How to get rid of your prototype board


The ATmega328 microcontroller, just removed from the Arduino board, ready to start living on its own.

When you started discovering microcontrollers, you probably bought some kind of evaluation or prototype board. The microcontroller chip itself is placed in a nice socket on a PCB, surrounded by power circuit, some I/O, and RS232 or USB connector for programming. But after a while you want to remove the chip from the board and place it in your first own application. What do you need to get the chip running? — more →

Getting started with Arduino: morse keyer


Close-up of the prototype keyer.

Using a paddle to operate in morse code is very convenient. But paddles don’t create dots and dashes on their own, so you need some electronics, called a “keyer”. You may use the build-in keyer of your radio, but most of them lack of functionality. You may buy a keyer at your local ham store, but these are rather expensive. So why not build your own keyer? It’s fun to do, and you learn new things. The Arduino prototyping board allows you to build the most advanced and personalized keyer that you have in mind! This article gives you a decent start for such a keyer, by implementing the basic functionality and learn a bit about the Arduino platform if you’re not familiar with this board yet. — more →

Automatic antenna tuner using an Arduino


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Arduino board is a fantastic tool for rapid prototyping, and can help radio amateurs in lots of homebrew projects. I wanted to demonstrate that it is very easy to build an automatic antenna tuner with the Arduino. I connected an old SWR meter to one of my Arduino boards. Furthermore I build a simple L-tuner with a fixed coil and a rotating capacitor (400pF). The capacitor is driven by a servo, also connected to the Arduino. By doing a full sweep with the capacitor, the Arduino tries to find the position with the lowest SWR. After the sweep it turns the capacitor to that position. You can view the video below to see the tuner in action. Mind the SWR meter (right needle) in the back while the capacitor is rotating. — more →