01/17/2015 at 19:15 •
So I get home yesterday to find an unexpected package. Inside is a Ham Radio magazine (The December 2014 issue of Funk Amateur, I like the name!) with a note.... all in German. Sweet! I flip through it and to my shock, I find the PSDR! WHAAAAT!? What a cool thing! (I'd scan the whole thing, but that might be verboten, copyright stuff, you know.) I googled to see if the article was online, didn't find it, but did find a mention of the PortableSDR here.
The Kickstarter campaign is off to a great start! Last I looked it was almost to $12,000 (20% of the goal) at this rate it will be successful! Thank you so much everyone for your support!
I am getting a lot of messages, and I am trying to get caught up on posts and things, I hope to get caught up soon.
01/14/2015 at 06:01 •
Now you guys can finally get it! Sorry it took so long! Thanks for your patience and support eveyone!
For all of you who are itching to have one (bless your hearts) click here!
The internal speaker works now, btw (not great, but it's a start). Also, I have some ideas for a pretty cool 4 band antenna that doesn't need a tuner.
12/12/2014 at 05:31 •
I just wanted to make a quick post here to let you know that I am still here. I wanted to have the Kickstarter live by now, but I really need to get some quotes back on PCB manufacturing, or I wont be able to set the prices with any confidence. I am so excited to get these out into the world, but I don't want to go broke doing it, you know?
I have an initial quote on the metals (though I want to change the design a little bit) and have been meeting with a local PCB assembly house. I've worked with them (as well as many others) for other projects and have found their work to be absolutely amazing. They cost a little more, but I think it will be worth it in boards that will work well for a long time. Also, since they're local, I won't have to pay for shipping, wait for shipping, or, for example, fly to China (I'm dying to go, but not on my own dime, you see).
I hope to have a quote back from them soon. When I've got everything figured out, you'll be the first to know!
11/24/2014 at 07:14 •
Hi everyone! I got 3rd place! I'm the 3rd best hacker in the world! Thanks everyone for your support! Congratulations to the other finalists, in particular SatNOGS! I have an unused, wooden garage that would be perfect for housing one of their antennas trackers. I'll need to get on that. Also, I would love a tricorder and spectrometer. I'd like a chipwhisperer too, but I think it's a little over my head.
So where have I been? (Sorry about that, btw) Well first, after all the stress of the contest, it was nice to kinda do nothing for a while. But mostly I've been trying to figure out how to get the PSDR produced so you can have one!
I've poured over the survey data; very interesting stuff! There are a few things in there that are encouraging; so many people said they'd buy a PSDR2 AND a future version! There are also a few things that people aren't going to like. Maybe it was the BaoFeng comparison, but a pretty large number of people said it would only be worth say $50-150 to them (some even less!). There's no way that can happen, it's made of expensive parts and.... how can I compete with a big Chinese company!
Right now I am finding places that can do the manufacturing for me, particularly the metal housings and PCB assembly. When I have some quotes back, I'll be able to determine what I can charge and not go broke (a very real possibility if I'm not careful).
I hope to have a Kickstarter project up in about a week. Thanks for your patience everyone! I haven't forgotten about you!
Also another religious thought, skip if you aren't interested.In my Had Prize Finalist Interview, I mentioned that if I won, part of the money would go to tithing. "Tithing? Really?" said Yarr. "Yes, really." says I. The short version on tithing is, I believe I am blessed financially, so I give something back. I also believe that if I pay tithing faithfully, that I will be able to meet my needs.
Well, the weekend that the final submissions for the contest were due, my wife needed emergency surgery. (She is fully recovered now, thankfully) We got the bills on the same day the Had Prize winners were announced. After taxes, the money I won is almost exactly equal to the bills. As I said in a previous post, I choose to believe this is not coincidental.
11/11/2014 at 06:10 •
Today, in the interview post about the RamanPi, Brian says, "If you're wondering who the winner of The Hackaday Prize is, even I don't know. [Mike] and a few Hackaday overlords do," Thinking of it now, of course the results would be known before the announcement, but it hadn't really occurred to me until I read that. For some reason it seemed weird to me. Whether I have won first place or not is known, but not to me. So in a weird way, I am in the superposition of both having taken first, and not. That is, until Thursday morning (for me 5 am :/ ) when the wave function will collapse. I think it would be fun to be in their position, to know that you were about to change someone's life, and you knew it, but they didn't. Good luck to my fellow finalists! No matter the outcome, I'm happy to have made it so far.
Pictured above is Girl Kitty, she's been our cat since I was a teenager (which makes her about 18 years old) but, unlike Schrödinger's cat, Girl Kitty is, thankfully, alive.
In other news, the response to the survey has been MIND BLOWING! The PSDR has about 650 followers, not everyone is going to respond, I guess I expected about 100 responses. Right now I have 1,106! (Which is, by the way, probably enough) THANKS EVERYBODY! It's been amazing to see such an overwhelmingly positive response! I'm still going through the data and want to devote a proper post to it. Give me a few days. I'm really learning a lot by going through all of this.
