Ardunio For Beginners – A blinking LED

Paul M0ZMB ran a beginners night with Arduino. This included what is involved in the Arduino ecosystem and how to get started.

The Arduino

Is an open source computer hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world.

The Arduino project started in 2003 as a program for students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy, aiming to provide a low-cost and easy way for novices and professionals to create devices that interact with their environment using sensors and actuators.

Since it was started it has grown with other people adding in new things including controller boards and sensor/device boards called shields.

Paul’s bag of tricks.

Paul had been tinkering with the Arduino for a while and previously gave a talk on some of his projects that he had created. From this Paul was asked to create a kit of bits to introduce the basics of what could be done. He created a bag of bits including the NodeMCU controller, a small OLED display, resistors, LED’s, jumper leads, switches and breadboard. All members had to provide was a laptop to run the programming software.

To start with the members had to install the IDE to be able to programme the device.  It also had to be updated to enable the controller that Paul chose. After this we were able to create our first programme called a sketch. This was to blink an LED built on to the controller board. Then finally to blink an external LED, using the bits in the bag.

Paul has created a few more projects to do with increasing complexity.

The time for the evening ran out, with everyone enjoying the evening.

John M0HFH is already think about things he might try and do with the Arduino family!

So this is most definitely to be continued…………….


Club Dipole – WSPR To the Antarctic 13597 km

In preparation for tonight’s talk on WSPR experiments, the club antenna has been transmitting at 200mw (20dbm) so that live data from DX explorer is available. Band conditions during the early hours were good and a signal was received by DP0GVN in the antarctic at 04:04 am. sn ratio -28dbm around 0.001mw .

John m0hfh

Vaisala RS41 RadioSonde captured

During Wednesday (24th January 2018) afternoon the daily 11:15am RadioSonde launch from Camburne, Cornwall decided to make its way to Wiltshire rather than France, as is the norm at the minute. I left work mid afternoon to go home and collect my kit, arriving near Dauntsey, Wiltshire at 16:00. I then proceeded to triangulate the RadioSonde’s position using standard techniques. Once I got close enough I was able to run the SondeMonitor software (below) to see exactly where the RadioSonde was laying.

I was able to get the car to within 1/2 mile of ground zero. The ground to the RadioSonde however was very wet with a soggy boot gained. Once I entered the field the RadioSonde balloon was very obvious. At Ground Zero I found the balloon and parachute. Following a 60ft thread I found the Vaisala RS41 RadioSonde still chirping away.

All three items were taken away for examination and evidence. The balloon was not shredded but has two holes. The parachute is in perfect working order. The RS41 still works and will be kept in original order.

As soon as the next one comes up this way (Bristol UK) I will be on the hunt. Additionally I have found that the unit can be reloaded with different software.




Arduino Beginners Course – 21st February

The kits and coursework for the Arduino beginners course are now complete and ready to run.

Each kit has the following items:

Item Source Qty.
NodeMCU Lua V3 CH340G ESP8266 eBay h-quality_electronic 1
10pcs Micro USB cable eBay bigfashionmarket 1
NodeMcu Base ESP8266 Testing DIY Board For LoLin V3 NodeMcu Lua WIFI Develo G3E6 eBay 2013bestbuybest 1
10PCS Mini Universal Solderless Breadboard 400 Contacts Tie-points Available AM eBay alimodule 1
DuPont Hook up Cable wire Rainbow Ribbon of 40/10 Wires Male Male Female Female eBay mallinson-electrical 18
100 PCS 5mm Round Super Bright Red Light Output Diode LED Light BT eBay 2013bestbuybest 5
Mini Speaker eBay 2013bestbuybest 1
100x 6 x 6mm x 9.5mm PCB Momentary Tactile Tact Push Button Switch 4 Pin DI U2Q8 eBay 2013bestbuybest 5 (2 soldered to VB)
OLED Display 0.96in Ali Express 1

All bagged up ready to go:

The plan is to run the course on the evening of 21st February with an 8pm start or earlier if everyone is ready.

Please note you will need to bring a laptop or PC with either Windows 8.1 or 10. if you have something older please bring it along ASAP and we’ll check it out.


Receiving RadioSondes or not in my case

I was inspired by this recent Hackaday ( post to try my hand at receiving RadioSonde messages. A RadioSonde is the box of electronics (Temperature, Pressure monitors etc , GPS receiver, Processor and UHF transmitter) that sits below a weather balloon. Apparently they don’t go and collect them either so they are up for grabs and experimentation.

At the minute though I am failing to decode the messages sent by the UKs Vaisala RS41 RadioSondes. I am using a piece of software called SondeMonitor and the RTL USB dongle with SDRSharp. Last night I received 4 perfect (I think) signals, one shown below not being decoded 🙁

Further testing will commence shortly as they lift of at 11:15 and become audible at 11:30ish. Wish me luck.


Arduino Beginners Course

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This week I have received a number of parcels from the great electronics store in the East. The contents of which is the majority of the parts required for the Arduino beginners course. I’m now only waiting for three items. The photo below shows the contents.

And a less cluttered photo showing:

  • Jumper wires to be split into kits
  • A breadboard
  • The all important NodeMCU (ESP8266 or ESP12-E)
  • NodeMCU base
  • USB cable (yes I know you have one already, but at 29p each!)
  • Two speakers (one in each kit)
  • And a bag of LEDs to be split up.

As most of the items have arrived so quickly, I may be able to bring the course date forward slightly.



Wsprlite antenna testing – Rex G4RAE 6371 km

This week we have been testing Rex’s 1/2 G5RV,  East / West, height less than 20ft.

The wsprlite classic was set to transmit late on Saturday afternoon, a tuner and MFJ analyser were used to tune to the 40m band. Rex confirmed that stations receiving the signal reflected the spread of QSO’s he had made over many years.

Note the time of the signal being received in America.

above indicates the variable propagation; note that from Jan 7th at 21.00 the propagation is rising and is more stable.

and finally a map of the received signals taken from