The FOXBOX | Electrical Connector | Manufactured Goods

Number 9 on your Feedback card

The FOXBOX
A voice ID T-hunt controller.
by Rex Drake KISGH

D

o you need a simple, effective controlter ror use during foxhunts'? I wanted such a devicc, but was unable to find one that i i t my dcsires. Most controIler circuits use somc form of PROM chip. which 1 did not want to use. I did Find a controller circuit' thilt used 8-bit shirt registers to form a pmgramrnubie memory. To get the required number of programmable bits to create the memory, the device needs 16 register chips. Buying this many chips could become expensive and the device still can only operalc in

somewhat expensive, the price is roughly equal to. or slightly chcaper than. buying a PROM or buying 16-shift register chips. The lSD IOOOA can bc used to identify a hidden tnnsmiltcr with voice, or in CW like thc 0ther controller circuits 1 discovered.

T h e ID Circuit
The ISD 1000A comes packaged with' application notcs2. Imade a few changes to the "simple record and playback" circuit. The chip has an addressable memory. I decided to use the memory to store a single messageso the-addmssingcircuitry was not used. Iobtained the microphone recommended by the application notes. The notes and the mike dntrt differ sIightly in the circuits required to

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power the electret mike. The data included with the mike described a simpler circuit than that included in $e notes. Iused the simpler approach and have encountered no problems. My final modil'ications were made to the speaker output o f [he ISD IOWA. Iinserted a 1 k potentiometer (R II ) which can be used to adjust the audio {eve1 sent to the transmitter. I also included a 1 : I audio transformer to provide isolation between the ISDICQOA and the transmitter. Other than these 'changes, I built the circuit as described in the notes.

I was browsing through the local Radio

Shack and Found a chip which intrigued me. The ISDIOOOA i s billed as a voice record
and playback 1C. Even though the chip is

T h e Timer Circuits Two timers are required for the FOXBOX. I used a 5' dual-timer 1 to reduce the cir56 C cuit size. The _chip includes two separate 555

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42 73 Amateur Radio Today * March, 3994

timcrs. Timcr f controls the ovcratl limc period uf rhe FOXBOX. Thc timcr is uscd in the astable modc lo provide a continuous repenting cyclc. At thc cnd of every timer cyclc. the ID circuit is activated. The time period is adjusrablc by use of a potentiometer for R4. Thc cycle adjusts between approxirnnte[y 30 and 90 seconds. A 1 megohm pot, used I'or R4. w i l l allow I"or timcr periods up to approximotcly 100 or 300 seconds. The sccond rimer i s uscd to control the lime the transmitter i s held i n the transmit modc. Timcr 2 operates i n thc monostable mudc. A trigger signal is needcd to start the [imcr cyclc. which runs for n sct lime pcriod. Thc triggcr signal is providcd by Timcr I at t h t cnd ul'each of its cycles. Timcr 2's cycle 3Cljus~s via R I, providing 'rl p~riud f I0 LO 25 o seconds. Thc adjustable period allows kcying o f tlic [rat~sn~i~tcr as long ns !he 1D mcsonly

! built scvcral radio keying circuits hchrc I fuund onc which works rcliably ia this iIpplicaiion. ! wantcd ro be able l o key sevcnl dil'l'crcnt radios with he circuit. Therefore. 11w circuit could not be built spccificnlly for any particular radio. One o f the requirements I had Ibr this devicc was the ~ l e c t r i c a isoial lion o f the timcr from the pdio's press-to-talk (mj circuitry. I wanlcd the isolation to prevent currcnt flow between the two circuits. I

did not want audio signals interfering with the timer outpur. When using my HT for the [ox, the mikc and PTT circuits have to be placed in series. I solvcd the keying probtem by using an

optois013t0r. The aptoisolator I conthins an C infrared LED and an infrared phototransistor. The two cornponenrs are conncctcd only by an i n f r a r ~ d l i ~ beam. The isolator's LED is ht driven by theL'output of the transmit tilncr

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Figidre I. FOXBOX circuit schcrnaric. Nures: All copucitntlcc vaIucs
~ I rnicrofurcrd~. I For

ICOM n~rd similar HE,short pins 2 and 3 of J3.
and R l 3 . The relay coil is connected directly to the output of Timer 2. The relay's normally open (NO) contacts can then be used For

(Timer 2). The LED current is limited by R 12. When the LED is lit. the phototransistor is turned "on." acting as a P I T switch to key thc tmnsmitler. R13 limits the current from the ndio's PTT circuit to avoid destroying the phototransistor. The resistor value may necd adjustment to allow reliable keying of somc ri_gs. Ohm's Law can be used to calculate R 13. Let R equal the value of R 13. V is the volt-

age measured at the ndio's P l T pin. I is the maximum current desired to llow through R13. Try to set the current at about 20 mA. Do nut let the current become greater than 100 rnA or the optoisolator could be destroyed. Thc.optoisoIator 1 used i s not available at Radio Shack. To build a FOXBOX entirely from Radio Shack parts, a small SV relay (#275-740) can be substituted for U4. R12,

the PTT switch.

