Kenwood THD-74A and DVAP Dongle

I wanted to see if I could add my DVAP Dongle hotspot to the DR list of repeaters on my Kenwood TH-D74A handheld. I could find the settings for an ICOM radio but not a Kenwood so I did a little experimenting. Here’s what worked for me:

Part of the trick was using the DIRECT tag in RPT1 and RPT2. This allows me to link and unlink repeaters using the DR mode, tested on 30C and it came right through. This works with DVAP Tool V1.04 that I am running on my Raspberry Pi.

The only functionality that doesn’t seem to work is INFO and ECHO since the DVAP is looking for “DVAP I” vs. just the “I” command and “DVAP E” versus “E”. To keep that functionality, I put it in as a repeater memory.

Now I have DVAP access both ways, memory channel or DR mode. Hope this helps someone figure it out.

Revisiting the Relay Panel and a Raspberry Pi Tech Tip for WebIOPi fans

As one of my earlier projects, I set up a Raspberry Pi with some relays to control my systems remotely. This allows me to warm things up from the couch before I head to the shack, or if COVID ever goes away, to fire up the radio remotely.

2016 photo of the relay panel.


So it’s been several years since I made any updates to the Raspberry Pi that makes all that work. I remember rolling back from a Raspbian update because it broke some functionality and I wasn’t in a place to spend time on it. I finally found the time this week, 3 YEARS later.

As I write this it is January 15, 2021


So I decided to start from the ground up with the latest version of Raspbian and reinstall WebIOPi, which is the software I am using. WebIOPi allows me to use the GPIO pins to control the relays using a web interface. I had spent a little time customizing it for my shack so I wanted to keep using it. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated in 4 years.

My quick GUI for controlling lights and radios.


After struggling with the latest version of WebIOPi (0.7) and dealing with “invalid syntax in thread.py” and “Attribute error” issues related to my Pi 2B, I found my savior on GitHub. https://github.com/doublebind/raspi

Follow the instructions theree and you are good to go. I’ll be pleased if it will run another 3 years with no need for updates.

The N4BFR Response to a “Show Us Your Ham Shack” Request

N4BFR “Tech Center” Ham Shack on December 2, 2020

For their next Zoom meeting, the Atlanta Radio Club is having a “show us your shack” session so I thought I would use this time to share mine along with some detail on what’s there. For ease I have numbered many items and linked to more information where I can.


Let’s start from the top left:
(1) Photo & Certificate: The photo is the cover of QST Magazine from August 2011 and a copy below of the short article and a photo from the Coca-Cola 125th Special Event Station the Atlanta Radio Club put on. The certificate is my Volunteer Examiner certification, it lets me be part of a testing team for new ham radio licenses issued by the FCC.

(2) Part of my microphone collection, along with a couple of other odds and ends. (2a) is the Heil Sound Classic Microphone which I added the call letters to in this YouTube video. (2b) is the Shure 55SH which inspired my N4BFR Vision logo.

(3) is the brass and wooden Watch Stand I made back in July. Next to it is an old Western Union sounder that would summon someone to your shop to pick up a telegram.

(4a & b) are JBL Control 2P speakers. I’ve had these 2 years now and I really recommend them, they sound great. Not shown, but for PC audio I use the Schiit Modi 3 DAC and I can really tell the difference a better Digital to Audio converter makes.

(5) is my lighted call-sign sign I bought to celebrate 10+ years in Amateur Radio. It’s made by Gifts4Hams.com which does a lot of very nice laser engraving. I have a QSL card chest from them as well. Under the sign is the Heath GC-1000 “Most Accurate Clock” which was part of my 24 Hours of Clocks YouTube experiment. Between that and the speaker is a Ducati desk mic I found at an estate sale.

(6) is more of a memory wall than anything else. The panels are by Wall Control and I liked them so much I ended up redoing my workbench with them as well.

(7) is one of Ham Radio stations I have in the room. When I designed this 8+ years ago this was set up to be a contest shack that we could run Morse and Voice in at the same time and we even worked a third station in for digital. This station is named “Edison”. The radio is an Elecraft K3 with a Panadapter. This station uses a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB for logging, digital modes, and just about anything I need.

