kent Morse paddleHope you all had a very pleasant Christmas! Just before the holiday started I’ve made up my mind: I’ll attend for the Morse code exam in Belgium on 28th of June 2016! After reading the announcement on HamNieuws (Dutch) I was convinced this is the right motivator to finally get my code up to speed.
Since dropping the Morse code requirement in The Netherlands it is not possible to take exams in Morse code anymore. Which is a bit weird since in some European countries (i.e. France, Luxembourg) it is still required to have passed your Morse code exam to operate CW on the HF-bands. The only way to get the official note “CW included” on your license (or registration as it’s called these days) is to follow the “Belgium route”. There are still Morse code exams in Belgium. And because Belgium and The Netherlands both have implemented CEPT recommendations TR61/01 & 02, a valid pass of a Morse exam in Belgium is also valid in The Netherlands. So if you send your Belgium certificate to Agentschap Telecom (the Dutch FCC) they will (or have to) update your license with the note “CW included”.
It’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s the only way at this moment.

So I’ve picked up Morse code training at again. Every night one hour of studying. Also I listen to code created with text2cw on my daily commute. I still need to create something to practice my tapping skills. Thinking of building K3NG’s Arduino CW Keyer. I understand from the web-page I can build this keyer with LCD-display and be able to see what I tap. There must be a Arduino Nano laying around and a 2×16 LCD-display is in my junk-box. I’ll try something on a breadboard first. Will post here on any progress!

Best wishes for 2016!

4u-95-inch-half-rack-200mm-stackable-rack-cabinetAs I moving on with my 23cm transceiver project, I started to look for a need case for it. I’m fully aware of the fact that the case determines how your finished project will look. So I need to find a case that is highly customizable but the same form factor for all projects. Something like a 19″-case but 19″ is way too big for most of my projects.
Searching the web I found a 9,5″-solution. Same idea as 19″ but half its width.
Sounds like an ideal solution for my Do-It-Yourself projects! A little 9,5-cabinet on your desk doesn’t take a lot of space and the form factor is flexibel enough to house several projects (such as the 23cm transceiver and the Arduino keyer).

PE1JPD 23cm transceiver kitLast night I visit a keynote from Bas PE1JPD about his 23cm transceiver kit at our local HAM-club evening. It was a very good keynote. Bas was able to find a very good balance between speed and technical depth. He took his listeners from the beginning of design thru prototyping and the final kit. His remarks about the bugs he found (and how he solved them) where hilarious. Bas used very professional slides in his presentation to illustrate the various parts of the schematics. From his answers to questions of the public you could tell Bas really understands designing kits and made really solid choices in this 23cm transceiver kit.

I was so enthusiastic, immediately ordered one. I’m not that much of a 23cm fan but I like this project so much already. I really want to reward the effort Bas put in it.

The 23cm transceiver kit is build around a very smart PLL-solution. Receiver and transmitter share the same intermediate frequency. A cheap Atmel processor is used to control the whole 23cm transceiver kit. A standard 2×40 character with a rotary encoder is the interface.

It is a simple kit which does 23cm FM-only. The idea behind it is to have a pretty straightforward kit with low priced, good available parts.
Bas has prepared a kit with a professional euro-card (10x16cm) circuit-board, all parts and a display. All you need to do is find a case, a speaker and a mic and you are ready to go. The kit price is 142,50 euro’s which is a really sharp price for what you get.

This keynote was outstanding, I wish more people used it as example to model their keynotes. I hope Bas will do this keynote again for other clubs. Maybe the 23cm band will be very crowded, thanks to his project!

More news on the building process the coming months on this blog.