Moonbounce Communications

MoonBack when I was in high school I used to coordinate a weekly on-the-air meetup of younger ham radio enthusiasts. We called it the Evergreen Intertie Youthnet.

It was a fun group of people, and I remember having some interesting conversations about all kinds of things relating to ham radio. Even though the main focus of the net was to discuss things that young ham radio operators would be interested we would usually have hams of all ages participate.

Every now and then we would have a ‘special feature’ where a guest would share a little bit about a project, or something to do with ham radio. I just happened to record this one of John, W7OE, talking about earth-moon-earth communications. This was recorded some time in 2008 I believe.

HF beacon using Arduino

I recently got a cheap 40MHz signal generator board off of ebay for a few bucks. This board is based on the Analog Devices AD9850, but the ones you find on eBay are probably knock-offs.

Parts List:
Source Code:

I modified some code I found online to use it to be able to send Morse code from the serial port on my computer using putty. Putty is a nice piece of free serial terminal software. The output power is very low (easily measured in microWatts with a small antenna) but after some impedance matching and a amplifier stage you could easily use this for a nice HF beacon project. Here is the code if you want to try it for yourself:

Arduino Code:
//Has the ability to send morse code from the serial port

#define WPM 20
#define pttOut 13
#define pwmOut 5
#define toneFrequency 400  //Hz
#define W_CLK 8       // Pin 8 - connect to AD9850 module word load clock pin (CLK)
#define FQ_UD 9       // Pin 9 - connect to freq update pin (FQ)
#define DATA 10       // Pin 10 - connect to serial data load pin (DATA)
#define RESET 11      // Pin 11 - connect to reset pin (RST)
#define txfrequency 14015000

byte morseLookup[] = {

void setup(){
	Serial.println(" complete");

void loop(){

// transfers a byte, a bit at a time, LSB first to the 9850 via serial DATA line
void tfr_byte(byte data)
	for (int i=0; i<8; i++, data>>=1) {
		digitalWrite(DATA, data & 0x01);
		pulseHigh(W_CLK);   //after each bit sent, CLK is pulsed high

void sendFrequency(double frequency) {// frequency calc from datasheet page 8 =  * /2^32
	int32_t freq = frequency * 4294967295/125000000;  // note 125 MHz clock on 9850
	for (int b=0; b<4; b++, freq>>=8) {
		tfr_byte(freq & 0xFF);
	tfr_byte(0x000);   // Final control byte, all 0 for 9850 chip
	pulseHigh(FQ_UD);  // Done!  Should see output

void pulseHigh(int pin){
	digitalWrite(pin, HIGH);
	digitalWrite(pin, LOW);

void setupDDS(){
	pinMode(FQ_UD, OUTPUT);
	pinMode(W_CLK, OUTPUT);
	pinMode(DATA, OUTPUT);
	pinMode(RESET, OUTPUT);
	pulseHigh(FQ_UD);  // this pulse enables serial mode - Datasheet page 12 figure 10

void sendSerialMessage(){//Gets a string from the serial port, and send it out via morse code
	char message[64];
	int length = 0;
	while(Serial.available() && length < 64){ message[length] =; length++; message[length] = '\0'; } transmitString(message); } void transmitString(char* message){ for(int i = 0; message[i] != '\0'; i++){ Serial.print(message[i]); transmitChar(message[i]); } Serial.println(); wordSpace(); } void transmitChar(char character){ int lookupValue; if(character > 64 && character < 91){ //Capital Letter (0-25) lookupValue = character - 65; } else if(character > 96 && character < 123){ //Lower Case Letter (0-25) lookupValue = character - 97; } else if(character > 47 && character < 58){ //Number (26-36) lookupValue = character - 48 + 26; } else if(character == 47){ // slash (37) lookupValue = 37; } else if(character == 32){ // space wordSpace(); return; } else{ return; //Invalid Character } byte length = (morseLookup[lookupValue] & B11100000) >> 5;
	byte pattern = morseLookup[lookupValue] & B00011111;
	byte mask = 1 << length-1;
	for(int i = 0; i < length; i++){ if(mask & morseLookup[lookupValue]){ dash(); } else{ dot(); } mask = mask >> 1;

void dot(){

void dash(){
	delay(3 * 1200 / WPM);
	delay(1200 / WPM);

void charSpace(){
	delay(2 * 1200 / WPM);

void wordSpace(){
	delay(7 * 1200/WPM);

KGHP Radio Station

KGHPstudioMost hams will remember the first time they spoke on the air, weather it was on an HF radio of an elmer (aka mentor) down the street, or a VHF handheld. I was in high school and got interested in the school radio station, KGHP, during my freshmen year. Leland Smith, a teacher, introduced me to the radio station after school one day, and the memory of fading two songs together for the first time was pretty cool.

Peninsula High School is one of very few high schools with a radio station these days. The cost of keeping these stations on the air isn’t too attractive to most school districts, but the students, the school district, and members of the community have done a fantastic job at getting some support and funds to keep the station on the air.

Spencer Abersold has been at the front of this effort to keep the lights burning at KGHP. Spencer and some of the students involved with the station have managed to get enough money recently to do a station re-model. It makes me happy to see a local radio station going so strong.

More Features For The Repeater Database

repeaterdatabaseI’ve been spending a bit more time on the repeater database. It’s evolved from a simple html table with data from various sources, to a full-blown database-driven system that supports user editing and has more features than you can shake a stick at lexapro anxiety. You might ask, “Are all these features necessary?” and the answer is no. I didn’t do this to try and compete with some ham radio repeater websites. I just did it to learn about databases, and to have some fun, while getting a useful list of repeaters in the area. The database now has a google map for every repeater, as well as websites, and other information in every entry. It’s probably overkill, but like I said, it was a learning experience.

Edit (2015): I’ve decided to stop maintaining a repeater database of my own because there are now several good worldwide databases¬†available with a large user base. The end result is a broad and high quality repeater database and it is available worldwide¬†online.

Washington State Repeater Database

My latest project has been to develop and easy-to-use repeater database for the state of Washington. It is currently filled with repeaters from across the state on bands from 10 meters up to 900 Mhz. I’m in the process of verifying all of this data which has been collected from various sources on the internet. Some of them are cited with a link, and some were not able to be confirmed. I need help doing this. If you’d like to lend some help by simply getting on the air and trying out the listed frequencies in you’re area, let me know! I’ll get you access to the database editor right away.