Sunday, March 13, 2022

@Cheerlights Control of BLINKT via Raspberry PI Zero

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On Twitter we kept seeing messages sent to @cheerlights follow by a color.  Turns out tweeting a color to @cheerlights turns a whole bunch of LEDs around the world a different color.  And now, thanks to this project, the LEDs in my garage.

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The concept seemed interesting and we had a Raspberry PI Zero and the Pimoroni BLINKT LED module laying around already.  Time to put them to use for this project.  Honestly, the @cheerlights API is so easy and well documented we won't cover that here.   Same is true with the Pimoroni BLINKT so we will just go straight to the Raspberry PI python source code.

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The Python scripts "listens" for if a color change tweet has been sent to @cheerlights.   If it "hears" one the far left LED is set to that color.  All other LED colors are shifted right to show the history of the last eight colors.  

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Here's the python source code for those that want to join in on the @cheerlights fun.

#!/usr/bin/env python

# Cheerlights with Pimoroni BlinkT module and RasPI Zero
#
# A tweet to @Cheerlights will change the LEFT most color of the BlinkT (LED#7)
# Color history maintained by shifting old colors to the RIGHT (towards LED#0)

# Valid color tweets to @Cheerlights are:
# RED GREEN BLUE CYAN WHITE OLDLACE PURPLE MAGENTA YELLOW ORANGE PINK
#
# Project details at:
# WhiskeyTangoHotel.Com
#
# MARCH 2022
#

import time  # needed for delays
import sys   # for requests

try:
    import requests  #  needed to poll @Cheerlights
except ImportError:
    exit("Install needed to run. Use the command: sudo pip install requests")

from blinkt import set_clear_on_exit, set_pixel, show, set_brightness,
clear # https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/blinkt#

LED_delay = 1
brightness = 0.3 # 0.05 is lowest useable dim.  1.0 is full bright
(the BLINKT is *really* bright if you want!)

#Set up a matrix for r, g, b values (m stands for matrix)
rm = [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
gm = [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
bm = [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]

# set_pixel(pixel_no, red, green, blue, brightness)

print "Testing LEDs..."
print "---------------------------------------------"
for i in range(3):
        for j in range (0,8):
                set_pixel(j, 30, 0, 0, brightness)
        print "RED"
        show()
        time.sleep(LED_delay)
        for j in range (0,8):
                set_pixel(j, 0, 30, 0, brightness)
        print "GREEN"
        show()
        time.sleep(LED_delay)
        for j in range (0,8):
                set_pixel(j, 0, 0, 30, brightness)
        print "BLUE"
        show()
        time.sleep(LED_delay)

        # all LEDs off
        for j in range (0,8):
                set_pixel(j, 0, 0,0)
        show()
print "Self test complete..."

for j in range (0,8): # set values that we know are 'wrong' to get us into the test loop
        rm[j] = 73.73
        gm[j] = 73.73
        bm[j] = 73.73
print " "

while True:
    try:
                r = requests.get('http://api.thingspeak.com/channels/1417/field/2/last.json')
                col = r.json()['field2']
                r, g, b = tuple(ord(c) for c in col[1:].lower().decode('hex'))
                time.sleep(5)  # delay until we look for a new color change


                if (r != rm[7]) or (g != gm[7]) or (b != bm[7]):  # new color selected
                        print "New color placed far LEFT.  Shift old colors RIGHT one place"
                        for j in range (0,7): #shift in the new values
                                rm[j] = rm[j+1]
                                gm[j] = gm[j+1]
                                bm[j] = bm[j+1]                         
                                set_pixel(j, rm[j], gm[j], bm[j], brightness)
                                show()
                                time.sleep(LED_delay) # show change as a sweep

                        rm[7] = r
                        gm[7] = g
                        bm[7] = b
                        set_pixel(7, rm[7], gm[7], bm[7], brightness)
                        show()

    # All LED off on control C
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
        print("stopping ...")
        sys.exit(0)
    except:
        time.sleep(1)

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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Simpson 260 VOM answers, "Is the internet up?"

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It is a pretty commonly uttered question (sometimes loudly) around the home or office; "Is the internet up?"  As the go to IT Support Manager around the house this can get a little tiresome.  Most of the time the internet is up and it's a user or personal device problem that can be solved with a re-boot, re-load, re-etc.  Rarely is the internet really down requiring a router and cable modem reboot or a call to the ISP.  Wouldn't a simple visual check that anyone could quickly understand be helpful? 

