Project Evening Page
Our Papakura Radio Club inc. building

Papakura Radio Club inc.

& NZART Branch 65, Papakura.

1 Great South Road, Papakura.

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Project evenings

The Papakura Radio Club holds project evenings throughout the year. These evenings are normally on the 2nd Wednesdays of the month and additional evenings are sometimes on the 4th Wednesday. Local Amateurs and visitors are welcome to join in these activities. Below is a brief summary of current project, those that have been and some thoughts on what may follow. We are very fortunate to have skilled club members and others who offer their time and expertise for these evenings.

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Project evenings - overview

Project evenings are held on the 2nd Wednesday and ocassionally the 4th Wednesdays of the month.
The project evenings have covered a wide range of topics from simple interfaces and connectors to microprocessors and more recently, accessories that include micro's, GPS and LCD displays.

APRS Project 2008/9 - Keith ZL1BQE and Andrew ZL1WJQ APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO in foregroung APRS Project 2008/9 - Keith ZL1BQE and Andrew ZL1WJQ

These projects are construction evenings as well as educational and we are learning with each new project. While there is construction work completed, assistance is available to keep us all at the same stage of any project.
Project evenings are held at our clubrooms and start at 7.30pm and end with a cuppa and a chat.

APRS Project 2008/9 - Papakura Radio Club project evening APRS Project 2008/9 - Papakura Radio Club project teamwork APRS Project 2008/9 - Papakura Radio Club project evening

Current project - APRS (Open Tracker/GPS/MAXON)

The current project includes APRS where we are constructing the 'Open Tracker' APRS board. This, when completed, will be connected to a GPS receiver, connected to a Maxon DM2550 alloy 'data box' radio that will nearly complete the APRS project. The icing on the cake will be an LCD display that will offer information available from the GPS/APRS units. This will be a great asset to home and mobile stations.

Stage 1.
We have the Open Tracker boards, most of the difficult component parts and over the next month we will be filling the board and testing to make sure the open tracker is working and we are ready to move on to the next stage.

OpenTracker Board - APRS Project 2008/9 OpenTracker Board - APRS Project 2008/9 - OpenTracker Board - APRS Project 2008/9 -

Wednesday 13th November 2008.... tonight we saw the completion of all the boards to the tested OK stage. This is that all the components have been placed on the board and soldered in place. There was no great hassle with this step in the project. The listing of components was on a page that we had along side and gave a very basic instructions and code description of all parts and instructions to complete the job. There were 11 of us present and while 2 of the group were unable to attend, we will all be ready for the next stage in a couple of weeks time for the 3rd evening on the project. Photos below show some of the progress and above is a couple of photos of project organiser Keith ZL1BQE with Andrew ZL1WJQ. In one of the other photos you see the other organiser, Ian ZL1VFO who has been invaluable in helping us all at one time or another and is seen in his white coat sorting out a board that has a minor assembly error.

OpenTracker Board - APRS Project 2008/9 OpenTracker Board - APRS Project 2008/9 OpenTracker Board - APRS Project 2008/9

Stage 2. The Maxon 'data box'. During this stage the Maxon radio will be programmed with the required frequencies and aligned for those frequencies. There are sufficient numbers of these radios available for this project.


Maxon Data Radio DM2550 - APRS Project 2008/9 MAXON DM2550  - APRS Project 2008/9

Wednesday 26th November was the night the MAXON DM2550 Data Radios were made ready for the project. Mike ZL1MDS opened the new radios up and passed the units on to Keith ZL1BQE. The upper board was removed and the work then began. The squelch was set and the transmit power checked. Data from the radio and to the radio was transferred using the MAXON RS232 programming equipment. The tunning slugs all screwed in to give the best tunning match possible and then the units were re-assembled. Photos below and along side tell the story.

APRS Project 2008/9 - MAXON Radio tuning process APRS Project 2008/9 - MAXON Radio tuning process APRS Project 2008/9 - MAXON Radio tuning process

Stage 3.
This is when the interface connection between the open tracker, GPS unit and the radio will be completed. Those who are not using the Maxon units will have other cable construction to do but that will be completed in the same time frame.
Wednesday 26th November 2008 we saw the circuit for the interface board for our project. An over-kill one may think but this interface offers so much variety in allowing for different GPS voltage requirements, different radio voltages and a host of other benefits. Benefits like power up after engine start, power down after motor off through voltage drop. While parked, the unit will power up every 25 minutes and send data and then close down again and even with a small battery supply the system will operate for weeks with such a low power drain. The circuit is not complete as we were asked on the night what other facilities we would like included prior to final design. Once settled, Ian ZL1VFO will be drawing up a PC board and they will be produced again as the battery charger ones were.

APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO draws circuit of interface board APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO draws circuit of interface board

This project will take us into 2009 and it looks like we will be having a break away from construction till mid January when we will recommence the construction. In the meantime we have lots of opportunity to dream up additions for the project.

UPDATE…

APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO draws circuit of interface board APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO draws circuit of interface board
It had taken a little longer than expected to ready the PC board but it is now done. Keith and Ian have worked out the circuit design. They have drawn up the circuit and Ian then drew the PC board. These have been made on photosensitive pc board, developed, etched and drilled ready for the assembly job ahead. There has been a great deal of work in completed this and the finished article will be a very professional looking unit.

APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO draws circuit of interface board APRS Project 2008/9 - Ian ZL1VFO draws circuit of interface board
Wednesday 11th was the night we saw the finished board and later that evening components were sorted and packaged bu Ian ZL1VFO and assisted by Ian ZL1AOX ready for our assembly job that will continue on the second Wednesday in March.


To continue……..

Stage 4.
The wish list... including an LCD display (used earlier in the Yaesu FT-817 remote display) and maybe some other goodies that we can convince the GURU's are a must have! This will take us well into 2009 and we may have to have a rest after this project for a week or two.
An alarm for entry, battery voltage or other requirements may be included as there maybe spare output from the micro. Oh yes... there are a number of Freescale micros involved in this project. So far here is one on the interface board and one on the display board if used... watch this space!

APRS Project LCD Display... maybe! - APRS Project 2008/9





Previous projects

.....to follow

Thoughts for future projects

.....to follow

 

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Links to associated files for this project will be here soon.



Opentracker PC board - APRS Project 2008/9
Opentracker with LED on - APRS Project 2008/9
Tom ZL1TO - APRS Project 2008/9
Mike ZL1UOM and Bruce ZL1TDH - APRS Project 2008/9
Ian ZL1VFO & Mike ZL1MDS - APRS Project 2008/9

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Mail  How to contact us:

   Papakura Radio Club inc.
  1 Great South Road, Papakura
  P.O.Box 72397, Papakura 2244
  (09) 2989297
  E-mail [email protected]

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