Two exciting new possibilities for portable HF have become available.
Many people hanging around the AT_Sprint Yahoo group have been waiting patiently for many weeks for this morning’s announcement.
The ATS-4 is a “miniature 5 band CW rig with digital mode capabilities” designed for 80, 40, 30, 20 and 17 or 15 meter operation in the field. The AT stands for Appalachian Trail. It’s tiny – according to the KD1JV site, about 1/3 larger than an Altoids tin – the universal QRP standard of enclosure measurement – at 4.9″ wide, 2.7″ deep and 1″ tall.
ATS-4 features include a built-in Iambic A or B mode keyer with three message memories. The rig can convert Morse input via paddle to transmit as PSK31. And PSK31 and RTTY are possible using Pocketdigi software on a PC, laptop, netbook or PDA.
The other exciting portable possibility – which was designed to be independent of this kind of hardware – is the SDR Cube. George Heron, N2APB and Juha Niinikoski, OH2NLT developed this self-contained and portable SDR Transceiver using a Softrock front end and embedded Digital Signal Processing. One of the features of this design is that no PC is required. This follows naturally from George N2APB’s work developing the NUE-PSK modem which liberates portable PSK31 & RTTY ops from lugging along a laptop.
The SDR Cube is still available for ‘early-bird’ special prices, so again, not one to put off considering for too long. It’s also available in a range of different forms, from bare PC boards through to kits and assembled and tested. The design is deliberately open and flexible to accommodate experimentation. As the comprehensive SDR Cube site explains
The SDR Cube is a totally self-contained, embedded SDR transceiver for CW & SSB using a Softrock for the RF front end and a pc board implementation of an HF modem. A PC is not needed for using the SDR Cube, as all DSP processing is accomplished by an embedded DSP processor on the three internal pc boards. The Cube is designed to fit into an optional 4” x 4” x 4” pre-cut black powder-coated aluminum enclosure containing all controls, a blue graphic display showing the transceiver settings and an exciting 8 kHz-wide band scope of spectrum signals, and the popular Softrock RXTX v6.3 board.
Full ordering details for the SDR Cube can be found here.