For a hobby that purportedly is all about touching someone, ham radio can often be a lonely activity. Many Hams build and experiment with radios a lot more than they actually are in the air, iteratively upgrading their equipment. However, the build-test-tweak-repeat cycle can get a bit tedious, especially when you’re trying to assess signal strength and range and can’t find someone to give you a report.
To close the loop in the field test, [WhiskeyTangoHotel] threw up a simple amateur radio field confirmation unit that’s pretty smart. It is based on the fact that almost every amateur radio device designed for field use has a DTMF encoder in the microphone or in the transceiver itself. Hams have touch tones used for In-band signaling Their repeaters have been controlled for decades, and even when newer digital control methods have been introduced, a good old analog DTMF hangs there. The device consists of a DTMF decoder that is connected to the headphone socket of a cheap, handy talkie. When a DTMF tone is received, a NodeMCU connected to the decoder calls an IFTTT job to repeat the key [WTH]Telephone as a text message. That makes it easy to drive around and see if your mobile rig gets out. And because the receiving end is so portable, there is a lot of flexibility in arranging tests.
On the fence about ham as a hobby? We don’t blame you. But fun projects like this one are the perfect excuse to get a license and start experimenting.