FOXBOX Power The FOXBOX is designed to operate from 8V to 12V battery power. The circuitry actually operates at 5V. A 7805 voltage regulator ( U I ) is used to achieve the nec-

Original Circuit

U4 p " ~ J 3 P i n
J3 Pln 2

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5V Relay
RS# 275-240

Optional Clrcult

J3 Pin 2 53 Pin f

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Fi~rlre2. Original mrd oprionai keying cirrliitsfor the FOXBOX.
44 73 Amateur Radio Today March, 1994

Figure 3. PC board pattern and parts placement.
, -. . , , Constru&,,~ ; . ,. .. ,. ' ' : essary 5 volts. No filtering capacito;s are' -bugging, I built thi prototype on a 3" by 4" uxcd; due to the DC input. Revtrse polarity The entire device was constructed on a piece of pgrfboard. Perbard construction reprotection is provided by a 1N4Mll rectifier breadbard in o r e to debug the individual quires careful attention to correct wiring condiode. . circuits before actual construction. After de- nections. A printed circuit board would be
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46 73Amateur Radb Tday* March, 1994

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hclpful for preventing wiring mistakes. I. mounted most of the componenB on the top side of the circuit board. The three adjustable resistors and the microphone were mounted an the underside of h e board. The undefiidc mounting is due to the board's'l* cation close to the inside of the caw. I drilled three holes in the case in order to allow for timer and mike level adjustments to be made

Ra
R9,R12,R13 RIO

svregulator 556 dual Urner 1 4 d n IC socket , . .-ISD1000:,. ., 28.ph IC--t :, f . ; - ::,,-" ' : I - 4N28 optokoktor : '-;, &pin IC soelret ' 1W k PC mount pot l m k : ,,-, 35k. 22k 470k I k 10
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externally just before hiding the fox. A fourth hoIe was made to allow direct access to the microphone. I chose to use a readily available ABS plastic case, even though i t offers no RF shiclding. To date, I hove not experienced

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any problems with RF interference. For hiding. I wanted to use a piece of large-diameter PVC pipe to house the
FOXBOX and transrnit~cr.Thc pipe would help with disguising thc fox and would also provide protcrtion to thc devices insidt. Because the FOXBOX was to be placed in the pipe. I wanted a11 of the external jacks and Continued 011 puge 50

33

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to he able to use two r!iI!'crtnt radios Tor the hidden T.The first radio. an AIinco 570 uses a lour-conductor interlhcc cable to carry PIT, , . Enter the exciting switches at one end of the case. I achieved'- PTT ground, MIC, and MIC ground signals. ~ o r l d packet ra- the placement goal with one exception: i did The second radio, an ICOM 02-AT handof dio today with How not leave enough room on [he end of the held, only needs a two-conductor cable. To To Get Started In timer case to place the jack for an external , use the- HT, the MXC signal from the FOXBOX is placed Packet Radio. Dave; monitoring speaker. Placing the jack on the - ground conoectim. in serics with the FIT side of the case caused only a minor problem Ingram, K4TWJ, because the speaker would not be used when I had originally intendcd to use a third . , wrote this begin- the FOXBOX was hidden. Careful attention switch in the FOXBOX to accomplish the sener's guide to should allow al] jacks and switches t~ be ries MIC connection for HT use. I decided packet radio in an placed on the end of the case. not to use the switch and instead just shorted the appropriate pins in the interface cable easy-to-understand manner.It sstarts with connector. The decision to eliminate the a nbn-technical description of packet ra- Connectors and Switches Three external connection jacks and two switch saves the space required to mount the dio, followed by chapters that include getting started, setting up your station, swiiches are used for the FOXBOX. For the switch on the case. networks, BBSs, portable and high-fre- power jack, I chose a conxial power connec- Conclusions quency operation and even a Packet Ra- tor identical to the one used by my ICOM Designing and building the FOXBOX was dio Equipment Survey. There's also an HT. The speaker uses a standard 118-inch quite fun. If the relay keying circuit is countphono jack. I chose to use a 5-pin DIN plug appendix that includes circuits for inter- for interfacing the radio. Any 4-or-more-pin ed, I achieved my goal of building the dcvice facing equipment. Join the most excit- jack would have worked well here. The DIN entirely of pans availahlc at any Radio Shack ing and rapidly growing area of ham plug wa5 the least expensive option explored, store. Furure improvements to the FOXBOX radio today! Order your copy of H o w To I I wanted the switches to be low-profile could include filters Ior the audio output. AdGet Started I n Packet Radio book for I slide switches. A DPDT switch is required dressing circuitry could be used to allow the for playbacklrecord selec(iun. An SPDT record and playback of several short mesonly $9.95! (plus $2,00 s&H). switch is required for power. I used two small sages by the ISD 1000A. The FOXBOX will DPDT switches because they were easily serve we11 to control many types of hidden transmitters. If the FOX is to be hidden for a avaiIabile. long period of time, provide plenty of battery P.O. Box 598, Rernond, WA 98073 Operation capacity for the transmitter. The FOXBOX itOrders Only 1-800-GOT-2-HAM Operating the FOXBOX is straightfor- self draws only a small amount of power SO Inquiries (206) 869-8052 ward. Apply 8 to 12 VDC, then put the large batteries are not needed. Creative housplaylrecord switch ( S 2 ) into the RECORD ings tbr the entire FOXBOX package will CIRCLE 223 ON READER SERVICE C A M posiiion. Speak at a normal level into the mi- allow limitless hiding possibilities. Let the Cjif cmphone to record a message up to approxi- imagination fly. mately 20 seconds long. The message inlist . , nor be long enough to entirely till U3's mem- ' 7 References:, ory or messase playback may not occur prop- ' I. M ~ l l , . J o s e p hD..KBOV,and Thomns erly. A t the end o f the message. place S2 N. CurIee WB6UZZ. Tmnsrnirrer Hr~ttring: back i n the PLAY position. The newly Radio Direcrion Finding SirrtpiJicd. Blue recordcd message will now play back once at Ridge Summit: Tab Books, 1987, p. 193. to the 2. Tandy Corporation. ISDIOOOA Voice the end of every cycle of Timer I . An interface cable is required bctwecn the Remr.dlPlnyback IC. Fort Worth: Tandy CorFOXBOX and rhc hidden transrnitler. I want poration, 1992.

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The FOX BOX
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