique IDs work (see here) I was wrongly assuming that Core Bluetooth is a framework from Apple that covers all aspects of communication with devices via BT. I was WRONG ! scanForPeripheralsWithServices method and, in general, what I tried to do, for almost a week, is NOT good for my intended […]

Using UUIDs and Bluetooth

I did some more steps towards accessing Kenwood TH-D74’s services via bluetooth. I struggled for some time understanding how discovery based on UUIDs work. I was not aware that, for each service profile, there is a standard Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) documented in Bluetooth SIG specs. Specifically for Serial Port Profile (SPP) service, the UUID […]

Why unsupported central manager state ?

Several days ago I received a Kenwood TH D74 portable transceiver. Although I have a Yaesu FT60 and some other smaller and unimportant transceivers, I don’t have any transceiver that is APRS capable. What’s more important, this transceiver is BT and USB capable, providing serial communication, which opens some interesting opportunities. Today I opened XCode […]

Kenwood TH-D74

We first met — I think — in the summer of 2015 during the Hamfest in Friedrichshafen. At that time I had a mobile Kenwood transceiver TM-D710 which was quite nice by its own. However, after several months using the TM-D710 I got increasingly annoyed by some of its shortcomings, most of them purely subjective (but I […]

Beacon with SiLabs module

This is a beacon project started by my friend YO5VAE. He faced some issues while programming of the Si4463-based module and I thought I might give a hand. I resoldered the entire project on an empty Arduino shield to allow expansion of the project with some additional modules. Below are some pics, but probably the […]

Repair of a cassette deck

I twenty dollars for this superb cassette deck. The playback and recording heads were in excellent shape and I used this deck for some years, playing and recording on NOS (new old stock) tapes, mostly chrome type II and metal – type IV, that I purchased on eBay. However, one day the entire head block […]

Năsăud Cup, 2017

There is nothing better than marrying several hobbies and have fun from it. I have had the intention to be part of this expedition at least since I heard about this contest for the first time. My good friends from Năsăud planned this thoroughly. All our equipment was carried by three 4×4, manned by a […]

Ferrite beads

I ordered some ferrite beads for a RF circulator project I currently work on but these might also be very handy for the SWR bridge project. These are extremely efficient for RF supression, or at least this is what they say.

Boards for prototypes

For low frequency projects, a fast way to prototype is using a bare PCB and scratch some dividers that allow “manhattan” style prototyping. I am especially very fond of this prototyping technique and I believe that PCB design should be avoided in the early stages of prototyping. Jim Williams was an artist in such designs. […]

OCXO tests

A couple of months passed since I purchased two 10 MHz OCXO modules from eBay. And, to my shame, I didn’t even tried these. Yesterday I did a quick test and the devices are spot on. Both measured on my TTi TF930 3GHz frequency counter: The OCXO needs apx 10 minutes for proper warm up […]

Hamfest Friedrichshafen 2016

The international amateur radio exhibition is the platform for ham enthusiasts from all over the world.

Electronics from China — Pixie CW

Power supply: DC 9v – 12v Antenna: 50 ohms, is not balanced, 7MHZ band, standing wave ratio below 1.8 Receive the static current: 10 mA @ 9 v Transmission power: 0.8W @ 9 v, 1.2W @ 12 v Frequency range: 7.023 MHz launch, receive 7.023-7.026 MHz (7.023 MHz crystals) Stray (harmonic) inhibition: – 20 db […]

Electronics from China

I am pretty pleased by the outcome of my commercial endeavours on eBay. Purchasing seems to be a pleasure; until now — with just one exception — I was spared from any nasty experiences. After several small items that I ordered in part for my curiosity to evaluate speed and quality of shipments from chinese suppliers, I […]

A Weekend Project

Not much to say today. For some time I wanted to tear down and clean my old Panasonic radio casette player. I am very fond of this device. A small and relaxing weekend project.

C# Accessing MDI Parent methods from MDI Child forms

While in a new project (trying to get my Fluke 289 communicate with my PC), I ran into an interesting C# trickie that I thought it might be interesting to share. Here’s the UseCase: getting to have a parent MDI form and several child forms, you want to run selected parent methods from child forms. […]

More about zombies and XCode

Some time ago I did a very short introduction about enabling zombies when debugging in XCode. As a refresher, zombies is a Cocoa feature that turns any object going to be deallocated into a NSZombie instance. This will not prevent your application from crashing, but instead of getting a stack dump from Xcode that is a […]

Some thoughts on the Responder Chain

I had a lot to do these days and did not manage to keep up with the blog. Very busy time at the office before Christmas. Luckily, I’ll get my vacation soon by I swear I will not spend it on much anything else than reading paper books. And books which are not about programming, […]

XCode 5 LLDB Debug Assertions

One situation when a debugger might not be the first option is when you are not sure where does a program has a bug. One way you can check whether your assumptions are truly what is happening in your code is by using assertions. What assertions let you do is express one particular assumption and […]

A quickie on USB Endpoints

Endpoints are essentially the USB addresses that USB data is sent to or from. Now, here is the trick. The transfer direction naming convention is a bit unintuitive. Contrary to — at least — what I imagined, an IN Endpoint will transfer USB data from the USB device to the host PC, while an OUT Endpoint […]

SCPI on Mac

Some more days passed and some more finishing touches added to my MacSCPI app. It is entirely dependent on hooking the device via the USBTMC driver, but it works fine and is stable: I had some problems with buffer padding and the output it is still not 100% gibberish–free , but I assume I have to play with […]

USBTMC driver for Mac

After some head banging, I finally managed to send SCPI commands from my Mac to my Agilent (Keysight) DSOX2002A. I’ve worked on this since december last year. Almost a year, but I did not spent a sustained amount of effort. I did it just during my free time. I still have a day job that […]

Data Tips and Quick Look — debug console display

XCode 6 — new debugging features

As one of the goodies launched during current WWDC 2013, Apple has released a developer preview of Xcode 5 and detailed some of the new features it offers such as Automatic Configuration, Test Navigator, Bots, Auto Layout, Asset Management, Debug Gauges, Source Control, and more. Looking over some of the videos of the WWDC Sessions Videos, […]

Writing serial drivers for OS X (1)

At least one thing can be improved on Mac Dev Center: the code sample repository. I am not talking about documentation. In this particular case, there’s not much new to write about. The I/O Kit documentation (grab the pdf while it is stil there) is sufficient. On the shelves are tons on books about C and […]