PIC-based PSK31 MedFer Beacon

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

A PIC16x84 processor may be used to generate a PSK31 or FSK31 signal. This could be used for beacon transmissions (as described here) or they may be used for telemetry, experimental, or even QSOs - the latter being true if you are willing to put up with a few `quirks`:-) The PSK transmitter was originally designed back in 1999 - originaly for the now-discontinued PIC16C84,

PIC-based PSK31 MedFer Beacon
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

but later updated for the PIC16F84 which is still available. Since then, however, a large variety of newer PICs have been released that could be used to significantly expand the capabilibities and performance of this unit - but I`ve not done so. Since the source code is available to all, "porting" it to one of these new chips would be pretty easy. This is the question that I asked myself. While my HF rig is capable operating in the MedFER frequency range, it seemed foolish to tie it up in this fashion, and it would tie up an entire computer/sound card/ect. Having operated beacons in the past, I feel that the lower the "hassle factor" involved in operating the beacon, the more likely it is that you will keep it on the air - and that is the entire purpose of even attempting to operate a beacon. When I decided to put a PSK31 MedFER beacon on the air this time around, I decided to follow my previously-established philosophy: I wanted a beacon that could send a message in PSK31, and just work when plugged in. To generate the PSK31 data, I decided to utilize the now-ubiquitous PIC processor and incorporate it with other fairly simple circuitry. (As for the question of "why operate a beacon, anyway " - I don`t really have a good answer. Take a look at the "CT" Lowfer Beacon archive page for a possible insight as to the psychology of it all. ) Version 1. 0 provided simple beacon operation, simply playing its message out of EEPROM....

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