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I recently found my father's old Simpson 260 meter.  He let me borrow it anytime I wanted with the warning of "DON'T COOK IT!".   My memory recalls only using it for continuity and batteries which is good because I did not have a clue as to what would "cook it".  I decided to put this heirloom to use as an internet monitor.  This project is amazingly useful and simple to duplicate.

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The rig uses an ESP8266 to ping different servers.   The ping time (in mS) is displayed on the Simpson 260 and 'percent of full scale'.   In other words a ping of 73mS would be 73% of full scale on the Simpson 260.    We set the source code (see below) to cycle through ten servers and show the ping result every 15 seconds.

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If the LAN is down or a ping error is detected the meter "wags" back and forth 5 times and tries another server.   The message to the house is, "If the needle ain't wagging back and forth then your problem ain't with the internet connection!"

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Upload the Arduino IDE based source code below to the ESP8266.  Connection to the Simpson 260 is easy. 
 

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/*
 *  A vintage Simpson 260 meter to shows network PING times
 *  and if there is a connection to the internet.
 *  
 *  Deflect the Simpson meter from 0-100% of the 2.5V full scall
 *  based on ping times of servers.
 *  
 *  10mS = 10% of full scale.   
 *  45mS = 55% of full scale.
 *  73mS = 73% if full scale.
 *  XXmS = XX% of full scale, etc....
 *  Anything over 100ms is consider terrible and just maxes to 100%
 *  
 *  A bad ping (site not found, network down, etc) will 'wag' the meter
 *  back and forth from 0% to 100% five times then try next ping site.
 *
 *  ESP8266 NodeMCU Board BAUD 115200
 *  
 *  Full documetation at:
 *  WhiskyTangoHotel.Com    
 *  
 *  FEB2022
 *  
 */

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <Pinger.h>

const char* ssid     = "yourSSID";      // These vars are your private WIFI
const char* password = "yourPASSWORD";  // connection information

// Define some 'ping friendly' sites.   ARRAY starts a 0
String PingSite[] = {  
  "whiskeytangohotel.com",
  "google.com",
  "yahoo.com",
  "bing.com",
  "abc.com",
  "cbs.com",
  "cnn.com",
  "apple.com",
  "totalping.com",
  "mailinator.com"
};  // end ping array define

int Number_of_Ping_Sites = 10;   // counted from the list above
int Secs_Between_Pings = 15;
float Min_Ping_Result = 999;
const int PINGOUT = 2;   // Drives the S260. Blue onboard LED and ~D4
Pinger pinger;

void setup() {
  analogWrite(PINGOUT, 0);
  delay(50);
 
  Serial.begin(115200);
  delay(100);

  // Connect to the WiFi network
  Serial.println();
  Serial.println();
  Serial.print("Connecting to ");
  Serial.println(ssid);

  WiFi.begin(ssid, password);

  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {
    delay(500);
    Serial.print(".");
  }

  Serial.println("");
  Serial.println("WiFi connected");  
  Serial.println("IP address: ");
  Serial.println(WiFi.localIP());

// For the ping dot h features https://github.com/bluemurder/esp8266-ping
  pinger.OnEnd([](const PingerResponse& response)
  {
    // Print time information
    if(response.TotalReceivedResponses > 0)
    {
      Serial.printf("Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:\n");
      Serial.printf(
        "    Minimum = %lums, Maximum = %lums, Average = %.2fms\n",
        response.MinResponseTime,
        response.MaxResponseTime,
        response.AvgResponseTime);
        Min_Ping_Result = response.MinResponseTime;
    }
    
    // Print host data
    Serial.printf("Destination host data:\n");
    Serial.printf(
      "    IP address: %s\n",
      response.DestIPAddress.toString().c_str());
    if(response.DestMacAddress != nullptr)
    {
      Serial.printf(
        "    MAC address: " MACSTR "\n",
        MAC2STR(response.DestMacAddress->addr));
    }
    if(response.DestHostname != "")
    {
      Serial.printf(
        "    DNS name: %s\n",
        response.DestHostname.c_str());
        
        Serial.println("Minimum ping was: " + String(Min_Ping_Result) + "mS." + " Meter to " + String(int(Min_Ping_Result)) + "% of full scale.");
        Serial.println("Delay to next ping is " + String(Secs_Between_Pings) + " seconds...");
        Serial.println("---------------------");
    }
    return true;        
  });  // end ping features

