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Jim Harvey's Arduino-Powered Ham Radio Antenna Analyser

Gareth Halfacree

The maker hobby intersects with a variety of others, largely thanks to its broad nature and hands-on approach. There are makers who are coders, who are artists, who are weavers, woodworkers, musicians, printers, metallurgists, hardware engineers, schoolkids, and more - but one area in which there is a near-total overlap is that of ham radio. With many countries requiring those interesting in getting an amateur radio licence to complete an exam which includes at the minimum a basic understanding of electronics and soldering, it's little surprise to find many hams continuing that education even when their licence is in-hand. Jim Harvey is one such ham operator, and he has taken his projects to the next level with the introduction of an Arduino microcontroller powering a low-cost homebrew antenna analyser. Licensed under the GNU General Public Licence as open hardware and software, Jim's project was brought to our attention by Hackaday and is a great example of how devices aimed at education and the hobbyist market, like the Arduino family, can offer alternatives for commercial systems that would cost anything up to ten times as much. Based on the work of Ron Rollinson, Jim's design is slightly modified to accomodate components he already had in the workshop. Schematics, PCB design files, and the Arduino code are all available from Jim's GitHub repository.

In the interest of getting the most out of our ham dollar, here's a DIY, no-frills bridge analyser that, even if you had to buy everything new, can be done for less than $40, and can be up and running with less than a half-afternoon's work.

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