When I started designing and building my shack in 2000, I had definite ideas about what it was going to be like... everything would be automated, I would have two stations set up and could use both of them simultaneously. The antennas would be chosen as a response to the frequency of the radio in use, the microphones could be interchangable,. There would be two linears , one for each station, I would be able to do any mode desired with a push of a button... you know the dreams of the dreamer.
Well, after I got started, reality set in. First, I could barely afford one station, much less two complete stations. Then, when I tried to wire everything up, theory proved to not match reality. In theory what I had down on paper should have worked, but the details of the circuits alluded my comprehension. When my wiring scheme got too complicated and I found that I could not follow what I was doing, it was time to simplify the whole scheme. I still have a lot of complications, but, believe me, it is a LOT simpler than what I started with! I have had to learn how to program both PICs and finally the Arduino series using a variation of the C language so I can program an Arduino Mega 2560. This journey of building and automating the shack has taken me in directions I never imagined, and it has taken a lot longer than I thought.
My first attempts at having two radios be capable of transmitting at the same time resulted in a blown front end (two switching diodes and several transistors blown). After countless attempts, I finally came up with a fairly conservative design to save receiver front ends from a similar fate. to that end, I have put together the switching logic flow chart and wiring plan. The references to RY1, RY2, etc, refer to the RF cabling diagram on another web page. The scheme I was using before this time was more complicated than this, and would not have the options which this scheme allows. After spending waaaay too much money on prototype circuit boards, I finally came up with the designs shown below.
It was not until April 2013 that I finally got a completely working version of the ARS Control Monitor, as I named it. (I had gone through about 5 previous versions, and either they did not work reliably or they did not do everything I wanted them to do) The circuit boards have all the buffers and I/O pins for everything I need, and they interconnect with the relay boards very well. Below you will find the Logic Controller Chart I used to keep myself on track while designing the PCB and writing the program. For more information on the PCB, program and the mechanics of building the unit itself, click on Controller PCB, Controller Program, or Controller Construction from the list found above and to the left..