Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers!)
1) "Does the AD9850 DDS chip come in the Full Kit"
No, it does not. The DDS Daughtercard supplied in the Full Kit, or as an option with the Basic Kit, is supplied as a sub-kit just like always. You can (and should!) order a free chip from Analog Devices - it is usually delivered within three days of your order. If for some reason you are unable to do this, you may purchase the AD9850 from us, but it will be a more expensive alternative compared to "free" from Analog Devices.
2) "When will the graphic LCD display option be available?"
After the initial kit deployments with the 2x16 character LCD are successfully in the field. The pc board already has the ability to accept the Seiko graphic LCD, so "all" that's needed is the software driver for this more complex display. Also, a new enclosure will be needed because of the different size of the LCD itself. News about this useful display upgrade will be posted during the summer.
3) "Does software need to be (re)loaded to the Micro908 when changing main functions of the instrument? This will be cumbersome to do in the field."
Yes, different software needs to be loaded into the Micro908 device when changing the function of the Micro908. For example, suppose you are operating Field Day and using the Micro908 as an "antenna analyzer" (with the Antenna Analyzer software that comes pre-loaded in the initial kit) to set up your antennas there at the FD site. Then, after the antennas are all pruned to the right lengths, etc., you then wish to use the Micro908 as a "DSP audio filter (using the AF908 software load) or as a "PSK31 controller" (using the Portable PSK software load) .. since you are changing the function of the Micro908, you will need to load that new function's software into the unit, and change the label template on the top of the case. Changing of the software like this is necessary because the memory capacity of the Micro908 is finite, yet the number of programs we will want to load into it are infinite (ideally :-) and there just isn't room enough to store all the programs in the device at the same time. We may come up with something clever downstream to allow a portable "memory pack" or a Flash card or something, but not at first. Therefore, you will need to connect the Micro908 to a PC of some sort that holds the file of the new desired software function and download it into the Micro908's memory. This can be any "dumb terminal" program running on any operating system. All that's needed is the ability to send a standard hex-ASCII file to the Micro908, and that could be done with a Windows laptop, a Linux computer, a DOS-based computer, a Macintosh, or even a portable/PDA device. Just as long as you can see the downloading prompt displayed by the Micro908 and then command the terminal program to initiate a file transfer. I've already done this "downloading new software" function using a Poqet Computer (a DOS-based portable device) running the PCPLUS terminal program I have on it.
4) "What software development tools do you recommend using for the Micro908 platform?"
Same as for developing software for the HC908 Daughtercard. Just visit the HC908 resource page to see the free "integrated development environment" (IDE) from P&E Micro - it works great! http://www.njqrp.org/hc908/resource.html . Also, just a reminder that you don't need to develop software or be a software guru to use the Micro908. This "software development stuff" is just in case you want to modify the software programs that come with the Micro908 (AntAnal, PortPSK, AF908, MemKey908, et al), or if you want to develop your own cool program for the platform! Otherwise just sit back and use all the programs that come with the project.
5) Is it okay to use eight rechargable NiMH batteries (yielding 9.6V) to power kit?
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Page last updated: October 1, 2004