The personal website of Scott W Harden

Simple-Case PyGame Example

I’m starting to investigate PyGame as an alternative to PIL and K for my QRSS VD spectrograph project. This sample code makes a box bounce around a window.

import pygame, sys
pygame.init() #load pygame modules
size = width, height = 320, 240 #size of window
speed = [2, 2] #speed and direction
screen = pygame.display.set_mode(size) #make window
s=pygame.Surface((100,50)) #create surface 100px by 50px
s.fill((33,66,99)) #color the surface blue
r=s.get_rect() #get the rectangle bounds for the surface
clock=pygame.time.Clock() #make a clock
while 1: #infinite loop
        clock.tick(30) #limit framerate to 30 FPS
        for event in pygame.event.get(): #if something clicked
                if event.type == pygame.QUIT: #if EXIT clicked
                        sys.exit() #close cleanly
        r=r.move(speed) #move the box by the "speed" coordinates
        #if we hit a  wall, change direction
        if r.left < 0 or r.right > width: speed[0] = -speed[0]
        if r.top < 0 or r.bottom > height: speed[1] = -speed[1]
        screen.fill((0,0,0)) #make redraw background black
        screen.blit(s,r) #render the surface into the rectangle
        pygame.display.flip() #update the screen

MEPT Insulation Improves Stability

While it may not be perfect, it’s a whole lot better. Below is a capture from this morning of my signal (the waves near the bottom). Compare that to how it was before and you should notice a dramatic improvement! The MEPT is inside a metal box inside a 1-inch-thick Styrofoam box. Very cool!

Failing Oscilloscope

My oscilloscope decided to die on my right as I finally was able to view my 10 MHz waveform. I used a piece of coax with a load at the connector to the o-scope, and ran the coax to my test points. It was beautiful! … and lasted about 30 seconds. The culprit seems to be a failing “focus” knob. My images had been getting blurrier by the day, and now it’s completely black unless I twist pretty hard on the focus knob. I’d stick a small pot in there, but I have no idea how much voltage/current is being regulated. I’m sure the schematics are posted somewhere, but for now I’m going to try to clean out the potentiometer manually and see if the situation improves. Here are some photos of the circuitry inside this old scope. They don’t make stuff like this anymore!

Update: I never got this scope to work again!

QRSS Receiver Works... Barely

I completed work on my first RF receiver, and for what it is it seems to work decently. It should be self-explanatory from the photos. It’s based around an SA602. As with everything, I don’t plan on posting schematics until the project is complete because I don’t want people re-creating junky circuits! It’s stationed at the University of Florida’s club station W4DFU and its spectrograph can be viewed in real time from the QRSS VD - Web Grabber - W4DFU page.

Minimalist Radio Receiver

Now that my minimalist QRSS transmitter is mostly functional, I’m shifting gears toward building a minimalist receiver. These are some early tests, but I’m amazed I managed to hack something together that actually works! Once it’s finished I’ll post schematics. For now, here are some photos. This receiver is based upon an SA602 and although there *IS* an op-amp on the board, I actually bypassed it completely! The SA602 seems to put out enough juice to make my PC microphone jack happy, and those cheap op-amps are noisy anyway, so awesome! Go minimalism!

Here’s the output from 7.040 MHz. Conditions are pretty bad right now, and I’m at my apartment using my crazy indoor antenna