Showing on the Edison monitors is my dashboard for all the Raspberry Pi clocks (like this one powered by a Pi Zero W and GPS board similar to this one. ) – it also shows some international clocks I did via HTML. On the right monitor is the control window for my DV Access Point Dongle for a home DSTAR Hotspot and the control window for my APRS IGate powered by a Yaesu FTM-100, A Rigblaster Plug & Play and a Raspberry Pi 3.

(8) is a Tivo Mini, I can repurpose one of the Edison monitors for TV and run the audio through the JBL speakers for watching news and weather.

(9) are antenna controllers. On top is the SteppIR SDA2000 Controller for my SteppIR Urban Beam antenna, and below it is a Yaesu G450A rotor controller that I put an add-on board in for control from my PC.

(10) Are the Wright and Sputnik monitors where I monitor things of interest. Wright is on the top and I think of these two as a dashboard, it shows Local and UTC time, temperature inside and at KPDK, my ADSB receiver so I can track planes in the neighborhood and I manually keep antenna configuration displayed. On the bottom is Sputnik which tracks the International Space Station via a program called GPredict. Since my 70 Amp Astron 12 Volt power supply is not where I can see it, I use a Raspberry Pi Zero W as a Web Cam to see the status dynamically. I also keep a text log of states I need to complete my ARRL Worked All States awards and the web interface for my PiStar hotspot which gives me DMR access. Wright and Sputnik are powered by separate Raspberry Pi 3’s in Kiosk mode.

(11) My handhelds for DStar and DMR. Currently using a Kenwood D74A for DStar and APRS, and a used Motorola XPR6550 for DMR.

(12) starts the big “Tesla” work station where I spend a lot of my time. I have gone through different monitors but I expect these LG 27UD68P 4K HDR monitors to last me a while. Not shown but they are powered by an ASUS ROG Gaming PC I picked up a few years ago.

(13) is my Flex Radio 6500 HF Radio. This is a terrific radio, a big step up over the Elecraft K3 (which is a wonderful radio in it’s own right). 4 tuners, covers DC through 6 meters, plenty of expandability and integration. I also have the (13a) Flex Radio Maestro for listening and operating around the house or the neighborhood via Wifi. I am really glad I got on this system early on. I am thinking of upgrading to a 6700 for even a few more features, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

(14) For VHF / UHF and D-Star I have the ICOM ID-5100 radio, which I liked so much I bought 2. One for the shack and one for the car so I don’t have to learn 2 different radios and I can share programming in-between them with SD Memory cards.

(15) Mixes 6 different audio sources including the radios and PC plus and Alexa and the TV. It’s the Behringer Eurorack Pro and it’s just what I need. I tried a fancier PC controlled mixer for about 6 months and for simplicity of being able to reach up and turn the knobs or mute something quickly, it can’t be beat. By the way, the Flex and Mixer are mounted in 2 wooden stands I custom made. Just below the mixer is a 7-Segment clock I made with a Raspberry Pi (are you getting a theme here?). Under that is an eInk display I use to track when future SpaceX launches are. Yes that is powered by a Pi as well.

I think that wraps it up. I would love to get questions on any of this or have discussions or even give support. Check me out on Social Media at https://www.facebook.com/N4BFRVision or https://twitter.com/N4BFR_vision.


Disclosure: All of the items above were chosen by me and comments are my personal opinion, I received no special discounts or materials. Some of the links above go to Amazon.com. If you purchase through those links I may receive a commission.

Metro-Atlanta Repeater Nets

I’ve been fairly lax on keeping up with local repeater nets in my area, so I thought what better way to sync up than to build a list. If you have additions connect with me at n4bfr at arrl.net. Thank you to those that have contributed!

