Members where shown many examples of kits using PICs which are the basic building blocks of Software Defined Radios.
An internet search revealed that PICs were first introduced by General Instruments in 1975, and in 1985, General Instruments converted their Microelectronics Division to Microchip Technology. For the uninitiated, PIC stands for Peripheral Interface Controller. The General Instruments Company used the acronyms Programmable Interface Controller and Programmable Intelligent Computer for the initial PICs (PIC1640 and PIC1650).
In 1993, Microchip Technology launched the 8-bit PIC16C84 with EEPROM which could be programmed using serial programming method. The improved version of PIC16C84 with flash memory (PIC18F84 and PIC18F84A) hit the market in 1998.
Since 1998, Microchip Technology continuously developed new high performance microcontrollers with new complex architecture and enhanced in-built peripherals.
At present PIC microcontrollers are widely used for industrial purpose due to its high performance ability at low power consumption. It is also very famous among hobbyists due to moderate cost and easy availability of its supporting software and hardware tools like compilers, simulators, debuggers,and, of course, Software Defined Radios!
Paul also explained that all of the software he uses to display the output of the SDR is freely available on the internet. Part 2 of Paul’s talk will be on the 5th of December.
Some member have cut and drilled their project box in anticipation of receiving the remainder of the kit to build the 2013 Club Project, an Antenna Analyser.Richard, G3NII turned up with boxes full of bags filled with the necessary parts to complete the project.As a ‘special service’ to members, Richard had already soldered the only surface mount part to the PCB!This is the varactor diode which, as surface mount parts go, is about as small as they get. The rest of the parts have already been sorted and supplied in marked bags! A bound booklet with full building details completes the kit.This really is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of kits!Unfortunately, this kit is only available to current club members.
Unfortunately, the speaker originally scheduled was unable to make it. As a fill in we used the evening to watch a video of the many operations that can be preformed using the popular MFJ 259B antenna analyser.Members found that it is possible to do operations other than just check the SWR.
Using this analyser can take the guesswork out of building and adjusting matching networks and baluns. We found we could measure the distance to a short or open in faulty coax or measure the length of a roll of coax, or coax loss, velocity factor, and impedance. We found we could measure inductance and capacitance or measure the resonant frequency and approximate Q of traps, stubs, transmission lines, RF chokes, tuned circuits and baluns. A useful options told how to adjust an antenna tuner for a perfect 1:1 match without creating QRM.
Ian, G1JCC then gave a roundup of our week-end’s activity in the CQWW SSB contest. The score looked encouraging and most members agreed they had had a very good weekend in spite of the wind and rain that resulted in some antenna damage.