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When I was a Cub Scout, we visited Chuck Ziegler, W8FTQ, and watched him contact his son in South Africa on Collins S-line equipment. I was hooked! Under his tutelage, I started my ham radio adventure in 1954 with my Novice license and upgraded to General about a year later. I've been licensed ever since. My activity died down during my college years, but I took a teaching position at Creighton University (Omaha, NB) in 1970 and started running phone patch traffic for our servicemen on Guam and the Marshall Islands and their families on the SAC base in Omaha. This was back when a phone call was like $5/minute. It was an enjoyable endeavor and at Christmas, I had more cookies, cakes, and booze from local spouses of the servicemen than I could possibly consume!

I retired from the Computer Technology department at Purdue University. Taught computer programming courses, mainly in C, C++, Java, VB, and C# and am very interested in SDR. I've written a number of programming books, the latest two concentrating on the Arduino family of microcontroller boards. Al Peter, AC8GY, and I just started the Greater Cincinnati Builders Group and our first project is the "can-type" dummy load that uses an OLED to display the watts into the DL (picture delow). We've tested it to 250W for 5 minutes with no damage to the resistors, although the oil could probably do french fries!

My most recent book is co-authored with Dennis Kidder (W6DQ) titled Arduino Projects for Amateur Radio. We had a blast writing this book, which has various microcontroller projects for keyers, displays, VFO, etc. We even added a VFO to a Pixie QRP rig! Dennis, Farrukh Zia (K2ZIA), and I have finished a 3W, Nano/VFO-controlled CW rig with an LCD display article that can be built for under $50, as seen in the photo at the top of the page. The article was published in the March, 2016 issue of QST

This photo is of a 2.4" TFT display that I'm adding to the BITX40 SSB transceiver. Other mods add an AGC, speech compressor, CW mode with contest keyer, and S meter. It's part of a talk titled "Give Your QRP Rig A Facelift" at the 2017 FDIM conference. The goal is to end up with a 7-20W SSB/CW VFO controlled rig for under $100.

My club, the Milford Amateur Radio Club, did a club build of an antenna analyzer based on the Nano/DDS board. The 3.95" display and the AA in its case are pictured below. Fun stuff!

Antenna Analyzer

Al and I are now working on a board for the µBITX, which is a 10W, 5 band, SSB/CW transceiver complete with 2x16 LCD display and VFO. We are doing a replacement for the VFO/display board with a 3.5" or 5" TFT touch screen that looks like this:

µBITX new display

which adds an (RF) AGC, speech compressor, S meter, contest keyer with up to 50 runtime-selectable messages, RIT, and filters where you can set the center frequency and the "knees" for the filter. Three NO push button switches are on the top of the case. If I press S1, it sends out the CQ message seen at the bottom of the display. The UP/DN buttons lets you scroll through the 50 pre-stored messages and assign them to the 3 switches. The board will use the 8 clock version of the Si5351 and a more powerful microcontroller. As always, it will be Open Source and we hope to have a PCB with all SMD's on it with microcontroller for about $25. The touch screen displays cost around $30, depending on size. We hope to demo it at 2018 FDIM.


   FTDX-1200, Elad Duo (SDR)

   Forty-9er transceiver, MST2, NorCal40, X1M, BITX40, 20M QCX,  µBITX plus some other QRP rigs

   Half-wave dipole at 25' and 110' EFHW

Got the HF EFHW up which allows operation on all HF bands. I bought the Elad Duo in Dayton in 2016, so I now have a good SDR transceiver to play with. I'm still learning all of its features, so don't have much on-air experience with it yet, but it sure looks great so far. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who is using microcontrollers in ham radio or interested in SDR. I'm collecting the materials for a 20M Mag Loop antenna, 100W power. I will be developing an Arduino-based controller for it.


   Novice license in 1954 (KN8MGT), continuosly licensed as a General since 1955 (K8MGT, W0ODF, W9NMT, W8TEE). Recently shamed into upgrading to Extra.

   Occupation: professor at Creighton University, Butler University, and Purdue University. Retired in 2009. Owned my own software company, Ecosoft, from 1977-1994.

   Interests: microcontrollers in ham radio, QRP, golf.

   Recently elected VP of the Milford Amateur Radio Club.

8716062 Last modified: 2018-03-15 03:56:06, 5512 bytes

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