Date   
Re: Hilltopper tales?

Colin Evans M1BUU
 

My Hilltop(per) tale comes from way back in April 2017.

I'd just finished building my Hilltop 20 and took it on it's first SOTA outing. I had climbed Red Screes, a SOTA qualifying summit in the English Lake District. (SOTA ref G/LD-017).

My first QSO was with KA1R in Massachusetts. N1EU was next in the log from near Albany, NY. N4EX in North Carolina rounded up the trilogy of transatlantic contacts. I was quite pleased as I had put a lot of effort into building the rig.

I'm looking at revisiting this rig to update the firmware with the Hilltopper sketch from the group files. I need to check pin assignment etc.

73, Colin

On Sun, 3 May 2020, 05:06 John, <AL7JK.John@...> wrote:
Too nice to stay indoors today during the 7QP event. Setup out on the deck
in the backyard, HT20, T1 tuner & a 43ft wire suspended from a spiderbeam
mast. Lotta fun, HT20 was singing cw rite along among the contesters.
Love that HT20 ! 73 de AL7JK, John

Re: Hilltopper tales?

 

Too nice to stay indoors today during the 7QP event. Setup out on the deck
in the backyard, HT20, T1 tuner & a 43ft wire suspended from a spiderbeam
mast. Lotta fun, HT20 was singing cw rite along among the contesters.
Love that HT20 ! 73 de AL7JK, John

Re: Hill Top 20 firmware update (and hello!)

Colin Evans M1BUU
 

When I'm feeling brave enough I'll tear down the rig and reflash the Nano with the code from this group. I guess that I'll have to study the code to make sure pin assignments are OK etc.

I do tend to 'work up' to doing something, at the moment I'm just in the thinking phase, the doing will come much later :-)

I wasn't happy with the alignment that I did, my filter crystals had a different charasteric so the centre frequency took some experimenting to find out. I need to go back in and try to characterize the filter whilst the rig is in bits.

73, Colin

Re: Hill Top 20 firmware update (and hello!)

Dave Benson
 

Hi Colin-

Great job on the transatlantic QSOs!  I'm pretty sure I'd put in more effort on the keyer before it became a production item.  I do remember that mode B gave me fits!

73-  Dave, K1SWL


On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 11:44 AM Colin Evans M1BUU <colin.evans2@...> wrote:
Yes Bob, it was my first experience with a Nano. I used a cheap clone, it worked fine.
The first HT20 was developed by Dave for his own amusement I believe, without an intention to turn it into a kit. It was simpler to use Arduino and SI5351A modules rather than have to place all the programming interface on the PCB and have to solder the tiny PLL chip.

73, Colin

On Sat, 4 Apr 2020, 13:58 WA1EDJ, <bobc784@...> wrote:
Colin,
Is the attached photo an early HT20 or ??  I never knew it used a Nano as a controller.  

Bob
WA1EDJ

On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 8:46 AM Colin Evans M1BUU <colin.evans2@...> wrote:
Hi to the group members.

I'm Colin, M1BUU, and I've built many QRP transceivers over the years. Several years ago I built an early Hill Top 20. The rig is impressive, however my code sending skills are not! I cut my teeth on KD1JV MTRs and I can send mostly good code with them, however, if I swap to a different kind of rig, I find myself sending garbage. I have used my Hill Top 20 and managed transatlantic QSOs but I do find that I have to argue with the keyer quite a lot (almost certainly a fault with me).

I joined the group to learn more about the rig to find out it little quirks. As we're effectively in lockdown here in England, I'm using my spare time to revisit old projects and do the tweaks that I always intended to do.

I'm thinking about trying to put new firmware on my HT20, I haven't studied the 'production' firmware but I'm sure I'll be able to tweak it to make it work with my rig. I'm hopeful that the keyer timing might work better for me.

73, Colin

Re: Hill Top 20 firmware update (and hello!)

Colin Evans M1BUU
 

Yes Bob, it was my first experience with a Nano. I used a cheap clone, it worked fine.
The first HT20 was developed by Dave for his own amusement I believe, without an intention to turn it into a kit. It was simpler to use Arduino and SI5351A modules rather than have to place all the programming interface on the PCB and have to solder the tiny PLL chip.

