Project Page for

WD4BIS Chrome Artwork

Site last updated
May 17, 2019 Added Powered Programing Socket (PPS)
May 17, 2019 Added Game of Timing PIC Project


Articles for Club Newsletters : For those needing an article for a club newsletter, please visit my New Ham Partner Page.

Welcome to the page for the projects of Gerry Crenshaw WD4BIS. Many of the projects are PIC  related. Projects for the "Home Brew" classes sponsored by the Garland Amateur Radio Club will be documented here as well. If a project for the GARC "Home Brew" class is being done from an Amateur Radio publication such as QST magazine from the ARRL credit will be given to the authors of the projects. Here you will find the schematics, parts lists, drawings and general ramblings, rants, code and files for the projects.


The Most Current Projects
Power Point Presentations
Anderson Power Pole Projects
Amplifier Projects
Amateur Radio Programming, Software I own and use.
PIC Based Projects
Making Printed Circuit Boards, Tinning, and Break Out Boards (BOBs)
Reference Data
Cables and Interfaces
Other, Older and Obsolete Projects
Wood Work Projects
In Memory, Silent Keys

Current Projects

Game of timing  Game of Timing
(5/17/2019) Was recently at the birthday party for my grandson (Alex) at a chain pizza parlor. They had a game there that Alex enjoyed playing and was asked in his just turned seven year old way if Grandpa could make one for him. And Grandpa being Grandpa, looked at it and said "You bet!" Took awhile but I did it, was a little trickier than I thought. This flashes a string of LED's back forth and when the stop button is pressed, stops the sequence. The idea being to stop the sequence on the middle green LED. The sequence starts again after a couple of seconds. My version wont dispense tickets but he has fun with it anyway. Had to speed it up a couple of times to make it challenging. If there are Dads or Grands out there who want to make one, contact me! Will send you the program or hex file or a programmed chip. Got lots of hugs for this toy. Photo.

Powered Programing Socket Powered Programing Socket for PICKit 3 (PPS)
(5/17/2019) My previous test programing sockets to work with the PICKit 3 used 40 and 28 Pin ZIF Sockets. Had to use individual ZIF sockets as the 40 Pin socket would not take .3" width chips. Recently found a 40 pin ZIF socket that would take both .3" and .6" width chips.  Designed a new powered programming socket that worked with 8 pin to 40 pin chips. Very happy with the result as I have a universal PPS I can use now with the PIC's I prefer to use. Made two of them for my use. Photo.

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Power Point Presentations

Anderson Power Pole Presentation for the NTX Mentorfest Garland TX 4/28/2018, 4/27/2019

Coax Connector Presentation for the NTX Mentorfest Garland TX 4/28/2018, 4/27/2019

Soldering 100, Presentation for the NTX Mentorfest Garland Tx. 4/27/2019

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Anderson Power Pole Projects.

Recommended Amateur Radio Configuration, Red on the Right
Amateur Radio Configuration, Red
                  Shell on the Right

Note: The Anderson Power Products (APP) Power Pole Connector is the DC Power connector recommended by the ARRL and RSGB. The APP connector replaced other DC connectors for Dallas RACES area in 2005.  See the wikipedia entry.

Anderson Power Pole 5 port DC Distributor.
(3/3/2019)  I was asked to revisit the DC Box Project I previously documented in 2005. A club in California wanted this for a club project. At that time in 2005 I had an immediate need and put the project together with what I had in the shop in an afternoon, and a trip to Radio Shack for the enclosure that would always be there. Since that time, Radio Shack has closed (RIP Radio Shack), and I have found new parts and modules. I used the Hammond 1591XXBSBK enclosure to rebuild this project into. It was similar enough in that had mounting bosses in the places I wanted them. Its available from Mouser and Digikey for about $5.00-$6.00. It's a bit larger than the Radio Shack 270-1802 4"x2"x1" enclosure at 4.3"x2.4"x1.2" but made an good enclosure for this project. I reworked the project so it could be optioned with a Power Pilot Light, a Polarity/Power Pilot light or a DC Voltmeter module. I optioned the PC board so the original modified Faston connector could still be used or PCB mountable Faston connectors from Amp/TE (Part # 1217080-1). Here are the first two prototypes, very happy with the result. I deliberately optioned them differently with the DC feed wiring and DVM module on opposite ends to check the drawing. Email me if you build it.

