Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

The Xbee Radio Communication Modules

xbee-3Working with the network system for the Roboboat (RB) project is also a part of my amateur radio interest. It is actually microwave radio and it is one of the areas I have always wanted to explore. The frequency is located within one of the amateur microwave radio bands. It is shared with other services so it doesn't need to be a ham radio project. Interestingly the frequency of operation (2.4 GHz) is very close the frequency (2.45 GHz) of most microwave ovens. I definitely don't need to use my radio call sign to identify my cooking. The amateur radio band involved is 2390-2450 MHz. (2.390-2.450 GHz)

Note, at these power levels there is no danger of anything getting cooked.

I have never seen a requirement that amateurs must use ham radio frequencies. We just have to properly operate our radio under the FCC regulations. I am good with that and with a power of 1 Milli-watt (0.01 Watts) and a range of a hundred feet, I can't bother (or cook) too many folks. The “high power” version is 63 Milli-watts (0.63 Watts).

Technically, as a ham I can do anything (sensible) I want with these radios on these frequencies. Of course I am going to do nothing but operate them. The only thing I might like to do (someday but not for the RB project) is experiment with feed horns and other antenna options to extend the range. That IS messing with the radio part.

The bottom line is I can claim to be operating an amateur radio station but in fact, these units do not need a license so anyone can operate them. There is no radio “tuning” involved.

The Xbee is far more than just a radio, it is a communication link. The radio communication is totally fixed. The interface the user must establish is talking to the module and reading the information from the module. How the data is handled (by microwave radio) between the modules is totally automated and beyond user control.

That means the method of talking to the module does NOT have to be the same at both ends. This simplifies the application of the product. Half the work is ready to go, no changes needed or are possible to the actual radio part. There are channels that can be selected and they need to be the same but that is setup and not radio tuning. Ain't technology great!

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