73, Colin

On Sat, 4 Apr 2020, 13:58 WA1EDJ, <bobc784@...> wrote:
Colin,
Is the attached photo an early HT20 or ??  I never knew it used a Nano as a controller.  

Bob
WA1EDJ

On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 8:46 AM Colin Evans M1BUU <colin.evans2@...> wrote:
Hi to the group members.

I'm Colin, M1BUU, and I've built many QRP transceivers over the years. Several years ago I built an early Hill Top 20. The rig is impressive, however my code sending skills are not! I cut my teeth on KD1JV MTRs and I can send mostly good code with them, however, if I swap to a different kind of rig, I find myself sending garbage. I have used my Hill Top 20 and managed transatlantic QSOs but I do find that I have to argue with the keyer quite a lot (almost certainly a fault with me).

I joined the group to learn more about the rig to find out it little quirks. As we're effectively in lockdown here in England, I'm using my spare time to revisit old projects and do the tweaks that I always intended to do.

I'm thinking about trying to put new firmware on my HT20, I haven't studied the 'production' firmware but I'm sure I'll be able to tweak it to make it work with my rig. I'm hopeful that the keyer timing might work better for me.

73, Colin

Re: Hill Top 20 firmware update (and hello!)

WA1EDJ
 

Colin,
Is the attached photo an early HT20 or ??  I never knew it used a Nano as a controller.  

Bob
WA1EDJ

On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 8:46 AM Colin Evans M1BUU <colin.evans2@...> wrote:
Hi to the group members.

I'm Colin, M1BUU, and I've built many QRP transceivers over the years. Several years ago I built an early Hill Top 20. The rig is impressive, however my code sending skills are not! I cut my teeth on KD1JV MTRs and I can send mostly good code with them, however, if I swap to a different kind of rig, I find myself sending garbage. I have used my Hill Top 20 and managed transatlantic QSOs but I do find that I have to argue with the keyer quite a lot (almost certainly a fault with me).

I joined the group to learn more about the rig to find out it little quirks. As we're effectively in lockdown here in England, I'm using my spare time to revisit old projects and do the tweaks that I always intended to do.

I'm thinking about trying to put new firmware on my HT20, I haven't studied the 'production' firmware but I'm sure I'll be able to tweak it to make it work with my rig. I'm hopeful that the keyer timing might work better for me.

73, Colin

Hill Top 20 firmware update (and hello!)

Colin Evans M1BUU
 

Hi to the group members.

I'm Colin, M1BUU, and I've built many QRP transceivers over the years. Several years ago I built an early Hill Top 20. The rig is impressive, however my code sending skills are not! I cut my teeth on KD1JV MTRs and I can send mostly good code with them, however, if I swap to a different kind of rig, I find myself sending garbage. I have used my Hill Top 20 and managed transatlantic QSOs but I do find that I have to argue with the keyer quite a lot (almost certainly a fault with me).

I joined the group to learn more about the rig to find out it little quirks. As we're effectively in lockdown here in England, I'm using my spare time to revisit old projects and do the tweaks that I always intended to do.

I'm thinking about trying to put new firmware on my HT20, I haven't studied the 'production' firmware but I'm sure I'll be able to tweak it to make it work with my rig. I'm hopeful that the keyer timing might work better for me.

73, Colin

Re: Programming new Chip for HT20 - Problems

WA1EDJ
 

Dave,
I had a 328P from an Uno board with a bootloader installed.  I just uploaded know good V2.0 code for HT20 and it worked fine.  The sidetone was correct speed.

I tried to burn a bootloader on a virgin chip and had nothing but problems.  I've done it before on other Arduino chips but this time I keep getting an "invalid chip signature".
And the burn attempt locks the chip out of further ISP attempts.   I fortunately have a fuse restorer for Atmels and was able to bring the chip back.  I do a sanity check with Avrdude to make sure I'm talking to the chip.  It also reads the fuses.  The sanity check does not work on a good working HT20 328P.  To me that means the chip is locked from further ISP attempts.  