  //Self Test the meter by moving the meter full scale
  // Increase meter value and on board LED brightness
  for(int dutyCycle = 0; dutyCycle < 200; dutyCycle++){   
    // changing the LED brightness with PWM;
    analogWrite(PINGOUT, dutyCycle);
    Serial.println(String(dutyCycle) + " increasing meter self test...");
    //analogWrite(PINGOUT, testval);
    delay(10);
  }   // end meter increase
 
  // Decrease meter value and on board LED brightness
  for(int dutyCycle = 200; dutyCycle > 0; dutyCycle--){
    // changing the LED brightness with PWM
    analogWrite(PINGOUT, dutyCycle);
    Serial.println(String(dutyCycle) + " decreasing meter self test...");
    //analogWrite(PINGOUT, testval);
    delay(10);
  }  // end meter decrease  
  Serial.println("Self test complete!!!");
  Serial.println("---------------------");
 
}   // end void setup

// dutytCycle/2 = ~ the % of 2.5V scale on S260
//    0 dutytCycle =
//   50 dutytCycle = 28%
//  100 dutytCycle = 53%
//  150 dutytCycle = 77%
//  200 dutytCycle = 100%

// Set S260 to +DC.  The + lead to D4.  Neg lead to GND

void loop() {    // loop until the Cowboys win a Super Bowl

  for (int i = 0; i <= (Number_of_Ping_Sites - 1); i++) {  // don't always use the same PingSite; cycle them.
      Serial.println("PingSite[" + String(i) + "]: " + PingSite[i]);
            
      if(pinger.Ping(PingSite[i]) == false)
      {    
         Serial.println("Error during ping command.  Walk the meter 5 times.");
         // Walk the meter back and forth to symbol 'ping error' or network down    
          for (int walk = 0; walk<=4; walk++) {
              // Increase meter value and on board LED brightness
              for(int dutyCycle = 0; dutyCycle < 200; dutyCycle++){   
                // changing the LED brightness with PWM;
                analogWrite(PINGOUT, dutyCycle);
                Serial.println(String(dutyCycle) + "Showing FAIL increasing...");
                delay(10);
              }   // end fail meter increase
            
              // Decrease meter value and on board LED brightness
              for(int dutyCycle = 200; dutyCycle > 0; dutyCycle--){
                // changing the LED brightness with PWM
                analogWrite(PINGOUT, dutyCycle);
                Serial.println(String(dutyCycle) + "Showing FAIL decreasing...");
                delay(10);
              }  // end fail meter decrease
          } // end for fail meter back forth walk          
      }  // end if pinger.Ping       

      // Write Ping value to the meter.  Low is better.
      // We basically make percent of full scale equal the ping in mS, ie; 45mS = 45%...
      // Anything over a 100mS is a crappy ping so we make 100mS (100% of scale)
      if (Min_Ping_Result > 100) { Min_Ping_Result = 100; }
      
      analogWrite(PINGOUT, Min_Ping_Result * 2);  // move to meter to display the ping value
      delay(Secs_Between_Pings * 1000);   // delay for next ping    
  }  // end for/next to cycle the PingSites             
}  // end loop until the Cowboys win the Super Bowl

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Monday, February 7, 2022

Retirement Clock Goes Digital

 

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We overheard in a conversation recently something like: "Now that I'm retired I really only focus on what day of the week it is and the general time of day."  We then discovered this awful looking Day of the Week Clock and the vision of a more modern version came to mind.

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The rig is based around this MakerFocus ESP32 Development Board mainly because it works with the Arduino IDE and has WiFi with a display on board.   The code (source below) gets it's time/date from a NTP server and then simply figures out and displays the day of the week and what percentage of the day has past.  Evidently this is all the critical information needed to guide the non-working through their day.

-----

To dress up the look a case was 3D printed.  After seeing the result we needed to celebrate with a beer.   As shown in the video below it was a bit early in the day for a drink, but as the ol' saying goes "It's 71% somewhere!".

