DStar Hotspot Updates

After a year or so, I decided to revisit my DStar hotspot project.  I ended up going the route of using my Raspberry Pi to be the repeater and gateway instead of my Windows 7 machine.

The project consists of the following:

  • Yaesu FT-8800R
  • Icom ID-31a
  • Raspberry Pi Model B running the WesternDstar Linux build

Setup was fairly easy.  After updating (downgrading) my DVRPTR V1’s firmware, I connected it to the FT8800’s data port.  I setup a memory channel on UHF and set the packet mode to 9600 on the B-side of the radio.  I use a simple keyboard switchbox to switch between the DVRPTR and my TNC for normal packet operations.  After verifying proper operation of the DVRPTR using the “Control Center” software on my Windows machine, I then turned my attention to the Pi.

After downloading the latest WesternDstar iso image from www.westerndstar.co.uk, I loaded it to a 8GB SD card via my MacBook Pro.  After a few minutes of watching the ‘dd’ command (CTRL-T to get some details) the SD card was ready for booting.  I inserted it into the Pi and powered up.  Using the configuration utilities provided by G4KLX’s software, I configured the DVRPTRRepeater software to use my DVRPTR interface.  I then configured the ircddbgateway software in a similar fashion.  I did add a few extra control commands to remotely control the hotspot, but, I’ll cover that in a future blog.

Everything started up and worked as advertised!  I use my ID31 on SLO power to link/unlink and control the repeater.

DStar is a fun mode for the radio and computer/network enthusiast alike!

P.S.  Thanks to Tommy (N5ZNO) for his AmateurLogic.TV segment on the DVMega (http://www.amateurlogic.tv/blog/?p=624) which inspired me to re-work of my hotspot with the WesternDstar image!



August 2014 Technician Licensing Class a BIG SUCCESS!

Montgomery County Amateur Radio Emergency Service sponsored and held a 1 day technician prep class on August 16 from 8am-5pm at the HEB on FM1488.  Of the 20 students that initially registered for the class, 16 students showed up.  I was the instructor and delivered the presentation  that covered the entire Element 2 (2014 version) question pool.  While the day was long and the time was short, we made it thru everything.  The students did great on their pre-work study of the questions.

On Sunday, August 17, 2014, we held a test session from 1pm to 3pm at the same location.

All 16 students from the class attended as well as one additional walk-in.

Myself and six additional VE’s (Mark T, Mark R, Jack, Stephen, Henry, Dave) administered the exam and had everything graded in just under 2 hours.

The results are very good:  13 new Technician class licenses and 1 General class license was granted!

Great job to the class and my fellow VE’s!