Anyway, I'm going to try to ISP program the bootloader.  I think the file is out there.

I don't know why I always have so much trouble with Arduino projects.  I do eventually get them going but with great effort.  But I do learn......

Bob
WA1EDJ

On Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 7:42 AM Dave Benson <davek1swl@...> wrote:
Hi Bob-

// It sounds like you're aiming to be the King of 21 meters! <g>  I'd considered looking at 13.56 MHz for Scouting purposes- using a small loop antenna with a series resistor for short-range code practice. I never tried out the idea, though- too many projects! The obvious candidate was the RockMite.

It does sound like the fuse settings are suspect. Programming via the bootloader sounds like a good way to test that theory.

If need be, I can probably dig up the hex file, which should reveal the fuse settings.

73- Dave, K1SWL

On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 6:43 PM WA1EDJ <bobc784@...> wrote:

I plan to burn a version of the HT20 arduino code with a start-up freq of 13.555 400.
 
So to verify I can do it, I compiled the current V2.0 code, 20M, used he correct Etherkit 5351a lib and got a good compile.
 
Burned a virgin 328P with default fuses via a TinyUSB ICSP.  No bootloader.
 
On power up, the sidetone was very, very slow.  It was the right CW just SLOW.
 
I noticed the Low fuse default is 0x62 which is Clock divide by 8.  I changed it to 0xE2
which is NO /8 for clock.
That improved the CW speed and now it is about 1/2 of normal.speed. Still slow though.
 
The rest of the radio seems ok, it receives fine.  Of course the 5351a synth has its own clock and only gets I2C commands from the 328P.
 
Some on the group have said that no changes are needed to the default fuses but that does not seem to be the case for me.
 
I burned direct ICSP, no boot loader with avrdude.  Not using the bootloader should make no difference.
 
I tried to read the fuses from the stock micro supplied with the kit but it seems locked so could not read it.   That would tell me a lot.
Some fuse settings on Atmel chips can lock out any further ICSP programming.  That may be my case.
 
Does everyone program using the bootloader?  Maybe I should try that?
 
Any ideas?
 
TNX!
Bob
WA1EDJ

Re: Programming new Chip for HT20 - Problems

WA1EDJ
 

TNX Dave!   I'll try the bootloader tonight if I can.

Bob
WA1EDJ


On Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 7:42 AM Dave Benson <davek1swl@...> wrote:
Hi Bob-

// It sounds like you're aiming to be the King of 21 meters! <g>  I'd considered looking at 13.56 MHz for Scouting purposes- using a small loop antenna with a series resistor for short-range code practice. I never tried out the idea, though- too many projects! The obvious candidate was the RockMite.

It does sound like the fuse settings are suspect. Programming via the bootloader sounds like a good way to test that theory.

If need be, I can probably dig up the hex file, which should reveal the fuse settings.

73- Dave, K1SWL

On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 6:43 PM WA1EDJ <bobc784@...> wrote:

I plan to burn a version of the HT20 arduino code with a start-up freq of 13.555 400.
 
So to verify I can do it, I compiled the current V2.0 code, 20M, used he correct Etherkit 5351a lib and got a good compile.
 
Burned a virgin 328P with default fuses via a TinyUSB ICSP.  No bootloader.
 
On power up, the sidetone was very, very slow.  It was the right CW just SLOW.
 
I noticed the Low fuse default is 0x62 which is Clock divide by 8.  I changed it to 0xE2
which is NO /8 for clock.
That improved the CW speed and now it is about 1/2 of normal.speed. Still slow though.
 
The rest of the radio seems ok, it receives fine.  Of course the 5351a synth has its own clock and only gets I2C commands from the 328P.
 
Some on the group have said that no changes are needed to the default fuses but that does not seem to be the case for me.
 
I burned direct ICSP, no boot loader with avrdude.  Not using the bootloader should make no difference.
 
I tried to read the fuses from the stock micro supplied with the kit but it seems locked so could not read it.   That would tell me a lot.
Some fuse settings on Atmel chips can lock out any further ICSP programming.  That may be my case.
 
