Ham Clock

This page refers to my QST article in the October 2017 issue. All updates will be posted here.

This live screen grab is from one of my HamClocks. It updates automatically every
two minutes after making a random configuration tap. Click for an hour history.

Click here for a pictoral guide to touch controls and map symbols.

Original QST Article and errata

Original QST Article proof

There is a typo in Table 1. The RA8775 costs $35, not $5.

There is a typo in Fig 2. The 33K resistor should be 330K.

It should be noted if you do not want to use the photoresistor, it is best to ground the analog input pin ADC (sometimes also known as A0).

Source Code ZIP and Version History

Download current stable release Version 1.42.

Revision history:

Version 1.42: Version 1.41: Version 1.40: Version 1.39: Version 1.38: Version 1.37: Version 1.36: Version 1.35: Version 1.34: Version 1.33: Version 1.32: Version 1.31: Version 1.30: Version 1.29: Version 1.28: Version 1.27: Version 1.26: Version 1.25: Version 1.24: Version 1.23: Version 1.22: Version 1.21: Version 1.20: Version 1.19: Version 1.18: Version 1.17: Version 1.16:

Software Build Instructions

Here is a more detailed list of steps to prepare and load the software:

  1. Install the latest Arduino IDE with these these instructions. I am currently using version 1.8.3.
  2. Load up the ESP extension described here then Exit the Arduino IDE.
  3. Download and install the following Arduino libraries:

    If you need help with libraries in general try here

    • GFX
    • Sensor
    • BME280
    • TimeLib
    • RA8775

      This one has a bug you must fix. After installing this library:

      1. open the file Adafruit_RA8875.h with a text editor
      2. find the two places that contain virtual size_t write near line 133
      3. comment them both out so the result looks like this:

        /* Play nice with Arduino's Print class */
        /* comment out for HamClock ← add this line
        virtual size_t write(uint8_t b) {
        textWrite((const char *)&b, 1);
        return 1;
        virtual size_t write(const uint8_t *buffer, size_t size) {
        textWrite((const char *)buffer, size);
        return size;
        */ ← add this line

  4. Connect your computer to the Huzzah with a USB port
  5. Download current stable release Version 1.42, unzip it any place you wish.
  6. Start the Arduino IDE. Open the ESPHamClock.ino file you just unzipped. This will create a new project.
  7. In the IDE Tools menu make the following selections:

    If the options you see do not look exactly like mine do these steps:
    1. open Tools → Board → Boards Manager...
    2. In the search box type esp. Look for esp8266
    3. Click More Info
    4. Click Select version and select 2.4.0
    5. Click Update
    6. Click Close
  8. Run Sketch → Compile then Sketch → Upload
  9. Your HamClock should start running. Follow the touch screen and setup functions carefully.

Purchase Pre-Preprogrammed HUZZAH Boards

For those who prefer not to build the software, I am making available the same Adafruit HUZZAH board used in the HamClock already programmed with the latest HamClock software. Just wire it up according to the schematic in the article and you are immediately ready to go. Click on the button below to order; you may use your paypal account or any credit card.

Larger Display

To use a 9" ER-TFTM090-2 from buydisplay.com:

Select these options during purchase:

Refer to the README in the zip package for wiring details.



Display Stand Ideas

The display stand from Adafruit can be made to work with a little ingenuity but is not perfect for the LCD. Send suggestions for better ideas and I will post here.

If you find your display idea works better if the cable exits from the top, let me know. I can share a software change contributed by N9DK that will rotate the entire scene. Hopefully this will eventually be picked up in a later rev of the effected library from Adafruit. For now you will have to do a few things manually in the software build procedure to make it work.

My Builds

Shack photo showing 7" version.

Rear of 7" version

Both the 7" and 9" versions.

Rear of 9" version

And last but not least a Big Shoutout to Adafruit for their great electronics, software and tutorials.

73, Elwood Downey, WBØOEW