Roy Ledbetter, KG6JAZ, wanted a project to combine his interests and hobbies: Amateur radio, electronics, computers, 3D printing, & GPS signals. The GPS Clock plus Grid Square touches all of those, and produces a useful device for contesting in the process.
HARC Workshop: Building the GPS clock plus Grid Square
Roy wanted to create a clock that displayed UTC date and time, local date and time, location (latitude and longitude) and 6-digit maidenhead grid square. Other information can be displayed such as quality of the information, elevation, speed, coarse, direction and more.
Why the GPS Plus Clock? It combines the interested of the maker: Amateur radio, electronics, computers, 3D printing, & GPS signals. The GPS Plus Clock using a small Arduino based microprocessor, plus a GPS shield, a display module, and a small handful of other electronic components, all housed in a 3D printed enclosure.
It needed to be inexpensive yet provide useful information to a ham radio operator. Using a GPS module means that the clock is self-setting after power failures and can provide the grid square information itself. Watch the presentation here, or read below for details how building one yourself.
Building The Project
The program is entered using Arduino IDE (runs on Mac or PC, with Roy using windows) and installed via USB cable connected to the Nano Every. Nano Every was chosen as it has lots of program space if someone wants to expand capabilities of the project.
First, you must acquire the parts. Most can be obtained from Amazon, Ebay or Chinese sites (Banggood, Aliexpress). The parts list below. Some very cheap GPS units are available on Ebay and could hugely reduce the cost of the project but haven’t been tested. ($3.00 and up)
Case can be anything you want. Aluminum box, plastic box, etc. I prefer to design and 3D print my cases myself. Click here for the Stl’s available or raw fusion 360 drawings: GPS_clock_plus_grid_square_Case_Models
For Windows 10. Download the Arduino IDE from the Arduino Website and install. Once installed you’ll need to Tools -> Board -> Boards Manager and install the Arduino megaAVR Boards Library.
In the Tools menu select Board -> Arduino megaAVR Boards -> Arduino Nano Every. Plug in your Nano Every Board using micro USB cable and determine its COM address. Right click on start select Device Manager, scroll down the list to Ports (COM & LPT) and you should see you Every and its comm port number. Back in the Arduino IDE Tools/Port menu select that com port. You can copy and paste the program found below in to the IDE and use as is or modify to your own liking.
Use the Verify button to check for errors. Ignore error about not finding the eeprom on the Every. Select the Program button and your code should be loaded on the Nano Every. Save your program and close the Arduino IDE program.
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