Updated 6/18 – 4:45 PM

DayOrganizerRepeaterStart Time (Local)
SundayAlford Memorial Radio Club146.7607:00 PM
SundayBarrow County145.1307:00 PM
SundayAtlanta Radio Club146.820
224.340
8:00 PM
SundayDekalb County ARES145.4508:00 PM
SundayPiedmont ARC146.655
147.090
8:00 PM
SundaySE D-Star Weather Net145.350
146.960
REF004A
9:00 PM
MondayGwinnett ARS “Want/Swap” 147.0757:30 PM
MondayEllijay ARS145.1707:30 PM
MondayWest Georgia ARS146.6408:00 PM
MondayNorth Fulton ARL “Tech Talk”145.4708:30 PM
MondayCherokee Co ARES145.4308:30 PM
TuesdayAlford Memorial Help net146.7607:00 PM
TuesdayButts County ARES147.2857:30 PM
TuesdayFayette County ARC145.2109:00 PM
WednesdayAlford Memorial EmComm Rag Chew146.7608:00 PM
WednesdaySoutheastern DMR Net444.825
TG 3113
8:00 PM
WednesdaySoutheastern Linked Repeater Net146.820
& 5 other states
9:00 PM
ThursdayPaulding Co. ARES146.9557:30 PM
ThursdayCherokee ARS443.675
145.270
8:00 PM
ThursdayCarroll Co. ARES146.6408:00 PM
ThursdayNorth Fulton YL Net145.4708:00 PM
ThursdayNewton Co146.9258:00 PM
ThursdayGA Tech Yellow Jacket Net145.1509:00 PM
SaturdayTurnip Truck Net146.760Sometime before Midnight (Usually around 10 PM)

Additional Non-Weekly Nets

Alford Memorial Brown Bag Lunch Bunch
Daily (Most Weekdays) – 12 Noon – 146.760

Metro Atlanta ARES
First Sunday – 4:00 PM – 146.805

Scanning the NASA/SpaceX Crew Demo 2 Launch

Uniden Scanner

With the NASA/SpaceX Crew Demo 2 coming up, I thought it was a good time to revisit the ability to listen to NASA on the radio.

I dug out this Monitoring Times PDF last updated in 2006 to use as a starting point. Other resouces include RadioReference.com, the SpaceX Reddit and some folks at the Johnson Space Center ARC.

If you have any updates or additions please email me at N4BFR at arrl.net.
(Updated 5/27)


Mission Audio

Florida Space Coast

  • 146.940 MHz FM repeater rebroadcasts NASA Audio and Launch information
    (Confirmed February 2020) > http://www.titusvillearc.org/
  • N1KSC plans to relay audio in conjunction with NASA’s Public Affairs office. This will be on 444.925 MHz. > List of Planned Events

Houston

  • W5RRR carried some audio in the shuttle days, but has not yet published if they would carry the DEMO-2 audio. If they do, it would likely be on 146.640 MHz FM.

Space to Ground

The Monitoring Times article lists these frequencies for Space to Ground communications for the US “On-Orbit Segment”

  • S-band
    2265.00 MHz – Downlink (6 MHz Bandwidth)
    2287.5 MHz Telemetry Downlink (Also listed as TDRSS Downlink Frequency)
  • Ku-band
    15.0034 GHz Downlink (100 MHz bandwidth)
  • Ka-band
    22.55-23.55 GHz TDRSS
    25.25-27.50 GHz Proximiy Link / TDRSS

Special Temporary Authority Frequencies

SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) recieves special use permits for some frequencies related to launch. Thanks to Reddit for documenting them. >https://old.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/permits/fcc/missions

  • WF9XGI – Telemetry from the Dragon2 Capsule
    • 2203.2 MHz, 2216.0 MHz, 2287.5 MHz “Dragon S-Band Directional Array”
      20 Watts
  • WG9XHP – Telemetry for sub-orbital first stage and orbital second stage.
    • 2247.5 MHz, 2255.5 MHz, 2232.5 MHz, 2272.5 MHz – 3.5 to 4.167 Mbps Signal
  • WJ9FXQ – Autonomous Drone Ship
    • 2090.0 MHz – 600 kbps signal
      One Watt
  • WI2XUB – “Commanding to Spacecraft”
    • 2106.40625 Mhz – 12 Kbps Signal
      One Watt. Authorized for Cape Canaveral including Port Canaveral Recovery Dock Ship, Vandenberg AFB; Kodiak AK; Pensacola FL including Pensacola NAS Dock Ship; Inarajan Guam; Boca Chica TX; Daytona Fl Recovery Location Ship; Jacksonville FL Recovery Location; Panama City Recovery Location; Tallahassee Recovery Location; Tampa Recovery Location.