Does everyone program using the bootloader?  Maybe I should try that?
 
Any ideas?
 
TNX!
Bob
WA1EDJ

Re: Programming new Chip for HT20 - Problems

Dave Benson
 

Hi Bob-

// It sounds like you're aiming to be the King of 21 meters! <g>  I'd considered looking at 13.56 MHz for Scouting purposes- using a small loop antenna with a series resistor for short-range code practice. I never tried out the idea, though- too many projects! The obvious candidate was the RockMite.

It does sound like the fuse settings are suspect. Programming via the bootloader sounds like a good way to test that theory.

If need be, I can probably dig up the hex file, which should reveal the fuse settings.

73- Dave, K1SWL


On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 6:43 PM WA1EDJ <bobc784@...> wrote:

I plan to burn a version of the HT20 arduino code with a start-up freq of 13.555 400.
 
So to verify I can do it, I compiled the current V2.0 code, 20M, used he correct Etherkit 5351a lib and got a good compile.
 
Burned a virgin 328P with default fuses via a TinyUSB ICSP.  No bootloader.
 
On power up, the sidetone was very, very slow.  It was the right CW just SLOW.
 
I noticed the Low fuse default is 0x62 which is Clock divide by 8.  I changed it to 0xE2
which is NO /8 for clock.
That improved the CW speed and now it is about 1/2 of normal.speed. Still slow though.
 
The rest of the radio seems ok, it receives fine.  Of course the 5351a synth has its own clock and only gets I2C commands from the 328P.
 
Some on the group have said that no changes are needed to the default fuses but that does not seem to be the case for me.
 
I burned direct ICSP, no boot loader with avrdude.  Not using the bootloader should make no difference.
 
I tried to read the fuses from the stock micro supplied with the kit but it seems locked so could not read it.   That would tell me a lot.
Some fuse settings on Atmel chips can lock out any further ICSP programming.  That may be my case.
 
Does everyone program using the bootloader?  Maybe I should try that?
 
Any ideas?
 
TNX!
Bob
WA1EDJ

Programming new Chip for HT20 - Problems

WA1EDJ
 


I plan to burn a version of the HT20 arduino code with a start-up freq of 13.555 400.
 
So to verify I can do it, I compiled the current V2.0 code, 20M, used he correct Etherkit 5351a lib and got a good compile.
 
Burned a virgin 328P with default fuses via a TinyUSB ICSP.  No bootloader.
 
On power up, the sidetone was very, very slow.  It was the right CW just SLOW.
 
I noticed the Low fuse default is 0x62 which is Clock divide by 8.  I changed it to 0xE2
which is NO /8 for clock.
That improved the CW speed and now it is about 1/2 of normal.speed. Still slow though.
 
The rest of the radio seems ok, it receives fine.  Of course the 5351a synth has its own clock and only gets I2C commands from the 328P.
 
Some on the group have said that no changes are needed to the default fuses but that does not seem to be the case for me.
 
I burned direct ICSP, no boot loader with avrdude.  Not using the bootloader should make no difference.
 
I tried to read the fuses from the stock micro supplied with the kit but it seems locked so could not read it.   That would tell me a lot.
Some fuse settings on Atmel chips can lock out any further ICSP programming.  That may be my case.
 
Does everyone program using the bootloader?  Maybe I should try that?
 
Any ideas?
 
TNX!
Bob
WA1EDJ

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

WA1EDJ
 

Steve,
Good job on getting it going.  I also want to add a display to my HT20.  What version of HTXX code did you use?  In the files section of the Hilltopper group I see Hilltopper20_display_and_rit_mod.ino.

Is this the version you used?   Maybe Dave can pipe in on which is the accepted display version to use.

Other question is:  does it really matter if the Arduino IDE uses the bootloader or direct burn to chip (ICSP)?   My understanding is the code will end up in the same memory address so should not care.

I use both methods to DL.  I bought some blank 328P's so no bootloader on board.   I did see Daves comments on which chip to select when burning bootloader.

I did get some 2x20 I2C LCD's off ebay for this project.  All look pretty similar.   Need to pay attention to the I2C address though.