-----

Retirement Clock Source Code:

/*
 * HelTec Automation(TM) ESP32 Series Dev boards OLED "Retirement Clock"
 * Adruino IDE Board Setting: WiFi Kit32, Disabled, 240MHz, 921600, None
 *
 * "Retirement Clock" shows only Day of Week and percentage time left in the day.
 *  
 * FEB 2022
 * Search whiskeytangohotel.com for project details.
 *
*/

#include "Arduino.h"
#include "heltec.h"

#include <TimeLib.h>
#include <WiFi.h>
#include <WiFiUdp.h>

const char ssid[] = "xxxxxxx";  //  your network SSID (name)
const char pass[] = "xxxxxxx";       // your network password
long Sync_Delay = 60000;  //  60000 is sync every ten minutes,  We aren't going for precision here. LOL

int DOWNUM = 0;     //  DOWNUM from NTP (expect 0 - 6)
String DOW = "DOW";  // DOWNUM to a Day of Week String
int hourNUM = 0;    //  hour() value from NTP
float minuteNUM = 0;   // minute() value from NPT

// NTP Servers:
static const char ntpServerName[] = "pool.ntp.org";
const int timeZone = 0;     // leave as 0 for UTC.  We do the offset math in void setup

WiFiUDP Udp;
unsigned int localPort = 8888;  // local port to listen for UDP packets

time_t getNtpTime();
void digitalClockDisplay();
void printDigits(int digits);
void sendNTPpacket(IPAddress &address);

void setup() {
  //NTP setup
  Serial.begin(115200);
  while (!Serial) ; // Needed for Leonardo only
  delay(250);
  Serial.println("TimeNTP");
  Serial.print("Connecting to... ");
  Serial.println(ssid);
  WiFi.disconnect();
  WiFi.mode(WIFI_MODE_STA);
  WiFi.begin(ssid, pass);

  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {
    delay(500);
    Serial.print(".");
  }

  Serial.print("IP number assigned by DHCP is: ");
  Serial.println(WiFi.localIP());
  Serial.println("Starting UDP");
  Udp.begin(localPort);
  Serial.print("Local port: ");
//  Serial.println(Udp.localPort());
  Serial.println("waiting for sync... ");
  setSyncProvider(getNtpTime);
  setSyncInterval(Sync_Delay);  //   defines how often to check NTP time

  // Hetec setup
  Heltec.begin(true /*DisplayEnable Enable*/, false /*LoRa Disable*/, true /*Serial Enable*/);
  Heltec.display->flipScreenVertically();
  Heltec.display->setFont(ArialMT_Plain_24);
} // end setup link

time_t prevDisplay = 0; // when the digital clock was last displayed timer

void loop() {   // main program loop
  if (timeStatus() != timeNotSet) {
    if (now() != prevDisplay) { //update the display only if time has changed
      prevDisplay = now();
    }
  }

  // Parse time info and send info to serial monitor (for debug)
  Serial.print(hour());
  printDigits(minute());
  printDigits(second());
  Serial.print(" ");
  Serial.print(day());
  Serial.print(".");
  Serial.print(month());
  Serial.print(".");
  Serial.print(year());
  Serial.print(" : ");

  if (int(year()) < 2022) {
     Serial.print(String(int(year())) + " is the NTP server year.  That aint right, so try again!!!");
     Serial.println();      
     setup();
  }   // the NTP server return something 'wierd' (probably 1970) so try again  

  //Covert Time in percent of day completed.  Midnight Local = 0%, Noon Local = 50%  
  minuteNUM = minute();
  hourNUM =   int(hour());  
  // manually adjust hourNUM and minuteNUM for debug
  // hourNUM =  5;    // valid values are INTERGERS 0 thru 24
  // minuteNUM = 49;    // valid values are INTEGERS 0 thru 60  

  minuteNUM = minuteNUM / 60;    // covert minutes to 'fraction'  
  hourNUM = hourNUM - 6;   // hourNUM is in UTC.   Adjust to local.   -6 = CST, -5 = CDT, 0 = UTC
  DOWNUM = int(weekday());
   
  // Calculate percentage of the day pasted into 'progress'
  int progress = round(   (  ((hourNUM + minuteNUM))   /  24   )  * 100    );
  if (progress < 0) {   // it's past UTC midnight and the timezone offset created a negative %
    progress = 100 + progress;
    DOWNUM = DOWNUM -  1;
  }  //end progress < 0

