So great of you!
I'm building and testing my first batch of Si5351A Breakout Boards in Shack 2.0. Took a bit of work to get my Python test script converted from running on my previous Linux Mint box to now running on a Raspberry Pi 3B+, but now it's working like a charm.
Have been preparing the Indiegogo campaign for the launch of the Empyrean microcontroller. A bit of bad timing on my part, unfortunately. Going to let it simmer for a month or so while I wait to see how the Chinese supply chain is looking. I feel like it would be irresponsible do a campaign ask with this much uncertainty. Watch this space for further updates.
In the mean time, I'm going to work on finishing out my new home office/shack that has been in the works for 9 months now. I'm finishing the interior now, so the end is in sight.
Building with my new manual pick-and-place setup. I'm liking it so far, it's definitely more efficient than my old system of picking up scattered SMT components with tweezers. I'm sure there are a bit more gains to be had by more getting more practice in.
In getting ready for a couple of upcoming product launches, I happened to stumble upon a neat cinematic turntable project on Thingiverse that looked perfect for taking some glamour shots of the new items. I ordered all of the various parts from US vendors on eBay and got to printing the various parts while I waited for the parts to arrive.
I finally received the last of the components needed a few days ago (and had finished printing the printable parts a few days before that), so I was able to assemble and wire up the turntable yesterday. I'm happy to report even though the wiring is a bit of a tangle, it all works well and should make for some nifty video! What a boon it is to have all of these tools at our fingertips these days!
The first of the OpenBeacon 2 pre-production units has been tested and is out to door to its new owner so that it can be on the air for the big QRSS night on New Year's Eve. More will be sent out to testers early next year, and the funding campaign will also be following soon. Watch this space for further updates!
In looking ahead to my next project, I'm starting to learn the new things I'm going to need to know. In this case, I want to do some DSP on audio through a microcontroller. So I've created a Jupyter notebook of a Python implementation of the FIR filter presented in this Hackaday article. Wasn't too difficult to translate from the spreadsheet in that article to Python code, once I got a handle on how the actual filter algorithm worked (which the article wasn't super clear on).
For fun, I think I'll actually play the waveform through the speakers in a Python sketch and then start porting the code over to the Empyrean microcontroller. Will be interesting to learn the limits of the ATSAMD21 in doing audio DSP.
Details about the multiband trap vertical antenna for use with OpenBeacon 2. Currently laying out PCBs for the traps. Once those are done and I've received them from fabrication, will make this post public to ask for testers.
This week I've been working on an antenna that can be used with OpenBeacon2 on multiple bands without the need for an antenna tuner. After a few failed attempts, I settled on an antenna which seems to work well and fit the bill. It is a trap vertical for 40 m, 30 m, 20 m, and 17 m, with elevated quarter wave counterpoises for each band. There's a bifilar 1:1 transformer in the center support of the antenna.
I have been running OpenBeacon 2 on it transmitting WSPR on each of those four bands in succession on random frequencies within the WSPR sub-band. The antenna seems to be working fairly well, as I've been getting spots on all bands (although 17 meters is sparse, I assume because of the lack of sunspots and lack of listeners).
There's a decent chance I'll make PCBs for the band traps and offer them for sale, along with the plans. If you might be interested in testing such an antenna, shoot me an email/message.
The USB PIDs for Empyrean Alpha and Beta were accepted into the pid.codes database, so now that's official! Would love to have my own VID some day, but they are very expensive. Would be nice if the price of those came down about an order of magnitude at least.
Latest (and hopefully last) PCB spin has arrived from China, along with a nice stencil in a frame. Waiting for some more parts to arrive before I can assemble this latest version. In the mean time I've got a tricky firmware bug to fault find.
You may recall that not very long ago, I had a Patreon account. It started to gain some traction, but I ended up terminating my account with them because I didn't agree with some of their policies and business decisions. Now that I've found a similar platform, I've decided that I'd try to build up that network again. This is just going to be a soft launch, since I haven't even put out any content or much open source work in general in the last few months, but once I get back in the saddle and feel like I've actually done work worthy of asking for support, I will do so.