11/06/2014 at 15:27 •
I shot this before the Final Overview Video, but didn't get around to posting it. Basically, it shows that my first attempt at an amplifier board for the PSDR2 was unsuccessful, also, I need filtering. I think that what I showed in the video might not have been that meaningful because I had already damaged the amp at that point. Nevertheless, it seems that filtering before the amplifier is going to be required. I have a circuit I want to try that would be a digitally variable low-pass filter. I think it will work, just not sure if will work at RF frequencies.
I was also lucky to bump into a pretty seasoned RF engineer and picked his brain about designing this amplifier (I only picked the surface though, since I could only take about 5 minutes of his time) basically, it sounds like MMICs will probably only get me to 1 W. Which is not terrible. Beyond that, I'll probably have to design a discrete circuit. BUT he also suggested a trick I'd read about, where you use a power splitter, then, say, 5 MMIC amps, then a combiner, and there you go. I'm interested in trying that. That would also make it easy to step down power, and even provide some redundancy...
THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR DOING THE SURVEYS! I've received over 600 responses! (500 today alone, thanks to being featured on the front page. Thanks Brian!) Next time I'll give a breakdown of the responses and what it will mean for the PSDR moving forward.
11/02/2014 at 04:41 •
I'm trying to work out the details of making the PortableSDR available, but there are some things I need to figure out. Please please take a moment to fill out this survey so I can plan things out appropriately. It should only take a minute. Thank you so much!
10/28/2014 at 06:00 •
Here are some very lovely (if I do say so myself) pictures of the PortableSDR.
There are a bunch more. Check 'em out!
10/20/2014 at 04:51 •
I spent the last few days modifying the design of the case to simplify it (7 screws instead of 21, for example) and to make it millable. I had some great help from my friend Jacob, thanks Jacob! He also suggested a countersunk front cover and I think it's going to look awesome! I spent pretty much all of Saturday at work, generating toolpaths and "borrowing" the milling machine. I made a few mistakes, learned a bunch of stuff. It was pretty fun! I'm getting better! I'm probably going to sandblast it when it's done (you can see I need to hand finish a little bit, particular around the paddle area.) so it will have a soft, frosted look. At least for now. I might paint it after that. We'll see.
I also want to share some small miracles. Those of you who are offended and/or not interested in religious things can skip the rest.A few days ago, when I was designing the amp board, I wasn't entirely clear how to bias the two MMIC amplifiers. I was frustrated and ultimately decided I was done for the day and went to bed. When I came home from work the next day, I had just a few minutes before I had to be somewhere, so I plopped down to watch some youtube. I was glad to see a new video by W2AEW. If you haven't watched his videos, they are GREAT! Well, his video that day was about the noise generator circuit on the Ham It Up board (I need to get one).... which appears to use very similar MMIC amplifiers to the ones I am using. He had a link for more information on how to bias them in his comments. Sure it could be explained away as coincidence, but the timing seems a little too perfect to me.
Then it happened again! I was planning on milling the parts you see above (though I was already feeling that it was more or less within my ability). Anyway, I was procrastinating working on the PSDR (it happens) and turned again to youtube. Youtube recommended a video by Applied Science that I hadn't seen yet (he's been on Hackaday several times, because he does amazing stuff!) It pretty much cleared up everything I wasn't clear on, particularly feed rates and cutter selection. I didn't know I'd need to select a cutter, but all the 1/4" end mills at work were broken. Only one shop in Salt Lake that sells end mills bits was open on Saturday, and I only barely made it, and only because Jacob came in to help and let me borrow his car. Also possibly coincidental, but it just seems like things are working out very well for me, and I choose to believe that I'm the recipient of a little help.
Oh yeah, and I received the PSDR2 boards just in time, despite the Chinese Shipping Apocalypse. (The boards are great, by the way, and Ian was very patient with me, even though I was freaking out a little bit)
So does this mean I think God wants me to win the hackaday prize? No, not necessarily, but I I think He wants me to learn, grow, and do my best. I'm grateful for the help!
10/17/2014 at 06:49 •
Let me first say how blown away, honored, and delighted I am to be included in the final round of judging! The enthusiastic responses I've gotten from everyone have helped keep me motivated through the long hours of design and programming (honestly, this would have been a year long project or more otherwise). Thanks to everyone for your support! I've loved reading everyone's comments here on my project blog, on the final-five announcement page, youtube, and reddit.
Now then! Where were we. It seems like many people have been anxious to see transmit support working. I realized that some of the other features I'm excited about, like the Vector Network Analyzer, require the PSDR to generate signals, and of course, I want to see if I can talk to people with it! So, as you saw in the last video, I got transmit support started, but I was a little disappointed that the power output was so low (I mean, I knew it would be low but...)
So, I decided to try my hand at putting together an amplifier to go in the PSDR2's amp board socket (those five holes in the upper left), and this is the result. PCBs should get here next week, hopefully in time for the final judging. If it works the way I think it will, it should get us somewhere close to 100-200mW. Still not a lot, but enough to get a signal out, and maybe drive another amplification stage in the future.
It was fun to design. I'm trying some weird stuff here, for example, the two MMIC amplifiers are biased like a diode or transistor (well, that's what they are), where current is more important than voltage. Also, they like to be driven around 5-6v. So I needed a boost converter, ideally with a constant current output. Well. they make LED drivers that do exactly that. So that's what will be powering this little amp.
I'm actually not totally confident it will work on the first try, but it will be a learning experience either way.