FusedAPPDistFused Anderson Power Pole DC distributor.
(10/18/17) This is a variation of my DC distributor. The Rowlett ARES group I work with was recently gifted with a cargo trailer from the City of Rowlett. The trailer was previously used by the CERT group who has since been given better equipment. Once we started working on the trailer, all of the existing DC wiring for radios and lighting had to be replaced. Not a fuse in it anywhere! I designed and built this as a replacement for DC power distribution. One input and ten outputs. Because it is not in constant use, I added a "blown fuse" indicator per fuse. This is mounted on the wall of the trailer above the battery plant with an in-line DC circuit breaker to kill all DC power when not in use. The addition of the DC Voltmeter module gives a positive visual indication of the condition of the batteries. The price of the DVM modules is down to about $2.00 - $3.00 from various vendors on Amazon.

APPFusedharnessAnderson Power Pole Fused Harness
(3/28/19) A must have for the "Go Bag" to put a little protection between your radio and an unknown DC power source on a remote activation. Photo.

APP power switch harness.Anderson Power Pole Switched Harness.
(3/28/2019) What do you do with a radio that is still slowly drawing parasitic power when you turn it off and its killing the battery in your car? (Hey Kenwood, you reading this?) Put a switch in the power feed! Lots of switches available that use a .250"connector tab so a Faston terminal works with it. Make the same harness as above and substitute the fuse for a switch. Make the leads long enough to put the switch in a convenient place in the car so you can really turn it off.

APP Power polarity test 2Anderson Power Pole Power and Polarity Test Check.
(3/28/19) A project I came up with for the upcoming Mentorfest soldering presentation and workshop. Checks a DC source for power and polarity. This project is aimed at new ARO's to teach soldering. Now its a must have in my "Go Bag". Photo

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Amplifier Projects

Broadband AmpHF Broad Band Amplifier Module
(2/2/2019) After building three of the VK5TM DDS VFO's. I found that the output of the DDS Modules from Ebay rolled off at the higher frequency's. I needed a higher level output (.5Vp-p) for some of the things I was experimenting with. Found an amplifier on the DDS60 daughter board module from Midnight Design Solutions that looked like it would work for other things. The AD8008ARZ amp is only available in surface mount so this became a surface mount project.  I built several of the amps so the artwork is proved out.  The scope picture shows a 10.1 Mhz input on the bottom at 50mV per division and the top trace shows the output at 1V per division.

Broadband Pre-Amp module.
(Added 2/16/2016) This is a drop in replacement I designed and used for a Motorola MHW5182 module that is now obsolete.

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PIC Based Projects

(Added Oct 11, 2017) Now that AD9850 and AD9851 DDS modules are available everywhere (Ebay and so on), I wanted a project to use them with. VK5TM had a PIC based project using both the AD9850 (30 Mhz max) and the AD9851 (60 Mhz max) DDS Modules. I made two hard wired prototypes before I made the printed circuit boards. Large photo of the final version here.

RJ45 Cable MapperRJ45 Cable Mapper/Tester
(1/31/2018) In 2003 when I was a Network Technician for a CLEC, I was not happy with the cable testers for network cables terminated in RJ45 Connectors that were available. These cables are used for Ethernet, T1 and DDS/DSL Connections. Besides straight through connections many times you need to make or test Rollover or Crossover cables to interconnect various vendors equipment to each other. I have been revisiting old projects in my retirement. I reworked this project with a new processor, wrote new software. Then I combined ideas and the software from the simple RJ45 (see below) tester to give a way to test an existing cable in a wall or rack to a remote test end. All these things cut the price to make a new test set by about half the price from my original. This gives a solid versatile test set that is worthy of manufacturing and marketing. Anyone interested? I have yet to write an instruction/operating manual for it but would if the right opportunity came along. Contact me by email if you like the idea.

