Saturday, April 2, 2011

Trying to spruce up the Arduino beacon project

The Arduino WSPR/QRSS beacon project has gotten to the point where it is time to try and get rid of some of the rats nest of the breadboard nature of the project so far.  To that end, I have mounted the controls and display in a panel.

Next, I will be eliminating the breadboard and using a data logger shield for the Arduino.  This shield has an SD card slot (which I do not need) as well as the same real-time-clock (RTC) I chose for my beacon project the DS1307.  There is also some breadboard space available to mount a socket for the DDS-60 and any other associated discrete components I may need.  This should tidy things up sufficiently to allow the software components to be finalized.

After the software bits are complete (as much as any software project ever is) I will be producing a PCB for the entire project.

So far, my project has grown a bit bloated as I have allowed myself to be sidetracked on numerous occasions by additional modes such as Feld Hell.  I have added some test code to experiment in geneating Hellschrieber-like displays on a QRSS waterfall such as we have in Spectran or Argo.  The resultant bloat has put the code size beyond the code size limit of the ATMega168.  Since I am using an Arduino Uno with the 328 chip, this has not been a problem, but it does increase the expense of this project for others to duplicate or leverage the code.  I will have to work on that and will try to get the code size as small as possible in the final versions.  Things like my choice to do frequency calculations for the DDS using 64 bit integers has no doubt drug in the entire 64 bit math library whereas I only need one operation.  Obviously many opportunities exist for further optimization.

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