HF Operations

@MilcomMP on Twitter this morning (5/27) that “Cape Radio” on 10780 Khz is active.

Echolink

For Ham Radio operators, Twitter user @KO4AQF says listen to Echolink node 3082 for NASA.


Monitoring in Brevard County

Digital Trunked

There are several digital trunked systems in Brevard County that show up on the RadioReference.com website of interest > https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=320#cid-7120

  • Kennedy Space Center
    • 406.2375 MHz Primary Control Channel (P25 II)
      Based on the Radio Reference list, this appears to cover talk groupsused for SpaceX, Orion, SLS and other operations frequencies.
  • SpaceX 900 MHz
    • 935-939 MHz (Moto TRBO)
      Radio Reference only reports an “Operations” talk group.
  • SpaceX 400 MHz
    • 464.7375 Primary Control Channel for Cape Canaveral (Moto TRBO)
      Radio Reference lists 2 “Operations” talk groups
  • 45th Space Wing – US Space Force
    • 386.375 MHz Primary Control Channel (P25 I)
      Radio Reference lists mostly security, fire and base operations talk groups.

Associated Frequencies

(Also see NOTAM / NTM information below)

  • Air Traffic Control
    • KXMR – Cape Canaveral AFS Skid Strip
      118.625 MHz AM
      143.150 MHz AM
      239.05 MHz AM
    • KCOF – Patrick SF Station
      133.750 MHz AM Ground
      269.375 MHz Ground
      132.650 MHz AM – Orlando ATC Departure and Arrival
    • TTS – Shuttle Landing Facility
      128.550 MHz AM Tower
      284.000 MHz Tower
      134.95 MHz Orlando ATC Departure and Arrival
    • Aviation Emergency / GUARD frequencies
      121.500 MHz AM
      243.000 MHz
  • Coast Guard Emergency
    • 15.6800 MHz FM

Amateur Radio on the ISS

ARISS is ham radio communications to and from the ISS, not mission audio. This is also used when schools “Talk to an astronaut.” More on ARISS > https://www.ariss.org/

  • 145.800 MHz FM Voice & Slow Scan TV Repeater Downlink
    • 145.490 MHz Voice Uplink (Americas, Pacific, S. Asia)
    • 145.200 MHz Voice Uplink (Europe, Russia, Africa)
  • 145.825 MHz Packet Uplink and Downlink
  • 437.550 Mhz Packet Uplink and Downlink
  • 437.800 Mhz Repeater Downlink
    • 145.990 MHz Repeater Uplink (Requires PL of 67 Hz)

Notice to Mariners / Notice to Airmen

Because of risks to aviation and marine traffic, notices are published to avoid the areas of launch and rocket landing. While not specifically radio related they may at times carry frequency information.

USCG District 7 reports in LMN07202020

ATLANTIC OCEAN - FLORIDA - CAPE CANAVERAL: EASTERN RANGE OP# X0053 FALCON 9 CREW DEMO-2

Eastern range will be conducting hazardous operations surface to unlimited within portions of Warning Areas W497A, W497B, W137F/G, W138E,W139E/F, W140, W141, W122 and the following Hazard Areas. 

THIS IS A MANNED SPACE LAUNCH

A: From 2838 25.89N 8037 17.06W
TO 2839N 8037W
TO 2901N 8014W
TO 2858N 8011W
TO 2834N 8029W
TO 2833 32.69N 8034 1.72W to beginning

B: From 3122N 7744W
TO 3201N 7716W
TO 3218N 7641W
TO 3212N 7634W
TO 3142N 7652W
TO 3117N 7740W to beginning

Hazard periods for primary launch day and backup launch days;
Primary launch day: 27 / 2022Z thru 27 / 2107Z May 20. Preferred T-0 is 2032Z.
Backup launch day (1): 30 / 1911Z thru 30 / 1956Z May 20. Preferred T-0 is 1921Z.
Backup launch day (2): 31 / 1849Z thru 31 / 1934Z May 20. Preferred T-0 is 1859Z.

