Introduction: Getting Started With HamShield
To get started, you will need the following:
- Soldering iron (any type, but a good one is preferred)
- Solder wire
- A safe assembly area
When you open up your HamShield package, you will see the following items along with the HamShield (or HamShields) you ordered.
- HamShield board
- Two header rows
- SMA connector
- Smiley Tri-Band Antenna
- 9VDC 1 Amp power supply
If anything is missing, please contact us right away.
Step 1: Sizing the Headers
Breakaway headers are tricky to size properly, so here is a simple trick we recommend.
You will need your Arduino Uno for this trick. If you look at your Arduino Uno, you will see that there are 4 groups of header sockets. We will use this trick on each group of sockets.
- Pick up the break away header and place it into one of the sockets.
- Rotate the header at least 90 degrees horizontally
- You will hear a *SNAP*
Don't worry! You didn't break anything! We are just sizing our headers to the proper size. Do this for each group until you have 4 perfectly sized headers.
Step 2: Soldering the Headers
Soldering can seem daunting to the newbie, but it is very easy once you get the hang of it. A nice temperature regulated soldering iron is preferred, but even the most basic of irons will work fine for this. Be sure that the tip is clean and you have your roll of solder wire ready.
Put all of the 4 groups of headers into the Arduino and then place the HamShield on top. The Arduino will also serve as the shield holder so you won't need any fancy vice grip.
Extend a length of solder wire and apply heat to the first pin. Move the solder wire onto each pin and keep your iron still on the pin you are soldering. If the iron is up to temperature, the solder wire will easily melt and solder the header pin to the through hole on the HamShield. Give it a good amount to make a solid connection, but be careful not to put too much and bridge other pins. Do this across the entire HamShield until this step is complete.
This may take some time for the beginner, so don't worry. Also, if you make a mistake, you can easily unsolder header pins and try again without damaging anything. To do this, simply apply heat and gently pull out the header pin. Careful not to put your bare hands on the pin you are heating with the iron, things do get hot!
Step 3: Soldering the SMA Connector
This is probably the most tricky of parts.
Look on HamShield for large pads on the end of the board. This is the opposite end of the Arduino Uno's power and USB connector.
Place the SMA connector so that the center pin touches the PCB pad. Also, make sure that it is fully pressed against the side of the board and the ground side pins are lined up.
Since this part easily falls off, you will want to first tack it to the board so you can finish up the remaining soldering. Simply apply some solder to the center pin to do this. This will hold it in place so you can finish the rest of the soldering.
Remember that you will need to take HamShield off the Arduino so you can finish the under side too! There are pads on both sides!
After it cools, test to make sure the SMA makes a solid connection by wiggling it gently. It should have no movement.
Step 4: Download and Install Arduino IDE
If you haven't already, be sure to download the Arduino IDE software at www.arduino.cc. Open this link up in a different tab and follow the installation directions provided on this website. Remember, this is free software and the download link is a lot smaller than the donate now link! Just install the latest version for your computer.
Step 5: Download and Install HamShield Libraries
You will also need to download our HamShield libraries. (If you need help on how to load libraries into Arduino, this link is very helpful: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/Libraries )
You can find HamShield libraries here: https://github.com/EnhancedRadioDevices/HamShield/...
After you install the libraries, be sure to restart the Arduino IDE to make sure the new libraries are loaded.
Step 6: Testing HamShield
To test HamShield, connect the HamShield to the Arduino. Next, connect the antenna to HamShield. Then, connect the DC power supply to the Arduino DC connector. Finally, connect the USB cable to your computer.
In the Arduino IDE, load up an example sketch, such as FMBeacon (You can find this under File -> Examples -> HamShield -> FMBeacon).
Scroll down and look for this line: radio.frequency(145570);
Change this to a proper experimental frequency in your area.
Scroll down further and look for this line: radio.morseOut("KC7IBT ARDUINO HAMSHIELD");
Change KC7IBT to your own call sign.
After you make these changes, congratulations! You have just finished your first HamShield sketch for Arduino.
Tune into the frequency you specified and you will hear a short message transmitted in morse code.
Check out some of the other examples for other fun functions!