I have now officially released 1.03 firmware and we will use this version for all kits shipped by QRP Labs from this moment onward.
The download is here: http://qrp-labs.com/images/qcx/firmware/T1.03.zip for upgrading if you have your own AVR programmer, or the chip is also available in the QRP Labs shop see http://shop.qrp-labs.com/firmware/qcxchip
Firmware 1.03 contains:
I have also added a new version of the QCX manual at http://qrp-labs.com/qcx which describes the CAT commands and the method to connect a serial port.
The real time clock is a display with format HH:MM which can be enabled to show at the bottom right of the screen. It is enabled in new menu "7.8 Clock" and you can set the time in the beacon menu "6.9 Set time". It is not maintained when the QCX is powered down. To make things easy, you can now connect the GPS whenever you like; there will be no damage because the QCX will automatically detect serial data and put the rig safely in Practice mode (no transmission) within under 1 second. Then the QCX will start parsing the serial data and will set the real time clock. When you disconnect the GPS the QCX will automatically notice that and switch off Practice mode. In this way, it is easy to set the real time clock - in my QCX-40 in its nice enclosure, I plan to install an extra switch which simply connects the shack GPS serial data to the QCX. Then when I turn on the QCX in the morning I can just switch on GPS to set the time, within a couple of seconds. Easy!
I enjoyed having the real time clock there, I operated 40m CW this morning for a little over an hour and worked YL Elvira ZA1EM, followed by E74LZ, UR5MUY, IK7XJA, LZ1HDA, OM3CAZ, R7BW, EW8CP and RW3KE. The real time clock was useful, at least to me... and I did not have any problems with the new firmware or any of the functionality. I haven't connected anything to the serial port as I don't use CAT.
The other change is the CW speed: setting it to 0 (with a turn of the rotary encoder knob) will put the QCX in straight key mode and you can then use this for antenna tuning - all while still in the CW speed adjustment mode - then when you turn the speed back to your ordinary keyer speed you will be put back in your chosen Iambic mode.
Finally, the TX keying enable, pin 11 of IC3, goes high 3 times when starting up the QCX... this is a topic I will mention in a separate email. In this firmware, I was able to remove one of these three times. This is also documented in this new article about my PA failure: http://www.qrp-labs.com/qcx/qcxmods/ptt.html
Note that from now on we will supply QCX chips with low fuse 0xD7 not 0xF7. The new recommendation will be 0xD7. The old F7 has a 65ms delay on start-up for slowly rising power line but this is NOT required when you are using a Brownout Detector bit since the brownout logic will hold the reset anyway until the power line comes up (ATmega328 datasheet). D7 removes the 65ms startup delay.
73 Hans G0UPL