Hi all. I just released the firmware and configuration software version 0.75.
They have improvements in the following areas:
- Improved responsiveness from the configuration software while the transmitter is in beacon mode.
- New power saving features in the WSPR Mini for even less power consumption. During long transmission pauses the WSPR Mini will now turn off the Si5351 PLL, put the GPS to sleep and finally the micro controller itself will go to sleep. It will wake up every eight second and blink the status LED briefly. It will go out of sleep when there is 30 seconds left of the transmission pause and turn on everything again and resume normal operation.
- GPS time indication in teh configuration software is now updated more often, pretty much at all times but not while transmitting a WSPR packet.
- While the Signal generator or the WSPR beacon mode is running it is now indicated by putting a blue background in that area in the PC program.
- There is a new GPS Quality meter in the PC configuration program that shows the reception quality of the GPS signals.
To get these improvement you need to upgrade your firmware to version 0.75 and also download the latest PC configuration program. To make it easy for everyone to upgrade I have pre-compiled the Arduino software so you do not need to use the Arduino development platform to upload it.
You can use a very simply program called XLoader to upgrade your WSPR transmitter. It will take a pre-compiled file in Hex format and upload it to the transmitter on the serial port.
The whole operation just takes 15 seconds and is very easy. Pre-compiled files and the software Xloader can be found in the download area
While I am writing about the software let me go over the known bugs and future possible improvements. Bugs still left in the configuration software: The PC configuration software has an annoying bug that happens if you unplug the transmitter without having used the "Close" button for the serial port first.
If that happens there will be an error message and then the configuration program can not be closed! The only way is to kill it with the task manager.
Here is how you do that.
Right click the taks bar at the lower bottom of your screen and in the pop-up meny choose "Task Manager"
Click once on the "Name" label in task manager to sort the application. Find the configuration program in the process list end right click the "WSPR_Config_New ... program and right click on it and use the "End Activity" alternative.
There are also some bugs in the setting of the frequency of the signal generator, when using the arrow to decrease the frequency when the frequency digit comes down to zero it do not roll over as it should. Increments work fine.
Sometimes when a setting is changed and saved it does not "take" e.g the new value is not saved. To verify that you have got the correct settings I recommend that you close the serial port and then open it again. This will force a re-read of all values and update it in the configuration program. You will now be able to see what the saved values are and if not correct change and save it again.
There is no picture of the WSPR Mini to be displayed in the top right corner it will remain blank wile configuring a WSPR Mini.
Future stuff I want to add.
I want to have support for transmitting altitude in the power field, his is useful in balloon flights. I have the firmware code tested a bit by me and by other amateurs that fly balloons.
I want to display Voltage of the microcontroller and of the power input. In the 0.75 firmware version the voltage of the MCU is sent but not displayed, it is visible in the debug window. I want to be able to display when GPS, Si5351 or MCU are sleeping or powered off. Display when the GPS has a position fix or not, it is already reported by the firmware but not displayed.
I want to display the GPS satellites position in the sky and signal strength, this is already sent but only the signal strength is used by the config program.
The problem I have right now is that I'm trying to make a living of all of this and being just one man that designs, builds, programs, sells and market this menas that I do not have much time I can spend programming. I must often focus on short term actions to bring in some sales so finding time for programming is not easy. Several days of computer time and possibly up to a week with 8 to 12 hours days spent programming is often what is needed to implement and test out new features.
In upcoming releases of the firmware and PC software I will release it first to my Patreons supporters as perk for them. New videos will also come first to Patreons and they get to influence what videos I should make.
OK, that's all for now, I hope you will find version 0.75 useful.
73 and see you on the bands!
//Harry - SM7PNV