Runway Lights PCBRunway Lights
(Added 4/12/2009, Updated 12/2/17) A fun project that blinks a sequence of 16 LED's down the driveway for Christmas like an ILS system at an airport runway but for Santa. The project grew and multiple strings can be triggered from a Master Unit. Circuit board, hex file, and schematic. Programmed 16F76 Chips available, PCB's Available. (Now use a 16F722) available. Updated with details of how to prepare and splice LED's to a CAT5 cable with UR/UY/UB type telephone splices. Contact by email for info. Photo. If anyone is really interested I have a 32 LED sequencer I made for KE5VDV.

RED GREEN strobe lights.
(9/25/2016) A friend of mine who has several quad copters wanted to add red/green strobes to one of the early/inexpensive ones. My only design criteria from him were: 1)  It must run on a 3.7v drone battery. 2) pull every gram of weight I could out of it. I used a 8 pin PIC (12F629) and Red/Green 120 degree view LED's from We settled on five flashes, .05 second long with a .05 second pause in between flashes, then a pause of one second then flash the other LED. I used 30ga. wire wrap wire in a twisted pair to the LED's. For the drone, I did not use a board and just soldered the wires to the chip in a "dead bug" style, then he super glued the chip inside the drone body. A JST connector pigtail went to the drone battery distributor. Programmed 12F629 Chips available. Contact by email for info.

VE Marker BeconMARKER Beacon strobe.
(9/25/16) This project was an offshoot of the above. I am a VE and wanted a catchy way to mark the path to the VE session at night. Built three of these in an afternoon on IC sockets the day of a session, then taped to the signs. It flashes out "VE" in Morse code. No reason for the parts other than it was I had on hand. Programmed 12F629 Chips available. Contact by email for info. Photo.

DDS60 Controller.
(4/12/2009) This is a version of a PIC Based controller for a Direct Digital Synthesizer 1-60 MHz VFO. It uses the DDS60 daughter board from Midnight Design solutions.  I have replace using this with the VK5TM DDS VFO.

          Backpack 2LineLCD Display Serial Backpack
(Added Oct. 11, 2017) Up to this point, I have been using the serial backpack from Scott Edwards Electronics  to add a 2 or 4 line character LCD Display to my PIC projects. By using the serial backpack to the LCD display, I only have to give up one pin on the PIC to get a text output. I usually reserve a PIC pin to add a serial output to an LCD display even if it is not used as a permanent part of the project as an aid in trouble shooting. Now that I am retired, and have more time than money, I wanted a serial backpack I could build for my own use. I did find a Serial backpack project from Hobbybotics on the web that worked for me with a few tweaks to my existing software. The commands between the two types of backpacks are close, but not identical. I did go through several versions of a printed wiring board before I was happy with result. I prefer to add a Male .1" header to the LCD display, and a Female .1" header to the Backpack. Here is the Hex file for the2 line serial backpack using a 16F628A.  Just for fun photos of the backpacks in action. Photo 1   Photo 2

Serial Test for LCD
(added Oct 11, 2017) Here is the quick and easy test program I wrote for the LCD Serial Backpacks. The PIC outputs both an inverted and non-inverted TTL at 9600bps serial stream so I could test both inputs on the backpack. This is the Basic listing for the 16F628A test generator. And this is the Basic listing for the 12F629 test generator.  Please refer to the manual on the backpack for commands and other information.

