Band decoder Mk2 by remoteqth.com

In my recent CQ WWDX CW 2018 blog post I moaned about needing to do all station switching like BPFs, antennas, etc. manually when using the IC-7300. Driving home after the contest I made up my mind how to solve the “problem”, i.e. getting all automated when using the Icom, too, as we have been doing with our Elecraft and Kenwood radios for years. First I thought about developing my own Icom Ci-V band decoder but taking all the efforts and especially time needed into account as well as cost (it is a costly thing if you want to have it nice!) I skipped the idea. Instead I ordered the Band decoder Mk2 by remoteqth.com. It’s a universal design based on an Arduino and comes as a kit complete with a SMT pre-soldered PCB, a few through-hole parts, I2C display as well as a professionally looking enclosure. It can be configured for various data sources, be it Icom’s Ci-V, Icom band voltage, Yaesu/Elecraft BCD, Kenwood CAT, a.s.o. If used with the Ci-V or CAT interface it detects the frequency down to a kilohertz which can be useful if you want to switch different things within a band, i.e. different dipoles or groundplanes for 80 m CW vs. 80 m SSB. It has an output driver for 8 direct outputs which can be configured as open collector or open emitter circuits. It also offers permanent BCD encoded outputs which is what I needed for our station integration. You can even edit the Arduino Sketch to display antennas names or the like. Quite a clever design! Building it up did not take more than an hour and the online quick start guide was easy to follow. All in all a very enjoyable project delivering to the point and reasonably priced, too – highly recommended! Here are a few impressions of the build process …

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