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17 — Adventures in TQFP land and radio land.

2015-04-26. By Patrick.

A while back, I wrote a blog entry on the building of a TQFP PCB and the decision to never do that again. But I still have the board with the working TQFP on it.

So here follows how it will be put to use. Kelly and I have two 80m transmitters for doing some amateur radio direction finding (ARDF) in the woods. It's a bit like orienteering except that the controls are not indicated on the map. Instead you use a receiver to find a transmitter placed at the control.

As I said we have two transmitters. Well, actually we only have one because one has no controller. Well, actually we don't have any because they are both opened up on the bench. That's typical; always experimenting.

I just got most of the equipment out and sorted after a long time being busy with orienteering course setting and volunteering for the school maker space. But now I'm ready to get back to the ARDF projects. Some time in the future, we would like to get the kids in the school maker space into ARDF. The orienteering we directed at the school was such a success with the kids that the ARDF seems like it a sure win. But this will take a bit more time because we still need to build a lot of the equipment.

Anyway, getting back to the hand-made TQFP board and the transmitters... We wanted to build our second transmitter smaller to make it easier to carry. It's nice to build stuff a bit bigger to experiment. But as we get closer to using it, having it small becomes attractive. And then we'll just be using it; we won't keep opening it up to do experiments. Really, we won't. Really... Eventually, we'll be using the TQFP boards we got back from OSH park. But they are still being debugged. So for some quick results, we'll be using the hand-built TQFP board. It doesn't have all the pins connected but it has enough to act as an ARDF transmitter controller. It doesn't quite fit in the project case we chose for the transmitter but it's close. So the plan is to use some judicious and inventive jury rigging and somehow get it in there. Then we'll have two transmitter and we can start to play!

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