  // Convert DOWNUM into printable String.  Sunday is 1
  if (DOWNUM  == 1) { DOW = "SUN"; }
  if (DOWNUM  == 2) { DOW = "MON"; }
  if (DOWNUM  == 3) { DOW = "TUE"; }
  if (DOWNUM  == 4) { DOW = "WED"; }
  if (DOWNUM  == 5) { DOW = "THU"; }
  if (DOWNUM  == 6) { DOW = "FRI"; }
  if (DOWNUM  == 7) { DOW = "SAT"; }

  Serial.print(String(int(weekday())) + " is " + DOW);
  Serial.println();   
  Serial.print(String(hourNUM) + " + " + String(minuteNUM) + " = " + String(progress) + "%");
  Serial.println();
 
  // clear the display
  Heltec.display->clear();

  // Draw the Precent of Day pasted onto progress bar
  Heltec.display->drawProgressBar(0, 0, 127, 20, progress);

  // Label the Day Of Week and percentage as String
  Heltec.display->setTextAlignment(TEXT_ALIGN_CENTER);
  Heltec.display->drawString(60, 31, DOW + " " + String(progress) + "%");
  // Write buffer to Heltec display
  Heltec.display->display();
 
  delay(5000); // wait some.  we are in no hurry to update the screen
}  // end void loop main program


void printDigits(int digits)
{
  // utility for digital clock display: prints preceding colon and leading 0
  Serial.print(":");
  if (digits < 10)
    Serial.print('0');
  Serial.print(digits);
}

/*-------- NTP code ----------*/

const int NTP_PACKET_SIZE = 48; // NTP time is in the first 48 bytes of message
byte packetBuffer[NTP_PACKET_SIZE]; //buffer to hold incoming & outgoing packets

time_t getNtpTime()
{
  IPAddress ntpServerIP; // NTP server's ip address

  while (Udp.parsePacket() > 0) ; // discard any previously received packets
  Serial.println("Transmit NTP Request");
  // get a random server from the pool
  WiFi.hostByName(ntpServerName, ntpServerIP);
  Serial.print(ntpServerName);
  Serial.print(": ");
  Serial.println(ntpServerIP);
  sendNTPpacket(ntpServerIP);
  uint32_t beginWait = millis();
  while (millis() - beginWait < 1500) {
    int size = Udp.parsePacket();
    if (size >= NTP_PACKET_SIZE) {
      Serial.println("Receive NTP Response");
      Udp.read(packetBuffer, NTP_PACKET_SIZE);  // read packet into the buffer
      unsigned long secsSince1900;
      // convert four bytes starting at location 40 to a long integer
      secsSince1900 =  (unsigned long)packetBuffer[40] << 24;
      secsSince1900 |= (unsigned long)packetBuffer[41] << 16;
      secsSince1900 |= (unsigned long)packetBuffer[42] << 8;
      secsSince1900 |= (unsigned long)packetBuffer[43];
      return secsSince1900 - 2208988800UL + timeZone * SECS_PER_HOUR;
    }
  }
  Serial.println("No NTP Response :-(");
  return 0; // return 0 if unable to get the time
}

// send an NTP request to the time server at the given address
void sendNTPpacket(IPAddress &address)
{
  // set all bytes in the buffer to 0
  memset(packetBuffer, 0, NTP_PACKET_SIZE);
  // Initialize values needed to form NTP request
  // (see URL above for details on the packets)
  packetBuffer[0] = 0b11100011;   // LI, Version, Mode
  packetBuffer[1] = 0;     // Stratum, or type of clock
  packetBuffer[2] = 6;     // Polling Interval
  packetBuffer[3] = 0xEC;  // Peer Clock Precision
  // 8 bytes of zero for Root Delay & Root Dispersion
  packetBuffer[12] = 49;
  packetBuffer[13] = 0x4E;
  packetBuffer[14] = 49;
  packetBuffer[15] = 52;
  // all NTP fields have been given values, now
  // you can send a packet requesting a timestamp:
  Udp.beginPacket(address, 123); //NTP requests are to port 123
  Udp.write(packetBuffer, NTP_PACKET_SIZE);
  Udp.endPacket();
}

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Wireless Charger Checker

-----

Charging your phone, watch, earbuds, etc. from a wireless charger sometimes doesn't work.   Most of the time it is due to poor alignment to the charge point.   Of course, it could be that the wireless charger is broken or simply unplugged.

This quick DIY tool helps verify that the charger is plugged in as well as determine the wireless charger's "sweet spot".

