Thursday, January 28, 2010

'Satpack' Arduino tracker PCB

Lots of progress with 'satpack', my Arduino-based full-doppler-tuning satellite tracking application. On the right, you see a cardboard mockup of the pcb. On the software side, I've checked a fully working version of the code into the SVN repository.

The first photo shows the back side of the PCB. The parallel header strips running along the top and bottom of the photo are going to mate with a Sparkfun Arduino mini pro using snap connector headers. The only component mounted on this side of the board is the realtime clock, which will be soldered onto the soic-20 pads. There appears to be just enough clearance provided by the snap-together header connectors to allow space for the IC. My plan is to solder the IC, solder on the connectors on the Arduino mini, snap on the mating ones for the satpack and then, with everything in place, solder to the satpack. That way, if a bit of space is needed, the pins will be soldered at the right level.

After this, I will solder a 90 deg. male header onto the mini-pro to provide serial communication between a computer and the tracker. The tracker is meant for stand-alone use, but from time-to-time it needs to have its keps or real-time clock updated.

This second photo shows the top side of the pcb. On this side, we don't need to worry about the height of the components. On the far left will be a mini-din 8 connector to communicate with the FT-8*7 radio and to get 12v power from the radio, too. To its right are the pads for a battery to keep the RTC alive without power. The large circle to the right is the small speaker that will announced the location of the bird in morse code. Finally on the far right are two buttons and, between them, a two-colour led. The code only makes use of one button right now, but I have some ideas for the second one.

This design is now in the hands of batchPCB, from whom I ordered three copies.


  1. Nice progress Bruce!

    Alex OZ9AEC

  2. Thanks, Alex. I never was able to reply to your comments on youtube, but thanks for those, too. I'll have a video soon.