BLE For iPhone/iPad Apps Porting

Hi everyone,

yesterday I wrote about my first experiments with the HC-05 Bluetooth module to create a sort of serial gateway that would allow the KX3 to wirelessly be attached to an iOS device.

As I expected there are strict limits on the Bluetooth profile that can be used on iOS and serial streaming is not allowed.

But there’s an even more interesting solution now that is BLE that stands for Bluetooth Low Energy that is a technology that is part of Bluetooth 4.0

BLE is becoming more and more popular because it easily permits pairing of a lot of devices using very low power. For example I personally use a Fitbit Flex that is a sort of advanced step counter as well as a TomTom Runner GPS clock. They both use BLE and most of the “health” devices (bracelets, clocks, cardio, etc.) use BLE.

So BLE is supported by all the mobile devices with Bluetooth 4.0 and that is true for Android and iOS as well.

That mean that using BLE I’ll be finally able to build a small cheap box allowing the KX3 to be paired to modern iOS devices as well.

I just ordered two small boards to start development and testing. One is based on the Texas Instrument CC2540 that is a micro controller that I’m actually using for my “day job” to develop a portable ECG. That’s good so developing for the app will also be useful for the day job and vice versa!

I’ll keep you updated on that side as this is something that can really open new possibilities.

72/73, Andrea IU4APC


8 thoughts on “BLE For iPhone/iPad Apps Porting

  1. That would be great!
    I’m looking for something to transmit APRS-messages with my KX3 since a long time…
    Would be awesome if it would be tiny enough to fit inside maybe instead of the internal batteries…
    vy 73 de Tom, OE2ATN

    • I think the best thing would be to use a smartphone to do the APRS sending. It has everything is needed for that: GPS and audio signal generation.
      There are already apps able to do that (I personally use APRSdroid).
      What would be very interesting to do is do HF APRS and actually there’s no app able to do it and I was thinking about developing one. But time is limited 😦
      72/73 Andrea IU4APC

  2. How did your experiment with BLE go?
    I was hoping a wireless interface for KX3 (compatible with iOS) would be announced at Dayton 2015. Didn’t see it.
    The phone (or watch) should do much of the UI, I think.
    I added one to my ten-tec Patriot 507 transceiver
    YouTube video demo of BLE control:
    Bob wm6h

    • Ciao Bob,
      I have a working prototype and works pretty out of the box. Nothing fancy.
      Actually I’m a “one man band” and not in the US. Being in Dayton it’s definitely out of my possibilities actually 😀
      iOS development is actually on hold as I’m more focused on developing new apps for Android. I also have some updates to do to the other apps.
      Don’t know when I’ll get back to iOS development 🙂
      Thanks for your interest.
      72/73 Andrea IU4APC

      P.S. Nice video!

  3. What about Piglet from Pignology?

    • The Android version already supports the Piglet. For the iOS version using an external device is mandatory and I can’t develop an app that relies only on a device that’s not made by me 🙂 I’m not Pignology 😉

  4. Hello Andrea,
    I am interesting in the “small cheap box allowing the KX3 to be paired to modern iOS devices” about which You are talking in the article.
    Did you finished it already please?
    If yes then I am interesting to buy it or at least some kit or at least the schematic and sw hihi.
    I would like to connect the KX3 via BLE to my iPhone and iPad using the Hamlog for rig control and logging please.
    Best regards,
    Petr OK1RP

    • Hello Petr,

      I had my prototype working but I’m not able to produce it in mass (not even in small numbers actually). But it’s not really that complicated to do and there are loads of resources available online.

      Sorry about that.

      Andrea IU4APC

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