Related Frequency Information:

If a vessel equipped with AIS is determined to be entering the launch hazard area, an addressed safety message 14 with the text "REGULATED
AREA 33 CFR 165.775 ACTIVE STAY CLEAR" will be transmitted to the vessel. All provisions of the safety zone remain in effect; no person or vessel may enter, pass through or remain within the safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port. Mariners are required to contact the Coast Guard via VHF FM channel 16 to arrange for this authorization.

Marine Channel 16 is on 156.800 MHz using FM modulation.

The FAA has published Facility ZJX (Jacksonville Center) NOTAM 0/1729 for 5/27/20. It reads in part:

!FDC 0/1729 ZJX PART 1 OF 6 FL..AIRSPACE CAPE CANAVERAL, FL..TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS. 
MAY 27, 2020 LOCAL. 
PURSUANT TO 49 USC 40103(B)(3), THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) CLASSIFIES THE AIRSPACE DEFINED IN THIS NOTAM AS 'NATIONAL DEFENSE AIRSPACE'. PILOTS WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES MAY BE INTERCEPTED, DETAINED AND INTERVIEWED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT/SECURITY PERSONNEL. ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL ACTIONS MAY ALSO BE TAKEN AGAINST A PILOT WHO DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OR ANY SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS OR PROCEDURES ANNOUNCED IN THIS NOTAM

...

THE FOLLOWING OPERATIONS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED WITHIN THIS TFR: FLIGHT TRAINING, PRACTICE INSTRUMENT APPROACHES, AEROBATIC FLIGHT, GLIDER OPERATIONS, SEAPLANE OPERATIONS, PARACHUTE OPERATIONS, ULTRALIGHT, HANG GLIDING, BALLOON OPERATIONS, AGRICULTURE/CROP DUSTING, ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL FLIGHT OPERATIONS, BANNER TOWING OPERATIONS, SIGHTSEEING OPERATIONS, MAINTENANCE TEST FLIGHTS, MODEL AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS, MODEL ROCKETRY, UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS), AND UTILITY AND PIPELINE SURVEY

No specific frequencies are given, but the Aviation “GUARD” frequencies are 121.500 MHz AM for civil aviation and 243.0 for Military.

What software do you put on a fresh PC?

I decided after 3 years and a few weird errors here and there it was time to refresh the copy of my Windows 10 on my main desktop PC in the ham shack. (I know, I have Linux and Mac here too!) After keeping a list for a few days, here’s what I use most.

Making a list and checking it twice

Google Chrome
I like Chrome for browsing and I use many of the other Google features like Sheets, Drive and Photos, so this all stays integrated. Since it keep my logins and history across all my different machines, this is the universal tool for me.

It’s a Ham Shack, So…
One of the reasons I chose this particular PC (ASUS ROG GR8 II) is that it was powerful enough to run my Flex 6500 graphically, and let me multitask. Here’s where I start from a ham perspective:

  • Smart SDR for Windows. I upgraded to the latest version, 3.1.11 which gave me a radio software upgrade as well.
  • N1MM Logger Plus Well integrated with the Flex, this is my go-to logging software for any contest I do, plus it puts the DX spots on my Flex spectrum to find-em fast.
  • Ham Radio Deluxe Why two loggers? Well HRD is more than my logger, it’s how I do digital and Logbook of the World (yes, I have TQSL as well.) It’s my non-contest, everyday QSO software.
  • Audacity I could have put this with other PC items, but mostly what I use it for is recording my radio items like strange Shortwave signals and it’s a great non linear audio editor.

As I go along I will add items like software for programming my ICOM and Kenwood radios, but not until I need them.

Graphics and Video
I’ve been enjoying making blogs and YouTube videos since I have been retired. I use at least one of the next 3 daily it seems.

