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2015-06-21. By Patrick.
Fig. 1. Picture of parts of the second 80m transmitter being put together. The voltage regulator-oscillator-tank-filter board is at the top left. The home made ATmega copper board with the TQFP on it is at the center top. At the bottom, there is the partially built case. This transmitter isn't built yet. But it will need to have the ATmega reprogrammed. That and the OSH Park board problems spurred the work to get an ATmega working on a breadboard.
This will be a bit of an update on our building work. But mostly it's about the feeling of progress we all get even from small successes.
As you know, we had some boards made by OSH Park and I couldn't get them to work. And then planning the orienteering meet we had to direct took all our time. And then it was the school maker space. And months went by. We also did much work last year on building two 80m ARDF transmitters. And that project also stalled.
But the last month or so has seen the work pick up. Some antenna experiments, a bit of building, some testing.
And suddenly, one day, we realize that one of the 80m transmitters and antennas are good enough to try out for real, not for a test or an experiment but for a mini-practice search. That was a fun day in the woods. I placed the transmitter in the woods entering them from one direction. Then I drove back to where Kelly was and went searching with her. That last step of getting out there for real is such a small thing compared to all the work that went into the project. But this little success feel like a giant victory. And it's so much fun to be out in the wood hunting for real.
And a few days go by... And suddenly (again), a huge step forward; I had a ATmega328 on a breadboard reprogrammed to blink some LEDs with a new pattern. It's still not the OSH Park boards. But it's a re-breadboarded, re-programmed chip. Months had gone by since I had first gotten an ATmega programmed with straight AVR-C. Back then it had only been the first time I had managed it. This time around I could barely remember how to do it. It felt like I was re-learning all from scratch: AVR-C, the specifics of the Makefile, the pin-outs, the hardware programmer, the circuit components. But of course it wasn't from scratch. Even stuff that seemed like it was new came faster the second time around. And suddenly... Well no, it just feels like suddenly, but it's really just that last small step at the end of a long road. And, wow! It feels like a giant victory again!
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