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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Arduino Problems -- Back from the Ledge

As I was struggling through this, someone -- who will remain nameless -- told me that because of all the technical problems resulting from the many Arduino IDE "upgrades," suicide prevention hotlines now answer all calls with an automated question:  "If you are calling about an Arduino problem, press 1 for assistance."

It got pretty ugly but with the help of Tom up in NYC I managed to get through it. First he convinced me that it is indeed POSSIBLE to upload the latest version of the IDE -- the dreaded 1.6.7.   I just had to REALLY get rid of earlier versions.  This got me past the horrible Bundled Java Runtime Environment problem (who thinks up these names?).

We then worked with the libraries needed to upload the AD9850 code of Richard AD7C.  You see, I work on Arduino stuff.   Then I stop.  18 months pass.  I forget all I learned.  Then I start over.  The pain begins again.  In an effort to break this cycle, I am now taking notes (in the inside cover of Mario Banzi's book).

I am using the AD9850 with a Kanga Arduino shield designed by Paul M0XPD.   It takes the AD9850 output, divides by 4 and puts it out as 2 square waves in quadrature.  I use this with my R2 phasing receiver.   The problem was that the display on the Arduino showed a freq 4 times the actual tuning freq.  Believe me, this gets old fast.  I considered just getting a San Jian freq counter and supergluing it on the top of the DDS box.  I was going to connect this to the square wave output.  That would have given me one readout with the actual receive freq, and another (on the Arduino) showing the (4X) freq coming out of the AD9850.  But that would have been too much of a Kludge. Tom talked me out of it and modified the code so that the Arduino display shows the actual receive freq.   Thanks Tom.  

Armed with the new IDE and with my knowledge of Arduino basics refreshed, I was able to reload the LA3PNA Si5351 code into my 40 meter DIGI-TIA.  But not before having to swap out the Arduino that drives the Si5351.   One Arduino happily accepted the code, another did not.  Why?  Who knows?  It is a digital mystery.  Those little 1s and 0s are fickle you know.

The Radio Gods rewarded me for all this.  At about 5:45 AM today I was listening to a very friendly SSB roundtable on 160.  The guys were getting ready to sign off.  The last one ended the conversation by asking the others to "Be kind.  Smile at your neighbors."  Nice.
Then WFAX AM started the broadcast day at 6 am, wiping out my 160 meter reception.  Next project:  High-Pass filter at 1.7 MHz.


  1. The phrase "deus ex machina" comes to mind!

  2. Bet I know who the "nameless one" is!


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