Dayton Or Bust

I've got another grab-bag of miscellaneous news for this post, but I'm going to lead off with the big one: I'm going to be a presenter at the world's preeminent QRP convention: Four Days In May 2012. The tentative topic for my presentation will be about the free and open source tools that I use in the development of my products and how you can put them to use in your own homebrewing endeavors. This will be my first time speaking to an audience larger than about 25 people, so I hope that I can provide an entertaining and informative talk at such a prestigious event. I'll be speaking in front of a lot of people who I consider to be much more capable than I and some who I consider my virtual Elmers. It is my sincere desire to not disappoint.

I am very excited for the opportunity to go back to Dayton so soon after my last trip. I really didn't expect to have the chance to go again for quite a few more years, so the ability to get back to the convention after only two years is a great blessing. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Jennifer, who didn't hesitate to encourage me to go, even though she will be dealing with a 2-month-old baby and a near 2-year-old by herself for a few days while I'm away.

In other news, I feel like I've gotten over the steep part of the learning curve with Kicad, having successfully made PCBs for my little Twin-T code practice oscillator. You can see a short video of it in action above. The output level is suitable for modern, sensitive headphones, but if you want room-filling audio such as in my video, you'll need to connect it to an amplified speaker. The PCB is designed to fit in the ubiquitous Altoids tin, with room to spare for a 9 V battery.  I expect that this will eventually make it to my stable of products, but it's low priority considering the long delay on the CC-Series and the need to get it ready to sell by May. If you are really interested in the project, write a comment or shoot me an email (milldrum at gmail) and I'll see if I can't work something out to get you hooked up with a kit early.

The OpenBeacon project is cruising right along. Now that I know that I can successfully make a PCB with Kicad, I've taken the plunge and decided to migrate all of my workflow there (I think this will include the next board spin of CC-Series, since there are so many changes to be made there will be no real advantage to staying with TinyCAD/FreePCB). The OpenBeacon PCB design is nearing completion. Once I get a shipment from Mouser in the next few days to verify that my newly-created PCB footprints match the actual physical components, I'll be ready to submit my CAM files to Seeed Studio for prototype boards. With any luck, I'll have them back within about two weeks. (Protip: it's worth taking the time to place your component against a 1:1 printout of your Gerber to make sure it will fit. Don't ask me how I know this.)

Once those CAM files are off to China, it will be full-bore on the CC-Series. With the deadline of mid-May staring me down hard, I figure I will have to get those CAM files out within no more than three weeks. That will put me into mid-March for getting the PCBs back, which will give a pretty slim margin of time to beta test and prepare the kit for final sale. Going to be pulling some long, late-night shifts...that I can already see.

I've also got a few more projects in the pipeline for after FDIM and the deployment of CC-Series and OpenBeacon. The first is a fairly simple and inexpensive VXO DC transceiver that I hope to initially kit for the high bands of 10, 12, and 15 meters. It uses a topology which is somewhat unique. The other is an extrapolation of the receiver circuitry of this rig to use as a dedicated QRSS grabber receiver. But I may be getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's get this CC-Series launched, then see where the winds take us.

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3 thoughts on “Dayton Or Bust”

  1. Funny thing I was looking for a simple CPO today and came across your post with the schematics layout and bom -- I was sitting down tonight to look over the bom to gater parts and was looking at your site to comfirm a few thing ( transistors ) and looked at the post above -- i would be very interested in one of your pcb boards will help me very much with my code -- along with studying for my general!!

    would be very interested to get one of your boards when you get to an even point -- i know how you feel with running a house with little ones projects and time to get on the air!!

    great site full of info

    thanks

    Chad

  2. Hello Jason, I write from sunny Valencia, on the mediterranean shore of Spain. This is my first post. I have been browsing your blog and googling a bit, but I cannot find the schematics for your CC-20 and Willamette transceivers. I see that the CC-20 is a SMT project, I am playing with SMD but at 1206 size. I do not plan to replicate or clone your projects, I just want to have a peek on your ideas to help developing my own ones... TIA!

  3. Hello Juanjo, it sounds like you are writing from a nice QTH. 🙂

    The schematics for the Willamette are here:
    http://www.nt7s.com/media/qrp-l Group Project.pdf

    The CC-20 is nowhere near ready for release, but you may browse the schematics if you wish. Keep in mind that they will be changing quite a bit in the next iteration:
    https://github.com/etherkit/CC-Series/blob/master/docs/CC-Series%20Schematic.pdf?raw=true

    Good luck and let me know if you find anything useful there.

    Jason NT7S

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