μBitX!

I received my uBitX kit on the 19th of December but as I was finishing up work, I didn’t have much time to work on it. But it is now working, with a few little issues to work through, and a few mods done to it and a few more to do.

I started with a cheap project case from Jaycar (This one) and drew up a template for cutting and drilling the case, printed it out and taped it on so that I could do a better job than I did on the BitX40 case. (Turns out the layout changed a little after this picture)

I used a dremel 4200 to cut out the screen hole this time, instead of a 125mm angle grinder, so that worked somewhat better.

Again I have gone with a 20×4 lcd screen in order to have a more scructured layout of onscreen information rather than the 16×2 supplied. I decided to use the bottom line for status updates but have not 100% finished adding that into the arduino code yet. When it doesn’t have any status worth showing the bottom line has the owner’s callsign and μBitx. I have set the callsign as a string that can be easily changed before uploading once I release my modified code if anyone is interested in using a larger screen.

I have also added a band readout, set to the Australian advanced licence band limits, but these can also be pretty easily modified to suit other places. If it is tuned out of band a warning ‘OOB: NO TX’ sits in place of the band readout, as a warning only, there is no TX inhibit attached to that (at this stage anyway, i haven’t looked at how to do that and it’s low on priorities). It is the responsibility of an amateur operator to know their limits and not go outside them.

Cat control works but is a little slow and buggy. I haven’t done very much to the Cat code at this stage. Cat control works nicely now thanks to @phdlee on github’s fine code.

I have converted a Baofeng speakermic to suit, using old cat5 cable, the mic that came with the kit, and a couple 3.5mm TRS plugs. it can be used as just a mic or both speaker and mic, so I can still use headphones.

I have put in somewhat larger heatsinks too. I have now hooked up the voltage boost converter on the left and set to 20 volts (after the next photo was taken), a whistle into the mic into a dummy load via a meter and it was putting out 18w running at this voltage on 80 meters.

Edit 02/01/18: I have been working on the internal USB sound card today and it is almost ready to put in and test.

Edit: the USB sound card and associated board work fine, I will post something about that soon.

Edit: I have uploaded the code to github, please read the notes and edit your callsign in the ubitx_ui.ino file before you install on your raduino.

Note this will ONLY work if you use a 20×4 character LCD screen instead of the stock one.

github link for the code

More to come.

Thanks for reading

-VK3DAN

 

25 Replies to “μBitX!”

  1. Ciao
    The BiTx is absolutly fantastic
    you can tell me exactly what display has bought .. I would also do the same change .. very nice .. we would like the smeter and then it would be the top
    thanks and a greeting from Italy

    1. Hi Daniele,
      Thanks 🙂 The display I used was This one. But it should be fine with any HD44780(or clone) based 20×4 screen. I haven’t looked at doing an S-meter at this stage, but I’m sure someone else has done so, and it could be added to the project.

      1. thank you for your answer, your uBiTx has a really professional look..I am waiting for mine in the meantime collect ideas
        I would like to add the RF gain smeter and power regulation by managing it from the gain of the first pilot stage.
        very interesting would be to have direct commands with buttons like fashion and other choice. congratulations for your wonderful work
        73
        de in3fci / qrp. Daniele
        ……I have already ordered the display…hihihi
        Ciao

    1. Hi Dan, I have ordered the 20×4 display and am trying to get my head around putting my Callsign in the ino file.
      I figure I replace your callsign with my callsign, but I only have a 2 letter call. Do I delete the line with your last letter and probably change the remaining numbers ie the +6 +7 +8 and what are the A, B, C for ?

      73
      Dave
      VK5PL

      1. Hi Dave, sounds like you are in the morse keyer section (which i haven’t tried out) setting your callsign for the display section it is in the file ubitx_ui.ino right near the top.

        1. Thanks Dan I found it. I was in the wrong tab. I was looking in the Ubitx20 section.
          Now have to wait for the radio to arrive and get it all put together and working.
          73
          dave
          VK5PL

          1. No worries! That keyer section was written by @phdlee on github and I was going to use it for the callsign display as well but it was all too hard so I cheated and added the bit in the ui section instead. I’m not much of a programmer, I just play with the code until it does what I want basically.

  2. Hi Dan,
    I really like what you have done with your uBITX. I’m very tempted to take mine out of the small ST662 case and get one of these from jaycar., Nice to have the room for a 2″ sheilded speaker in these. Drop me and email if you want to try a uBitx to uBitx contact one evening…
    73 VK4PLN

  3. I too want to add a 20×4 LCD. I want to show Freq of VFO A/B, band, call sign… I would like the current VFO to be larger text. Put callsign and FW ver. on bottom line.
    Thanks for posting.

  4. Very nice setup Dan.
    My initial plan for mine is to add it to my go box which currently only has UHF/VHF.
    Did you just increase the size of the heatsinks to increase and increase the input voltage, or did you do any other circuit designs to achieve the 18 watt output?

    Thanks
    Ken (KJ6GVC)

    1. Hi Ken,

      Yes all I did for more output was the larger heatsink and higher voltage to the PA section (Not to the rest of the radio). It’s still pretty low power on the higher frequency bands but that’s IRF510s.

  5. Dan –
    I’m ready to do the 4 line display. When I looked at the sketches you provided but don’t see how you get them all loaded as one into the uBitx to operate as one system. Do you load them as subroutines or how? You can email me @ [ motorcycle_jack (at) yahoo.com ] please.

    NQ3RP – Always QRP

  6. Hello Dan, I realized the uBITX with the 4×20 display and the firmware you changed. It works well except for the setting of the frequency which is tricky. I do not know if this comes from the encoder, it also does with the 2×16 display version. Thanks for the pretty display …

    1. Hi Michel, Did you install a capacitor on the encoder pins? The only other thing I did that may have prevented this happening was a suppression toroid on the lines to the encoder and other wires in the radio. But I did these things at the start so I don’t know if I would have had the same issues if I hadn’t.

      1. Thanks Dan for the answer. No I did not install a capacitor on the pins of the encoder, I will try (what value did you put)
        73 QRO
        Michel

  7. OK Dan
    I noticed that the frequency setting is easier and more accurate in the decreasing direction than in the increasing direction. it’s curious HI.

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