PIC ZIF Programmer socketsPICKIT 3, PIC programmer notes. 
(10/23/16) I recently needed to use a newer PIC device and that meant upgrading the editor, compiler, and MPLAB software. Finally I had to buy a new programmer ( a PICKIT 3) as the newer devices were not supported on the older programmer (PIC Start Plus). Then I had to learn how to use it.  The learning curve on this has been long and hard.  The page attached is my notes on making the PICKIT 3 work with various type PIC's. I ended up making ZIF programing sockets, and power them with a USB wall wort via a mini USB break out board on the socket board. Photo.

RJ45 simple testerSimple RJ45 Cable tester.
(11/20/16) A PIC based RJ45 cable tester with a local and remote test end. After 35 years in telecom 95% of cable problems are because of pin out issues. This tests with DC a RJ45 cable pin for pin. Programmed IC's available, contact by email for info.

          Monitor ProjectBattery Monitor Project
(9/26/2017) A PIC based device to monitor the condition of a battery. 1999 CQ by WA0ZTI. This was a workshop project for the GARC in early 2000. Redrawn and updated. Used as a workshop project for Rowlett ARES  Sept. 2017. Programmed IC's available, contact by email for info. Photo

Video Sequencer  
(1/15/2010) A PIC based video sequencer for NTSC composite video camera feeds. Two versions, one with relay switching, one with diode switching. If you have older composite video cameras and are going to build this, use the diode switching version. The relay contacts go intermittent after a couple of years. Most all video surveillance equipment has gone IP or wireless based, so little use for this now.

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Reference Data
Capacitor Conversion Chart 
(Added July 24 2017) This page shows conversions for standard capacitors values between uf, nf and pf as well as how to interpret the value code used by many manufactures. Only the standard, typical values are listed in the chart. 9/26/17 Found a few mistakes and fixed.

Ethernet Cables and other RJ45 Connections
(Updated April, 3 2019) This page is to the answer the questions on Ethernet cables and other RJ45 connections I always seemed to get when I worked for a CLEC.

Serial Connections
(Added April 21 2009) Notes on 25 pin and 9 pin serial connections, 9 pin to RJ45 adapters.

25 Pair Telecom Color Code
(Added April 18, 2019) This is the standard color code for 25 pair telecom cable. For larger count cables the color code is repeated four time by dividing the cable into bundles with a color marker or binder of Blue, Orange, Green, Brown for 100 pairs. Larger than 100 pairs the cable is divided into Super Bundles of 100 pairs with color markers or binders of Blue, Orange, Green, Brown.

Reference links I use all the time.

Standard Tap and Clearance Holes

Drill Bit and Size Chart

Wire Size Gauge

Screw Size Diameters

Coax Specifications

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Printed Circuit Boards, Printed Wiring Boards, Break Out Boards (BOBs)

Making Printed Wiring Boards using a Laser Printer 
(Updated 2/1/2019) How to make your own PWB's at home using a Laser Printer and common household or hardware store chemistry.

Tinning a Printed Wiring Board
(Added 12/24/2016) Try this method the next time you need to tin a printed wiring board.

RJ45bobRJ45 Break Out Board
(Added 11/18/2016) A little project that took on a life of its own. Different PCB mountable RJ45 connectors from different vendors have different pin outs. Center to center pin spacing requirements. The latch can be on the top or bottom. Pay attention to the vendor part numbers per version. Handy for interconnecting prototyping breadboards however. Photo

Mini USB Break Out BoardMini USB Break Out Board
(Added April 5, 2019) If you are like me at this point, you have a box full of USB 5VDC wall warts to charge phone, tablets and other devices. Now if only a way to easily use them to power prototype breadboards. I found the Mini USB-B BOB from Sparkfun. I use them for power on my prototyping breadboards for this. I got four Mini USB-B surface mount connectors in a grab bag. Wanted to see if I could make my own BOB with these connectors. Made two I hand soldered with .015" solder (a bit tricky and a lot of rework) and two with solder paste (a little easier.) of the Mini USB BOB1. Then made five of them with the Mini USB BOB2 artwork. Frankly for the amount of work this was, get the one from Sparkfun. But it did prove the point that fine pitch work can be done in the home workshop.  Photo.

