03/24/2016 at 17:59 •
It has been a few months since I have updated our hackaday.io project log. Here is what has happened over the past couple of months.
The power boost stretch goal was a bit more difficult than anticipated, and also resulted in several unexpected problems: ground loops, noise, and I2C bus capacitance tolerances! It has been a wild ride, but we finally resolved these in February.
We ordered PCBs (about 1500) and delivered them to our manufacturer near Seattle in early March. The production run has started, and we tested the first panel off the line. It worked great! We authorized construction of the rest of the panels.
This means we should have HamShield shipping by early next month! Our first shipments will go to Kickstarter backers and then off to our pre-orders. After this is all done, we will be able to fulfill orders in real time until we work out some sort of distribution agreement. Our HamShield team is small, and we would rather focus on improving HamShield and making new related products than work with shipping logistics.
We learned a lot about Kickstarter, RF hardware, and other aspects of the project that I hope to talk about in a future update.
08/05/2015 at 01:03 •
We have a system to accept pre-orders for HamShield:
Things are coming along nicely. We are getting a power amplifier test board revision back shortly with a new two-stage amplifier design that will really boost our power. We also are integrating this into the complete board and running the PCBs. If the amplifier stage works as planned, we can immediately start testing rev 4 of the complete board. Once this testing is complete, we can send the design off for manufacturing.
We are also shopping around our BOM again (we have blown well past what we originally had quoted out) to see if we can get a better deal on components. This will allow us to save some more cash for further board revisions, improvements, and to prototype some really cool stuff we have planned in the future.
HamShield is also allowing us to prototype these things :)
But before we get ahead of ourselves, the focus is to make sure to deliver our hardware on time. So far, we are on schedule.
07/30/2015 at 04:28 •
Wow, what an amazing month this has been. We have had incredible support for the HamShield.
If you haven't had your chance to pledge for your HamShield, this is your last call!
After our Kickstarter is complete, I will be posting more technical details on sourcing hardware, manufacturing logistics, and even some lessons learned. Hopefully this will be a good resource for anyone else looking to launch a successful open source hardware project.
07/27/2015 at 01:53 •
What outstanding support we have had over the past month. We are closing in on $100,000 -- that is a lot of HamShields!
Thank you everyone for your support in making this happen.
In August, we will be ordering all of our parts and sending the HamShield off to manufacturing. Other than making our suppliers and contract manufacturing company very happy, there will be no issues scaling up production of HamShield.
I am working on our Chrome apps for HamShield as well as a demo for a WiFi-enabled HamShield using the ESP8266 and a smart phone. It will take a me a little while to finish both, but I will update everyone on the progress as we go along!
07/14/2015 at 04:42 •
As promised, here is the GitHub link to our growing open source library! Special thanks to Stephen Olesen / VE6SLP who made a lot of this possible! If anyone is looking for an amazing developer, I can put you in touch with him. This guy had half of this working before I could even get a prototype shipped to him.
Remember, it is still in development, but I am too excited so I *must* show you!
Things are still going full steam ahead with development, but this should give you a great idea of where things are headed. As we expand the library, expect to see more and more examples that leverage the new capabilities.
Even better, we hope you contribute to our library and growing example base! We are working on a breadboard schematic so some of you can rig up what we have on the HamShield and develop even before your HamShield arrives!
Here are some highlights of our library's capabilities:
- General radio functions (Frequency, transmit, receive, VOX, RSSI, etc)
- Programmable power amplifier (has non-linear performance, but still cool!)
- CTCSS (PL tone) and CDCSS (DCS digital tones)
- Disable emphasis / de-emphasis / etc (potential "discriminator" tap mode)
- Single and Dual Tone detection (On chip DSP)
- Single and Dual Tone generation (On chip DSP)
- AFSK 1200 baud packet modem (Transmit and Receive)
- AX.25 packet radio framing support (Transmit and Receive)
- APRS support (Transmit and Receive)
- KISS TNC support! (Turn your Arduino into a KISS compatible TNC)
- Morse code functions (ie: morseOut("HELLO WORLD"); !)
- DDS (Direct Digital Synthesis) waveform framework for custom digital modes
- Martin 1 SSTV (slow scan television) with bitmap support
- Wait for empty channel
- White space channel finder
- Radio scanner
- Weather channel finder and tuner
- MURS/FRS/GMRS tuning support
Some library roadmap and a few neat ideas we are kicking around:
- A low power mesh messaging framework for off-grid / solar operations
- Improved packet radio support
- 9600 baud FSK (still *very* experimental, cannot promise anything yet. But maybe!)
- Experimental trunked radio mode
- HamShield daisy chaining support for repeater and duplex configurations
- Digipeter support
- Weather station support
- More neat features
We already have some great examples in our library, including our serial port controlled radio, APRS messenger, and KISS TNC packet radio sketch.
Also, this week I am expanding on my solar powered experiment I did last Sunday. I hope to have another video soon!
07/13/2015 at 22:45 •
Over the last year, we have been developing the HamShield.
Here is a view of our first prototype:
The next revision had far less greenwiring:
And finally, our final revision:
We have also built a neat attachment for computer use. Here is our Chrome browser app with the HamShield + Arduino clipped on the back for mobile text messaging anywhere over amateur radio (APRS Messenger):
Here is the start of our solar powered HamShield. The hope is to make it possible to build off-grid communication networks using the HamShield technology: