Topics

Some Improvements to the stock V6 code #firmware #calibration #bfo #ubitxv6


vu3gwn
 

Hi Folks,

After assembling and using the uBitx for a week, realized that there are few not so smooth areas in the firmware that needed a little tweaking. After almost a month, feel like it has reached a stage where I can do with a little feedback. 

The code has not been forked from Stock code, but cloned and put up in my own github repo.

Have made the following additions and tweaks.

Code additions by vu3gwn@...
 * UI fixes, CALLSIGN addition
 * Button text normalization, VFO A/B UI
 * Added RX
*  Current values to Frequency calibration and BFO calibration

You can add your own callsign which will show up in the bottom. to do that just open up ubitx.h and change the value for CALLSIGN_VER


Ashhar Farhan
 

great job. there is also that little irritant of the cw shift. fix that too and you have a winner!
- f

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 12:31 AM <belthur@...> wrote:
Hi Folks,

After assembling and using the uBitx for a week, realized that there are few not so smooth areas in the firmware that needed a little tweaking. After almost a month, feel like it has reached a stage where I can do with a little feedback. 

The code has not been forked from Stock code, but cloned and put up in my own github repo.

Have made the following additions and tweaks.

Code additions by vu3gwn@...
 * UI fixes, CALLSIGN addition
 * Button text normalization, VFO A/B UI
 * Added RX
*  Current values to Frequency calibration and BFO calibration

You can add your own callsign which will show up in the bottom. to do that just open up ubitx.h and change the value for CALLSIGN_VER


Steve Sawicki
 


The worldwide home Virus lock-down at this point shows what the BITX community and what "Ham" ingenuity is all about.
By the end of this "Crisis" I am sure that we will a fully cleared up and feature rich "Stock" code that negates the addition of outside modifications which may be fantastic if you are adventurous but will preserve the originality of the V6 structure.
Best Regards.
Steve
AB2ET/4


vu3gwn
 

Oh, you mean the TX minus tone for LSB and TX plus tone for USB? Always wondered why that was there? Is it not per design? 


vu3gwn
 

Yeah, trying my best. FT8 with this OOB is what I am looking forward to...


Don - KM4UDX
 

Hello!  Does the V6 stock firmware enable CAT control for us digital addicts?  Thanks so much as always. 


Bill
 

Thank you for sharing your improvements!

But out of curiosity, why clone instead of fork?  Doesn't that make it harder for Ashhar to merge your improvements back into the stock code?  A "clone" is still a fork anyway, it just breaks the git tools for merging.


Ryan W Leathers
 

He can just submit as a patch. Its not a big deal. But if improvements will be ongoing then I agree, this is a good call out.


vu3gwn
 

Thought about it and its still an option. Have the patch ready. If Ashhar wants it, I will submit the changes. 


vu3gwn
 

I am able to work FT8 RX with Decode, no luck on TX yet. Still analyzing how K8DCEC build is able to do FT8.


Ted
 


"I am able to work FT8 RX with Decode, no luck on TX yet. Still analyzing how K8DCEC build is able to do FT8."

With respect, the KD8CEC firmware does not do FT8 itself, any more than it does SSB by itself. The radio, regardless of firmware, will send your sound card's audio tones  pretty nicely if you've got whatever radio-to-computer isolation matters and microphone level input level considerations set up.  I wonder if I might inquire as to what trouble your rig's having - what you're sending the mic input, what you get from it in terms of tx/rx relay switching, any trace reception upon a redundant receiver in the room? 

There are a bunch of smarter people in the room than I, though I'd like to help with them if possible.  And how I wish I was any good at any kind of computer code work; it makes my head explode and that gets messy. Disguise aerials are no problem, so I'll stick to that.





Be safe and well,

Ted
K3RTA


vu3gwn
 

Hey Ted,

Guess I was wrong about K8DCEC...since I don't have a Nextion display yet, haven't tried that yet...so let's see what the future holds...

With respect to FT8, my current setup is CAT connected to USB of the laptop. Audio out of uBitx goes to mic of the laptop and PTT key goes to the Speaker out of the laptop.

Unfortunately all I have are basic aux cables with TRS plugs, don't have any TS cables and I think I need TS for this work. With the lockdown, I can't buy nor I can make one for lack of materials.

So with this setup, I am able to do decode FT8. And in Configuration, I can't make WSJT-x work with uBitx. "Test Cat" button fails and so TEST PTT never gets enabled.

Read somewhere that the cable for PTT in into uBitx must be cable with only TS and not TRS...

If you have don'e something on this, please do share.


Evan Hand
 

First off, I do not have a v6.  I HAVE worked FT8 with both the v4 and v5 uBITX.

The jacks are the same for the v4, v5, and v6.  All are TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) NOT TRRS that is standard for a laptop or cell phone headphones with microphones.  A TR only would short out the PTT on the mic input and the audio out of the headphone jacks.  DO NOT use tip and ring only (TR) plugs with the uBITX.

The way that I connect for FT8 is with a cheap USB sound card dongle to split the mic and speakers into two separate TRS jacks.  This makes it easier to wire as I have had issues with laptops not recognizing the mic input at the laptop jack.  I also use an EasyDigi kit to isolate grounds, though some have reported not needing it.  Since the headphone jack on the uBITX has both tip and ring connected to audio out of the rig, you do not need a special cable for the rig headphone connection to the PC (laptop) dongle mic input.  A standard 3.5 mm TRS on both ends works.  Not so for the mic input on the rig,  Here the sleeve is the PTT connection, so need to connect only the tip to tip and sleeve to the sleeve of the other cable (you do not need both channels of the stereo signal).  You need to have the ring of the microphone cable unconnected on the rig side. One last point, I have added clamp-on ferrites to all lines to and from the rig.  This is to reduce any RF issues in the shack causing distortion or erratic operation.

I am using KD8CEC software for CAT control.  That is how the PTT is activated.  In WSJT-X I have the comport set to the one that shows up when I plug in the USB cable to the uBITX Nano.  Radio selected is Yeasu FT-857, Baud for KD8CEC software is 38400, 8 bits, 2 stop bits, none for handshaking.  PTT is CAT Mode is USB.  Split operation is set to none.

The biggest issue that I have is the sensitivity of the volume control of the uBITX.  I have to run it with very little volume or I get the RED bar on the left of the FT8 window signaling input overload.  I also run the transmit level low, adjusting the power out measured with a Nissei SWR/Power meter to be the same power as CW (do not know of a better way to verify that I am not overdriving the audio).

Hope the above helps.  I would be interested in any experience with the v6 software, as I believe that cat control is included with the stock software.

73
Evan
AC9TU


Evan Hand
 

Out of curiosity I went back and checked my stock v5 and found that the CAT software is included.  The same settings work as the original post.  So you do not need the KD8CEC software to run CAT.

73
Evan
AC9TU


Ted
 

Evan,

The CAT setting that's often spoken of is that for the FT-817; you're using the FT857 settings?  Is there an advantage?  Not that I care ;)  just interested in the options.  I'll obviously have to plug it in and try.


Belthur [I don't have your proper name, sorry],

With the CAT control, you won't of course need to worry about rig keying, vis a vis PTT as we sometimes do in these cases. You may wish to attenuate the radio audio output that goes to your computer sound card or US$7 dongle of which Evan speaks.  An easy attenuation is a 100-ohm resistor across the shield and center of the headphone output, and a 5k to 10k resistor in line with the center as it proceeds toward the laptop input or dongle input.  This is off the top of my head, and other sources show something like this:






From experience, it wouldn't hurt one bit to place a 600-ohm to 600-ohm isolation transformer in line with the Line Out side of that, and I would be heavily tempted to put a 10k potentiometer on the Line Out side of that diagram as well, and then into the transformer; failing a trim pot on the line out, I'd still go for a 100-ohm for R2 above since you're delivering to Microphone levels, NOT line level.

The times I've made up stuff like this, I've done well to make up the same arrangement for the opposite direction for the computer speaker output toward the radio mic input, while following Evan's advice about plug contact-wiring of course.  

Another source for the transformers, here.



-Ted
 K3RTA


Ted
 

Oh, and I forgot the sound card dongle.  There are dozens from which to choose; I like this one for the price and ease of hacking into, for direct soldering to the jack connections. 


 
If you want, I'll draw up a circuit for this + the attenuation + the isolation transformers ---> appropriate radio connections. 

In one build (more or less in endless process),  I added a 6-pin "RJ-14" telephone type plug that deals with sound in and out alike, using the volume pot as a source for the outgoing audio, allowing one to listen in for whatever reason but also to negate whatsoever the possibility of overloading the computer input.



Evan Hand
 

Ted,
Thanks for the information.  I have thought of doing the potentiometer to adjust the sound levels, I just have not gotten to it, and I can make it work the way I have it.

I have used both the FT-817 and the FT857 interfaces, and do not see a difference. Since the last one I had in the setup page was the FT-857, I reported that.  Again, I did not see a difference in performance.

The EasyDigi is an inexpensive kit with 2 600 ohm isolation transformers and a PTT isolation circuit.  I do not use the PTT as that is done via CAT.

The Cadillac setup would be a SignalLink that has all of the isolation, volume controls and USB sound card in a single case.  Of course, it is expensive, almost as much as I paid for one of my uBITX.

73
Evan
AC9TU.


vu3gwn
 

Thanks much guys for the info on getting closer to having a working FT8 TX....I will gladly report back when I have something ...

Thanks again,
Handle : Guru
Callsign : VU3GWN


shyamhegde
 

Thanks Guru. I loaded your work on my  uBitx V6 and everything works cool. Added features are helpful and interface is smooth with better color combo.


vu3gwn
 

Thanks Shyam...some more changes are in process including the CW shift issue. Hopefully by this weekend, I will be able to upload it.