USB A Female Break Out Board
(Added April 12, 2019) Made the Artwork for this BOB but never built any. I only needed one and built it on perf-board.

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Cables and Interfaces

Verizon Fios replacement battery cableVerizon (Frontier) FIOS Replacement Battery Harness for the Battery Back Up Unit (BBU)
(Added March 23 2018) I recently had an Audible and Visual alarm on my Verizon (Now Frontier) FIOS battery Back Up Unit (BBU). Replacing the battery did not fix it as it usually did. I discovered that the battery harness has a molded in fuse-able link that is not replaceable. My fuse was open.I found I had the parts and tooling to make a replacement battery harness. After I had my BBU fixed, it occurred to me that others might need a replacement cable. I make and sell them on Ebay. Use if your existing cable is not providing power, the old harness has been lost, or the connectors are corroded by battery discharge. This may save you a very expensive call.  This is a new cable two inches longer than the original cable and makes battery replacement easier. Includes replaceable fuse and 1/4" (.250") color coded battery connectors.

Motorola CEB-ACIM programming cable  
(4/12/2009) Drawing for a programming cable from a PC to a Motorola CEB ACIM card.

Duelo Serial Puck to D700 Radio 
(4/12/2009) Interface from a Duelo GPS serial puck to Kenwood D700 radio for APRS.

Garmin GPS18X to D700 Radio
(4/3/2019) Interface from a Garmin GPS18X GPS serial puck to Kenwood D700 radio for APRS.

PG-4S Programming cable
(Added Nov 15 2002) This is a programming cable for Kenwood TM-7A Dual band radio and the TM-G707E. The resulting surface mount PWB is about the size of a postage stamp that is wedged between the pins of a DB9 connector. By building an adapter it can also be used for the TH-F6 / TH-G71. 

Interfacing the Tiny TrakII to a Kenwood TM261
(Added May 30 2002) This page shows how I interfaced the TinyTrackII to my TM261.

Garmin GPS Interfaces
(Added May 30 2002) How I interfaced the Garmin GPS units to the TinyTrakII and PC. Here are the connections.

D700 Control Head Extension cable
(Added April 12, 2019) Pin outs and details of how to make an Kenwood D700 Control Head extension, separation cable.

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Other, Older and Obsolete projects

Tubing cutterTubing/Heat Shrink Cutter.
(3/25/19) The Menda #35175 cutter I am using works well, but the blades are hard to find and a long lead time to get them. The Menda blades run about $50.00 for a package of 100 blades. I wanted a cutter that would use standard utility knife blades or single edge razor blades. Made this cutter out of bits I had in the shop. All the materials are standard Home Depot items. Now that the blades are easy to find and change, started cutting known lengths of 24ga solid wire without a care. When a blade gets dull, six cents later I have a new one.  A word of caution, if using the single edge razor blades for your cutter, do not remove the paper protective wrapper until after you have the blade in the Cutter assembly and tightened down. Just saying. Photo.

third hand toolThird Hand Tool.
(3/25/19) Another variation on the coolant hose third hand tool. I got the coolant hose arms from Sparkfun.  I did add details on how I make the larger threaded Alligator clips for the tool rather than use the small one from Sparkfun. Found the larger Alligator clips at Harbor Freight. Photo.

Photocell CircuitPhotocell Control Circuit.
(Added Feb 6 2016) Awhile back I got tired of take out food people not finding or missing the house at night. I made an address sign with the street address numbers laid out in blinding white LED's. I used 12Vdc for the sign so needed a control circuit for 12V. I wanted the sign to come on at dusk and turn off at dawn. I purchased a grab bag of the CDS cells from JAMECO and so far they have all worked with the pot adjusting the bias so no value is listed for the CDS cell. Assembled and tested boards available.  Contact by email for info. Photo.

Mechanical Bridge for 150 amp fuse.
(Added Feb 2/6/2016) The public service vehicles I worked on use an after market circuit breaker with an inline 150 amp fuse
for all of the equipment added to the car. The fuses were mounted to the breaker with no external support. They were literally shaking apart.
This bridge supported the fuse and stopped the failures. It also made changing a blown fuse much easier.

Voltage level Indicating auto trouble lightAutomotive Voltage Indicating Trouble Light.
(2/6/2016) This is a simple, one handed inexpensive trouble light for autos. This gives a relative idea of the voltage level.  Photo

DTMF to Relay Closure
(4/12/2009) Generates relay closures from audio input DTMF tones. Has lots of remote control applications. The DTMF decoder IC's are getting hard to find.

Home Brew Connector Class  
OLD!    Includes Molex Connectors, terminating RG8 Coax, Anderson Power Pole connectors and Anderson Power Pole 5 and 12 port DC distributors similar to Rig Runner. NOTE: The Anderson Power Pole has replaced the 2 pin Molex connector for Dallas Area RACES power connections starting January 2005. (updated April 24, 2009)

Handi-Finder Class   
(Added April 2000) This is a simple device used for radio direction finding. Kits from other vendor now available. From May 1993 QST. It diode switches two antennas back and forth at about 1000 hertz to give a beat note at the receiver that nulls out when both antennas are facing the signal source equally.

Diode Block Box 
(4/19/2009) Isolation diode box between the car and an extra battery. Stops an extra battery from back feeding the car. My original attempt at this failed mechanically. This version is very solid.

Austron RS20A 
(Added April 19, 2009) Redraw of schematic for an Austron RS20 Power Supply. May be a few errors, but good enough for most troubleshooting and repairs.

Simplified A-Tone Decoder (75T204 Based) and Original A-Tone Decoder (75T202 Based)
Obsolete. This was a project for RACES members in the Dallas Tx. Area.  We used to send an DTMF A-Tone from a radio keypad prior to a net to alert members to weather or other nets.

Radio Shack 4"x2"x1" Project enclosure Part# 270-1802.
(10/23/16) Mechanical drawing of the Radio Shack 4x2x1 Project enclosure. Part# 270-1802. No longer available from Radio Shack. If you need a similar enclosure, try the Hammond 1591XXBSBK available from Mouser and Digikey for about $5.00 to $6.00. The Hammond enclosure has several versions with different mounting options. Look closely at the Models before ordering.  

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Woodworking Projects

WiiFit Balance Board Riser.
(Added June 2002) This is the drawing for a riser platform for the Wii Fit Balance board. Made for my wife WB9ZPH.

Computer Hutch for Texas Tech Dorm Student Desk.
(Added Jan 3, 2003) While my daughter KD5EQR was home for Christmas 2002, she wanted a computer hutch. It was designed and built for the desks provided by Texas Tech at the dorm rooms. Modular and adaptable, quick to take down and put back together in different configurations. Handy for a student who moves every year. The plans for the hutch got sent around Tech and a lot of them or similar were built. Many just needed a place to start. See the photos at the bottom of the link. The hutch was assembled with the monitor space on both the left and right sides by KD5EQR.

In Memory

In Memory of Millard (Clay) Orchard KC5MXN, who went silent key January 16, 2019. Net control for Garland RACES and many of the Garland Civic events. I miss his voice at the Christmas on the Square tree lighting.
73's and GL KC5MXN

In memory of William (Bill) H Reynolds K8DNE, who went silent key October 15, 2017. He lead our VE team for over 30 years. RACES Officer and Volunteer Fire Chief.   Firefighters Last Call October 19, 2017
73's and GL K8DNE

In Memory of  E.H. Nail. WT5Q, who went silent key August 19, 2018. Net control for Garland RACES. Always one of the first volunteers for any event.
73's and GL WT5Q

In memory of J. Frank Smith WA4QAB who went silent key June 2000. A friend, a mentor and a buddy who helped me through rough times after the death of my first wife.
73's and GL WA4QAB

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