-----

-----

The build is about as cheap and simple is it can be.  If you have trouble building the rig from the image below you may be following the wrong project site.  ;)

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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Elenco Resistor Substitution Kit

 

-----

We built the Elenco Capacitor Substitution Kit and because it went together so well decided to build it's partner the Elenco Resistor Substitution Kit.  Not much else to say; like the Capacitor Substitution Kit the directions are easy to follow for this very basic kit.   We did make the same modification and replace the provided alligator clip connection with banana jacks.  The measured values look fine:

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Elenco Capacitor Substitution Kit

 

-----

Not often (okay, almost never) a capacitance substitution box would come in handy on the bench.   Finally, the Amazon AI wizard suggested that at $14.99 we couldn't live life any longer without one. 

From the pic above you can see that the included wire and alligator clip connector were replaced with banana plug jacks.   It gives the rig and the bench a cleaner look.

-----

The directions (which we folded up and placed inside the box for future generations) were straight forward and the values are accurate enough per a NIST traceable capacitance meter.   

-----

The same company also makes a resistance substitution box which we also don't need, but will probably build up anyway.  Both are a nice, cheap, welcome convenience. 

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Remote CW Straight Key [FlexRadio and RemoteHams.Com]

Note:  As presented this project requires a FCC Amateur Radio license.  It's not hard to get and it is a fun and rewarding hobby. Also, learning Morse code is no longer a requirement.

-----

As a remote ham radio operator that enjoys using a manual CW (Morse code) straight key we were presented with two problems:

Since both require slightly different hardware wiring to the PC running the remote rig, we set out to make something that would be a universal connection regardless of which platform we are using. 

-----

The hardware connection is simple and shown below.  It does require a USB/RS-232 adapter and using the RS-232 terminal block break out module shown makes things easier.   There are many example of these two items on Amazon.Com, etc.

For both applications software is needed as well.

-----

For our RemoteHams.Com solution go here.

-----

For the FlexRadio solution you will need to install the excellent and easy to use Remote Keyer Interface software.   Follow the RKI link for the software and you will also find the very helpful RKI message board that I personally proved is helpful and tolerant of 'stupid' questions.  Seriously, the software has great documentation and even though I asked a "RTFM" question I got helpful direction from the forum.   After you install and run the RKI software you will see this screen: 

Make the remote connection to your FlexRadio via your SmartLink login and select the correct COM Port for your (now) USB straight key.  Verify the other options are selected per above screen shot and you should be good to go.

BTW, Remote Keyer Interface software has several other cool features in addition to this simple application.

-----

Summary:   My remote CW manual straight keying problems are solved!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Tale of Three USB Chargers

 

-----

Everyone seems to have a box full of USB chargers.   Well, we do anyway and decided to pick two random "no name" chargers and pit them up against an official Apple USB charger.

The test setup was the same for each USB charger.   We swept a load that increases from 100mA until the USB charger went into protection (no voltage output).  We then checked EMI/RF Noise and 'vampire drain'.

EMI/RF Noise is a big concern.  EMI/RF can have a negative effect on WiFi, Bluetooth, ham radio, and pretty much any radio signal in the area.  Measuring with a Spectrum Analyzer the Apple was by far the most RF quite.  The White "no name" was extremely EMI/RF noisy with the Black "no name" being pretty bad as well.

"Vampire drain" or standby power is how much energy the charger uses when just plugged into the wall doing nothing.  The Apple won in this category as well.

My opinion, get the Apple or other well made USB charger and avoid the "no names",  The Apple uses less standby power and should not have a negative effect on your or your neighbors wireless equipment.  The Apple power output meets spec as well and is more linear until protection kicks in.  The Apple is just better and some "no names" are are just unsafe.

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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Morse Code QSO via Vintage Phone

 

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As a preteen many many years ago the thought never occurred that the same phone used to plan childhood mischief would some day be used for a CW (Morse code) ham radio QSO.   Ain't life funny...

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We found the old Western Electric phone in the attic and wired the switch hook as a straight key.

 


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Then we went to 80m where we heard ham radio operator K5JM and decided to "ring" him up.  The result; success!!!

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73!



Friday, May 14, 2021

NanoVNA on QPRGuys Tuner on 10-80m HWEF


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Adjusting the tuning knobs on the QRPGuys tuner and showing their effect with a NanoVNA.   Antenna is 10-80m endfed

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2m / 70cm Ham Radio Traffic Logger

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JEWIVBP404I/YJrWhjILDgI/AAAAAAAAxKk/4vh5lUMph7cgCha-dcdaXxRp3YSFXEInQCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/BT_Logger_Schmatic-793823.JPG 

Is the frequency in use (or QRL? in Morse Code)?

