Arduinofied QRP Radio Beacon


A while back, [m0xpd] picked up an unbearably cheap AD9850 DDS module from ebay. He turned this in to a Raspberry Pi-powered radio beacon, but like so many builds that grace our pages, the trolls didn’t like using such an overpowered computer for such a simple device. To keep those trolls quiet, [m0xpd] is back again, this time using the AD9850 DDS module as a radio beacon with an Arduino.

The previous incarnation of this build used a Raspberry Pi, and as a consequence needed a level converter. This was thrown out as [m0xpd]’s own Arduino clone, the WOTDUINO – pronounced, ‘what do I know’ – is able to handle the 5 Volt IO of the AD9850.

In addition to fabbing a shield for the DDS module, [m0xpd] also constructed a transmitter shield to amplify the signal and allow the ‘duino to key out a few simple messages. It’s a quite capable device – one of [m0xpd]’s messages traveled from merry olde England to Arizona, his best ever westward distance.

26 thoughts on “Arduinofied QRP Radio Beacon

  1. I think a better analogy would be buying a Lamborghini for the single purpose of going to the grocery store buy milk once a week, given that the grocery store is located 50m/160feet away.

    1. Lol, it’s actually 3 blocks , then right turn 3 blocks… I have tandem parking, so when my jeep in in front I some times take it to the store, and trust me, I feel like a real douche doing it too… Hence, if you use an arduino to do a simple task and say look at my project, douchie… But, if you say, I took an arduino, because its what I had laying around and I used to to try is out, then awesome!

  2. I’m not part of the “let’s bash X technology” but I don’t think replacing it with an Arduino will help either.

    Apart from that, a very interesting article. I wish there was more about radio technology.

  3. Sorry unless that Lamborghini, and bicycle bottle dynamo are actual constructed by the user from of the shelf parts that aren’t Lamborghini, replacement parts; that analogy is screwed up. Could the beacon could been constructed in a simpler matte, even with using a μprocessor? Yes, but so what? No one is saying the design should be duplicated, and if someone does is happy with the results, that’s all that matters. As for trolling, the actual troll could gave been m0xpd’s spelling lesson of aluminum for we Americans so I’ll feed it :) After I learn that a stuffy Brit ( not that I’m saying all Brits are stuffy) who was a scientist proposed the change to aluminium for as what I can tell was an aesthetic reason, not a science reason; I can’t are how it’s spelled pronounced. I wished I had my HF transceiver set up, so I could see if I could hear the beacons from m0xpd while I otherwise waste my time on the web.

  4. “I hope my project I did for my own entertainment gets found by hack a day so that I might improve on it in the comments by hackers who didn’t read through the link and make wild assumptions based on criteria the they just made up” – said nobody. ever.

    1. I can see points from both sides.

      I think making something as efficient as you can is not a bad thing, and in fact it should be one of the more important considerations.

      Though if the device works well for the person who made it and the purpose it was intended for then what is so wrong with that? It’s not a contest or competition, it’s about sharing ideas and getting inspiration.

      And, if someone has an issue with overkill \ wasted processing power etc in someone else’s project, why don’t they come up with a better version themselves?
      Nobody is forcing them to use such implementations.

      1. I do agree. It wasnt about bashing it, as I said, if someone did with what they had to do something they need, that is great! but say it like that, but hack a day likes to take a simple, “look at what I did with what I had” and turn it into a “this awsome build featuring something thats not exactly like the title says”

        I give much props to people who tinker and use whats on hand, I have nothing against an arduino, in fact, I tend to use a micropc with linux/php to do most of my testing before I ever take it to a uController, just easier to test a proof of concept. Doesnt make me right or wrong. But I would hate it if HAD featured one of my proofs as a build using a micropc to test an LCD display

  5. Very nice work. Beacons are important in propagation work. A lot of people don’t realize it, but with slow bit rates and long receiver integration times, a few milliWatts can indeed send a message between continents by bouncing off the ionosphere–no satellites, fiber optics, undersea cables or repeaters needed.

    1. As some research suggestes, we as humans are able to do this without devices, but the transmission power for humans seems to be even lower. But with our nonlinear processing capabilities, comunication is still possible. What a pitty that all this radio noise is around. -> thats why probably some are not willing to take notice

      1. You got a link on that??? I have always had this thought that a human being was capable to transmit and receive messages due to the complex “wiring” of our brains with power being the only issue. I think that it helps to lend credibility to the notion of ESP.

    2. Seeing this thread in HackaDay reminds me of when Popular Electronics printed articles about recording the voices of ghosts and turning the Great Pyramid into a giant triode that somehow produces free energy. I’m just glad I am seeing these things only in comments and not in articles yet. That’s when you know that a tech hobby medium has really jumped the shark!

  6. He’s writing his nickname/radio operator code in the spectrum of the signal, which is quite awesome. I had no idea DDS chips were fast enough for that.

    But please, Mr. Brian Benchoff, if even the editors start trolling in the article submissions there will be no end of it.

  7. Yes you are a troll. You don’t take the entire project into view when you pointlessly complain about technology in a project.

    If someone has an Arduino board built and unused, there is no problem using it instead of building a PCB and putting a 555 timer on it which takes more work.

    So please take your troll comments to another site.

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