Thanks!
Bob
WA1EDJ





On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 12:24 AM Steve Szabo <sszabo1@...> wrote:
Yes, I now have a newly programmed chip and a two-line display!
Kudos to all of you!!!
NICE WORK!
Steve WB4OMM

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Dave Benson
 

Love it, Ed!

73- Dave, K1SWL


On Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at 3:18 PM Ed Meyer, WG5F <wg5f@...> wrote:

When I started as an EE Freshman at OK-State, in 1975, the student bookstore was running a close-out on Post slide rules. 

I bought a Versalog for $20 and put it away...

Then about 10 years later I had my sister-in-law frame it in a deep picture frame and with a little brass name plate that says, "In case of computer failure, Break Glass."    

73,

-Ed, WG5F

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Curt
 
Edited

Still have two K&E Sliderules and a circular used at work.  Showed them to my 19 year old grandson who had no idea what they were.  I know what they are but doubt could use them now lol. 

Apologies for the OT bandwidth.  Back to Arduino, appreciate suggestions of webinars or blogs that might help old op to learn the language.

Curt KB5JO

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

AG1P Ron
 

I remember when in 1967 everyone in Arizona State Engineering had one of these strapped to their belt. Mine (see picture) still sits on my bookshelf next to the desk.

72 - Ron - AG1P

 

 

From: HilltopperKit@4SQRP.groups.io [mailto:HilltopperKit@4SQRP.groups.io] On Behalf Of Ed Meyer, WG5F
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2020 11:55 AM
To: HilltopperKit@4sqrp.groups.io
Subject: Re: [HilltopperKit] programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

 

When I started as an EE Freshman at OK-State, in 1975, the student bookstore was running a close-out on Post slide rules. 

I bought a Versalog for $20 and put it away...

Then about 10 years later I had my sister-in-law frame it in a deep picture frame and with a little brass name plate that says, "In case of computer failure, Break Glass."    

73,

-Ed, WG5F

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Charles W. Powell
 

Outstanding!

Chas - NK8O

On Feb 7, 2020, at 11:55 AM, Ed Meyer, WG5F <wg5f@...> wrote:

When I started as an EE Freshman at OK-State, in 1975, the student bookstore was running a close-out on Post slide rules. 

I bought a Versalog for $20 and put it away...

Then about 10 years later I had my sister-in-law frame it in a deep picture frame and with a little brass name plate that says, "In case of computer failure, Break Glass."    

73,

-Ed, WG5F


Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Ed Meyer, WG5F
 

When I started as an EE Freshman at OK-State, in 1975, the student bookstore was running a close-out on Post slide rules. 

I bought a Versalog for $20 and put it away...

Then about 10 years later I had my sister-in-law frame it in a deep picture frame and with a little brass name plate that says, "In case of computer failure, Break Glass."    

73,

-Ed, WG5F

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Dave Benson
 

Curt-

The first month(!) of our Freshman engineering course was devoted to 'Slide Rule'. That was in '72, and 4-function calculators hit the streets later that year.  'Slide rule' quickly vanished from the curriculum.

73- Dave

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Curt
 

Dave,

My experience predates yours by a little, starting with IBM1620 punched cards programming in Fortran in 1967, BSChE in 1969.  Lot of different computers, lot of different programs focused on process control.  Unbelievable advancements over the years.  BTW Ralph Noyce who co-founded Fairchild in 1957 and Intel in 1968 was son of our small-town preacher.  He told us teenagers once on a visit he couldn't believe he was paid so well to do work he considered a hobby.

Am looking forward to building a 17M Hiltopper using 20M as basis.  Am not planning to buy any Atmel chips, just reprogram the one that comes with the radio.

Curt KB5JO

Re: programming the Hilltopper Arduino chip

Johnny AC0BQ
 

Gm Curt
We’re trying to pull another run of 50 Hilltoppers together.
They can be ordered as 40 or 20 meters.
Right now their seems to be a issue with the board houses.
They are shut down due to Corona virus problems.
I will let you know more when we get closer.
72
Johnny AC0BQ 
--
Check out the 4SQRP website at 4sqrp.com