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We had a curiosity about how often some of the local ham radio repeaters and the 2m calling frequency was being used and decided to put together a rig that could answer the question with real data.    Ham radio has a lot to do with experimentation and tinkering so we set out on a mission to answer the question with "stuff" we had laying around the shack.

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Pretty much any newcomer to ham radio has invested $35'ish on a Baofeng hand held.  The little unit is quickly out grown, but it has come in useful time and time again.   This project was just another example of it's unintended usefulness.  Also, like most hobbyist there's never a shortage of WiFi friendly ESP8266s laying around.   Combining the two for an RF activity logger became the objective.

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And..... it turned out to be pretty easy and didn't even require opening up the Baofeng.   Anytime the Baofeng hears a signal the LCD display light is activated.   For reasons unknown this presents a voltage spike on the speaker jack.   We suspected this could be the case from the loud "pop" that can be heard when using earphones.

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Here is a look at the signal generated on the speaker jack when the display light gets activated:

Weird, huh?   Oh well, we can use that to make the project dead simple.  Just tune the Baofeng to the frequency of interest and let the rig run and log any traffic that hit the antenna.

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The schematic at the top of the page shows how we feed the speaker signal into the analog input (A0) of the ESP8266.   To tame the 5 volt signal going into the ESP8266 two diodes are placed back to back.   That's it.   The ESP8266 is programmed to update a Google Drive Sheet via an IFTTT Webhook anytime a voltage is detected.   The activity log looks like this and the source code is below that.  If you duplicate the project, let us know.

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/*
 *  Baofeng Traffic Logger
 *  MAY2021
 *  WhiskeyTangoHotel.Com
 *   
 *  Logs to Google Sheet is traffic is dectected on BF HT Radio    !!!  
 *  by monitoring a voltage on the speaker output.  On traffic the !!!
 *  BF display lights and creates a voltage on the speaker jack    !!!
 *  Since no transit, does not require a license, but if you don't !!!
 *  have a ham license, get one.  It's a fun hobby!!!              !!!  
 *  See: http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed                      !!!
 *  
 *  uC setting for Ardunio IDE (ESP8266 with WiFI)
 *  NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module), 80MHz, 921600, 4M (3M SPIFFS)
 *  
*/

// For the Wireless
#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>

// WiFi Connection Information
const char* ssid = "yourSSID";           // PRIVATE: Enter your personal setup information.
const char* password = "yourpassword";   // PRIVATE: Enter your personal setup information.

// IFTTT Information for WebHook widget
String MAKER_SECRET_KEY = "yourIFTTTkey";   // PRIVATE: Enter your personal setup information. Your IFTTT Webhook key here
String TRIGGER_NAME_google_drive = "yourIFTTTWebHookTriggerName";  // this is the Maker IFTTT trigger name for google drive spreadsheet logging
String url_google_drive;  // url that gets built for the IFTTT Webhook logging to google drive spreadsheet
String Status ="Program_Started.....";  // Status payload for Google Sheet.  We log all starts and reboots
const char* host = "maker.ifttt.com";

// Define ESP8266 pins
const int led = 2;  // Blue on board LED is on PIN-D4 (GPIO2) for this NoderMCU 1.0 ESP8266.  Blink it between reads
const int analogInPin = A0;  // ESP8266 Analog Pin ADC0 = A0

int sigValue = 0;  // value to determine if a signal is detected

// Program control variables
int logging = 1; // If 1 then send SMS.  Any other value (0) turns it off.  For debug, typically would be set = 1

void setup(void){ // This setup code is run once.
  pinMode(led, OUTPUT);     // set up the onboard Blue LED pin as an output.  
  Serial.begin(115200);     // turn on the serial monitor for debug

  // wait until serial port opens for native USB devices
  while (! Serial) {
    delay(10);
  }
 
