Antenna control system
A high-tech antenna control system to make it a lot easier to connect
different antenna switch boxes etc in the shack.
The idea is to make a driver box with 14 high current (5A) sink channels
and 14 other low current sink channels (total 500+500 mA on those channels).
It could be modified to drive aswell but in my shack I have decided to have
everything made with sinking instead of driving.
That driver box will be based on the CAN (Control Area Network) bus which is
a 2-wire bus. The idea with this is that the microcontroller in the driver box
will get an own ID-number which other units on the CAN network can communicate
with. Thereby all the cables in the shack going to 4 square controllers, stack
switches, band decoders etc will all be communicating over the CAN network. Why
is this needed? Well, the CAN network is very solid when it comes to interference.
It is fully intergrated in all modern cars, it is very solid and easy to use.
So instead of having tons of cables running in the shack all that is needed is a
single 2-wire cable (shielded) running out and into each box and out to the driver
box that you can fit outside the shack or even up in the tower.
The plan in my shack is to build two units (same kind of box as the SO2R box) with
4x20 Liquid Crystal Displays that can decode band data from ICOM, Kenwood and YEASU
radios. If you select 20M with the radio the unit will show the antennas possible
to switch in on that band on the display. And with four buttons (one for each row)
you can simply select the antenna to use. The unit then just sends the information
over the CAN network to the driver box and it active/deactivates the outputs. It
will ofcourse also be possible to select the bands in a manual mode.
The antenna selector unit will be programmed with a windows software, which outputs
it should activate, if the antennas should be able to be stacked with another antenna
and in that case which and also ofcourse the text viewed for the antenna on the LCD.
This project will probably not be finished before the summer 2005 but plans are that
it will be finished before next summer year 2006. A lot of the schematics are done
but the financial part is what is stopping me from finishing them.
6X2 antenna switchbox
This unit has been built before but a new version is on its way. Better relays are used
and also additional damping between the radio A and radio B ports.
I will add more information
about this on the website as soon as I get time.
3X1 antenna switchbox
This is already finished but not published on the site yet.