Sunday, February 24, 2013

14Mhz WSPR over the weekend

For a change, I ran 14MHz WSPR, running about 1W at the antenna over the weekend. Quite good results - nice to get a report from VK6PG

Mostly daylight hours - I switched to 472khz overnight!

DVAP tool for the Raspberry Pi

A few weeks ago, I heard that there was to be a version of the DVAP Tool software that would run on the Raspberry Pi. That was after I had discovered the image including the G4KLX software.

However, it is always great to have a choice! I found a post from Robin AA4RC from the DVAPDongle group today containing details of how to install DVAP tool onto the Raspbian Wheezy operating system.

Well worth a go!

> >
> > Follow the steps below to install/run:
> >
> > 1) make sure you are running Raspian Wheezy 2013-02-09 and are connected to
the internet with your Pi.
> >
> > 2) open an LXTerminal window and run: "sudo apt-get install qt4-dev-tools".
Answer "Y" when prompted.
> >
> > 3) in terminal window run: "curl -O"
> >
> > 4) in terminal window run "sudo tar xzPf DVAPTool-1.04-rpi.tgz"
> >
> > 5) in terminal window run DVAPTool with "./DVAPTool" from your home
> >
> > Note that this is a full GUI version. I'm working on a text only daemon.
> >
> > There are no current plans to compile DVAPTool for any distribution other
than Raspian. It may or may not work on others.
> >
> > 73,
> > Robin
> > AA4RC
> >

New version of ircDDB Gateway and DVAP Node installed on Raspberry Pi

After the Raspberry Pi and DVAP experiments a couple of weeks ago, I decided to dedicate a Raspberry Pi to running the gateway. I ordered a new Pi ( with different coloured case) and hard wired it to the Internet router. Connected the DVAP by USB and it all seemed to work well.

Speaking to Martin 2E1THX this morning, he mentioned that the latest release of the software included the CCS capability - which allows you to dial up another DSTAR user by entering a code on your DTMF keypad.

Upgrading the software went very smoothly, although when the machine first came up, the software locked up! I rebooted and all was well.

To accept incoming CCS requests, I needed to open up some ports on my router and forward them to the Raspberry Pi. That worked fine! I opened up UDP ports 30061 to 30065.

I've enjoyed having the dedicated Raspberry Pi for DSTAR gateway activity and have had some excellent QSOs as a result.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New stations heard on 472khz WSPR

I'm finding it interesting to note how variable conditions can be on 472khz WSPR. Some days are distinctly better than others. It will be fascinating at some stage to try and correlate the various indices with improved reception/conditions.

Last evening was a good one and I copied a number of new stations; PA3FNY, G0HNW, DL3IKE and PA3EGO. New to me, that is. Nice too, to hear Paul G0HNW. I'm sure it's a coincidence, but most of the stations I have heard up to now have been on an East-West axis, so good to hear someone from the north.

Remember all this is on unmodified, untuned kit, so I hope it serves as an encouragement to anyone else who might be interested to try and hear something!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Visiting the Harwell Rally

Time was when I used to attend many of the radio rallies. These days, I generally attend one a year - and it's usually the Harwell Rally - located about 20 minutes drive from home.

Today was the day! And enjoyable it was. No major purchases - just a bit of aerial wire and some back issues of magazines. I did enjoy chatting with Francis, G7CND of GEO - Group for Earth Observation I could easily be tempted to have a go at some of the imaging that the group are doing!

I had a happy hour or two on the Practical Wireless / RadioUser stand, with Rob G3XFD and Tex, G1TEX - chatting to visitors and selling the odd back issue magazine and archive CD.

It was good to see many friends including Graham G4FUJ (who first taught me morse a very long time ago!), Pete 2E0SQL, Rob M0VFC, Paul M3JFM, Mike M0RBD as well of course the Harwell team who put the rally on - great to see Ann G8NVI, Mike G8CUL, Malcolm G8NRP, Bob G0ADH, Mike G0MJW, John G3VPW, Des G3NNG - lots of other smiling faces too.

A great time inspite of some inclement weather!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Raspberry Pi + DVAP Dongle = a nice little DSTAR hotspot

A few weeks ago, I overhead a QSO talking about using a Raspberry Pi and a DVAP as a hotspot for DSTAR. Like a lot of things, it lodged in my brain, but I didn't do anything about it immediately!

Googling around a little, I found lots of references, but the best suggestion seemed to be to join the pcrepeatercontroller group on Yahoo groups, where there was some good documentation on how to go about it in the Files/Documentation folder.

It turns around that thanks to the hard work of Mark, WD9JEN, Dave, K9RUF and Brian GW6WTK as well, of course, as the software author Jonathan G4KLX, the process is quite easy.

I got a new SD card (actually there was a slight false start as I discovered that not all SD cards work well in the Raspberry Pi). I downloaded the image for the Raspberry Pi of the operating system, Debian, with ircDDBGateway and DVAPNode already installed. You can download it from this link

Most of the instructions I read about copying the image to the SD card talk about using Win32diskimager, however, I could not get it to work with my internal SD card reader on the Dell laptop. I used a utility called Flashnul which worked fine. If you run into the same issues, you can grab Flashnul here

Once the image was written, I checked to see if I could boot the Pi with it and was delighted to find that I could. Following that, it was just a question of following WD9JEN's instructions and substituting my call for his. I did a slight false start and found that though the DVAP node software was working alright, it wouldn't link to anything. I discovered that I had inadvertantly entered a password in the ircDDB tab in ircDDBGateway. I removed that and it all started working.

My Raspberry Pi's network connection is via WiFi but this seems fine and adequate for connectivity, though perhaps it would be even more reliable to take a cable directly to the router.

I have enjoyed some nice QSOs this afternoon, with Peter G0BZX, Dave M0NEY, Ian 2E0VTM (also experimenting with a Pi and a DVAP) and Bob MW0RBL.

Since I can leave the hotspot running without tying up the main computer, perhaps this will result in a few more DSTAR QSOs being made!


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