  // Is the WiFi working?
  WiFi.begin(ssid, password);
  Serial.println("");
  // Wait for connection
  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {
    Serial.print("Trying to connect to ");
    Serial.print(ssid);
    Serial.print(" on ");
    Serial.print(WiFi.localIP());
    Serial.println(" ");
    for (int x = 0; x < 20; x++) { //  
      digitalWrite(led, !digitalRead(led));  // toggle state of the on board blue LED. Shows program is trying to WiFi connect
      //Serial.println("Server Start blink loop....");
      delay(50);   
    } // endfor WiFi blink connect
  }
  Serial.print("Connected to ");
  Serial.println(ssid);
  Serial.println(WiFi.localIP());

  for (int x = 0; x < 10; x++) { // 5 slow LED blinks to slow WIFI Connected.
  digitalWrite(led, !digitalRead(led));  // toggle state of the on board blue LED.
  Serial.println("WIFI is Connected....");
  delay(500);   } // endif for WIFI Connected blink  

  // Use WiFiClient class to create TCP connections for WiFi logging
  WiFiClient client;
  const int httpPort = 80;
  if (!client.connect(host, httpPort)) {
    Serial.println("connection failed");  // Boo!!!
    return;
  }

  // Trigger the IFTTT Webhook Channel to update a Google sheet at program start.
  // This can help log power outs, etc.  For first run we defined String Status for identify a startup condition.
  // Create the request for IFTTT google drive
  url_google_drive = "https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/" + TRIGGER_NAME_google_drive + "/with/key/" + MAKER_SECRET_KEY + "?value1=" + String(Status);
  Serial.println(" ");  
  Serial.println("Status: Google Sheet update done with trigger:");
  Serial.println (url_google_drive);
  Serial.println(" ");  
    
  // This sends the request to the IFTTT server
  client.print(String("POST ") + url_google_drive + " HTTP/1.1\r\n" +
  "Host: " + host + "\r\n" +
  "Connection: close\r\n\r\n");  
  delay(500);  // Delay for web traffic; maybe not required.  

  // Read all the lines of the reply from server and print them to Serial
  while(client.available()){
     String line = client.readStringUntil('\r');    }

}


void loop(void){    // Loop until the Dallas Cowboys win a Super Bowl
 
  sigValue = analogRead(analogInPin);
 
  // For Degug print SigVal readings in the Serial Monitor
  //Serial.println(sigValue);

  // The blue onboard LED will SLOW blink between to show prog is 'running'.
  // FAST blink when sig is dectected.
  digitalWrite(led, !digitalRead(led));  // toggle state of the on board blue LED.
    
  if (sigValue > 500) {  //  Threshold may need adjusting.  Voltage on speaker jack detected.  We have a signal
      Serial.println("!!!_Signal_Detected_!!!");   
      Serial.println(" ");
              
      if (logging == 1) { // is Google Sheet logging turned on?
          Serial.println("***** Logging is ON *****");
          String Status = "!!!_Signal_Detected_!!!";
          // Set up IFTTT Webhook Channel to update the Google Sheet.  
          // Use WiFiClient class to create TCP connections for IFTTT
          WiFiClient client;
          const int httpPort = 80;
          if (!client.connect(host, httpPort)) {
            Serial.println("connection failed");
            return;
          }
          
          // Create the request for IFTTT google drive
          url_google_drive = "https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/" + TRIGGER_NAME_google_drive + "/with/key/" + MAKER_SECRET_KEY + "?value1=" + String(Status);
            
          // This sends the request to the IFTTT server
          client.print(String("POST ") + url_google_drive + " HTTP/1.1\r\n" +
          "Host: " + host + "\r\n" +
          "Connection: close\r\n\r\n");  
          delay(500);  // Delay for web traffic; maybe not required.  
        
          // Read all the lines of the reply from server and print them to Serial
          while(client.available()){
             String line = client.readStringUntil('\r');    }
                  
          Serial.println("Status: Google Sheet update done with trigger:");
          Serial.println(url_google_drive);
          Serial.println(" ");
          
          // Fast blink the blue onboard LED to show sig was dectected and delay for flood control
          for (int x = 0; x < 600; x++) { // x = 20 for ~ 1 sec, x = 100 for ~5 sec.....
              digitalWrite(led, !digitalRead(led));  // toggle state of the on board blue LED
              delay(50);   
          } // endfor delay/blink
          
          Serial.println("-------------------------------------");
          Serial.println("Waiting for signal... ");
           
      } else {
        
          Serial.println("Logging is OFF.");
          Serial.println(" ");
      } // endif/else logging  


            
  }
  delay(250); // Delay for onboard blue LED Blink shows program running
    
} // void loop until Cowboys win Super Bowl

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