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Surfin’: It’s Hacking Time!

04/20/2012

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ loses the DIY blahs after learning about new ham radio modules that require hacking.

Sometimes I feel like a slug. I get enthused about building something new, buy what I need to build it, sometimes start building it, sometimes not. I never finish building it because life gets in the way or because I lose enthusiasm or because I am a slug.

Last Hamvention, I left Dayton enthusiastic about HamStack. Post-Hamvention, I obtained their starter pack and relay board.

Then I read the HamStack docs, subscribed to the HamStack e-mail list and kicked around some ideas in my head about what to build. Then summer came and the time was right for dancing in the streets, so I shelved the project until cooler weather prevailed,

In the meantime, the folks at HamStack were not cooling their heels. They introduced several new boards and accessories, including an Ethernet backpack board, 2.4-GHz and 900-MHz DigiMesh™ data radio modules, digital compass module and multi-I/O board that provides a computer keyboard interface, relay output, LCD jack and RS-232 DB-9 jack.

They also have new station automation products, including a radio router for rig mixing and switching, a remote station control and monitoring app that uses a GPIO board and WiFi to talk to an app on your iPhone or iPad, as well as a boom-mounted digital compass for accurate antenna pointing. They designed and prototyped all these new products with the HamStack platform and in each case, they ship with a HamStack CPU board inside.

I am enthusiastic again, and with a new iPod Touch in hand, I am kicking around some new ideas on how to implement HamStack with my iPod in my ham shack. I am also looking forward to seeing all the new HamStack goodies at the Hamvention next month.

Speaking of the Hamvention, the ARRL EXPO at Dayton has a lot in store for the “makers” and “hackers” this year. Meanwhile, I will be staffing Hamvention booths of TAPR, which is no stranger to making and hacking ham radio. I hope to see you there!

Dedication

I dedicate this installment of Surfin’ to my faithful canine companion, QT Pie. He patiently kept me company while I typed this column and the hundreds of other things I have written over the past 15 years of his life, which ended too soon on Saturday morning. Goodbye, Pieman!

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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