Freakin’ Beacon Setup Program
A small program to simplify changing messages in the Expanded Spectrum Systems Freakin' Beacon controller. The program makes it easy to modify an existing message or to have multiple messages available in different files ready to program into the beacon controller.
Step 1 - Set the Program Options
Options - Synchronized Beacon
If you are programming a Synchronized Beacon, this option must be Checked. If the option is checked, the available Insert commands will change to reflect the commands available in the Synchronized Beacon chip. Illegal commands will be highlighted in red in the Sequence Window.
Options - Set the Comm Port
Select the appropriate serial port from the Comm menu. Ports 1 to 4 can be selected directly. Ports 5 and up are set via the Custom Port option.
Options - Set the Beacon Character Limit
For the FB2, the maximum number of characters is 127. For the Synchronized beacon controller, the maximum is 99. You can change the number used to display a warning when the message is too long.
Step 2 - Create the Message
Use the Insert menu to insert command characters that will be inserted into the text. Their meaning is displayed in the sequence window at the bottom. The beacon command string is shown in the top window. Watch the number of characters in the status bar. The limit is 127 characters. A warning will be given if this number is exceeded.
Modify a Message
If you already have a message in your beacon, you can read it out and save it to a file with the Read Beacon button. Connect the beacon to the serial port. Make sure the jumper is set for programming the beacon. Press the Read Beacon button. Turn the beacon off it is on, or just turn it on if it is off. The command string will appear in the top window and its meaning will be shown below. The GPS slot timing will be read from the chip into the GPS menu.
Save the Message
Save the message to a file with the File menu commands.
Step 3 - Choose the GPS Slots
If this is a synchronized beacon, use the GPS Menu to select the time slots for the beacon transmissions.
Step 4 - Program the Beacon
Make changes to the command string by editing it directly. Use the Insert menu to insert command characters. Remember that only lower case characters are sent as CW. Press the Program Beacon button to upload the command string to the beacon. Turn the beacon on and watch the progress of the upload. It won't take long.
Step 5 - Verify the Beacon
You can compare the contents of the beacon with the Command String shown by pressing the Verify Beacon button. The GPS sequence will be compared with the saved settings if it is a Synchronized Beacon.
Bugs and Updates
This is more or less a first draft of a beta release of a program to interface with the FB2 controller. Let me know what works and what doesn't and what might make it a better program.
The program is free. Source is available on request.
Download fbeacon20.zip - Version 2.0.
Latest version of the VE3SUN Freakin' Beacon Setup Program.
Download fbeacon11.zip - Version 1.1.
Version 1.1 cannot handle Synchronized Beacon, but has been used successfully by many FB2 owners.
Hosted by BenLo Park