  • GIMP – The Gnu Image Manipulation Program – Lousy name, great free and open source replacement for Photoshop or other graphical editors. It’s cross platform too, so I can use it on my Mac and Linux machines as well.
  • Blender – This one was controversial when I posted about it as a video editor. I learned non-linear video editing about 25 years ago, and this felt comfortable to my experience level. Plus if I want to learn more 3D rendering, it’s there. Again it’s free, open source, and multi-platform so I get to learn once and use anywhere.
  • Streamlabs OBS – When I want to do a YouTube live show, I use Streamlabs OBS. Look at that, free and open source and multi-platform again. There’s a theme here. It’s very easy to use and I was really please that it had saved my scenes across-installs so I could just click and go.

Raspberry Pi
I don’t need a lot of software for Pi because most of what I do is related to programming on the devices themselves. But I need something to handle writing images to MicroSD cards and creating backups. Win32DiskImager is my tool. While I primarily use it for the MicroSD, I have written ISO’s to a USB card with it in a pinch. Pick a drive, read or write from it. It is that simple. To clean those cards, the SD card association supplies a formatter.

So that’s it, the first 11 programs (don’t call them apps on a PC, just, no) on my clean desktop. I’m off to make some contacts!

Rebuilding Woz

Before

When I originally designed my ham shack / tech center, it had 3 ham radio operating stations to allow for some contest operating. I named them after favorite scientists, Tesla, Edison and Woz. Tesla is my main station, Edison is where I do experiments and have guest ops. Woz was used a few times for contests, but we found my small lot wasn’t really conducive for multi-multi operations.

A couple of the radios recently went out of the shack so the Woz station has been used for burning DVD’s and other odd stuff. As you can see from the top it became a junk spot. So I decided to collect up some of my Metrology equipment into the space.

Woz Refreshed

Here’s the updated version. On the left, you’ll see the “Harrison” display (as in John Harrison, the father of the portable clock) which tracks my GPS clocks. Below it is my HP 5328A which includes a super accurate 10 Mhz crystal oscillator and a 100-1200 Mhz element which allows for VHF/UHF testing as well. I use this to calibrate my HF radio.

Skipping over the scope for a second, there is a small box on the glass shelf with three connectors. This is a GPS disciplined oscillator that also puts out a 10 MHz standard signal.

Next over is a Techtronix oscilloscope which allows for a bunch of cool measurements. In this case, I set up both the HP and the GPSDO standards to compare their output.

Screen Capture

Here are the 2 traces. The top shows the output of the HP and the bottom is the output of the GPSDO. Since both are not up to temp yet, I was not worried about how they compare, but I will try again in a few hours.

Use the social links to contact me with thoughts or tips and enjoy!

Follow Friday

I have been heavily into the YouTube thing over the last few months, and I have some old and new favorites. Enjoy this week’s nerd-heavy list of things to watch.

SpaceX

Want to watch cool rocket stuff regularly? SpaceX is about to become the first American company to send american Astronauts to the ISS in over 10 years. Plus their launching an internet satellite constellation and working on this little “trip to Mars” thing.

The Modern Rogue

This has a “Mythbusters meets Magic and other Scams” vibe as two “Professional Idiots” do things like making homemade thermite to cook steaks, play with RFID, discuss everyday carry items and even a little ham radio.

The Lockpicking Lawyer

The Lockpicking Lawyer has an artists touch. His videos are super basic, pretty much a camera and a lock, but he gives you a lot of different insights on build quality and how some things are safer than others (avoid TSA locks). Great way to get under the mechanics of how these things work in our daily lives.

Techmoan

I think he’s most well known for his camera reviews, but I really get into all the retro-tech items that he covers. This particular video shows a German 8-track style record player, but he’s covered old computers, hi-fi and phones as well.

TWIT

I feel like Leo Laporte is my older “brother from another mother.” He’s successfully put together a podcast network, TWIT, that covers tech news, photography, internet security, Apple, Android and more every week. I greatly enjoy his Tech Guy radio show podcasts every Saturday and Sunday.

And a plug for me

Part photography, part ham radio and Raspberry Pi tech, part cat videos, Space stuff, just what interests me that day. I’m having fun sharing and making new stuff, so please subscribe just to see what the hell I am going to do next.

More next week!

Metro Atlanta Ham Radio and Covid-19

As of 02-Apr-20 19:55 EDT

I thought I would capture some of the major notes related to Amateur Radio and the Corona Virus in one place for Metro-Atlanta. Amateur Radio Newsline has a international list on their Facebook page.

Ongoing

  • GA ARES will have nightly nets at 1900 Local, 2300 UTC.
    • D-Star net on Reflector 30B Monday, Wednesday and Friday
    • HF Net on 3.971 MHz with 3.923 MHz alternate – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Upcoming

  • Georgia QSO Party CHANGES
    • Saturday 4/11 only 1600-0400Z (Noon-Midnight Local)
    • No Rovers
    • Multi-Op only for Virtual Radios or Multi-Ham Homes
  • Weekly Georgia DMR net Wednesdays at 8 PM on TG 3113
  • 2020 SVHFS Conference Postponed (was April in Gainesville)
  • Dayton Hamvention (May) is cancelled for 2020
  • Atlanta Hamfest is tentatively on for June 6 – Cobb County is currently using the location for drive-through COVID-19 testing.

Historical

  • Atlanta Radio Club meeting for Thursday 4/2 Cancelled but special net at 7 PM
  • North Fulton held virtual meeting 3/17
  • GARS Workshop on 3/17 was postponed.
  • Atlanta Radio Club Friday lunch cancelled 3/13
  • North Fulton 3/14 VE Session Cancelled
  • North GA QRP (NOGA) Meeting cancelled

If I missed anything or if there are any updates, email me at (mycall) @ arrl.net.

Polishing on the FrankenPi

FrankenPi Version 1.1

Two weeks ago I published a blog post detailing the creation of a Raspberry Pi based APRS tracker and Pi-Star hot spot. I’ve made a couple of enhancements since then and I thought I would share an update.

Going with a dedicated 4G connection

I had planned on using my mobile phone as my WiFi connection for getting packets into and out of the unit. During my testing, getting in and out of the car and having the Pi reconnect to the Wifi hotspot was not as seamless as I would like. So I added a 4G connection with a Netgear LB2120 4G Modem.

“Jim, why didn’t you get a Wifi modem?”

– Me to myself.

Why didn’t I? Well, I did want something I could directly connect to, and I though the device I purchased had wifi. But it didn’t so I made the most of it. I knew I wanted something with Ethernet so in the future this could go on my LAN so all is not lost.

Pi as a Wifi Hotspot

Another part of having a 4G connection was to have diversity of networks as I travel. I had a breakdown on the Blue Ridge Parkway last year and my Verizon phone had marginal coverage when I really needed it. I put this on the TMobile network, so I could make a quick Wifi call if I had to in a pinch.

Since the Netgear does not have Wifi, I added Wifi Hotspot functionality to the Raspberry Pi. It’s not what I would use every day for a Wireless Router, but it will work to do some configuration or make a quick call. I bounced around to different instructions as I customized this, so I don’t have one clear place to point to for a “how to” but you can start at RaspberryPi.org.

Which Digital? Why not D-Star and DMR?

I did a lot of programming of my radios to get the ready with the latest D-Star reflectors, and believe me http://www.dstarinfo.com/ is my go-to site. While that is ready to rock, I thought I might want some DMR along as well. Instead of turning them both on at the same time, I configured 2 SD cards. One will boot up with D-Star configured on the Pi-Star, the other with DMR.

I am hopeful that this will make it easy to switch on the fly at the next stop I make without too many hassles.

And a Big Battery

While I was wandering around the half-empty shelves of my local Fry’s Electronics I found a nice deal on a 20K mAh battery. I also dug in to Amazon to find a 5V to 12V upconverter for the Netgear device.

Big battery!

The two devices combined draw less than 1 amp, so I’ve had this running for >12 hours with battery to spare. I intentionally did not mount the battery on the board to make it hot -ish- swap-able if needed.

I don’t expect to polish much more on this before I depart in 10 days but always open to suggestions on changes. Connect with me at the links via the site.